This 2020 hunch will become a 2021 fact: Audio ads work."

The year 2020 has cemented its own chapter in the history books for the advertising technology industry. From Apple announcing the death of the IDFA, the identifier for advertisers that allows them to precisely target and track users within apps on iOS devices (then delaying its execution until this year), to the countless ad industry disruptions caused by pandemic, the world of ad tech stayed on its toes the entire year.

As we look to the year ahead, where is ad tech heading? Here’s what to expect:

Machine learning will continue to personalize the ad experience.

Machine learning and artificial intelligence have been buzzwords for the better half of the last decade. These technological advancements have also suffered from a bad reputation in recent years because of increasing privacy concerns and issues of bias and false assumptions.

In 2021, marketers will continue to use advanced models that will drive the highest engagement and conversion rates for campaigns. The difference will be these AI models will ditch private consumer-level data tied to individual device IDs and shift from an individualized approach to a cohort-based one, avoiding the stigma of targeting people on an individual basis. These cohorts of people may share common locations or behaviors such as the day they downloaded an app or the time of their first purchase.

Travel advertising is about to takeoff.

Good news for tourism bureaus and airlines: After a year of dormancy, consumers are yearning for a getaway. Data shows people have a strong desire to travel in 2021, with 70% of consumers already planning their 2021 break. Advertisers will be right behind them, adapting their messages to focus on new and improved safety protocols, booking flexibility and low pricing. It will take time before we return to our pre-COVID travel habits, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the holiday season in 2021 was the biggest vacation period ever.

Audio ads will dominate a larger slice of the digital marketing pie.

This 2020 hunch will become a 2021 fact: Audio ads work. Audio ads already boast a 24% higher recall rate than their traditional display counterparts and with people spending almost three hours streaming music each day, this means plenty of focused attention for a brand.

The audio competition for consumers’ attention is a much less crowded field than the world of mobile video. Audio ads will dominate performance across devices and marketing strategies that utilize streaming audio will be the most successful campaigns in 2021.

In 2020, the pandemic accelerated change in the way consumers interacted with digital media. This year, the best of the industry will embrace — and advance — that change.

Advantage Solutions

Corey Weiner
Jun Group

Corey Weiner joined Jun Group, an Advantage Marketing Partners agency, in 2013 and has served as CEO since August 2019.

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