As a new year gets underway, we wanted to look back at 2019 and reflect on the most significant impacts over the past year to digital marketing as well as consumer behavior.


Can We Have Some Privacy Please?

This year, the United States will begin its war on digital privacy following Europe’s implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). In 2018, California passed the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), in effect January 1, 2020. Throughout the past year, many frustrated marketers have been preparing, doubling down, and even opposing this new law. Nevertheless, it is now in effect and we must be equipped for the challenges it presents.


In 2019, major players in the browser market ramped up privacy default settings to block cookies, prevent tracking, and more. Mozilla’s flagship browser, Firefox, launched a newer version equipped with default third-party cookie-blocking. Apple followed suit with Safari and increased Intelligent Tracking Prevention, which reduces third-party tracking and blocks cookies. Google’s Chrome (controlling 64% of the global browser market), upped its third-party cookie blocking and initiated ad filtering on a global scale, which prevents ads that fail to meet its Better Ad Standards from being shown.


The Machines Are Learning!

Although privacy issues dominated the digital marketing landscape in 2019, other impactful changes emerged, including artificial intelligence. There is still much to discover about this innovative technology as it is in its infancy; however, more and more companies are incorporating AI in some fashion. If they haven’t implemented it quite yet, they are actively researching its capabilities and advantages. It is predicted that 60% of all businesses worldwide will use artificial intelligence by the end of 2020!


Another technology to become a buzzword in every board room in 2019, the chatbot. These automated messaging bots use artificial intelligence to offer informative customer service directly to website visitors in real-time. In 2019, 63% of consumers preferred communicating through an online chatbot due to availability, accessibility, and timeliness of response. It is predicted that 85% of all online customer service will be provided through chatbots by the end of 2020.


Taming The West

Looking back on 2019, it was a fantastic year! While consumer privacy concerns remain at the forefront of the industry, we are finally beginning to see law and order brought into the Wild West that is the internet. This may cause headaches for marketers as it restricts the ease with which we obtain valuable data. Regardless, that data is still available and can be ethically retrieved and utilized. How these emerging technologies and regulations will continue to shape consumer behavior and digital marketing in 2020 remains to be seen.