2021 Predictions and trends2020 has seen e-commerce accelerate with more consumers and brands turning to online shopping during lockdown. With high-street, closed people who previously hadn’t shopped online are now more comfortable making purchases, and smaller retailers have had no choice but to turn to e-commerce.

The performance marketing industry has been able to help brands engage new-to-online shoppers through personalised and targeted advertising messages, whether they be promotional, or product-led. Throughout 2020, brands turned to performance channels such as affiliate marketing to help make up for sales or the customer experience lost due to store closures.

With only two weeks of 2020 left, we asked our experts to look at the year ahead and make their predictions for the performance industry in 2021.

Businesses need to focus on brand loyalty
Nick Fletcher, SVP, Northern Europe

“In 2021, businesses need to focus on building brand loyalty. Since the onset of the pandemic, consumers have been shopping online more than ever before, and driving brand loyalty among new customers will be imperative for marketing teams. We’ve seen a collective shift in mindset where people are looking to organisations to take responsibility for societal challenges, and consumers are looking to buy from brands that stand for something larger than just their products or service. When a brand demonstrates its values, it offers people an opportunity to connect with the brand on a more personal level.

Affiliate marketing presents a rare opportunity for advertisers to combine performance with a medium that allows them to truly convey their brands’ message and values. To drive performance in an increasingly competitive market, marketing teams need to work alongside publishers as partners. For the partnership to work, marketing teams need to ensure they choose the right publishers to suit their campaign so that their audience and agenda is aligned. The value that these relationships can bring to marketing campaigns and performance will be vital to ensure a successful 2021.”

Compliance regulations will continue to have a significant impact on advertising
Rakhee Jogia, VP of Publisher Partnerships, International

“As we move into 2021, we will start to feel the effects of more privacy regulation and the continued impact this has on overall marketing performance. GDPR comes into full effect in France in March and LGPD is being introduced in Brazil.

Third-party cookies have long been the backbone of online advertising, enabling advertisers to measure the success of their campaigns and improve targeting, while also helping publishers to monetise their websites. The reliability of third-party cookies, however, has decreased over the past few years due to improved privacy features and ad-blocking software. Under more widespread and sophisticated compliance regulations, this is only set to decrease further.

As the new regulations will reduce the volume of data available to both advertisers and publishers, other ways of utilising data will become even more important, such as more sophisticated probabilistic and contextual targeting. Furthermore, compliant data will become a valuable single source of truth. We’re starting to see a shift in how this data is used, but there is more work to be done.” 

Advertisers will need to work smarter to drive performance
Anthony Capano, Managing Director of International

“As we move into 2021, advertisers will need to work smarter to drive performance. With uncertainty around planning and budgets, advertisers need to make the most of the tools they have available to ensure ads are accurately targeted and that the consumer journey is as streamlined as possible.

Adapting commissioning structures will play a crucial role in driving affiliate performance, allowing advertisers to flexibly reward their publisher partners in a way that transparently encourages them to support key business objectives. For example, using a tool like Dynamic Commissioning enables advertisers to pay commission on a range of different factors, such as new vs existing customers, price, or product type. Advertisers can leverage this technology to successfully promote excess stock which they haven’t been able to sell due to in-store closures during COVID-19.”

For more information about how your brand can work with Rakuten Advertising in 2021, visit rakutenadvertising.com to speak to our experts.