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1. Context Will Be King - And Automation Will Do The Heavy Lifting
The right ad delivered to the right person at the right time: it's a marketing cliché that has been around for almost a decade, but it's still something the industry is struggling to get right. With consumer demand for personalized content reaching an all-time high, 2020 will be the year we see new talent join the effort in the form of increased and highly-intelligent marketing automation.
Importantly, marketing automation will provide increased visibility into data and possible outcomes, allowing marketers to pinpoint (and even predict) individual drop-off points in-app. Automation will make it possible to create and map hundreds of churn segments based on different conditions - and rather than fight churn, marketers will begin to explore approaches that allow them to stop it before it even starts.
Take gaming apps. Rather than simply observe that users who have lost three times in a row are more likely to churn, marketers empowered with automation would determine the best pre-emptive action to take to keep users interested. What marketers offer will be left to their creativity, but the "who" and "when" will be decisions driven by data. The outcome will be a better experience for all stakeholders: consumers will receive context-based offers and advertising, and marketers will benefit from increased conversion and retention rates.
2. Product And Marketing Will Converge To Reinvent The App Experience
Actions speak louder than words, and 2020 will see organizations take serious action to break down the silos between Product and Marketing. It's a new resolve to solve an established problem: how to build and maintain a sustainable app business.
While the primary goal of ad campaigns is to fill the marketing funnel, they also offer data and insights that can - and must - be used to ensure the app experience delivers on its promise. Gartner's recent CMO Spend Survey showed that marketing analytics will be marketers' single largest area of investment for 2020, making up 16 per cent of budget allocations. But to get the most out of these investments, these insights should feed into a holistic feedback loop that transcends departmental barriers.
Information that Marketing gleans from these campaigns - such as features users love, points in the journey where they feel frustration or simply requirements for fresh content - can help shape product strategy. Equipped with data and insights from how users interact with campaigns, Product can iterate and design an app experience that will encourage frequent use, and drive the familiarity that boosts brand recognition and trust.
3. In-app Bot Attacks Will Taint App Experience And Tarnish Brand Integrity
Bot attacks - perpetrated by automated software agents capable of interacting with content, advertising and offers in a human-like way - will spread as cybercriminals shift tactics and platforms. It's an alarming trend, but not a surprising one. Fraudsters always go where the money is, and the money now is in apps: mobile market intelligence provider App Annie predicts app stores are set to pull in $120 billion in consumer spend, making 2019 the biggest year in mobile yet.
While money can be earned again, the damage to brand integrity will be much more severe. It's critical for marketers to be vigilant, and it helps to understand how bots negatively impact the user experience. In commerce apps, bots can swoop up large quantities of new release items (such as sneakers) and sabotage shopping. In banking apps, bots harvest personal and financial data and stage log-in attacks.
Clearly, some verticals are hit worse than others - but no app category is above attack. To make matters worse, the damage done by in-app bots is evolving and expanding faster than companies can detect or combat it. Expect in-app bot fraud to be a moving target in 2020 and beyond. If you want to take aim and win, it's best to enlist the help of technology that detects bots by focusing on the data that bots can't fake, such as the pressure on the screen and the motion of the device.
4. Marketing Automation Will Give Smaller Teams Superpowers
The advance of marketing automation won't just enhance the ability of marketers to be more creative and effective. Machine learning baked into marketing automation solutions will empower smaller teams to compete in the big leagues. It's exciting to imagine how more equal access to tools will level the playing field and drive positive results for the app businesses who wield them properly.
Today, what determines success is the sheer size of a team and how much money a company can throw at acquiring and retaining users. Size is often the variable that limits how many segments a marketing department can create and address, or how many campaigns and creatives a team can manage. But the advance of marketing automation throughout 2020 will change this dynamic - forever.
Marketing automation will augment marketing teams, giving them new strengths even when their numbers are low. Automation will become the "great equalizer," enabling marketers to iterate and implement an astronomical number of campaigns at the speed of change. The ability to track results at every stage of the journey will also allow them to adapt campaigns on the fly, encouraging customer connection and driving conversions.