Technology: the ever-evolving arena we live in as digital marketers. Gone are the days when artificial intelligence and voice searches were confined to the sci-fi genre; instead they’ve become a daily part of our lives. 2019 will undoubtedly bring even more advanced trends in the digital landscape, and as marketers, it’s our job to stay on top of them.
Instagram Live, Facebook Live, YouTube Live… Everywhere you turn, you now have the ability to engage with followers in real time, to allow them to feel as if they are “part of the moment.” Not only is it a quick, and inexpensive, way to connect with your audience, it also carries with it a sense of authenticity. Live streaming means unscripted dialogue, immediate interaction through likes and comments, and it literally gives a face to the brand, instantly making you that much more memorable. Specifically, live video is becoming more popular for giving followers a “behind the scenes” look at what you do, how your product is made, who you are, etc. Vimeo found that 82 percent of viewers would rather watch a live video than view a social media post from brands they follow.
By 2020, it’s estimated that 50 percent of all searches will be conducted by voice, whether that be through a smart speaker, laptop or smartphone. While this may still feel like a relatively new trend, it can no longer be ignored. Unlike typed searches that tend to be short and concise, voice searches are conversational, meaning content needs to be more conversational as well. Think about keywords people use to speak rather than type and make sure your copy reads well out loud and not just on a page. As the popularity for AI devices like the Amazon Alexa and Google Home continues to grow, so will the need to sell ad space across the platform.
These days it is not uncommon to click onto a website’s landing page and immediately be greeted by a pop-up chat box in a bottom corner of your screen offering to help guide you through the site or answer any of your questions. However, it’s likely not an actual person you would be interacting with, but a chatbot powered by artificial intelligence. Even so, though, this offers visitors a more personalized experience. If they were in a physical store there would be someone there to help them, so why should the online version be any different? Not to mention, chatbots are available 24/7. Even when you’re sleeping or taking time off, your customer is still having someone take care of them. They’re also equally popular across generations as both millennials and baby boomers are comfortable interacting with chatbots.
Facebook had its privacy scandal and subsequent investigation, Twitter is bogged down by fake accounts, SnapChat is struggling to generate revenue, yet Instagram grows ever stronger. In 2018, Instagram hosted 93 percent of influencer campaigns making it the most popular marketing platform. A 2016 study by Google shows that 70 percent of teenage YouTube audiences are influenced more by YouTubers than traditional celebrities. Influencers have become famous by showing their expertise in a particular niche, e.g., fashion, travel, makeup, etc., and thus become trusted on those specific topics. Influencer marketing is also expected to grow even more competitive in 2019, so start forging those relationships now, before someone else does.