What trends will shape the digital advertising world in 2019? To keep up with our tradition, we decided to interview prominent marketing experts on their thoughts on how advertising is going to change.

In case you are curious, you can find the last year’s digest here.

There were only 3 questions:

  • How do you think digital advertising would change in 2019?
  • What ad formats will flourish next year? (E.g., video, push notifications, native ads, etc.)
  • What trends will we see in display banner design?

Without further talk, let’s get right at it!

Themis Christou

Themis Christou, Group Marketing Project Manager at Tickmill Group of Companies

The past couple of years have laid down the ground of the future of digital marketing. New technologies are emerging, and marketers need to adapt, and fast. The competition is fierce and getting ahead of the competition, is the least of our concern. We need to make sure that we communicate the right message, to the right customer, because if we don’t, someone else will do it. More challenges arise every day, including strict regulatory laws like the GDPR, pushing us to think outside the box, shift our strategy, and turn to new tactics. However, in a digitally transformed era, we can employ the GDPR to create trust and loyalty and make our customers feel safe.

Data are the holy grail of marketing; simple demographic information is now obsolete. Data now can include information like peoples’ habits, desires, purchasing preferences, likes and dislikes, and a lot more. It allows us to create our customer buying personas accurately.

What ad formats will flourish next year?

So with all the above mentioned in mind, digital advertising will focus on creating unique customer experiences.

  • Virtual and Artificial Reality (AR & VR): One of the highest trending marketing tools with an ability to leverage phone cameras and bring product and services to life. AR & VR can leverage us to create a brand-engaging environment and assist our customers with pre-purchase decisions.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI): is making a breakthrough the traditional marketing funnel by integrating chat-bots. AI will lead to a marketing renaissance where comprehensive data will be used to understand and forecast customers’ behavior and emotions.
  • Voice marketing: The future of voice commanding information where anything you would like to know, will be presented to you by a simple voice command.
  • Video marketing: 3D, 360-degree video, narrative, animated and live videos are the future of advertising and mobile advertising.
  • In-app marketing: endless opportunities to meet our future customers while they are engaging in apps that are relatively connected to our product and services.
  • Native Advertising: is growing exponentially, offering a gentler and more discreet user experience.

What trends will we see in display banner design?

Display banners are slowly considered as an older generation form of advertising. Ad blockers are making sure that consumers have a ‘display’ free experience on the web. Furthermore, consumers today respond better to audiovisual digital ads as opposed to text-only or static images. Programmatic marketing will be a major game changer that will make sure that display advertising is utilized in the most cost-effective way possible. Through real-time automated bidding on advertising inventory, consumers will have the opportunity to see an ad relevant to them.

Frank Ravanelli

Frank Ravanelli, FOREO Head of Affiliates Asia & EMEA

For the first two quarters of 2019, privacy and attribution are going to reshape the digital advertising landscape in Europe and North America, both for legal reasons and changes in what people feel comfortable sharing online. So mainly exogenous forces, often conflicting with each other. Once we will have some more examples of how GDPR is interpreted, and users restart sharing more freely, relevancy will return as the first priority. That´s where AI will kick-in to offer a truly customized experience.

As for formats, engaging videos will keep growing, the same for quality native ads. Advertisers need to scale up campaigns fast, and these two ad formats still often a good balance among investment (in terms of time and money), results, and scalability. Again, wider usage of AI will be needed to screen out the “bad apples”, those conversion funnels that instead of being based on persuasion, are being willingly deceptive. The trust of consumers is the real asset, and it needs to be protected. It would not be cost-effective to do it manually; algorithms will make a difference.

In terms of performance marketing, more and more affiliates will use push notifications and develop chat-bots, that interact with potential buyers, informing them about the products and services provided by the merchants they are promoting.

Amit Bivas

Amit Bivas, VP Global Marketing at Optimove

I think that in 2019, content will still be king, but creativity will be queen, and she’ll rule. Platforms probably won’t make significant changes or advances, so advertisers will need to be evermore creative to climb above the clutter. Every brand is into digital advertising, and creativity is key to stand out in the crowd. Also, performance marketing will become more expensive, as more advertisers will be competing for the same digital real estate. Just like in Economics 101: there will be more demand for the same supply, which will, inevitably raise costs.

Regarding the formats, more than anything, I think that the format and channel mix will be the greatest contributing factor to successful digital advertising in the next year. Finding the perfect channel mix for each customer persona is an existing marketing challenge, and I anticipate that it will become even more so in the coming year.

What we found at Optimove is that on average, campaigns delivered across multiple channels generate a 24% uplift compared to a 12% uplift in single channel campaigns. Advancements in data and technology can help finding optimal customer-channel(s) combos quite easily. The right technological platforms will make any brand’s voice louder and much clearer.

In terms of banner design: even without commercial blockers, we’ve become blind to banners. For banners to be effective again, they’d need to be creatively revived through motion and innovative tech. Since digital advertising is common practice, marketers will need to be ultra-creative to be noticed. Creativity will become a necessity for effective display advertising.

Josh Kocaurek

Josh Kocaurek, Founder @ Appsposure

One major change I see for 2019 is companies allocating more of their marketing budgets into influencer marketing. We’ve seen a lot of brands begin running campaigns with influencers the past few years and I bet we’ll only be seeing more of it in the future.

I also see companies beginning to approach influencers as a marketing channel to rely on instead of just an experiment and creating more integrated, seamless campaigns with their partners.

What ad formats will flourish next year?

I think video, in general, will continue flourishing. With giants like Facebook doubling down on video with platforms like IG TV alongside YouTube’s nonstop growth, I don’t see the market’s taste for video slowing down anytime soon.

As search engine algorithms continue to improve their algorithm to facilitate video content, I can see video becoming a bigger part of SEO and content marketing in 2019.

As for design, I think a trend that will continue to be explored in 2019 is the use of playable ads, especially in mobile gaming. With Facebook rolling out playable ads in their platform, I can only assume it’s not long before it’s adopted by all major mobile game publishers.

Peter Plachta, Founder ARPU Brothers

Peter Plachta

I do not foresee any revolution in digital advertising to occur in 2019. In 2019, the majority of advertisers will continue moving budgets towards Facebook due to the restrictions in organic ranges. Companies increase their advertising budgets in the areas of creating content (blog posts, webinars, podcasts) and its distribution. Advertisers will refrain from increasing spending on influence marketing activities the results of which are still difficult to measure for most of them.

In app marketing, video ads (15 and 30-second spots) and playable ads will be the dominant types. We can already notice that both formats provide the best results. I think that more and more advertisers operating in the gaming and mobile apps sectors will start using them.

It is certain that playable ads engage the users and allow them to get to know the product at an early stage. Static advertisements will be mere additions to the remaining advertising formats.

Antonis Antoniou

Antonis Antoniou, Marketing Director at SoftwareCy, and Associate Professional at Chartered Institute of Marketing

The advancement of machine learning and Artificial Intelligence technologies will lead to significant changes in digital advertising. AI is going to control the targeting process and improve timing efficiency, which will result in higher conversion rates. Artificial Intelligence will be able to scan online content and provide relevant advertisements within a matter of seconds. This technology will revolutionize digital advertising, which will lead to a significant increase of profits and conversions.

Search Engine Optimization is going to rise above the majority of ad formats and advertising methods. Over the years, people have learned to identify digital ads and look past them, which is why most online ad formats have become less efficient. However, relevant SEO content is not identified as advertising because it is displayed only when people search for it. In 2019, companies are expected to focus on SEO strategies to drive organic traffic to their landing pages.

We are expecting display banners to take a new direction where lifestyle and people will replace products and services as the primary element of display banners. Stock photos will no longer be the go-to option for banner designers. Moreover, influencers are going to gain more power in this field. Unlike in the previous years, banners are going to contain more text and icons in order to provide more information. The old “less is more” strategy will no longer be efficient. Facebook already allows more text and icons on paid ads than 3 months ago. More is more!!

Sergey Matrosov

Sergey Matrosov, PPC Engineer at SEMRush

I guess that we’ll see a growing trend of applying machine learning algorithms to accurately buy proper target audiences for businesses. That’s why the importance of programming in digital marketing will increase significantly. As a result, these processes will be performed by programmers from digital marketing departments or … by PPC specialists. Sounds surprising? Not really. It seems that PPC instruments such as Google Ads are becoming more and more automated, so the role of PPC specialists is shifting towards that of a campaign manager, who is more responsible for creative processes rather than ad settings in campaign creation. But I think that this is a naive hope.

Take a second and think: if Google’s AI tries to compete with manual settings set by human pros without knowing details of the business it promotes, then what prevents the pros from developing their own AI that would factor in all the business details? All necessary technologies are available at the moment, but that’s not your duty… for now. You already know it, and your company’s C-level is starting to feel this way too. To date, it’s recommended that PPC specialists have some coding skills. And tomorrow, data analysis/science skills will be a mandatory requirement.

What ad formats will flourish next year? Advertising is not about format; it’s more about relevance and engagement. The format is just an instrument that helps you draw people’s attention to your product. Today’s goal is to attract the right people to your business and not just to find the format and push it to the budget’s limits.

What trends will we see in display banner design? The answer is personalization. Our audience is there somewhere, and we first l need to find it. Secondly, we should understand that it’s not homogeneous: everybody has their own needs, so our display and search campaigns have to take this into account. Moreover, we have to pay attention to our ads’ engagement levels. So the formula is, ironically, a Marxist one – to each according to the need, from each according to the engagement.

Natalie Ianello

Natalie Iannello, Lead Digital Marketer at Atlantic BT

One thing I see drastically changing in 2019 is less market research (surveys, focus groups, etc.) and increased testing. It’s easier than ever to test ads and website behaviors. See what people will do rather than what people say they will do. Large companies like Trulia and Facebook are subscribing to agencies that help them A/B test, empowering them make incremental revenue-driving changes on their website rather than overhauls. Additionally, new AI tools will help businesses automatically act on A/B testing results with retargeting ads.

What ad formats will flourish next year? An ad format that is on the rise is social influencer sponsorships. What will catch your attention more – injecting a commercial for vitamins into a Youtube video, or the “Youtuber” recommending these vitamins?

What trends will we see in display banner design? With banner ads saturating the content users read online, the key to ad design will be finding a way to stand out. Simple websites with white backgrounds are in style, so ads with darker backgrounds are more likely to stand out and flourish. Additionally, videos and 3D designs will tastefully catch someone’s eye as they scan a page, improving click-through rates.

Jonas Nordstran

Jonas Nordstrand Nørgaard, CMO at Cromian

I believe that CTV ads will become one of the leapfroggers of 2019 due to several reasons. Approximately 70% of the TV’s in our living rooms are of the “smarter” version, millennials’ love for gaming consoles hasn’t reduced and Netflix, HBO, Amazon Play, etc. are getting bigger by the minute. The time seems more than right for CTV ads.

As well, I think 2019 will be a year of more super short, soundless video ads. Consumers are getting more and more aware, and the climax of the ad now has to be there within 1-2 seconds. As the videos are without sound, I think subtitles in alternative colours and shapes will flourish as they will have to “guide” the viewer in new ways. Along the lines of this, I think 3D photo ads will be seen more often in 2019. This is an easy way (and still fairly new) to create somewhat similar effects as an ultra-short soundless video.

When it comes to display banner ads designs in 2019, I think we’ll be seeing more unconventional color schemes and fonts than previously in order to stand out more. 2019 will probably be a more colorful year than 2018.

Have your own predictions? We are sure you do! Share your thoughts and expertise in the comment section below!


Content Marketing Manager at PropellerAds