Collision of global megatrends, evolving consumer preference and technological advancement will accelerate digital advertising’s transformation journey in 2020. The year is likely to be dominated by Generation Z and fresh technology applications that will impact every industry that touches our daily lives, hopefully for the better.

Without further ado, here are the 5 top trends that I believe will be the most significant in 2020.

#1 The GenZ Take Over

With Millennials starting to push 40 at the turn of the last decade, GenZ, the cohort aged 13 to 22 also ‘digital natives’, will be the key shapers of the digital and social media landscape moving forward. 

This generation is increasingly values-driven and highly committed to social, environmental and economic causes. These are ethically motivated consumers who have created a new value system for brands, one that protects the environment, respects consumers’ privacy and preserves culture. With the mainstreaming of these value drivers, brands, and by extension the entire advertising industry, will be pushed to innovate. 

#2 The Rise Of Authenticity And Peer-To-Peer Content Sharing

With the generational shift from Millennials to GenZ, the type of content consumed and created by users will also evolve. While ephemeral content will continue to soar, in 2020  expect younger consumers to move away from carefully curated content, typical on platforms like Instagram, created for wide distribution. The cohort will increasingly prefer to immerse into more unfiltered moments that are meant to be shared primarily with their peers and are popular on platforms like TikTok. However, there’s an obvious impediment (or two) to the exponential growth (see #3 below). 

As users continue to shift towards more intimate, like-minded groups, we will start to see the creation of new digital communities in which brands will have new opportunities to make more genuine connections with their audience. 

#3 TikTok’s Growth Rate Is Likely To Slow Down

​Although the Chinese-owned short-form video app TikTok experienced exponential growth in 2019, making it the fastest growing app in the short history of social media platforms, according to a report by eMarketer it’s growth is likely to slow down this year. The main blockades which could stagnate its growth rate are, firstly the increased competition from industry giants, the likes of Facebook and Instagram, who are swiftly adding new tools and launching new platforms under their umbrella that mimic similar features on TikTok, and secondly, the rising concerns regarding privacy and users’ data handling.

#4 Social Network Users’ Growth To Slightly Slow Down While Industry Leader Facebook Is Focusing More On Bridging Digital With Physical 

According to a report by eMarketer, in 2019, 2.95 billion people, or 77.0% of internet users worldwide, visited a social network at least once a month. Whilst that number is estimated to pass 3 billion the beginning of the new decade, the growth rate will slow down by 20%, compared to the previous year.

Facebook will continue to be the leader until 2023 due to its large user base and the economies of scale it has built through acquisitions and cloning of popular apps like TikTok with the launch of new apps, like Lasso. 

With its user numbers continuing to upsurge, the industry giant will focus its efforts to finding the black box of the impact of social advertising not only to online purchases but more importantly to in-store transactions, through more sophisticated CRM integrations, offline conversions measurement and personalised customer journey. 

#5 Wider Adoption And Monetization Of AR On Social Media Platforms

Though the use of Augmented Reality in everyday life was heavily popularised by Instagram and Snapchat, in 2020 we should expect AR to be more widely adopted and monetised by other social platforms too, the likes of Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest as a way to shift social platforms from inspiration to action.  

With Facebook AR ads moving into open beta in Q4 2019 and YouTube debuting an AR Try-On experience that allows viewers to try on makeup, now it’s Pinterest turn to launch a virtual lipstick ‘Try on’ feature. The AR Try-On lipstick feature on Pinterest launched in the US on the 28th of January and according to the company, it will be followed by more try-on enabled beauty products and categories in the future.

Finally, let’s talk about the transformative force that will make all the above and so much more a reality… 

2020 will be the year of 5G and it will be the technological evolution that will define the way we live, consume media and communicate. 

In addition to faster internet speeds at home and on our phones, 5G will fast-track advancements in smart cities, autonomous cars and smart manufacturing. 

When it comes to digital media and the world of advertising, 5G will contribute to an increase in online video streaming, AR will become ubiquitous and programmatic advertising will start becoming more responsive to real-time data and analytics.