Advertising in 2030

The future of advertising: five predictions

Marketers have always been captivated by the future, whether selling it – foldable phones and self-parking cars – or trying to interpret and predict it to gain a strategic advantage.

This has never been truer than over the past decade, when our collective imaginations have been shaped by the technologies and technology companies remaking the way we do business and live our daily lives.

Yet for all the insight into the potential paths of the evolution of technologies over the next decade and beyond, we were struck by the lack of clarity around how marketing and advertising might evolve in conjunction with those changes.

With so little certainty about what brand marketers should expect over the coming decade, we set out to explore the landscape. We were curious: do leading decision-makers and experts in our own field even believe advertising will continue to exist in ten years’ time?

In a study conducted between January and February 2020, we interviewed nearly 50 industry experts from academia, business, marketing, technology, publishing and advertising trade organisations around the world. They were asked to evaluate the likelihood of 15 different scenarios and their implications for the future of advertising – in areas such as data and personalisation, AI, creativity, commerce, payments and the environment.


The predictions

  1. Companies will need to become more transparent, sustainable, and purpose-driven to meet the expectations of post-millennial generations over the next decade. As an example, experts predict this audience will make environmental considerations a primary factor in consumer decision-making as the 10-year deadline established by the UN to avert the worst effects of climate change draws nearer.
  2. While experts are optimistic that AI will remove inefficiencies without creating widespread joblessness or eliminating the need for people, individuals and companies will need to create new kinds of jobs and embrace new fields in which to apply human creativity. One way in which experts predict that AI will have a dramatic impact on marketing is that consumers will begin to outsource purchasing decisions to machines that will optimise selections based on individual goals and preferences.
  3. Advertising will continue to enable many people to access content and services, especially in developing countries, but experts also predict companies will begin to prioritise services over products in their marketing. Experts deemed it unlikely that people will be able to opt out of advertising entirely but expect subtler forms of marketing such as product placement and sponsorships – integrated into frictionless services and experiences – to play an increasingly important role.
  4. Biometric data is likely to be a key component in consumer identity information by the end of the decade, making it necessary to develop corporate strategies and policies capable of securing its use.
  5. In lieu of global regulation, experts predict that companies will collaborate to establish standards across transactions, identity and security. This will enable new payment and exchange models, which will in turn create scalable alternatives to subscription-based commerce.

For more in-depth insight and analysis, read Essence’s Advertising in 2030: Expert predictions on the future of advertising report

Kate Scott-Dawkins


published on

26 May 2020


Technology & data Communications

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Artificial intelligence Branding Consumer behaviour Fintech

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