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Big in 2020

As we take the first tentative steps in to not only a brand-new year, but a brand-new decade, we’ve asked around the Dog office to find out and round-up the topics and trends we believe will shape the future of how we work and what we will produce in 2020 and beyond.

Internet Privacy

Internet Privacy is a trend that will gain even more momentum in 2020. Spearheaded by GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations) that were put in place in Europe in 2018, some US states and governments across the world are also passing on extra legislation to protect the way consumer data is handled and stored.

Browsers and vendors such as Safari and Firefox – amongst others – are working hard on the implementation of anti-tracking features to restrict the monitoring of web users' behaviour on websites. 

These initiatives are already having an impact on digital marketing, advertising and analytics. So, it will be interesting to see how big ad vendors like Google, Facebook and Twitter will react to all these changes.

Speaking to the Individual

Any increase in protecting the privacy of online consumers in the coming years may prove challenging to the main digital traffic acquisition platforms (Google, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter & LinkedIn) who will continue to introduce more options for advertisers to utilise the myriad of data points they store about their users, in order to find the sweet spot of customers most likely to perform the desired action.

There were two notable examples of this in 2019. The first saw the introduction of in-market audiences for Google search, marking a big step in the blurring of lines between programmatic data-style targeting and search. The second being LinkedIn revamping its interface to follow other paid social platforms in guiding users down a path for campaign creation according to their objective, and using this information to add an additional, unseen targeting layer on top of the advertiser’s audience selection.

As these platforms move more heavily towards use of data-driven audience selection or placement auction bidding, we’re finding that it’s important for our clients to have measurable actions on-site which can be imported into native platform pixels to enable this. Companies without this infrastructure are at risk of falling behind their competitors in 2020.

Brands have the eyes and ears of their consumers more than ever before, so make the most of this highly targeted messaging with highly individualised communication. Company tone of voice has and will continue to become more conversational and less broadcast, purely because you’re speaking to an individual rather than a vast swathe of the population.

Standing Out from the Crowd

When it comes to design, there looks to be a movement of businesses moving away from formulaic design, especially when it comes to digital.

The tail-end of the 2010s were very conformist from a visual perspective with so many companies playing it safe and using almost template-based webpages that seemed to all merge into one ‘norm’. With what appears to be a bit of a backlash brewing about this within the design community, it will be interesting to see what creative changes this may bring in the future.

On a similar note, big brands have started to move towards using more custom typography in an attempt to cut-through saturated markets. This could lead to common fonts suffering a bit of die-back over the next couple of years as brands try to stay unique and relevant within their crowded sectors.

Even the most corporate of brands are loosening up a bit and using bright, bold colours that lie outside their sector and certainly outside of their more traditional brand palette – this is combined with much more playful messaging and a trend to treat ‘people’ as a person, rather than just a block of consumers.

In contrast to the switch to bright, bold branding, comes the uptake in dark design. Giving the user the option to change their backgrounds to dark not only makes the design elements stand out, but also improves accessibility. Apple, Twitter and YouTube recently added this feature, with Adobe changing their software to dark a few years back. While this may seem like a subtle change, it makes a big impact visually and experientially.

The Moving Image

With the proliferation of screens throughout our lives comes the ever-increasing demand for motion design and moving image. Brands can no longer afford not to consider motion principles within their brand guidelines and that now goes far beyond making the logo spin.

Our surroundings are becoming increasingly noisy, our attention spans are becoming shorter and the audience will swipe or walk by if they don’t receive immediate gratification. We’ll see more and more brands investing in their kinetic branding as we move towards a more multi-sensorial brand landscape.

It will be particularly interesting to see how the generation of motion content becomes increasingly live and responsive through digital tools and real-time rendering. We’ll be able to move away from linear, flat, one-way viewing experience towards richer, more immersive and engaging storytelling.

Managing the User Experience

As the number and variety of digital touchpoints for brands changes, so do the tools and the technical architecture of the systems needed to publish and manage those touchpoints. Where content management systems once gave editors the ability to easily manage pages on a website, they now need tools that enable management of content across the web, mobile apps, voice interfaces (like Alexa), and other IoT devices.

To do this, each bit of information needs to be decoupled from its presentation and managed discretely. This has led to significant reworking of traditional CMS tools and publishing systems, and organisations are now replatforming on “headless” content management systems to more efficiently support this new and broader user experience ecosystem.

While replatforming is typically seen as an expensive proposition, having a single experience management solution can yield greater cost savings over the long term and can ensure an ideal user experience across all digital channels. This type of work can be done in an iterative manner in order to deliver value along the way.

So there we have it, just a little bit of insight from the Dog team as to what the future may hold for how, why and where we reach current and potential consumers. We'll be sure to keep you up-to-date with other trends and topics throughout the year.

Read more of our insights