Rakuten Marketing APAC team at Spartan Race SGThe end of 2019 marks the end of another decade, and boy has this year gone out with bang.

China accomplished the first landing on the far side of the moon. Royal baby Archie was born, and Prince Louis captured the hearts of people worldwide. Avengers Endgame became the fastest grossing movie of all time. And Australian soccer’s governing body made the landmark announcement that the women’s and men’s team would receive equal pay.

The world lost icons in Karl Lagerfeld, Bob Hawke, Doris Day and the original puppeteer of Big Bird, Caroll Spinney.

In the land of adtech and e-commerce TikTok arrived and dominated the industry. Instagram rolled out in-app shopping and a picture of an egg became the most liked photo on the platform. That was before both Instagram and Facebook hid likes. Tracking prevention technologies continued to create challenges for marketers as privacy concerns from consumers globally increased, and economic downturn bore witness to uncertainty and changes to ad spend.

At Rakuten Marketing it was another year of kicking goals! We welcomed Anthony Capano back to the APAC team as the international businesses aligned to better serve our clients across markets. We hosted events across Sydney, Melbourne and Singapore, with our DealMaker events growing to be bigger than ever before. The APAC affiliate network drove 67% YoY growth for client sales and we won four awards at the International Performance Marketing Awards including Best Team in Performance Marketing.

Our team grew as we welcomed new friends, and welcomed back old friends from maternity leave. We celebrated engagements, birthdays and babies being born. There was A LOT to applaud as we took our annual trip on the harbour to cheers to the year that was and the year to come.

So, as the sun sets on 2019 and we sail into 2020, our teams reflected on all that’s happened this year and cast their eyes into the future.

2019 Rakuten Marketing APAC Team

Affiliate:
Most notable change in 2019:
Publishers continue to shape the industry and allow advertisers to meet the changing demands of consumers. This year we have seen a number of loyalty publishers expand their mobile offering and launch online-to-offline (O2O) offerings, while a number of new O2O players have entered the market and are continuing to innovate. We expect to see the O2O space become the norm in 2020 as advertisers look to offer consumers a seamless experience regardless of where they shop.

We’ve also witnessed an important shift in cross-border commerce in China with new e-commerce laws coming in play on January 1st. The new laws have made it harder for Daigou sellers to maintain their market share and has increased the opportunities for foreign e-commerce players to enter the market.

Rakuten Marketing APAC Team at DealMaker SingaporeFavourite Rakuten Marketing Moment:
It’s been a big year and there are a so many moments to choose from! We’re going to be a little greedy and say winning four awards at the IPMA’s including Best Affiliate Network and Best APAC managed affiliate campaign. And we can’t forget seeing our DealMaker Singapore event double in size from 2018.

2020 Industry Prediction:
Advertisers will seek greater control over commissioning costs and provide publishers with complete transparency into their business goals. Employing dynamic commissioning capabilities which allows advertisers to commission differently based on a number of factors (new vs. existing customers, product price point etc.) will give publishers insight into business objectives and allow them to align campaigns and be more strategic in what items they promote to drive higher earnings.

Just for fun, one non-industry related prediction for 2020:
5G networks will accelerate the rate at which we adopt futuristic technologies. 5G will fast-track the capability of the IOT and facilitate the use of drones and driverless cars, allowing them to rapidly communicate with any other smart vehicles in their vicinity, an essential component for futuristic, smart cities.

Programmatic Display:
Most notable change in 2019
Linear TV and Paid TV advertising investment is decreasing in Australia and globally. On the other hand, Broadcast Video On Demand (BVOD) advertising revenue has increased as a response to customer behaviour changes, as consumers are now watching more BVOD on mobile devices, Smart TVs etc. Increase in data allowances by the telcos has had a massive impact on these changes as the targeting opportunities are far greater than those previously possible for TV.

Favourite Rakuten Marketing Moment
Seeing some of our great programmatic clients win their first Golden Link Awards at The Golden Link Awards Asia-Pacific!

2020 Industry Prediction
With ITP, ETP, CCPA, GDPR in full swing, there will be further data protection laws popping up all over the world. We think Australia isn’t far away from its own data protection laws!

Just for fun, one non-industry related prediction for 2020
The number of people on vegetarian/vegan/plant-based diets in Australia will triple.

Search:
Most Notable Change in 2019
Elevation of machine learning technology for automated bid strategies and the increased adoption, particularly within the AdWords ecosystem.  Automated bidding continued to evolve with more sophistication and in 2019, it finally reached a concrete level of adoption within AdWords. Previously, search marketers utilising AdWords saw Smart Bidding technology as an optional strategy that may work within their existing campaigns.  However, given the advancement from Google with this technology, Smart Bidding was widely adopted in 2019 and shifted to a recommended best practice rather than an optional approach.  Furthermore, new campaign types heavily reliant on machine learning, such as Smart Shopping, became the standard in shopping ads due to the concrete results it delivered over the past year.  Google’s innovation with machine learning set the bar high in 2019 and will likely continue to expand to other campaign types, pushing the standard within the paid search industry.

Favourite Rakuten Marketing Moment
Bringing back the Rakuten Marketing APAC Awards!  It’s a fantastic opportunity to recognise our team for excelling in categories such as team collaboration, customer service and innovation across our offices in Sydney, Melbourne, and Singapore.  As our offices continue to grow, our award categories will continue to expand – which is very exciting!

2020 Industry Prediction
Expansion of non-text results in search results page. In the past few years, there’s been a movement toward this with a focus on lifestyle imagery and category product bundles in search results with ad types such as gallery ads and showcase shopping.  The aim is to deliver content that will engage with consumers beyond text.  In 2020, our prediction is that Google will test video formats on search results page with animated ad types, such as moving gallery ads.

Just for fun, one non-industry related prediction for 2020
Minimalism will be the preferred way of living. With Marie Kondo’s popularity this year, many people globally have shifted from a ‘must have all’ mentality to a more minimalistic approach.  The trend will not only expand in 2020 but impact other industries such as real estate and home furnishings, with minimalism becoming the standard of living in many global cities.

Sales:
Most notable change in 2019
Streaming, streaming and more streaming. This isn’t a total change, we were streaming before, but it’s gone next level in 2019 and the streaming (and bingeing) age has well and truly arrived. Disney+ is the latest addition here in AU, to go along with Apple TV+, Kayo Sports and 10 All Access that were also released in the last 12 months. Foxtel are enhancing their streaming offering. And consumers continue to consume more content from the traditional stations via their catchup apps.

Rakuten Marketing APAC team at DealMaker Sydney Favourite Rakuten Marketing Moment
Rakuten Marketing Dealmaker Sydney. The event gets better every year, and we think this year the networking really stepped up. It was fantastic to see so many brands and publishers coming together to map out opportunities for the Christmas quarter and the new year ahead.

2020 Industry Prediction
It’s unlikely that we’ll see people hold all subscriptions, instead shifting to a trend of maintaining one or two staples. And for the others, they’ll likely sign up to a subscription for a month to binge on the latest season releases, but then jump the next month for the next bingeable show.

Just for fun, one non-industry related prediction for 2020
After winning 16 gold in 2000 (and 58 total medals), 17 gold in 2004 (and 49 total medals) and 14 gold in 2008 (and 46 total medals), we’ve had a couple of lean gold medal patches; winning 7 in 2012 and 8 in 2016. Predicting Australia to crack into the double figures for gold again at the 2020 Olympics, and back over 30 total medals.

As for these marketers? It’s been another whirlwind of a year and we predict 2020 to be bigger than ever! There are a lot of exciting projects in the works, but for now, we’re looking forward to some well deserved R&R. See you next year!