LeadsRx is out with its predictions for marketing trends to watch in 2020. The trends, which are the topic of a new blog post on the company’s website, have implications for all media platforms, but cite radio as ground zero for some of the most timely innovations.

The first bullet point in the post is titled, “Radio sets the tone.” Specifically, this refers to radio’s success using marketing attribution to set a benchmark for tracking the performance of ads that run on air in a transparent, measurable fashion, which has been benefiting both the stations themselves and the brands running the ads.

“In 2020, data-driven marketers will be wise to break from the herd and model an unlikely trendsetter: radio,” AJ Brown, CEO and co-founder of LeadsRx, writes in the post. “The radio industry’s dominant use of marketing attribution to track conversions and web lift will spread into mainstream adoption, likely triggering a tipping point for all mediums including digital, direct mail, telemarketing, out-of-home, and more.”

Why? The numbers speak for themselves. LeadsRx joint 2019 Attribution Marketing study of direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands with Westwood One found that on average, advertising on radio drove a 21% increase in shoppers on their websites. That’s comparable to Google/Facebook at more than 17% and TV, greater than 19%, but with significantly lower investment. This means a much higher ROI for radio.

The second bullet point is titled “virtual is reality.” “Courageous marketers need to factor in virtual assisted technologies and how they are impacting their understanding of the customer journey,” Brown contends in the post. “Those who prepare will reap the significant ROAS [return on ad spend] opportunities; those who don’t will experience a growing blind spot in their marketing vision.”

With everything from smart speakers’ popularity growing 140% since 2018 to the success of the auto industry’s use of virtual chat bots to urge customers to enter showrooms, artificial intelligence is taking up a larger and larger space in our lives. In fact, virtual assistants — including intelligent chat bots and other similar technologies, now handle between 70% to 90% of all initial customer interactions. “Marketers who aren’t including this important touchpoint in their attribution modeling stand to lose out on critically important insights,” says the post.

The last bullet point is entitled “A bridge to streaming.” As the streaming audience surpasses traditional channels, universal tracking technologies need to span and incorporate streaming platforms spanning TV, radio, podcasts and mobile gaming, according to LeadsRx.

An estimated 3.5 million households cut the cord on pay TV last year, underscoring a clear message from consumers: they want their content when they want it, where they want it, and how they want it. Those households are creating a la carte solutions, subscribing to an average of three video streaming services to get the content they value most. As a result, a higher percentage of U.S. households now have a video streaming subscription than have a pay TV subscription. Further, more than half of Millennials and Gen Z consumers also subscribe to streaming services for music and gaming.

“This patchwork landscape presents an opportunity for intrepid attribution marketers. Ad spend on streaming services increasingly requires a tactical and targeted approach, as consumers have cited ad load as a major reason for turning away from traditional channels,” Brown posits. He advises marketers to “embrace customers across all broadcast mediums to build long lasting relationships. Success requires employing universal tracking technologies that bridge across streaming platforms spanning TV, radio, podcasts and mobile gaming.”