So, what can we expect from 2019? As ever, tech advancements such as automation and programmatic buying will continue to speed up processes and cut costs. But this year, it seems we need to become a little savvier about how we connect with customers, and a little warier about how we engage with social media giants. So, without further ado, here’s what we think 2019 has got in store.
Trend 1: Social media and ad giants taking on more responsibility
Over the past few years, hacking, data breaches and fake news have dominated the headlines - and for good reason. As many of us discovered after the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal, social media giants have much more of our personal data than we first thought.
Their level of influence has also been underestimated. Revelations about how the Trump presidential election campaign used Facebook to send out micro-targeted campaign messaging and fake news stories has since resulted in calls for more regulation.
Wondering how Donald Trump actually harnessed the power of Facebook for his campaign? Read our blog, ‘Has Facebook turned into the most powerful election weapon?’.
So with an approximate 2.77 billion people now using social media, we can expect that 2019 will be the year that social media and ad giants take on more responsibility for the content posted on their platforms. New legislation is likely to improve transparency, honesty and strive to protect users from harm. It’s expected that social networks will be required to increase their content vetting, and potentially even integrate blockchain to help tackle these issues.
Trend 2: Greater use of technologies to improve mobile UX
In 2018, a Statista report revealed that 52.8% of all worldwide online traffic was on mobile. This, coupled with our zero tolerance for slow download speeds, has resulted in companies going even further to improve their mobile websites. A slow download speed and a high bounce rate can negatively affect your Google ranking. And no one wants that.
The answer? Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs) and Progressive Web Apps (PWAs). These were successfully introduced in 2018 to boost site speeds to less than 0.5 seconds, reducing bounce rates and amplifying user engagement.
AMPs and PWAs have also proved to successfully increase mobile traffic and conversion rates, as well as remove the need for user downloads, eliminate app development costs and create website shortcuts. All of this has improved user experience, so as you can probably guess, we can expect to see AMPs and PWAs a lot more in 2019.
Trend 3: Video content will take centre stage, aided by influencers
According to Cisco, IP video traffic will be 82% of all IP traffic (both business and consumer) by 2022. Encouraged by numerous platforms, including the likes of Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video and Instagram, the continued popularity of these channels suggests our affinity for video content isn’t about to slow anytime soon. YouTube alone boasts 1.9 billion monthly users, and last year the number of Instagram Stories daily users skyrocketed to 400 million – up 250 million on the year before.
What’s more, Statista forecasts that the market for influencer marketing will reach $2.38 billion in 2019. Keen to add authenticity and interactivity to their brands, businesses have set about forming longstanding relationships with influencers, creating a mix of vlogs, Instagram Stories, and live streaming content. Yet, for 2019, it’s likely that businesses will start to lean towards using micro-influencers. Not only does this make their content feel more authentic, it’s also more targeted.
Trend 4: Increased use of AI for conversational user interfaces
As Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities continue to improve, 2019 is set to introduce the technology into even more customer support services. From chatbots and human-assisted live chat, to voice-controlled search assistants such as Echo and Google Home, AI is beginning to evolve to a level where it can mimic human intelligence.
In fact, it’s predicted that chatbots will save businesses more than $8 billion a year by 2022. Industries already investing heavily in AI include healthcare and banking, with the technology set to reduce customer service resolution times and at a lower cost. This move towards chatbots is already supported by the growing use of social messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, showing a behavioural shift from openly communicating on social networks to chatting in private feeds.
Trend 5: More personalised ads with automation and programmatic advertising
Programmatic advertising involves using AI to automate ad buying, allowing marketers to target more specific audiences. Using automation for real-time bidding or auctions is far more efficient, and has led to higher conversions and lower customer acquisition costs.
Email is also set to benefit from automation and personalisation in 2019. Customers are likely to be introduced to real-time, behaviour-based personalisation, while companies taking advantage of automation can expect fewer errors, reduced time-wasting and increased internal collaboration.
Trend 6: Harnessing micro-moments to capture our attention
Ever find yourself mindlessly scrolling through your social media feeds? For most of us, the answer is probably yes. But for marketers who’ve paid to put their ads under your nose, it’s far from ideal. As we wise-up to clickbait and become desensitised to advertising, the need for more creativity and savvy targeting is becoming ever more important in order to grab our attention.
The solution? Harnessing micro-moments. This concept is all about accepting that your product isn’t the centre of your customer’s world, and that you only have seconds to get their attention. In that time, you need to deliver a clear message that’s of interest to the person you’re targeting.
For those thinking about re-evaluating their marketing strategies, the key takeaway from this technique is that every message needs to contain something of value, whether it be discounts, knowledge, insights or unique experiences. The challenge now is bringing together clever creative and intuitive targeting strategies to push customers to make an instant decision about your product and convert.
Whatever the future holds for 2019, we can be sure that our marketing strategies will always be playing catch up to ever-evolving customer behaviours. What do you think are the key marketing trends for 2019? Let us know your thoughts over on Twitter.
If you need guidance on how to create and execute your marketing strategy for 2019, get in touch with us today to find out what we can do for your business.