The year 2018 saw a lot of transformation in marketing, from big guys like Mark Zuckerberg and Sundar Pichai being questioned in front of the Senate, to GDPR coming into effect, to the launch of Android Pie. Consumers are more aware and cautious of their privacy than ever before. All of this is going to impact marketing as a function and here are the trends that brands should watch out for in 2019.
Augmented Reality reaches masses
Google launched the 1st release of ARCore (a software development kit) in March 2018 which opened the doors for building augmented reality experiences. A lot of applications (mobile & web) with AR experience will be coming up, opening whole new avenues of possibilities around shopping, hotel booking, events, simulations, training, education, and so on. Imagine wearing shirts before buying from your camera lens, or being inside a hotel room before booking. Remember PokemonGo? That’s an application for Augmented Reality.
There are a lot of fun games and applications if your smartphone supports ARCore! I just tried Sketchfab on Andriod Pie, and it’s fantastic! Look at the car on my sofa 🙂
Omni Channel Marketing Content
One-size-fits-all will no longer work. With Google awarding separate ranks for desktop and mobile users and YouTube being the second largest search engine, the new imperative for brands is to have an omnichannel content strategy. Your users are everywhere, consuming more content for business and personal purposes. It was okay to be on one or a few specific channels some time ago but not anymore; the biggest trend I observed that every product brand in social media is doing advertising on the channels owned by their immediate competition. Why? They see prospects and consumers across all channels.
LinkedIn advertises on google display network
Google ads are also seen on LinkedIn now (notice the right-hand top side)
Twitter advertising on Linkedin
LinkedIn and Facebook advertising on Google (ads in yellow)
It basically means that all combinations are possible now. If those leading brands are doing this, why shouldn’t you?
Voice Search will continue to Grow!
With the rise of smart speakers like Amazon Echo, Google Home and Sonos one, voice search will continue to grow in 2019. Currently, most of the applications of voice search are towards local searches. It will also expand to real-life situations like shopping. It will also go depending on which company owns what. For instance, Amazon owns Echo and Amazon eCommerce, so people can sho while ordering from Alexa. Since more than 50% of shopping-based searches in the US originate on amazon, they will continue to lead this domain. For marketing, in this example, it means to be a listed product on Amazon, so people can order while talking to Alexa. Enable voice search on your website and do local SEO.
Slow Growth in Visual Search
Google and Bing do offer visual search, although it is not used as extensively as text-based search. The last two years have been a challenge, and a lot of players in this market were trying to figure out the accuracy levels from image search results. Pinterest, Amazon, and eBay offer visual search, too, along with a lot of small players, like TinEye and picsearch. This domain will continue to see more niche players and will continue to grow. For marketing, having text and image alt tags, embedding visual search among apps, and building image libraries is a good way to get started. Upon advancements, advertising opportunities will slowly grow in visual search as well.
Example: you can upload and image or URL of the image to start searching
More Creative Investments in Video
According to Google, in 2018, video advertising was used at every stage of the buyer’s journey from awareness to consideration. We also see more vlogs than blogs today. This trend will continue, and a significant amount of marketing and creative budgets will move towards videos. The same is true for advertising on LinkedIn as well. Less than 15 seconds as video duration tend to perform better than longer ones.
Social Media Listening and rise of AI Analysts
Consumer voices are best heard while doing social media listening. AI has wonderful applications in this field, last month Brandwatch, launched Iris, a personal AI analyst for faster social media insights. These AI Analysts are expected to take up a lot of manual jobs that social listening or social intelligence professionals may be doing today, like collating data and analyzing trends. For marketing, it means, being an early adopter of AI Analyst will give you an upper edge for deriving insights.
GenZers entering workforce
About 61 Million GenZers (people born in 1997 onwards) are going to enter the workforce in the US alone. Current markets are dominated by millennials at most. Gen Zers seem to value success, with professional and academic achievement ranking as most important. Marketing will be impacted by their lifestyle, habits, ambitions, choices, and working style. For marketing, this also means, being heavy on social media expenditures, finding out ways to build a cult brand, and so on.
Censored Search & Project Dragonfly
Of late, there has been a lot of hype and news around Google working on Project Drangonfly for the Chinese government to create a censored search engine. A few Google employees also signed letters against a censored search engine for China in November 2018. This would basically mean the end of transparency and democracy of search engines, globally. Sundar Pichai in his latest hearing with the senate reassured that “they have no plans for launch in China” for now.
Marketing Certifications will have lesser Value
Every Product OEM that owns any marketing product is trying to build a mindshare and gain from educational means. While Hubspot was an early entrant to training and certifications, SEMrush, Adobe and Google are a few of the successful brands in this field. Now, there are way too many products, and with every product comes training and thus certification. It is also a fact that not every company is as great a brand as Google. One, the quality goes down when you have too many certifications that are product-related in the market and, secondly, recruiters and managers will have a tough time deciding what to look for in a resume towards certifications.
I did cover a lot of such online courses, and I can safely say that most of them try to teach you the product functionalities and that the questions are framed accordingly. This trend shall continue unless regulatory bodies check and define those qualifications; however, the very nature of digital being dynamic will have challenges to be defined!
Look at the people fighting on PPC for the keyword “digital marketing courses list” for instance as here.
Universal Basic Income
UBI or universal basic income has been debated for over 2 years now. AI and automation is expected to take away a lot of jobs that we do today and it is happening already. Several recent studies project that about 47% to 50% of all existing jobs will disappear in next 25 years. The same is backed by prominent industry leaders like Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg etc. In fact, Ontario, Canada started running a pilot project for Universal Basic Income to know how the money affected health, income, effort and work and housing status among its recipients. This has, unfortunately, been called off by the new government. About 100 CEOs are requesting the government to bring it back, though! If it was allowed for 3 years as planned, there could have been a vast amount of data to analyze if the world really needs a universal basic income.
There are a couple of other countries running this project; Sikkim in India intends to roll this out soon, and it is just a matter of time. Every corporate and marketing team will be impacted from this out-of -the-box approach.
Social Media would strongly influence the global Politics
Gone are the days when political social media content could be ignored. You can easily find political campaigns being run on social media to drive influences, donations, charity, opinion polls, exit polls and so on. Politicians have direct access to their voters through social media. It is mutually beneficial for social media companies like Facebook and Twitter as they get advertising dollars and for political parties, as they connect with direct voters. Opinions driven and benefit to the consumers is questionable though!
During late 2018, Twitter came up with a whole new policy around political campaigning in the US. The account information and, deletion and related requests have also seen a spike in the last year.
The content removal requests have also seen a spike since 2009 in Google; whilst reasons cited could be multiple among governments, there will be hidden political interests as well.