This is what an adtech expert believes the year ahead holds for the pandemic-accelerated digital economy …

What does a data enrichment and identity solutions firm like Lotame envision for the year ahead?

Firstly, the year’s buzzword ‘digital transformation’ will continue to ring true. The global pandemic made digital a necessity across all aspects of work and home life and this trend will show no signs of slowing across industries.

For example, as remote work becomes the default, cybersecurity will take on even greater significance for companies of all sizes. Banks will need to flex their digital muscles as well, as fintech startups begin chipping away at their market share, similar to what direct-to-consumer did to traditional retail. And, there is no stopping the momentum of gaming or streaming as more consumers seek variety for home entertainment.

I would expect gaming in particular to break through into new brackets of age and gender as we all seek a safe form of adventure and fun. 

This influx of anonymized customer data—behavioral trends, intent, interest— will be a real boon to brands as they work to get closer to customers. Data enrichment from quality providers will help them understand and find more of those best customers at scale and develop new products and services to drive engagement and loyalty. 

Say goodbye to cash

In 2021, the share of digital payments will increase as paper money transactions continue to decrease. With digital financial services in South-east Asia expected to generate over US$38 billion in revenue by 2025, we will see more supportive regulations to meet the growing demand and pave the way for consumers who are largely underserved by financial services and have no basic access. The need for better financial services will give fintechs a large addressable market for their solutions, fueling adoption and growth of the sector.

Credit cards and other e-wallets will become the natural default payment for both online and in-person transactions (however rare), with fewer vendors able to or willing to accept cash. Payments will be made either in a local currency or, as an alternative, in a decentralized currency, sometimes issued by a dominant industry player. 

Rubbernecking the cookie collapse

As we saw in 2020, digital advertising cannot look away from the demise of the third-party cookie. I anticipate the slow and drawn-out sunset of the cookie to continue to dominate headlines in 2021. Misinformation will persist about the third-party cookie’s demise being synonymous with the health of third-party data. As Google’s moveable cookie deadline draws near, we will see advertisers ramping up the pressure for proof that cookieless solutions deliver measurable and transparent ROI. 

Identity solutions needed

Digital advertising once relied on context alone to satisfy marketer goals, but in today’s environment, context alone cannot meet their needs.

For marketers to engage with real people (not a device or a one-time page visit), and accurately target and message customers, they must invest in identity resolution.

From getting a real-time 360-degree customer view and solving frequency capping restrictions, to precise measurement for conversion rates and privacy and consent, identity solutions can solve many of the challenges faced by marketers, publishers and consumers.