What will be the most significant trends to impact marketing in 2020?
Following our first blog post on the topic, our remaining global leaders from around the world share their thoughts on the trends that will shape marketing, and social media, in 2020.
Nathan McDonald, Co-Founder and Group CEO
The New Influencer Economy
This year will mark a significant shift how influencers monetize their status. A new influencer economy is emerging, with talent starting to make money via direct selling, subscriptions and membership models, tipping and gifting. Influencers will be selling directly on established platforms – either their own products or products from preferred brands – using tools like Instagram’s ‘Shopping from Creators’. Influencers are also exploring ways to sell access to themselves, their content and creative output. Some are charging people to be added as ‘close friends’ on Instagram, for example, or exploring platforms like BuyMeACoffee that enable creators to receive support, share exclusive content, sell digital downloads and more. Brands will need to consider how to tap into this shift - for example, by they could look to provide exclusive products for individual influencers to market to their followers. Brands will also need to re-evaluate their influencer advertising metrics, ensuring they are appropriate to these emerging monetisation strategies.
Akanksha Goel, Founder and Managing Director of Socialize, Dubai
The Age of Zero-Party Data
As 2019 saw a rising-tide of global privacy regulations, with browsers introducing stringent privacy controls like blocking third-party cookies. And 2020 isn’t looking much ‘brighter’ for brands. As YouTube announces it will no longer support 3rd party pixels, marketers are looking to new ways to target audiences who want increased privacy controls, and the right to be forgotten. In 2020 we expect to see a shift in brands’ reliance on 3rd party to zero-party data, collecting data that is intentionally and proactively directly shared by the consumer. Whether via a quirky Insta story, or a fully customizable campaign marketing experience that incorporates data-capture capabilities and incentive mechanics, marketers will (have to) quickly and easily collect zero-party data at speed and scale. Brands must remain customer-centric to continue to connect with consumers who expect tailor made content and personalization. For advertisers and publishers alike, the coming year will present new opportunities driven by a customer-first approach grounded in privacy and brand experience.
Christina Chong, Managing Director, Singapore
The rise of the virtual-self
We have witnessed an explosion of virtual content in 2019. Augmented Reality ads let you try on makeup or travel to Finland without moving from your seat. Thousands of face filters have been developed by the SparkAR community and, following the success of @LilMiquela, brands have launched their own virtual influencers. What’s more notable is the appeal of virtual products to social media users, as Norwegian clothing brand Carlings proved with the launch of a digital-only clothing line that can only be worn on a picture of yourself. The creation of a virtual persona (or avatar) is an idea not limited to science-fiction books or online video games. The launch of Facebook Horizon in 2020 - a social VR world enabling people to explore, play and create with others - will increase the need for virtual assets like clothes or accessories to equip your avatar with. If in 2019, you had to take care of your social image, in 2020, all your attention will be on your virtual-self.
Pete Lin, North Asia Regional Managing Director
The China Tripwire
Q: What do Daryl Morey (the general manager of the Houston Rockets) and Mesut Ozil (Arsenal FC star) have in common?
A: Both of them managed to get their clubs and leagues into a lot of financial trouble in 2019. Simply by tweeting.
While freedom of speech does very much exist in most places constitutionally, it has become much more limited for people - like Morey and Ozil - who both live in the spotlight and work somewhere that does a lot of business in China. This year we've seen criticism of Chinese governmental policies on social media lead to financial consequences. Morey’s tweet about Hong Kong cost the Rockets and the NBA tens of millions of dollars as Chinese sponsors and broadcasters severed ties with them. Ozil’s tweet about the Uighurs led to an immediate ban of Arsenal broadcasts in China. In 2020, brands who wish to market their products or services in China need to be clued up on China’s political relationships with Taiwan and Hong Kong, and how to manage the celebrities and influencers they work with in relation to the Chinese market.
Donald Wong, General Manager, Hong Kong
Boomer Got (Social) Game
The meme “OK Boomer” is a Gen Z and Millennial battle cry that encapsulates the great divide in attitude between “digital native” generations and the generation prior, who built the infrastructure that enabled the current digital age. Boomers have been criticized for a lack of understanding of how social communication should work. Case in point: Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam took to Facebook Live to reach out to the “disenfranchised” youths in the city (who have created memes online and offline to great effect). Her attempts only drew more ire on social. But, a counterpoint - Donald Trump. Love him or hate him, he’s got game. He knows that social requires long-term investment. Brands can learn from this in 2020, as they look to adopt a social persona to communicate and collaborate with their audience. Using social platforms superficially for one-way communication is the equivalent of inviting an ‘OK Boomer’. Building a truly immersive social brand will help you navigate the evolving marketing landscape.
Masayuki Tono, Managing Director, Tokyo
Life after 5G
Throughout 2019, video content dominated online. In Japan, the video advertising market has grown +141% since 2018 and is expected to be valued at 500 billion yen (around $4.6bn) within a few years. All the social media giants are shifting towards video-based content; this is especially true for Twitter, transforming from a focus on short text into a video platform and achieving 2.5 billion video views per day worldwide. Video will be even bigger in 2020, boosted by the rise of 5G. With super-fast and extra-reliable data transfer capabilities, it has the power to transform our online experience. Videos will be richer, longer and more complex, viewable on different screens and devices, with personalised content. We can expect social platforms to be forced to evolve as their audiences expect more, racing to fully utilize 5G’s potential in effective and engaging ways. A revolution is on the horizon – audiences are changing as they learn to expect more from social platforms, platforms are changing to meet their audience’s demands.
Suzie Shaw, Managing Director, Sydney
TikTok Takes on the Titans
2020 will be the year TikTok troubles some of the larger, more established social networks as its penetration continues to soar. Already the most downloaded free app in the world, and in the world’s top 10 most-used social media apps – ahead of Twitter, Snapchat and LinkedIn – TikTok has made huge headway with a younger audience, and is ageing up daily. The quirky, comedic and ironic content spans sketches, lip-synching, dance trends, and even sports and beauty, and is appealing to broader and broader communities. Its growing popularity marks a moment in time when we’re moving on from the need to project a picture-perfect lifestyle to our friends and followers, to one where TikTok is driving a new behaviour of mass participation and consumption of content purely for the sake of entertainment and connection.