Ten Key Digital Trends for 2020

What Marketers Need to Know in the Year Ahead

Executive Summary

In the ongoing quest to reach their target audience, marketers must keep track of the headwinds that can alter the course of digital media and technology. For the eighth year in a row, we have identified the top developments that should be on marketers’ radar.

How will the 2020 elections affect brands?

With all its inevitable controversy, the 2020 election cycle should heighten brand safety concerns for marketers. An election year also means that candidates will be investing in media to reach voters, likely creating price hikes due to increased demand for limited inventory across channels and causing brands to rethink some strategies.

Will media consolidation continue?

The Google, Facebook and Amazon triopoly will reign supreme, raking in nearly 70% of total US digital ad spending in 2020. But while the triopoly thrives, consolidation will occur among the long tail of digital publishers, meaning advertisers will have fewer options for their media spend.

How are privacy laws changing media budgets?

Privacy legislation, coupled with browser crackdowns, has left gaps in marketers’ targeting and measurement endeavors. To mitigate these issues, advertisers will (ironically) place even more ad dollars into the walled gardens of the triopoly.

How will 5G impact marketers and advertisers?

While it is still early for 5G, its execution has developed quicker than we anticipated, and will make some big leaps toward the end of 2020. Advertisers (and publishers) need to pay attention to the opportunities—new streaming formats, higher definition, better sound and interactive experiences.

What trends in consumer behavior do I need to know as a marketer?

This report calls out several trends that will likely affect consumer behavior, such as declining social media user engagement and rising digital video viewership.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report covers the top 10 digital trends that marketers need to track in 2020.

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Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. A Look Ahead to 2020
  3. Prediction No. 1: 2020 Will Be a Year of Heightened Polarization in Media
  4. Prediction No. 2: Digital Media Consolidation Will Continue Among Players Big and Small
  5. Prediction No 3: Privacy Concerns Will Push More Dollars—Not Fewer—Into the Walled Gardens as the Open Web Scrambles to Solve Identity
  1. Prediction No 4: US Tech Companies Will Continue Taking Cues from China
  2. Prediction No. 5: Facebook Will Continue to Chase Engagement to Keep Users in the Fold, But It Will Keep Missing the Mark
  3. Prediction No. 6: The Influx of Streaming Services Will Further Splinter Digital Video Viewership, Forcing Marketers to Rethink Reach
  4. Prediction No 7: Audio Advertising Will Look a Lot More Like the Rest of Digital
  5. Prediction No. 8: Live Streaming is Poised to Get a Second Life
  1. Prediction No. 9: 5G Will Move From Hype to Reality
  2. Prediction No. 10: ‘Retail as a Service’ (RaaS) Platforms Will Help Brands and Retailers Scale While Limiting Their Exposure to Amazon
  3. Read Next
  4. Sources
  5. Media Gallery

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Jillian Ryan


Karin von Abrams
Principal Analyst
Ross Benes
Paul Briggs
Senior Analyst
Mark Dolliver
Principal Analyst
Jasmine Enberg
Senior Analyst
Bill Fisher
Senior Analyst
Lauren Fisher
Principal Analyst
Andrew Lipsman
Principal Analyst
Nicole Perrin
Principal Analyst
Victoria Petrock
Principal Analyst
Debra Aho Williamson
Principal Analyst
Yoram Wurmser
Principal Analyst