In 2019, the performance marketing industry saw a rise in the influencer marketing space, shift in first/third party cookie usage, more investigations and fines by ICO on GDPR compliance and a call for more transparent relationships across the board. 2020 promises to be another big year for performance marketing. 

As the sector matures, we will see more consolidation opportunities, collaboration, specialisation, focus on real-time personalisation and a further rise of micro-influencers. 


We foresee increasing levels of horizontal mergers, where digital marketing agencies, technology providers, publishers and affiliate networks consolidate to form stronger partnerships with the ultimate aim of creating more value for both advertisers and publishers.

This change is driven by the increasing need to simplify things, especially digitally. Having one platform to encompass all activities can accelerate marketing performance efforts, ultimately driving profits, and being able to offer a well rounded, innovative solution for advertisers (and consumers). 

Another example could be affiliate-networks acquiring niche publishers to leverage specialised knowledge and in fact, unlock enormous growth potential. It’s time for networks to understand particular verticals to a ‘T’ and specialise in one or two particular niches. 

Increasing specialisation

We are now able to understand customer journeys, visualise important parameters, get an accurate view of cross-channel digital marketing performance, segment messaging and much more. Technology will continue to advance and the more dynamic the industry gets, the more creative solutions become. The higher specialisation is positive for both the consumer and the industry as it leads to more trust and focuses on delivering better services for client/consumer needs across the board. 

With so many different solutions available, we expect tech providers to take advantage of these trends and become more specialised to deliver greater value and better efficiencies. Specialised knowledge of emerging technologies and industry standards in the entire performance channel enables greater focus on solving problems and ultimately make for better customer experience. 

Continuous focus on real-time checkout personalisation

We have seen a lift in focus in not only encouraging customers to purchase but also, repeat purchase, therefore we expect real-time checkout personalisation to reach new heights as brands utilise real-time data to boost revenue through personalised incentives. 

Arguably a complete game-changer, real-time checkout personalisation can provide the best opportunity to target customers and provides easily actionable changes. As the industry puts more emphasis on quality content not the quantity of content, it becomes increasingly important to focus on the customer experience itself.

Being able to see real-time data is invaluable in order to meet customer expectations for a more customised experience, build an on-going relationship and encourage repeat purchases. This does rely on brands being switched on, have accurate customer profiles, a deep understanding of their products/services and centralised data platforms that allow them to understand customer behaviour in real-time and target consumers more accurately. 

Marketplace for micro-influencers  

Influencer marketing has become one of the biggest priorities in 2019 which comes as no surprise as the right influencer can bring new customers and help elevate a brand. As we see a shift in consumer behaviour, we are also seeing a movement towards more trust across the board. Consumers are far more likely to engage with a brand they trust, therefore the messaging must be captivating enough to entice value without sacrificing consumer trust in the process. 

Enter: influencers, and the rise of marketplaces for micro-influencers. Micro-influencers often have more sway over their followers/friends and often already carry brand loyalty. Their sphere of influence might be smaller, but is definitely more dedicated so as brands continue to strive to identify the right strategy for more personal connections, micro-influencers and their ability to connect with their audience on a deeper level, may prove to be the key.

Along with performance marketing, influencer marketing is one of the fastest-growing channels in digital marketing and we foresee that marketplaces for micro-influencers, just like affiliate networks, will play a key role in enabling advertisers to find/utilise micro-influencers that are a suitable fit for their brand, ultimately elevating the personalisation factor and helping reach markets that wouldn’t be possible through other mediums. 

Moving forward, 2020 will continue to be a dynamic year for the performance marketing industry. As users start to engage differently and technology continues to advance, we will see advertisers push the creative boundaries for innovative solutions. We are excited about what the new decade will bring!

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