The Impact of 2020 on the Future of Advertising

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Essence, part of GroupM, has released a report highlighting the results of new research into the impact of 2020 on the future of advertising. ‘2030 Revisited’ is a follow-up to Essence’s ‘Advertising in 2030 report’ issued in early 2020 which asked marketing experts from around the world to assess the likelihood of 15 different scenarios occurring inside the next decade.

More than 50 CMOs and brand-side marketers, agency, network, platform, and adtech executives, and marketing academics revisited the predictions for the next decade in the wake of the upheaval of 2020.

The results show experts believe eight scenarios have been made more likely to occur by 2030, including increased use of biometric data (with 65% of respondents saying “more likely”), time spent in virtual environments and trends toward subscription services (each 59% “more likely”), personalization (56% “more likely”), and micropayments (46% “more likely”).


Nearly 60% felt the events of 2020 will accelerate the trend toward consumer prioritization of environmental impact and over 40% saw an increased likelihood that AI and automation lead to job and wage losses.

“The consequences of the trajectories we find ourselves on are real and will become more real in the years ahead.”

Experts judged five scenarios as largely unaffected by the year’s upheaval and two (the adoption of a global privacy law and the ability of large tech companies to remain intact as global consolidated entities) as less likely to occur now than they were at the start of 2020.


“The consequences of the trajectories we find ourselves on are real and will become more real in the years ahead. Advertisers must act boldly with plans to put themselves at the center of people’s experiences if they want to make it to 2030,” said Kate Scott-Dawkins, VP, Thought Leadership and Innovation.

Analysis of the research, compiled by Essence Global Chief Product Officer Evan Hanlon and Kate Scott-Dawkins, VP, Thought Leadership and Innovation, found that the upheaval of 2020 largely served to cement the trends already at play.

Their report details four key dynamics brands should consider as they set themselves up to compete in the new economy over the coming decade.

  • The big and strong will get bigger and stronger. Companies without a clear mandate and path to the winner’s circle will be swallowed up.
  • Platforms will be critical to winning and brands will need to own — or at least partner with — platforms to survive.
  • At the same time machine learning-based predictions increase our confidence about what is likely to happen, brands must not forget to also prepare for what could happen.
  • A new era of marketing will require brands to grapple with the challenge of projecting consistent brand values while also meeting consumer expectations for increasingly personalized messages and experiences.

The full report can be viewed here.



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