It’s a brave new world out there, and it’s getting braver. The pace of change is increasingly faster and new technologies in digital marketing are coming to market quicker than we can sometimes incorporate them.
Here are the trends we have our eye on for 2019:
1. Keep Talking: Our Searches are Going Voice Activated
Siri and Alexa have made us so comfortable voicing our needs that Google has actually revamped its search algorithms to match conversational speech. By 2020, ComScore says, half of all search queries will be made by voice. Since voice recognition software has grown increasingly more accurate in the past few years and will continue to do so in 2019, consumers will rely more heavily on it for online shopping.
As searches continue to adopt natural speech phrasing, you’ll want to ensure that your content is also conversational. And if you haven’t optimized your site for mobile yet (predicted to account for 27% of all sales this year), get thee to a web designer, and get it done!
2. Virtual and Augmented Realities are the Real Deal
We’ve been talking about these technologies arriving for so long that it feels like we’re crying wolf, but the tipping point is finally here. These once fantasy technologies are now everywhere from Pokémon Go to The New York Times Google Cardboard glasses. In 2016, IKEA harnessed virtual reality (VR) gaming with their Virtual Reality Kitchen app, which let customers experience different kitchens virtually, moving through the space and “seeing” how various set ups and finishes looked.
Look for interesting ways to build your brand in VR so that customers can touch and feel your products even when they’re not in your physical store. Or use your store as a jumping off point for an augmented reality (AR) platform.
3. Say Hi to AI
Just like VR and AR, artificial intelligence (AI) is finally coming into its own. This year, many businesses used AI and machine learning (ML) applications to enhance their marketing efforts. In 2019, this trend will grow stronger. With applications like automated Facebook messenger bots, this is a trend that everyone can adopt and appreciate. It provides better efficiencies, higher productivity and increased opportunities for excellent customer service.
One notable example is the business intelligence software that marketers use to identify trends and make forecasts. Its ML capabilities can pinpoint your most profitable customers so you can target them with ever more sophisticated personalization tactics.
When you mine your own data using business intelligence software or another application, you’ll use ML to understand exactly what content your prospects are responding to so you can craft a more personalized and welcomed experience.
4. Ads Get More Embedded
We see between 4,000-10,000 ads every day, according to Forbes. Ads are wallpaper to us. To break through those walls, advertisers are leveraging “native advertising.” This approach lets them weave their message into an article or a blog post as an advertorial. While marked as such, these advertorials can be difficult to sniff out if they’re done well. Many top brands like Lexus and Visa employ this method to slyly get in front of consumers who have let their guard down a bit. Venues like Instagram Stories help ads to not feel so much like ads.
Look for opportunities to introduce your product or service through a more traditional content piece where it makes sense. Make sure to provide valuable content first. You can drive them to your website and sell later.
5. Video Killed the Radio Star (and Everything Else)
Video is irresistible. Why read copy when you can experience movement and music? Never mind that we’ll all soon have the attention span of a gnat.
The Washington Post predicted that video will account for 80 percent of all internet traffic by 2019. Many companies are becoming video-happy, publishing anything deemed watch-worthy. HubSpot tells us that adding a well produced video to an email increases click-through rates by a jaw-dropping 200–300 percent; posting it on a landing page bumps the conversion rate by 80 percent. Powerful stuff.
Continue taking video and posting it as long as it’s relevant and the quality is good. For next year, the stakes will be higher since consumers will yearn for more imaginative takes. You’ll want to up the ante with creative videos that encourage real consumer engagement.
6. Everyone is Embracing Programmatic Advertising
This year, the media buying technology that formerly only ad agencies were privy to has gone mainstream. By 2019, it’s predicted that two-thirds of the world’s digital display advertising will be bought and optimized automatically by computers that decide which ads to buy and how much to pay for them. How will traditional media respond to the programmatic advertising trend? 2019 will tell.
Automatic programs make it easier than ever to “set it and forget it” when it comes to digital display advertising. These self-optimizing platforms use algorithms to continually “learn” and enhance your digital advertising efforts, and they’re reasonably priced for the ROI.
2019 promises to be a big year for digital marketing with more precise tools for targeting and engaging with prospects. As you make your 2019 resolutions this year, consider adding a few (or all) of these new ideas to your marketing toolkit. And if you want to talk digital marketing for 2019, we’re happy to help.