Go digital or go home, has been the message for most businesses and marketers for the last five years. And trend watchers have been on the lookout for what’s next in digital. In this dynamic digital marketing landscape, modern marketers need to be very assertive and foresee the changes that could affect their core marketing strategy.
Change is the new constant. It is that time of the year when marketers reflect and eagerly wait to see what will change in digital for the coming year. With multiple regulations on data privacy, marketing becomes more volatile and treading between tradition and innovation.
Unlike every year this year also revolved around improvising and working on the digital marketing trends of the preceding year. We saw many businesses transforming their marketing efforts towards digital and the innovation was at the forefront of their strategy.
Without much ado let’s dive into the digital marketing predictions that are sure to leave an impact in the marketing multiverse. These predictions are categorized into two buckets:
- High Impact Predictions
- Low Impact Predictions
High Impact Digital Marketing Predictions:
As data-driven marketers, you deal with a huge amount of customer data that acts as the lifeblood of your enhanced marketing strategy and the foundations for successful campaigns. While we try to learn and profile a customer based on the data that we have, it is mandatory to respect their data privacy.
Since GDPR took its effect in Europe in May 2018, lawmakers and legislators across different nations have turned in favor of setting up similar and strict privacy laws that would govern on how a business uses a customer’s data and to what extent they can. This means a marketer has to provide opt-in’s and opt-out’s for every ad they run, data capture forms/surveys should comply with GDPR, and most importantly carrying out marketing with a legitimate interest.
2. Digital Marketing Automation
Marketers have now transformed into SMART marketers. Where data and metrics are the cornerstones of every strategy they conceive and every campaign they execute. While marketing to a niche audience is easier and mostly manual, marketing to mass audience gets more difficult in this digital age.
By 2018, 78% of the world’s smartphone users will message every month and is only expected to continue. By 2021, the global user base for mobile messaging apps will rise to an additional 24%. Hence digital marketing automation will take its course in full swing in 2019. Of the many forms of digital marketing — paid advertising, social media marketing, email marketing, SMS and push notifications will be automated to scale and optimize marketers efforts.
3. AI Will Make Marketing More Human
AI is more than just a fad in the industry. AI is everywhere and its applications will lead innovations at scale. AI will now get wider adoption in digital marketing. A few years ago, digital marketers were hesitant about incorporating AI into their strategies because of its ambiguity. But now marketers have started embracing AI and leveraging its true potential in their marketing strategies.
AI can actually make modern marketing more human by disrupting traditional marketing that relies heavily on mass communication with an inadequate and inaccurate understanding of the target market. AI will enable marketers to evolve from simply “knowing” to truly “understanding” their customers. Google’s RankBrain has proven to be a golden goose for digital marketers in refining the SEO by providing relevant searches with high intent. We will be able to see the effect of AI in content marketing, content curation, user experience, email marketing, voice search and many more. With AI, marketers will be able to comprehensively understand their customer’s interest and build smarter segments to market and run campaigns with high intent.
4. More Voice Search Enabled Content
We have seen the rise of voice search in 2018 and there’s no doubt it’s here to stay. 2019 will be the year for voice assistants and voice-enabled services. With voice as a content medium, marketers are bound to leverage it to their marketing efforts. It is estimated that by 2020, 50% of all the searches made will be through voice.
Smart TVs and Smart Speakers have started to infest in every household these days. Be it Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri or Microsoft’s Cortana, voice assistants have become an integral part with many devices that we use each day. Digital content marketers will turn all their focus on voice SEO by incorporating voice search in their content strategy. Digital advertisers will tap into the aspect of advertising on smart TV’s and voice-enabled devices.
5. Social Media Cleansing
This year social media platforms tied a tough knot on fighting against “Fake Accounts”. Most marketers go after the vanity metrics like likes, shares, retweets, and comments. In pursuit of such metrics, businesses end up encountering fake accounts on these platforms tampering their numbers. So this year, Facebook reportedly removed over 1.5 billion fake accounts over the span of 6 months and Twitter suspended more than 70 million inactive and suspicious accounts.
In 2019, we can expect more of such cleansing from these two platforms and other social media platforms too. While this might not impact the businesses directly but the marketers will definitely benefit, because the results will be more focused and real.
6. No More Click baits
If you’re a digital marketer, then you must’ve definitely read Neil Patel’s “Why Clickbait Works”. But now click baits aren’t a marketing tactic anymore. Nearly 78% of consumers say that personalized and relevant content increases their purchase intent. Which means your content has to be unique, relevant and personalized.
Consumers now know which is a clickbait and which isn’t. Hence marketers need to create more content that actually solves a consumer’s problem statement and adds value to them. We’ll witness some exceptional content this year with is unique and relevant.
Low Impact Digital Marketing Predictions:
- Videos & Video Ads Will Continue to Trend
You log into Facebook, you see videos. You log into Twitter, you see videos. You log into LinkedIn, you see a video there too. Videos are slowly crawling on each and every social media platform and are considered the most consumed form of content. We’ve seen brands leveraging Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram for their video ads and video content creation. But in 2019, we can expect to see more platforms and channels for marketers to tap into. One such platform was “Musical.ly” recently acquired by TikTok. This will also make sure that there’s a rise in micro influencers.
2. The rise of AI Chatbots
More AI-powered chatbots will rise in 2019. Chatbots are in a sweet spot between AI, automation and changing internet usage giving more scope for futuristic technological advancements. According to Gartner, chatbots will power 85% of all customer service interactions by the year 2020. For most digital marketers responding to customer queries and concerns has been a tough nut to crack. Automating the conversations powered by AI, chatbots can build a meaningful relationship, rapidly curtail response times and make brand responses more human.
3. The rise of OTT & Video Content
The Internet has caught up to television in 2018 and 2019 will account for more hours watched on Internet TV. This has opened gates for OTT apps to create more exclusive content and ensuring marketers for more advertising opportunities and brand associations. OTT enables digital marketers to place advertisements on specific video content that consumers use on their devices. Ads can be sandwiched between online streaming shows giving brands maximum exposure and reach that helps in building the brand connect.
4. Agency to In-house
More businesses will cut down ad-agencies and bring their marketing in-house in 2019. Most brands heavily depend on external agencies for their digital marketing and branding efforts. In a CMO survey, marketers said they are serious about using in-house skills instead of entrusting work to vendors. This shock to agencies came when Booking.com, cut its ties with its media-buying agency and hired a team in-house. We’ll witness more data-driven marketers bringing the responsibility of all their marketing efforts in-house and have 100% control and transparency.
5. Visual Search
It is one of the most complex and fiercely competed sectors of the technology industry. While Google, Pinterest, and Microsoft battle it on the act, we’ll see more companies tapping into the visual search game. While Pinterest has contributed to SEO for very few marketers, it will continue to dominate in 2019 and enhance content marketers to create more visually compelling content. We all know how Flipkart in its big billion campaign used visual search in its campaigns to entice users and improve customer engagement. We’re likely to see more brands leveraging and experimenting with visual search.
We are one month down for 2019 and it’ll all be about AI-powered technology, automation, enhancing customer experience with personalization. Marketers have no other option but to embrace it and stay ahead of the curve and increase revenues in the coming year. While these are some of the key prediction that I think will drive digital marketing in 2019, it’ll be great to hear your thoughts and have a fresh perspective.