The speed in which the digital world changes is mind-blowing, so predicting the trends is both exciting and really hard. Technology and user patterns are changing quicker than ever before. What might have been the tool or gadget of choice one day is out 3 days later. What we do know for sure is that in 2019 things will become faster, more detailed and more helpful. Lots of trends are focusing on making life easier, and let’s face it, who doesn’t love that idea?
1. Voice search
Have you listened to the new Gimlet Podcast, Sandra? It’ll make you question if Siri really is there… Like Sandra, Siri, Cortana, Alexa and Google Now have all become common place in many households and workplaces. You can now easily voice search to find something or to simply order a product.
For many of us, talking is really the preferred option and given the choice we would much rather speak than any other form of communication as it is quick and to the point. The accuracy of the voice recognition technology definitely needs to be looked at but once the technology is improved it will change the way we research online. Could it be that half of all online searches in 2020 will be voice activated?
2. Chat bots
Chat bots are on the rise and with artificial intelligence technology advancing everyday it is exciting to see where chat bots will go. I think they will become less like robots and more like humans, collect more data overtime and that data will become more reliable. Chat bots are a great way to scale conversation effectively as consumers push for a more personalised offering. It is a great way for businesses to provide a deeper level of customer service in real time and throughout this year more and more businesses will be using bots as an important part of their customer service channel.
What started as a Snapchat feature became a social media phenomenon in 2018, with Facebook, Instagram and YouTube all jumping onboard. The rise of visual content as well as the popularity of mobile devices meant that stories were an organic addition to the social media content pool. Will this mean that social media feeds will disappear? Stories provide a whole new suite of advertising options that businesses need to be conscious of and utilise if they want to stay in the game. Stories are no longer a ‘nice to have’ and should have a place in every social strategy.
4. Shoppable content
Direct purchasing opportunities and efforts to shorten the gap between content and transaction has been a result of consumer demand. Anything to make our lives easier will always win. By cutting out additional steps and providing an easy path to purchase, shoppable content provides more value to the consumer which is what everyone is looking for in this busy, busy world. Shoppable video, shoppable images and user generated content will all play a role in increasing the interactivity in the retail and service landscape.
It’s been happening for a while now, but mass marketing has definitely been outrun by a highly personalised, tailored marketing approach. It allows digital marketers to reach the right person with the right message about the right product (understanding that one correct target is better than 1000 that don’t care). Companies need to gather and correctly interpret their data and segment it to deliver multiple messages. Not only should we be reaching the right customer with the right message but we should be using the most convenient channel for that consumer and reaching them when it matters most. This year will see personalisation reach a new level with the increase of data technology.
There has been a lot of fear around what 5G technology will mean, and for the neighsayers, the rollout will take some time, but… 5G is coming. Much faster data download and upload speeds, wider coverage and more stable connections will only mean good things for positive communication and additional possibilities for content. It will dramatically change the way we connect, it will be as close to real-time we can get. 5G will mean you’ll be able to interact with people and objects with no lag on either side. Play a real-time game and control virtual objects with other people simultaneously. Put on a headset and fly a drone or drive a car that’s somewhere else or let it drive itself. Terrifying? Yes. Exciting? Oh yeah.
With platforms like Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, Facebook Live, video will continue to be a growing, big trend online. The lines are blurring between entertainment channels and video channels, Facebook definitely has Netflix in its sights and all channels are investing more and more in video. It is the preferred medium by many, we can process video quicker, it is an engaging medium that encourages conversation and sharing.
8. Native advertising
Nobody is a massive fan of ads and ad blocking is becoming more and more popular. Native advertising is trying to get around the negative thoughts associated with advertising and try to infiltrate mediums. Content that tries not to look like ads resonates with audiences in a more meaningful way and will gain more traction this year as adverting look for effective ways to stand out in a cluttered marketplace.
9. Authentic user generated content
Brands talking about themselves is not attractive, consumers would much rather take advice or recommendations from other consumers and those not invested in the brand. It is for this reason that user generated and influencer content will continue to play a major role in 2019. Authenticity has and always will be the key of this content particularly as consumers get more and more savvy.
Influencers and content creators need to be mindful of this when developing content for brands and be conscious of the amount of partnerships they hold. The role of the social media influencer is forever changing, it is now more important that ever that authenticity is number one and that the relationships are fewer and more meaningful.