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By Kate Scott, Head of Digital at Walsh:PR
It’s always good to take stock of what worked in your marketing and communications plan at the end of the year, but equally important to equip yourself with the knowledge and foresight for what’s going to work the following year. Check out my top picks for digital marketings trends in 2019.
To understand the importance of incorporating video into your digital marketing strategy, take a look at the below:
Video is no longer just about YouTube. 2018 saw the rise of ephemeral content (disappearing content) such as Instagram and Facebook stories. It also saw the introduction of IGTV, Instagram’s answer to the future of video for younger generations. Because of these changes, the way in which people digest and interact on social channels has changed dramatically. Creating a social post is no longer strong enough. Because of algorithm changes, it is more difficult than ever to stand out on social as a brand, so it is extremely important to understand user behaviour and how best to create relevant content that will be seen and enjoyed on these platforms. Live video continues to grow in popularity, with ‘behind the scenes’ footage of events and product production gaining traction. Now with the decreasing costs of film equipment, marketers are looking more at personalised video messages. This is called the 1:1 video approach. 360-degree videos are also on the rise, allowing audiences the opportunity to interact with your video content in a more engaging way. Take a look at Hubspot’s video infographic to really understand the power of this medium of communication.
Despite its boost in recent years, ‘influencer marketing’ is not a new phenomenon. This type of marketing, traditionally known as ‘word-of-mouth’ has been around for over a century. Taking a look at one of the world’s most popular influencers, Santa Claus himself was used to sell Coca-Cola. As many of you may know already, Coca Cola reimagined Santa’s character in the 1920s so that he was more relatable to their consumers. In the 1960s, we saw the introduction of the Milky Bar Kid. Then came Ronald McDonald, the Michelin Man and Tony the Tiger to name but a few. Consumers tend to look to a spokesperson or brand ambassador to help them with a purchasing decision, someone they trust or admire. Characters were created to strengthen connections with consumers. Influencer marketing is today’s version of brand spokespeople. Rather than hearing the brand message from a character, people are now turning to real people.
The future of influencer marketing is looking bright. So, what can we expect to see in 2019? There will definitely be a call for more authenticity in influencer marketing as consumers become more aware of being sold to. Brands who tell a story and spark a conversation with the influencer’s audience will win out in 2019. It’s a time of constant change for digital marketing, but one thing’s for certain – as people, we’ll never lose our need to connect with other people. And, despite the rise of trends in the digital age, word-of-mouth advertising still cannot be beaten. Influencer marketing is today’s version of this, where endorsers are becoming more like friends and family who we trust, admire, and, most of all, listen to.
Artificial Intelligence: Voice Search & Smart Speakers
‘Alexa, what should I get my partner for Christmas?’
‘Siri, what movies will be on RTÉ tomorrow night?’
Voice search is rising at a dramatic rate, and marketers need to be prepared for this shift in consumer behaviour. By the year 2020, 50% of all searches will be voice searches. Artificial intelligence tools like Siri, Cortana, Alexa, Amazon Echo and Google Home source most their information from search engines. Voice search technology connects consumers with what they’re looking for with an immediacy that text search cannot. The artificial intelligence powering this technology is fast becoming more advanced and is learning about consumer intent so that search will become more natural and conversational in the future. As frightening as it sounds, this artificial intelligence will soon understand who you are, where you are and what you are doing so that it can know what it is you are looking for based on your behavioural patterns.
So, how do brands prepare for this?
In summary, 2019 will focus on improving the customer experience through personalisation, artificial intelligence and authentic online influence. But at the heart of all of this is the very basics of customer marketing – making the path to purchase or intent as easy as possible for your audience. People’s attention span continues to decrease, so make sure you catch them at those magic moments and resonate with them in as personal a way as possible.
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