Digital marketing technologies and strategies are developing at a rapid pace. What worked last year could be outdated next year. Anticipating trends and being ready will help digital marketers stay one step ahead.
What are the trends that will set the tone for 2018-19 and beyond in digital marketing?
#1 Artificial intelligence & Big Data
Customer orientation is at the heart of any digital marketing strategy and artificial intelligence will gain in importance in the coming years. Coupled with Big data, it will help marketers analyze not only trends as they evolve, but because of their inherent machine learning ability, it will help them delve deeper into customers’ habits and preferences.
Historical data only provide insights into past behaviors, but large data plunge their fingers into new needs and these, in conjunction with AI, provide digital marketers with information to zero on targets.
In this context, it should be noted that the General Data Protection Regulation will have an impact on digital marketing as it restricts the use of personal data. Digital marketers need to keep this in mind and develop context-based digital ads.
Ai usage is going to triple by 2019 according to a survey by ISG.
#2 Google is constantly changing
Google could be the tyrannosaurus of digital marketing that keeps digital marketers on their toes
Google’s Adwords program is losing its old skin and adopting a new one with customer-oriented marketing and machine learning as the core of its intelligent display campaigns. Digital marketers can achieve their goals at all stages of the purchase cycle. Google’s development includes automated bidding, automated ad creation, and automated targeting. As if that wasn’t enough, Google is now moving strongly towards mobile phones in the search rankings.
This means that website owners need to pay more attention to optimizing mobile websites, their usability, the speed of websites, and content. Google is very active with its ad experience and abuse program to prevent practices such as collecting data from unsuspecting users and selling such data to spammers.
#3 Video is going to be everywhere
Live video streaming is on the rise, as are video promotions. The majority of Internet users and data traffic consists of video. Social media platforms are flooded with both live and traditional video content.
Video can have an ad in front of it, or it can have in-video promotions and digital marketers must give video the meaning it deserves. Video is king and not text. You can convey so much more in a one-minute video than in a website and it has more impact.
According to YouTube, mobile video consumption grows by 100% every year. Video is projected to claim more than 80% of all web traffic by 2019. Adding a video to marketing emails can boost click-through rates by 200-300%.
Advertisers should consider adding videos to their 2019 social media strategy. Some ways to do this include posting video ads on YouTube and Instagram, creating video content in-house, or working with an influencer for paid product placement or support in their videos.
#4 Native and sponsored advertising
Brands and social media influencers will leverage the value of native and sponsored content across websites. It makes a difference when well-known personalities praise products.
It started with Siri and now the voice will play a greater role. It’s easier to give intelligent devices a voice command to perform searches or trigger an action, such as starting a music player or buying a product. The ability to enter a voice command or click on an image makes it easy to see that a user selects a voice command first.
#6 Chatbots on the rise
Chatbots are nothing new, but with better technology and integration, they could become more commonplace in the years ahead. Chatbots could even overtake apps when it comes to making an online purchase because they allow you to do so without downloading an app.
Bots are not only an effective way of mass communication, they also enable a 24/7 communication channel between your audience and the company. This not only increases customer satisfaction but also the response rate on Facebook – it improves SEO and the likelihood of your brand is recommended.
Some are reluctant to include chatbots in their customer service for fear of a poor user experience. But don’t worry, a recent survey showed that 70% of consumers reported a positive experience and another 9% reported a mutual experience.
By 2019 we expect chatbots to be the first place someone goes to order a pizza, choose a mobile plan, or even book a hotel room. Chatbots enable your users to do all of this without the hassle of downloading a native app.
#7 Augmented Reality
Augmented Reality seems to have gone in circles, but in the near future, it could gain speed and tangentially take off to influence digital marketing services. It will be easier to integrate real-time experience with digital data, and devices will also become cheaper, so this is a tool that marketers could use in the future.
#8 Social Media Influence Marketing
Using social media influencers isn’t exactly a new trend but its importance in digital advertising is growing. Influencer marketing strategies could shift a little, but they will help digital marketers reach their target groups.
Using influencers is a very effective marketing tool that works to attract customers. Influencers can be anyone from celebrities and Instagram or YouTube stars to well-known bloggers and journalists who help spread the word about your business or product through their social channels.
Brands are adopting a more subtle approach these days. They are developing long-term relationships with influencers as these long-term relationships allow for the two parties to grow together and produce more organic endorsements. Long-term relationships also prevent the influencers from ‘abandoning ship’ such as Selena Gomez with Louis Vuitton.
#9 Social Media Sites Integration
Social media companies will continue to integrate their services into third-party applications. For example, how Facebook and LinkedIn enable users to sign in with their accounts to third-party services and share data with third-party services.
We expect this trend to continue and expect social platforms to be integrated even more strongly into other services. Social media apps can begin to share more user data with their audience and create a seamless experience across third-party applications.
#10 Visual Search
Visual search is a new type of search engine and can take the user experience to a whole new level. Visual Search allows users to upload an image to perform a search and get more specific results.
Not surprisingly, Pinterest jumped on the visual search bandwagon – they raised $150 million in venture finance at a $12.3 billion rating to focus their efforts on the visual search. They came out with Lens, a new visual search tool that allows users to take a photo of an item to find out where to buy it online, search for similar products or display pin boards of related items.
Google Lens is a visual search engine by Google, which recognizes objects, landmarks, and other things visually through a camera app (currently only available on Pixel phones).
If you take a photo of a:
- Business card: You can save the phone number or address to a contact.
- Book: You can get reviews and other details about it.
- Landmark or building: You can get more details about it.
- Painting in a museum: You can get details about it.
Microsoft also has its own version, called Bing Visual Search that allow users to easily search for a particular element within an image. After doing an image search, you then click on one of the results and a “search” icon appears, letting you select a particular area of interest in the picture. This visual search tool will not only find matching images but also display product pages for that item.
The future of digital marketing is exciting and challenging and only the best that adopt fair tactics and emerging technologies will achieve results. But then something entirely different may crop up and influence digital marketing.
Whether you are incorporating visual search in your strategy or adopting artificial intelligence, you will be able to create engaging content, reach a larger and better-targeted audience, acquire more leads and increase conversions.