Digital marketing is a trend that’s changing the way brands are communicating with the customer. It’s a society that thrives online. We’re driven by technology and all our habits, behaviours, interactions, interests and work are influenced majorly by the internet. Global Internet usage stands at 55.1% as of June 2018. As the world is inclining more towards the digital sphere, marketers are left with no choice than to cash in on the trend and jump on the digital marketing bandwagon to make their presence solid digitally. Every year there are new technologies being invented which are smarter, easier and all the more convenient. Your Google Homes, Alexas, Smartwatches, AI-powered apps and websites—the list is endless. But, this is the future. These technologies are where marketing efforts will reside and where all customer attention will too. Businesses need to be up-to-date with the trends and technologies growing by leaps and bounds in this Internet-era, else they stand to lose their place in the blink of an eye. Here are some of them to keep an eye out for, in 2019!
Digital Marketing Trends That Will Rule 2019
‘If your business is not on the Internet, then your business will be out of business – Bill Gates’
AI is the new buzzword that everyone tries to understand, but very few make the cut. It’s a game-changing prospect which can be leveraged by marketers in fabulous ways. Artificial Intelligence can analyse consumer behaviour, predict buying and search patterns to help businesses understand the customer profile in depth and to understand the user journey. It can also be used to find potential customers or find what competitors are up to. AI can also help marketers save on costs incurred for customer experience and sales forecasting, over and above optimising the money utilised to target the digital marketing campaigns.
Amazon uses AI in its dynamic pricing of products. Meaning, if you check a product’s price in the morning and then come back in the evening to check back, its price would have altered. This is a similar concept that the airlines follow. Artificial intelligence helps in tracking how many people have looked at that product in recent time duration and shows the intention to purchase. Using this data to their advantage, marketers change around the price of the product as per demand. Amazon also uses AI for rendering better search results when the consumer searches for anything. A basic search like ‘towel’ gives you several different suggestions which are courtesy artificial intelligence. This auto-suggestive approach is very productive as this gives brands and its products wider visibility.
Recent research has shown that chatbots will be saving up to $8 billion per annum by 2022, as opposed to the cost of $20 million now. Chatbots have been around for a long time. Combining text, messaging and voice, they have been revolutionising conversations with customers. This technology is very useful, as it doesn’t stop at just creating a personalised service experience for the customer, but it also collects data about the customers.
The oldest global Dutch airline, KLM Dutch Royal Airlines has started with a chatbot called KLM’s BlueBot. BB as it is fondly called, its main purpose is to collect information about the customers, help them book a ticket on to a flight of their choice, help with booking confirmation, give timely updates and answer all the frequently asked questions by customers — all on Facebook Messenger. The BlueBot’s personality is designed to be friendly, helpful and edgy and is programmed to answer customers’ questions instantly. With the help of this AI-powered chatbot, KLM now handles more than 2 times of the customer interactions!
‘Okay Google, please find me a red dress for Christmas’
‘Hey Siri. Can you tell me when is X movie releasing?’
Alexa, tell me the distance between point A and B.
Sounds familiar? That’s how much we’re dependent on voice searches. This is the new audio Google, one can say. The voice-search enabled assistants are becoming the go-to devices for search now. Insights from a study by Comscore says that 50% of all the searches happening online, will be voice searches by 2020. Creating a voice strategy in order to adapt to this current wave of voice search, is much needed for a brand’s success in the upcoming year.
The popular detergent brand Tide has taken voice search to the next level in the US. Partnering with Alexa, Tide came up with a brilliant content marketing strategy wherein they created ‘Stain Remover Skills’ which are voice aided instructions on how to make do with over 200 stains! Each time any question is asked pertaining to cleaning stains, Alexa responds with Tide’s answers to them.
Live videos are gaining immense popularity among millennials. A large number of brands use this format to showcase their business aspects like product demos, behind-the-scenes fun, product launches and work culture. Brands like Zostel and Buzzfeed let influencers take over their handle for a day and live stream about a particular topic. This shows a surge in the number of people using their phone cameras to create content. It’s a big jump for brands who now, can decrease their cost of production by adopting these latest means. Research says online video content produces 1200% more engagement than the usual content formats and the businesses which use videos in their content experience a 41% hike in website traffic. And why, YouTube is a treasure chest still to be opened and used to a brand’s benefit. YouTube lets you do live videos as well, and also lets you put up 360-degree videos! This interactive video form is still on the rise and has been around for a few years.
The Virtual Reality production company, VR Gorilla puts up 360-degree videos of guided tours on its YouTube channel. Not only is it a pleasure to watch, but it gives you an actual sense of being present at the location as the guide briefs you about it. Their London city tour was a massive hit.
Visual search is more specific and result oriented. Here, users can upload an image and directly search for the same. Google has this feature for quite a while now.
But it has gained momentum in the last couple of years with Pinterest, Amazon, eBay etc. launching visual search capabilities. It is going to accelerate rapidly in the coming years as people start using this tool for searching about situations which they find hard to verbalise. Marketers can cash in on this early on and start optimising images for search purposes.
Pinterest has come up with tools like ‘Lens’ which is a real-time visual search tool, which can get you image results on a click of your camera. Another tool, ‘Shop the Look’ allows the customers to select blue dots within a pin to find similar products.
Amazon’s visual search tool works in tandem with the Snapchat camera. The beta version which was rolled out to a small percentage of the population in the US, lets the user scan a physical object or a barcode which in return brings up a product card from Amazon which has all details essential for purchase.
Micro Influencer Marketing
Micro influencers are the next rulers of Social Media. They have taken over the reins from the macro influencers, rather brands have handed it over to them. Why? A study done by Hello Society brought these facts to light— Because one, they give you authentic engagement i.e. 60 percent higher than the usual average influencer campaigns. Two, they’re really cost efficient i.e. you don’t have to pay much but the ROI is much more— it’s 6.7 times more cost-effective per engagement. Three, they spark a social buzz, a social movement because micro influencers have 22.2 more times conversations than the average user. Plus, the study has also found that Instagram accounts with 30,000 or fewer followers are more advantageous for the brands to collaborate with. The number of followers doesn’t dictate the amount of engagement one gets but rather it’s the connect, which the micro influencers have for sure with their niche audience. Hiring a group of micro influencers and one or two macro influencers will do the trick, not disturb the marketing spend and get the brand the best ROI. Clearly, it’s only time that they will rule the roost for all influencer marketing efforts in 2019.
Natasha Noel is the real person you’ll find in the virtual world. In the fitness league of influencers, she’s top notch with her yoga and dance mixed workouts. Extremely passionate about the art, she advocates the practice of yoga and self love every day.
“Tell me the facts and I’ll learn. Tell me the truth and I’ll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever.” – An old American proverb
For a brand in this wide chaotic market, it’s about the compelling stories it will create to cut through the noise and stand out in the minds of the consumers. According to a recent study by OneSpot, a content marketing platform, 100,000 digital words are consumed by Americans on an average day, of which 92% of consumers want brands to make ads that feel like a story. Brands are realizing the value of stories and experiences which resonate quicker than any other format. Visuals are the core of these stories. The same study above also says that the human brain processes images at the rate of 60 times more from that of words. This calls for all social networks to improvise on the content on their feed and brands alike to strategize what content they will create. By telling their brand story effectively, brands stand a chance to gain a long-standing following and a loyal customer base with increased value for their products/services.
Brands need to take a customer-centric approach to storytelling in 2019. The customers don’t want to know about how the brand has added a hi-tech feature to their product, but rather it’s cut to business— how is the product benefiting them or adding any value to their lives? That’s the cue to perfect storytelling.
Apple’s #ShotoniPhone campaign has a brilliant purpose behind it— everybody has a story to tell. The stunning visuals all tell a story, and it’s all user-generated content. Apple is harnessing the power of UGC and has ultilised the whole campaign to add value to the product. The hashtag has about 6 million mentions.
Native Content Creation
Native content is on the rise. It has now become a very vital part of every brand’s digital marketing efforts. One, because it is a great alternative to Google display ads because it doesn’t stand out as a format and blends in with the background. Two, it enhances the experience of the viewer and three, with the thriving social networks, native advertising and content have a huge potential. Imagine beating through all those ad-blockers and standing tall— Hello, native content! Creating content that’s native to the platform will encourage users to give it a read and engage with it, in-turn creating value for the brand.
Buzzfeed, the content generation platform does a lot of native content and advertising. It partners with brands and subtly pushes the brand message into the content without imposing it, towards the end.
We have had a look at the prime trends that will rule the future of digital marketing for the years to come. If businesses cash in on these trends smartly then they’ll surely be able to win over a lot of customers and in-turn, accumulate massive revenue. 2019 is the year of customer experience. We have to wait and watch to see how the brands make it their own!