The digital landscape is constantly changing, adapting and becoming better than ever before with new and improved tech innovations. So what can we expect to see in 2019, and what does this mean for marketers?
We can predict that some changes will likely be brought on by social evolutions, such as the power of the influencer, and others may be purpose-made, like Artificial Intelligence or Augmented Reality. Overall, digital disruption is now the social norm. It has moved from an infrequent inconvenience to a consistent stream of advancement that is redefining marketers, brands, industries and norms.
So without further ado, here are our 6 predicted trends for 2019...
Our 6 Predicted Digital Marketing Trends for 2019
Do you use them? Smart assistants or voice assistants are software that recognises speech and can perform tasks, services or enter into communication with a human individual. They come in a few different forms such as in your phone or tablet (Cortana, Siri) or other digital devices like the Amazon Echo, Google Home or Apple Home Pod. Voice is a growing part of technology that aims to recognise speech. It allows users to search by speaking terms aloud rather than typing them into a search engine.
Voice search technology has been around for a while, but it is becoming a more common part of our daily lives. Around 27% of us currently use voice search on mobile. This is quite impressive when you take into account that this number doesn’t even include the smart home assistants.
What are the benefits?
Voice assistants aim to make life easier. Whether it’s for business or personal use, smart assistants simplify, automate, engage and optimise tasks and communication for businesses and users.
To start, voice assistants are clever - as with most smart technology, it has the ability to learn and adapt. You can enable your smart assistant to remember your favourite takeaway order, ask it what news stories are trending, or even get it to play games with you. And not only will the assistant do what you ask, it will learn from every interaction you have with it.
But the usefulness of smart assistants goes beyond entertaining you or reminding you to pick up milk on your way back from work. It can be incredibly helpful to businesses. Voice technology can be used in a number of ways, from speeding up operations and enhancing communication to creating new experiences for customers. Even cars are aiming to make voice assistant tech a commonplace in their models so that users can search and interact without using their mobiles!
How does it affect marketing?
A huge way that Voice impacts marketing efforts is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Most brands will have already optimized content to suit SEO and perfect User Experience (UX), but the popularity of voice assistants means looking over our standard SEO approach, and adapting to suit a different culture of SEO. Gartner mentions that, by 2020, 30% of all searches will be done without the use of a screen… so does that mean we have to change our whole marketing strategy? Well, not exactly. According to Neil Patel, influential marketer and entrepreneur, in order to optimise for Voice, we simply have to embrace a ‘Long Tail’ approach.
Long Tail keywords are phrases that are more specific and used less frequently than simple keywords. They basically mimic the way people speak. For example, it would be unlikely for someone to say ‘buy boots’ into their phone or smart speaker, they are far more likely to say ‘buy green football boots’. It is thought that people who use voice search will be more specific and conversational, which makes Long Tail keywords the key to SEO success.
The impact of Voice and the importance of evolving SEO strategies will be even more obvious after you have a peek at these statistics:
research has found that 72% of people who own a smart speaker say that their devices are used as part of their daily routine
currently, 40% of adults claim to use voice search at least once-a-day
according to Hubspot, it is thought to increase by 25% in the next 5 years.
So if your target audience uses Alexa, Siri or Google Home you should optimize your SEO for voice (and if not, you should still do it, just in case). Voice assistants and smart devices are becoming more present in our daily lives, and all require changes to current marketing practices and goals. Marketing is all about adapting, so now is the time to get on board.
Voice is on the minds of consumers, brands and marketers alike. Voice is valuable and it’s important to add SEO for voice onto your marketing to-do list if you want to out-do your competitors. Voice search presents new challenges for marketers, but also so many opportunities.
This brings us onto our next predicted trend… normalising human conversations with artificial, non-human entities.
2) Artificial Intelligence (AI)
What is artificial intelligence and what has it got to do with marketing? To start off with, AI refers to the simulation of human intelligence created by computing hardware. Essentially, the hardware/machine is able to learn, make decisions based on data and to recognise speech and communicate where necessary. Take Chatbots, for example (they’re literally robots that we chat with). Thanks to continuous advancements in technology, AI is becoming more popular and more sophisticated by the day. It therefore comes as no surprise that AI is dominant in our every-day and working lives. Its ability to learn, interpret and reason make it perfect for carrying out tasks quicker, and often more effectively, than humans. However, AI still needs that all-important human touch to perform different tasks at different levels.
Whilst AI has been around for a number of years, it is fast playing a more sign ificant role in the everyday lives of consumers, brands and marketers.
So what are the benefits of AI?
Take Chatbots, for example. Half of the time we can’t even tell that it’s not a real human we’re talking to! AI chatbots are built to learn, adapt and rapidly absorb information in order to optimise output and mimic human actions and responses. They are given the responsibility of connecting and communicating with consumers with the aim of cutting labour costs for companies and eliminating those mundane tasks for marketers.
Most marketers are already on board with the influx of AI and recognise its ability to draw valuable insights, to automate tasks, and improve workflows. Around 51% of marketers currently use AI, and around 27% are adding it to their list of must-dos for 2019.
Whilst some may see AI as being too much too fast, and very iRobot-esque, many people recognize its abundant benefits.
It’s easy for companies to employ chatbots, and why wouldn’t they? Bots have a huge array of uses from resolving complaints and managing sales funnels, to ordering food and setting up appointments. Chatbots exemplify the ways in which new technological innovations are changing lives.
AI is important to our digital development as a whole, but it’s significant to marketers in particular. Take marketing automation, for example. Marketing automation does what it says on the tin - it automates repetitive marketing efforts so that you, the creative marketer, can focus on the more complex, interesting and artistic aspects of marketing-life. There are a whole host of benefits with marketing automation! It reduces business costs, minimises human error and easily tracks your return on investment (ROI).
AI and marketing automation are both impressive in their combined ability to improve the user experience. Marketing automation tools have enabled marketers to identify users’ specific behaviors and therefore send behaviorally triggered notifications, such as push notifications or emails, with the right content and at the right time. This ultimately helps improve the relationship you have with your customers which, in turn, should improve their loyalty and increase their lifetime value to you.
There are plenty of marketing automation tools out there, so you might find yourself asking which one is right for you? If your strategy involves a lot of social media, then look towards products such as Hootsuite. This platform allows you to manage and schedule content from multiple social networks in one dashboard. If your strategy involves a lot more content, then Hubspot may be exactly what you need. They have packages to suit every marketing budget that will help you schedule and analyse everything from your email content and timings to your blogs. If however you are looking to automate something like your marketing segments, then something like Hurree could be your answer, it ensures that your customer groups and categories are always up to date depending on how your customers interact with your brand online.
It's important to note that artificial intelligence is still developing. The overall goal of AI in the workspace is to utilise your data in order to discover and implement valuable insights, on a large scale, that help humans.
3) Augmented Reality
Augmented Reality (AR). Is that the same as VR? Surprisingly, no. AR integrates digital creations with a user’s surroundings, literally overlaying digital information on top of an individual’s existing environment. Put simply, AR is interactive CGI (computer generated imagery); combining a user’s natural environment with projected, digital images. If you’ve ever played Pokemon Go or used Snapchat filters, for example, you’ve experienced AR.
To some, AR may seem like a gimmick - almost cringey, as if it’s been taken from an outdated Sci-Fi film. However, the digital revolution of AR is rapidly moving from novelty entertainment to a sophisticated tool.
How is AR used in our everyday lives?
I’ve already mentioned Pokemon Go and Snapchat, so here’s an example of how Pepsi’s marketers successfully used AR in their campaign. Hubspot notes that, in 2014, Pepsi installed AR technology in a bus shelter in London, making it appear as though lions, robots and UFOs were interacting with people on the high street.
Unsurprisingly, the campaign gained a huge amount of attention, displaying the effectiveness of AR and showcasing Pepsi’s playful brand personality. This is a good example of how some may see the technology as just a bit of fun, but a lot has changed since 2014. Here’s an example of how AR is being used to educate those in the medical industry and transform healthcare: