December 17, 2019

PartnerCentric Predicts Trends with Clear Vision for 2020


What a year it's been for digital marketing! From the continued rise of personalization in marketing, to more brands harnessing the power of strategic influencer marketing and an explosion of Artificial Intelligence, it’s clear that brands are looking for innovative ways to reach new customers and delight existing ones.

The new year comes with a clean slate and a chance to start anew with clarity. With this, we wanted to ask some of our team members for their take on the top trends that will shape the industry next year both in performance marketing and beyond to help you plan for 2020 strategically. Here’s what they had to say:

Stephanie Harris, Owner & CEO

2020 will be a year of many changes to our landscape. I think we’re going to see more non-traditional verticals enter the performance marketing landscape, as well as new entrants like well-funded start-ups in digital healthcare, fintech, and other disruptors to their categories test the waters with performance channels of their own. We are also going to see more and more affiliate partners gain certifications and other qualifications in order to better associate with the more heavily regulated industries that are now entering the space in a bigger way (such as insurance companies). I think we’ll also see a resurgence within the retail space as well, with many well established brands taking a page from the retail e-comm disruptors in the space to utilize whatever test budgets they have on performance-based podcasts, video, social and other mediums. 

Julie Avila, COO

With Election Day less than a year away, I anticipate a turbulent, but opportunistic, year for both advertisers and publishers alike. I expect that non-political advertisers will have to shift more traditional advertising dollars, where inventory will decrease and costs increase, into channels less affected by political media buying. I predict traditional broadcast and TV budgets will shift to online video, mobile video and other “new media” partners. Coupled with this cord cutting trend, there will be a unique opportunity to reach target audiences on more screens than ever before. Rather than reducing budgets or ROI goals, the key to success will be to think about how to strategically load spend and focus on partners (like digital, social, and video) who are compensated on a CPA model rather than traditional means. 

Tom Rathbone, VP of Strategic Initiatives

We’re now entering a new phase of attribution and incrementality, as the privacy changes of 2019 have completely shifted this conversation. With consumer tracking on crackdown (and likely to get more restrictive), there is fresh doubt in the ability of attribution systems to provide the answers that are promised. Due to this, there is a new focus on incrementality and incrementality testing that I expect to see continue through 2020. This will be needed in all channels - we want to know just how incremental each channel and each publisher is, and we want to design tests around proving this out.

Adam Dahlen, VP of Client Success

The California Customer Privacy Act (CCPA) becomes effective on January 1, 2020, so compliance with the law will be a hot topic to start the year. Hopefully the lessons learned from GDPR in 2018 will make the rollout of CCPA more seamless, but expect to see growing pains for some advertisers and publishers throughout the year. As the regulatory climate continues towards providing greater protection for consumer data privacy, existing technology that does not comport with regulations will be replaced. 

Craig McGlynn , VP of Revenue

A deeper level of analytics will change the tactics in performance marketing. New, better and real-time understanding, specifically around new customer acquisition, will allow program managers to double down on the best publishers aligned with their program. As advertisers have better intel on who is driving them strong new customer acquisition, better conversions and the strongest LTV, we may even see a return to favor of some traditional affiliate stalwarts like deal, coupon and loyalty sites.

Noelle Spagna, Senior Affiliate Account Manager

The main focus for finance in 2020 will be around targeting the right audience. Whether it’s with a pre-approval process directly through a partner’s site or analyzing a partner’s audience demographics to control who is seeing a specific message, hitting the best consumer for your product is key to driving strong results this year.

Evan Williams, Business Intelligence Specialist

Predictive analytics and data automation will become a much larger focus in 2020. These two concepts, in conjunction with each other, will bring about a large increase in powerful analytics that are also bespoke, targeting unique business needs. The data automation will also bring about a proliferation of more dynamic and robust solutions for end users.

Kristine Kirschke, Manager of Partner Success

Working with content partners and influencers via affiliate marketing is showing no signs of slowing down! Given this demand, I anticipate that affiliate networks will continue to add features that will allow advertisers to more easily discover and partner with these types of partners, since they require more than just traditional affiliate links and banner ads in order to promote a brand. Additionally, more influencer networks will likely partner with affiliate networks in order to take advantage of the tracking and reporting they offer, which also expands the brand partnership opportunities available to the influencers in their networks to take advantage of. 

Tracie Gross, Associate Director of Partner Success

While discount and loyalty partners will continue to reign supreme volume-wise, brands will be looking for new and innovative partners to help with new customer acquisition and brand recognition. Non-traditional verticals will also continue to grow such as podcast partners, mobile (specifically, partners will need to be able to track via mobile vs desktop traffic), and conversion tools on-site and in stores. Brands promoting other brands, insurance companies rewarding customers for activities, streaming online and via TV… any type of partnership is possible in 2020!

Julie Stepkowski, Associate Director of Client Success - Retail

In 2020 we’ll continue to see the rise and evolution of influencer campaigns, social video apps like the ever-popular TikTok will continue to take center stage, and people will continue to create stories wherever possible. As influencer marketing becomes more personalized and less reliant on celebrity endorsements an increase in ad spend for influencer campaigns on apps like TikTok will flourish. Another cornerstone in the marketing mix that doesn’t seem to be slowing down is social media stories. Marketers can capitalize on the millions of stories being created every day on Instagram by increasing brand awareness and traffic to their site and doing so in a cost-efficient manner. It’s possible that digital video ad spend plus the addition of new platforms will create some sort of halo effect for performance marketing. With the quicker adoption of new platforms and stiff competition, brands will need to identify the right partners to work with, the right platforms to run on and of course, spend their money wisely.

Dan Fink, Associate Director of Client Success - Small Business and Finance

As we move into 2020 and brands are looking for more partnerships with content rich publishers, a new level of accountability will be required.  New technology like Pernix will provide a window into this data for brands, along with tighter and more efficient compliance rules for both financial and retail brands.  Discount and loyalty brands will continue their transformations required by the changing attributional marketplace, yet still see their bottom-line’s shrink due to increased competition from non-traditional publishers, content publishers, and brands playing a much larger roles in incentivizing their own customer journeys. 

We hope you and your families have a very happy New Year from all of us at PartnerCentric!

Want to talk trends with our team? Contact us at any time.