As 2018 draws to a close and we prepare to welcome in a brand new year, its time to look at what kind of digital marketing trends are expected to dominate in 2019. As an inherently evolving landscape, we can expect to see existing digital trends of the past coming back bigger and better next year, with things like artificial intelligence and new ways of searching the web continuing to govern our digital strategies. Keep reading to find out what to expect from digital marketing in 2019.
No discussion about the future could exclude a mention of AI and the astonishing rate at which it’s developing. AI is able to monitor and measure online behaviour, identify patterns of search and collate important consumer data within a fraction of the time it takes a human marketer to do.
What’s more, the need for customer service representatives will diminish, with the now ubiquitous use of chatbots on platforms like Facebook Messenger. It’s expected that by 2020, a quarter of businesses will use chatbot technology to automate their customer services division, which will, in turn, allow for costs to be cut and business efficiency to accelerate.
AI will have a similar impact on automating the bidding and auction processes of advertising, known as Programmatic Advertising. This will allow for the ad buying and audience targeting processes to be sped up significantly, and in principle, boost conversion rates and lower acquisition costs.
New Ways Of Searching
With the likes of virtual assistants such as Siri, Alexa, Cortana and the Google Home assistant firmly stationing themselves within our everyday lives in 2018, we can expect to see substantial improvements in voice recognition technology in the coming year. Marketers should also expect voice search to interfere with Paid Search and SEO strategy as it is anticipated that 50% of consumers will prefer to use voice search over traditional search by the year 2020.
Less widespread but set to grow, is the trend for visual search. Almost like image search in reverse, Visual Search allows users to find similar or related items to ones within any given image using sophisticated colour, shape and size recognition technology. Whilst it is still behind Voice Search in terms of its capabilities, Visual Search is highly likely to become the latest way of searching; with over 90% of consumers saying that visual information is the main driving factor behind their online purchases.
The personalisation of marketing content is not a new concept, however, it will be more important than ever in 2019. From marketing emails to product suggestions, content recommendations and even the copy of adverts, a large proportion of our online experiences are becoming ever more tailored to us and what machine learning anticipates we will find relevant, based on our historical online behaviour. It makes a lot of sense, given that marketers are now able to track numerous aspects of unique user interactions, from previous purchases to specific link clicks and videos watched it is now easier than ever to create personalised content.
It would be impossible to create a list of future digital trends without mentioning Social Media. With over 3 billion active social media users worldwide (40% of the Earths population!), 2.8 billion of which being mobile users, it’s an absolute treasure-trove for digital marketing opportunities. Unsurprisingly, Facebook dominates the landscape with Facebook, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram being the most used networks with users from all age groups having at least one profile. Along with the prominence of ephemeral stories, the popularity of video content including live videos, Social Media will continue to dominate our lives in the coming year. With this in mind, it is important to remember that different social channels appeal to different audiences and as such, content and targeting should be altered so; your success on Facebook won’t necessarily translate into the same success on YouTube.
We know by now that the way to reach consumers is through their phones which is why influencer marketing is also set to continue into 2019, with the focus being placed more on micro-influencers rather than big celebrities. Studies show that 70% of millennials make purchase decisions based on what they see their peers recommending on social media which is why using smaller influencers with under 500,000 followers seems to resonate more with audiences. Additionally, the introduction of IGTV, Instagram’s vertical video app, allows influencers to create longer content than with Stories as well as the ability to deliver seamless promotion across static posts, ephemeral stories and IGTV. We can also expect more influencer appearances on podcasts, which are fast becoming the new blog, and even further ahead in the future, we could be hearing influencers orally promoting things on our smart speakers.
2019 looks to be the year in which the optimisation of user experience takes centre stage. Automated customer service along with clearer personalisation and a greater degree of targeting are likely to be the drivers of success. In addition, marketers should be staying ahead of the game by evaluating their content strategy and in particular, how they plan to produce and distribute highly relevant content to targeted audiences.