Marketing practices tend to evolve in line with changes in consumer behaviour and media consumption, and the new tech designed to meet these changes. Given the pace of change we’ve seen in the last five years, however, it’s hard to predict where marketing is going next. Retargeting alone has evolved rapidly from being unknown and misunderstood, to an integral part of the marketing mix.

With the huge shift in practices that we’ve already seen in the sector, these are my three predictions for the future of digital marketing:

1. Mobile will be the centre of your universe

Media consumption has been migrating to mobile for several years, but so far the story has been focussed on how complex this new environment is. Currently, mobile is considered an addition to traditional digital marketing and advertising, rather than a core focus. Retargeting on mobile, for example, has only become a viable tactic within the past 18 months. But we expect this to change dramatically in the coming years.

Today over 50% of European digital marketers are running mobile retargeting campaigns according to AdRoll’s ‘State of the Industry’ report. That still leaves a significant portion of European marketers missing out on mobile but over the next five years, adoption will grow to the point where mobile comes to be a standard element, if not a central focus, of every marketers’ remit.

2. Metrics and measurement will reign

With more venture capital funding continuing to pour into the sector, the pace of evolution in marketing technology is set to accelerate even more quickly in the coming years. Marketing practices will have to evolve even more rapidly to keep up with technology, and with increasing focus on, and intelligent use of analytics, marketers will begin to deliver even greater ROI and reach from their campaign investments.

As an extension of this greater focus on metrics and ROI, building more in-depth audience insights for the entire customer journey will be the key to long-lasting success. Our report found that a third of European marketers (33%) deem attribution critical, yet 66% still depend on either first or last touch. By 2020, most marketers will have developed sophisticated attribution modelling to crack this challenge.

3. Programmatic will be prevalent, at all stages of the funnel

In the next five years, programmatic inventory will be enabled on even more sites and apps, while brands will learn to use their own data more productively. Even now, marketers want to see retargeting available on more platforms like Amazon, eBay, and LinkedIn, according to our research. Marketers will soon be using all of their first-party data – including email addresses, purchase history, and predictive scoring for future purchases – to merge digital and offline campaigns.

The increase in global inventory means that the distinction between bottom and top of the funnel will also become obsolete. We’re already seeing a shift from viewing retargeting as a purely bottom-of-the-funnel tactic to becoming a core part of marketing strategy, applied to all types of campaign goals – brand awareness, retention and loyalty, as well as sales.

In the next five years, marketers will be using this tactic across all levels of their digital strategy, and looking at how to integrate other digital marketing methods like programmatic advertising across their entire organisation.

The future for digital marketing certainly looks bright. By 2020, I expect we’ll be retargeted for driverless cars. Failing that, I’ll be happy with tickets to the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.