Artificial intelligence (AI) and chatbots rank among the top 10 trends in digital marketing this year, said an industry expert, noting that the trends will help one be ready for challenges awaiting one’s business in 2019.
1. Artificial Intelligence
With everybody talking about AI, don’t be afraid AI will take over the world. But for sure it may have significant impact on your business sooner or later. Mechanisms will be helpful in analyzing your consumers’ behaviour and their search patterns. Making the most out of it, utilizing data from social media platforms and blog posts, you’ll be able to track customer journey and understand how your users and are looking for desired products and services. All this may lead straightforward to better understanding of your customers (by 30 per cent) and more effective performance of your content (15 per cent).
This AI-based technology can be considered as your virtual concierge, instantly communicating with your users and assisting in completing their goals with immediate answers, messaging in real-time, 24/7 chat. As research shows 90 per cent of their answers are correct, their quality and detailed approach are highly appreciated. Allowing for multi-channel consistency and knowledge centralization, they are getting more and more appreciated, especially in the Gulf region, where not everybody can understand your Call Center employees. No wonder they are becoming so popular. With 1.4 billion people interacting with chatbots worldwide, 80 per cent of savvy businesses are already using or plan to use chatbots by 2020. And by 2022, chatbots will help businesses save over $8 billion per annum, especially in the banking and healthcare industries. Adding up to it the fact, that companies using such solution are perceived as innovative, it’s a simple must have of the season.
3. Programmatic Advertising
Going shopping is always exciting, especially when somebody else is paying. But in every other occasion your cost should be reasonably calculated, and each saving will be highly appreciated. Therefore, act like a pro with programmatic advertising, which will make your campaigns more cost-effective. An automated bidding on advertising inventory in real time is a perfect opportunity to show an ad to a specific customer and in desired context. Nowadays 84 per cent of brands and marketing agencies buy display advertisement in such manner and almost two thirds do the same for their mobile campaigns. With reduced budgets and impressions wastage decreased by 30 per cent, it ensures operational efficiency as well, both from buyers’ and sellers’ perspective. No wonder, with increased targeting effectiveness up to 85 per cent indicated by ad agencies, programmatic marketing will be the best supporter in planning your marketing budget for 2019.
4. Voice search
Consumers appreciate now everything that makes their life easier, faster, hassle-free and enables data to be accessed on the go. Voice search is not about recalling the spirit of Christmas (with Kevin home alone campaign by Google) or showcasing amazing capacity of Google Duplex, presented by Sundar Pichai, booking a hairdresser appointment. It is about ease of making hands-free call, asking for directions, playing favourite song or checking for movie timings. Consumers consider it as quicker and easier, than going to a website or using app, while driving car making or simple “more fun” than other search methods. Worth considering is fact, that voice recognition devices really do matter in paid search and SEO. In US itself huge increase of solution adopters of voice enabled assistant devices is visible. Trending with 48 per cent annual growth increase in US, voice shopping will rise there to $40 billion per year in the next four years, as consumers warm up to making offscreen purchases. Have in mind, that 50 per cent of all searches will be voice searches by the year 2020. On the top of it – use of voice search can have few more advantages for your company – from improving your brand image, through being recommended by digital assistants and increasing your local relevance, up to reducing negative signals from your website, like bounce rate.
5. Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality
With three available technologies: AR (Augmented Reality, enhancing physical objects with digital content), VR (Virtual Reality – completely simulated virtual 3D environment) and MR (Mixed Reality – combining the two by creating VR environment in which physically existing objects take part) are estimated to grow into a $95 billion market by 2025. The strongest demand for technology comes from creative economy industries: gaming, live events, video entertainment and retail, but wider applications in healthcare, education, the military and real estate are predicted over time. With very positive adoption rate (96 per cent in UK!) are very likely to become the third solid way in which people choose to shop. So-called Vcommerce (Virtual Commerce) will add value as supportive technology, defining true omnichannel experience. Seems like this solution is going to bring the trust gap of potential online shoppers – allowing almost to touch and feel products and subsequently build trust with the retailer. Therefore, apart from immersive experience of VR, supporting positive interaction with the brand and used for advertising purpose, research today opportunity of practical applications like virtual changing room (how useful for clothes, glasses, watches, right?) or digital assistants (make up, furniture fitting). Yes – future is here, now and you should not definitely miss it.
6. Content marketing & Personalization
Seth Godin said that nowadays marketing is not about tuff that you make, but about the stories you tell. Indeed, we don’t buy anymore simple good or service, but go for brand promise and overall experience assured by storytelling. With words of Jay Baer – content is a fire; social media is gasoline. Therefore, content understood from perspective of superb copywriting, supported with great pictures, create only a basis for a tasty meal. The latter is going to be seasoned with proper spices: tailored-made offers supported with customized message. All combined with personalized emails, remarketing and improving techniques in measuring content effectiveness, will keep content marketing relevant and moving forward, triggering purchase motivations into desired action.
7. Video & video live
Talking about content, another valid point needs to be taken into consideration – video (especially YouTube) as an essential for your company and Live Video as another important thing and “must have” of the season. It doesn’t mean Facebook videos are out of the picture. Just the opposite. Consider there your presence with live broadcast along with Instagram (especially if your target audience are youngsters in the Middle East) or LinkedIn. Video, unlike standard display ad, allows you to interact more with your audience – with importance of storytelling, creating tension, involving more senses. If you still are not fully convinced, let these numbers speak for you: 70 per cent of consumers say that they have shared a brand’s video and 52 per cent of consumers admitted, that watching product videos makes them more confident in online purchase decisions. But video is not for B2C only! 72 per cent of businesses claim video has improved their conversion rate, 65 per cent of executives visit the marketer’s website and 39 per cent call a vendor after viewing a video. I guess these numbers show the importance of incorporating video into your digital marketing strategy in 2019, right?
With modern customers’ attention span of a goldfish (3 seconds only!) are you often racking your brain for a catchy content, that will literally nail them down? It is time to shift your approach and instead of chasing them, simply do your job well and be ready for micro-moments. This concept, discovered by Google, is nowadays gaining importance. Each micro-moment is an intent-rich moment, when a person turns to a device to act on a need, driven by purchase, activity, location or knowledge lack. These four game-changing moments really matter for your business and the simple three things you need to do is to be there, be useful and be accountable. How it works? Imagine – she saw beautiful orange heels; he needs to repair a device; finding cooking too challenging they decide to go out; kids are doing their homework and need some guidance. Sounds familiar? To help all of them, simply in your digital footprint provide seamless experience relevant to consumer’s’ needs of the moment, anticipate these moments and create relevant insights across all channels. You may be surprised how often people may need your services, products or guidance, asking simple “how to” or expressing “I wish “ as their desire. Remember, early bird catches the worm!
9. Zero-party data economy
2018 could be named after “year of trust lack”. Unfortunately, after Cambridge Analytica scandal and Mark Zuckerberg called for hearing, introduction of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) became another important threshold, starting new age of privacy. With marketers crying and weaning themselves off third-party data sets, a new day is dawning, with the shift to zero-party data. It is all the information intentionally shared by customer and never inferred. You can consider as such for example customers’ purchase intentions, filled preferences profiles, simply driven by willingness of improved personalization for products and services. Seems like this year will be marked with chase for privacy demand, supported at the same time with multiple requests to enable zero-party data driven offers.
10. Cyber threats and data privacy management
We’ve already touch the base with GDPR regulation, necessitate unambiguous consent for data collection and compelling companies to erase individual data on request, with the threat of a fine of up to 4 per cent of their global annual turnover for breaches. No more cookies, data verification, database gathering and sending emails, unless permitted. You think you can sleep safe, as it only concerns EU? Not really. If you are UAE based company operating in Europe, having European customers, or simply advertising online to Europeans, you need to. But this shift means much more. Consumers are more aware of their rights, and it is always better to prevent, than cure. On the top of that one, you need to have in mind two trends. First is social media oversharing, second – too much rush, while working on digital transformation. Both may lead to data breach and negative consequences for your brand, therefore sensitizing your customers and working on enhanced awareness is advised.
Forrest Gump said “life is like a box of chocolate. You never know, what you’re gonna get.” According to it, you may not predict the future, but for sure these trends will help you to be ready for challenges awaiting your business in 2019.
By Dr. Anna Tarabsz
Copyright 2019 Al Hilal Publishing and Marketing Group