For the past six months, digital advertisers have been busy implementing marketing strategies in accordance with trends that looked promising around this time last year. And now that we are at the halfway point of 2018, it is time to begin this cycle anew.
While the trends of yesteryear won’t start losing relevance just yet, a slew of new ones is already on the horizon. Since marketing is in a constant state of flux due to technological developments, shifts in consumer opinion, or the introduction of the new legislature, staying on top of trends is par for the course for everyone involved in the field.
Unfortunately, the dynamic nature of modern marketing makes it easy for opportunists, charlatans, and con-artists to peddle their spiel with impunity, usually by promoting advertising ideas and techniques that have little basis in reality. So to understand what is going in marketing, and where things are heading in the coming year, you first need to separate the proverbial wheat from the chaff, i.e. figure out which trends are going to be worth your time.
To aid you in this task, we have scoured the web for trends that show the most promise, gathering the results in a handy list which you can find below.
1. Marketing Automation Through AI
Over the past several years, AI-based technologies have slowly been making their way from R&D labs into the mainstream. Enterprise-level AI solutions, as well as consumer-grade AI products, are becoming more widely available, and as a result, they are seeing increased use in multiple industries, including marketing.
In terms of advertising, what AI brings to the table is smart automation. As marketing is becoming more data-driven, there is a rise in demand for systems that can process vast quantities of information in real-time, and then act on the results without needing additional oversight. Since AIs are better equipped than humans to handle these tasks by design, marketing agencies are starting to make more use of them in their day to day operations.
Some of the examples of AI-driven marketing automation include:
- customer profiling, whereby customer activity is being tracked across multiple channels and networks, allowing marketers to have an accurate, up-to-date picture of their target audience at all times
- chatbots, which are a powerful tool for customer engagement, as well as a means to automate processes such as customer support
- advanced performance tracking for advertising campaigns, which is essential for making adjustments on-the-fly
2. Content Adapted for Voice-Search
Mobile-first design is a trend that has taken off a while ago, and it has caused numerous offshoots in the process. One of them is a renewed focus on voice-search. Browsing the web on a portable device while on the move has led hardware designers and software developers to explore user interfaces, and voice-based ones have proven to be one of the more convenient options. The fact hasn’t gone unnoticed in the world of marketing.
What voice-search brings to the table in terms of marketing, is a new paradigm for content creation. Presently, digital advertising content relies on phrases and keywords that target written search queries. Such queries are expressed in a particular kind of lingo, which differs from the one we use in everyday speech. Since voice-search queries are more likely to be phrased in the latter, creating content that matches the tone, grammar, and vocabulary of an everyday spoken language is set to become a priority in 2019.
Adapting marketing content for voice-search involves:
- using long tail keywords, phrases, and sentences, instead of abstract arrays of words which are better suited for written search queries
- anticipating the specific questions consumers are making, and creating content that has the form of an answer you would get in conversation
- optimizing for local SEO, as voice-search queries usually have immediate practical significance for the consumer
3. Combining Video and Native Marketing
Video content has skyrocketed in popularity in recent decades thanks to platforms like YouTube, Twitch, Netflix, and Vine. Video advertising quickly followed suit, as evidenced by the plethora of ads that you can see running before, after, or during videos hosted on these services. More recently, video advertising has begun to transition into a new phase, one that is marked by the ample use of principles of native marketing.
Instead of creating a video with the specific intent to promote a service or product, marketers are now attempting to blur the line between advertising and regular video content, as per the principles of native marketing. This simply means that the ad part of the video is no longer separated from the content. In other words, video ads no longer have a recognizable form that can be used to identify them, allowing them to bypass consumer resistance to ads.
To capitalize on the new wave of video advertising, marketers ought to:
- start working with influencers and other independent video creators. The indie scene has traditionally been the source of some of the best video designs in the recent years
- optimize video for viewing on portable devices, in order to capitalize on the growing mobile audience
- integrate video content into websites and social media profiles, to ensure maximum possible exposure
4. AR-powered Multimedia Advertising Campaigns
Augmented reality is still a technology in its infancy, but what we have seen so far shows a lot of promise. The ability to add digital properties to physical objects is a game changer for industries such as marketing, which thrive on multi-channel interaction with consumers.
The idea behind AR advertising is to give the consumer a fully-immersive experience while maintaining complete control over all channels of interaction. AR advertising campaigns share a lot of similarities with video-games. Each action the player takes and each piece of feedback he receives are meant to keep him engaged with the overarching narrative, which is itself based around a particular product or service that is being promoted.
Some of the benefits of AR-powered advertising are:
- increased consumer engagement, in response to being given an opportunity to participate in a fun activity
- positive word of mouth on the street, as a result of consumers interacting face to face with each other during a campaign
If these trends are anything to go by, 2019 is shaping up to be another promising year for advertising. New technologies are being introduced, old strategies are being updated, and the industry as a whole is growing. Keeping an eye on trends is the essential part of future-proofing, and we hope that our article has brought you up to speed on what’s likely to happen in the world of marketing in the coming year.