Programmatic Advertising Industry Trends for 2020

Programmatic Advertising Industry Trends for 2020

Currently, there are a lot of articles talking about the latest updates in the programmatic advertising industry. Each Google update and technological improvement impacts not only publishers, advertisers, but also the industry overall. 

We have collected the main 10 trends in one article, which publishers and advertisers should keep in mind for 2020.

Let’s start!

1. Automation – AI and Machine Learning

The latest statistics show us that the automation industry’s segment in process automation is going to reach 83 billion US dollars by 2021. Three years from now, artificial intelligence (AI) will double global revenues.

With AI, you, as a publisher, will be able to worry less about the ad quality, which is displayed for the user. It is because your audience’s behavior is learned thanks to AI.
Ad Fraud has been an issue for several years. In 2019 annual cost of ad fraud was 22.4 billion US dollars. Thanks to machine learning, publishers and advertisers will be able to lower down the risk of ad fraud as well as to analyze page visitor’s real-time behavior.

2. User Identity – First-Party Data Will be King

In 2019 Google confirmed that within two years, third-party cookies will be killed. This makes first-party cookies a king. 

So what exactly changes? 

Your user data becomes exclusive, and your competitors cannot get it. This is quite challenging not only for your competitors but also for you. You, as a publisher, will need to set the focus for your target audience and try to create more engaging content. By creating your content as personalized as possible, you can make your readers return to your webpage and increase the engagement rate.

3. Virtual Reality Ads

Yes, you read it right! 

Virtual reality ads are going to be the future, which is going to gain even better audience engagement. 

For example, if you want to advertise the most beautiful hotel in Bali. By providing a 3D video or 360° campaign, your user will have a ‘real’ experience of being in the hotel. By having this digital experience, your potential reach most likely will be willing to book the hotel you advertised. 

A similar example has been done by Cathay Pacific, where the user explored the banner ad unit for more than  20 seconds on average. 
Google started to experiment with Virtual Reality Ad formats already in  2017.

4. Google Ads will be ONLY using Standard Ad Delivery

Two weeks ago, Google announced that in May 2020, all accelerated ad delivery will switch to standard ad delivery for new ad campaigns.  

Currently, there are still two ad delivery methods:

programmatic advertising trends 2020

Standard ad delivery not only maximizes ad performance but also displays your ad equally throughout the day, taking into account the ad’s budget.

So, when you have to choose your ad delivery method, take into account the latest news!

5. In-app Bidding Solution

Now in-app bidding solution is a very trendy topic in the programmatic advertising industry. According to statistics, mobile app revenues are predicted to increase by two times in 2023 via in-app advertising and paid app downloads. 

In-app bidding solution has a similar principle as header bidding solution. It might seem quite obvious, but the main difference is that by header bidding solution ads are only displayed on the user’s desktop, but by in-app bidding on the user’s mobile. According to Adexchanger, 2020 might be the year when publishers could consider an in-app bidding solution.

Why only now?

It is because some publishers have discovered that the main traffic for them comes from a mobile app, and there is a possibility to gain additional revenues. However, it is still challenging for yield managers, like Setupad, to convince app publishers to test in-app bidding. And according to InMobi newest research, 45% of publishers don’t fully understand how in-app bidding technology works.

6. Google Ads Smart Bidding

Tech giant Google in previous years heavily invested in AI and machine learning and Smart bidding is a part of it. In 2016 Google introduced smart bidding, but why is it going to be a trend for 2020? The answer is simple. 

Smart bidding algorithms have been updated to help digital marketers eliminate manual tasks like bidding. During every auction, each user sends ‘signals’ like physical location, the type of searching device, or user language. For instance, if the user is using a mobile device, Google Ads can automatically optimize bids according to the device and the language in which the user is searching. 

If you are already one of those advertisers who are using Smart Bidding, check that everything matches with Google ads policies and its legal requirements.

7. Growth in Mobile Video Advertising

Emarketer’s latest statistics show that last year programmatic mobile video ads generated almost 20 billion US dollars in revenues, which was 5 billion US dollars more than in 2018.

emarketer ad spending stats

80% of video marketers confirm that video has helped to increase sales. 

In 2020 ad spending for video advertising is going to reach almost 38 million US dollars worldwide.

ad spending stats

8. ITP Traffic Monetization (Intelligent Tracking Prevention)

In December 2019, Apple introduced the digital industry with its latest ITP update. This Apple update for Safari limits advertisers to receive 3rd-party cookies already and get analytics of how well their ads are performing on the publisher’s webpage. 

ITP update harms publishers in a way that ads without cookies are not personalized, and this can cause a decrease in publisher’s CPMs. 

What can you do?

”Develop first-party data strategy by collecting and activating first-party cookies to enrich inventory value in open exchange and private marketplace.”

IAB. TECH LAB suggests

9. Shift to Mobile App Advertising in 2020

Mobile app downloads worldwide have increased by 64 billion from the year 2016. Since the usage of apps is growing, publishers are more demanding on displaying ads on mobile apps. Forester predicts that in 2020, 80% of digital ads will be mobile-driven.

10. Chatbots

According to Gartner, chatbots are going to manage 85% of customer support, without human presence in 2020. 

For you, as a publisher, the chatbot is relevant because you can easily engage with clients by providing the newest content via chatbot. If the user gets interested in the provided information, it is easy to ask the chatbot to give more details. For example, to view the full article, which includes the link to it.

It’s important to remember that if your site has decent traffic, there are more than 1000 users visiting your website each day. Imagine, if 30% of all users start to ask questions at the same time and you are one, it’s going to cost your precious time, and most likely, you will not manage to give answers to all of them. That is why it’s easier, faster, and less costly if there is a chatbot. This AI program can answer hundreds of users at the same time.

Check out an ultimate guide on how to write a perfect chatbot script by DigitalAdBlog.


Google research notes that in 2019 publishers lost 52% of their ad revenues if the page visitor has blocked cookies. So since there are going to be tighter data restrictions, users’ privacy and data will become even more exclusive. 

All the presented trends above are going to be a new opportunity or challenge for publishers and advertisers. There is going to be even more process automation, so you have to be ready for that. 

52% of publishers ad revenues were lost in 2019 if the page visitor had blocked cookies. Top 10 programmatic advertising industry trends for 2020 in one article. Have a look to be updated!

In 2020 you should focus on your target audience, provided content, mobile sites, and website’s performance. Bearing in mind that you should always keep your audience engaged. Show your reader or partner that for you, user privacy matters.

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