Live Video, Social Media, AI, Voice Technology… Where Do We Go Next?
As users change their behavior, digital marketing has to adapt and follow the surviving and new trends, while abandoning practices that don’t yield results. Innovation in technology and digital channels shapes the road to consumers. Keeping an eye on future predictions and riding the wave of innovation before certain practices become over-used, not only explores the best ways to communicate with users but also positions brands as fearless leaders. As you venture into 2019 and define marketing strategies, it’s essential to keep the following trends in mind!
According to a Cisco forecast, by 2022 82% of all IP traffic will be video. The continuous growth of platforms like YouTube, Facebook Live, Netflix, and Amazon Prime Video proves the accuracy of this number. The users will continue to consume video on their smartphones, which leads to an increase in vertical content consumption.One of the fast-rising digital marketing stars is the live video. Esports is experiencing an unstoppable growth and gaming content is one of YouTube’s most consumed topics. With the rise of the gaming industry live streaming is also emerging as one of most talked-about channels, where Twitch takes the lead. With over 140 million consumers and 2.5 million streamers, it’s no wonder that streaming is considered the next gen of influencer advertising.
Social Media Stories
Social media will continue to be one of the most important channels, but with Facebook algorithm favoring genuine content, organic reach for ads becomes even harder. Instead, creating truly interesting and engaging content seems like the obvious option. More and more marketers will try to utilize Stories. One of the most popular vertical format video contents developed on Snapchat and turned into a global trend on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn. Having in mind that there are more than 300 million active Instagram Story consumers, brands are more willing to try out this format and prove their authenticity while doing so.While older users still prefer Facebook, Instagram recorded a meteoric rise in 2018 and ended the year with over one billion users. Younger audiences prefer Instagram not only for the easiness of photos and videos sharing but also because of the decline of Facebook’s reputation, following the Cambridge Analytica scandal. A lot of users either don’t know or don’t care that Facebook owns Instagram.
Influencer marketing is here to stay, especially considering the relatively new update that Instagram is taking concrete steps to clear out fake followers. With 94% of marketers considering that ‘transparency and authenticity are key to influencer marketing success’ and 42% of them noting fake followers and bots as their main concern in influencer marketing (ClickZ), the news about Instagram’s diligence hit all the right cords.As influencer marketing becomes a must-have part of the marketing strategy, the big ones are becoming unaffordable for smaller brands. Instead, they are turning to micro-influencers. Even though their reach is lower, choosing the right influencer with the target audience can sometimes work even better than securing the big fish. The reason is that they tend to have a more trustworthy relationship with their followers than celebrities who are known to endorse products for commercial reasons.
While email is still considered one of the effective triggers for conversions, rather than creating generic marketing emails that might or might not work, personalization is the way to go. Retargeting a user who already browsed a certain product with a deal on that product will certainly affect purchase intention. Interactivity is also on a constant rise. If users are used to getting fun emails from a publisher/brand, they’ll open them more willingly. Eventually, this leads to brand trust and a higher conversion intent. At the point when a user is ready to convert, offering the ability actually to make purchases within email makes the buying process even faster and will boost sales (Marketing Land 2019).
Voice Technology and AI
Not very long ago, I noticed the microphone button on my smart TV remote. I pressed it and told my TV that I want to watch “Orange is the new black”. It found the right app – Netflix and was ready to play the next episode. As we keep hearing about voice-enabled digital assistants (I mean who hasn’t played with Alexa or Google Assistant, right?) which became a must-have for all smart devices, the question on marketers’ mind is how to leverage this. Per Search Engine People’s research, 20% of mobile searches on Google are made via voice. As the number of voice searches grows, the user interface will have to change with it.Eventually, virtual assistants and chatbots will become an expected part of consumer interaction. With the constant AI improvement, users are sometimes not able to distinguish between human and computer conversation. In 2016, Facebook introduced chatbots on Messenger that use sophisticated software to communicate with customers. There’s a lot of talk about the application of AI in data analytics, personalization, and consumer experience. The possibilities seem endless with machine learning, to a point where customer experience will be customized for each and every lead.
The use of AR is also on the rise. While this is still largely considered a novelty in marketing, some brands are already using it successfully. Sephora offers its app users to try out makeup before buying it. Not only are they using innovative technology, but they are also resolving real issues – now it’s easy to buy makeup online without actually going to the store and trying it out. Furniture companies such as Ikea and Office Depot offer their customers a possibility to see how a certain piece of furniture or decoration will actually look in their homes. Again, this resolves a real issue of not being able to see how something will fit in before you bring it home. When it comes to AR finding ways to improve shopping experience is the way to go.
On one side, new technology enables user experience improvement, on the other, direct and honest conversation between a brand and consumers has never been more important. Steps are taken to increase trust, transparency, and authenticity across all marketing strategies. Brands should seek to connect with smaller audience segments or even 1:1 with potential leads.Whether by using AI to track behavioral patterns or directly communicating with users via social media, influencers, or interactive content, there’s never been more opportunity to have a 2-way conversation with them. Listen to their feedback and take notes – they are the ones you want converting, so their opinion counts the most!