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Have you seen Hunger Games? A bunch of kids fighting for their lives in a constantly changing environment. You either adapt to what’s currently happening or you die.

Comparing the advertising landscape to Hunger Games might be an exaggeration. But the fact remains that our industry is evolving like crazy. Technologies released within the past few years are already strongly affecting the market. Companies providing innovations are appearing at a faster pace than ever, disrupting the advertising world as we know it.

There’s still a few months till the end of 2018. Use this time to examine and rethink your marketing strategy for next year. Get to know the seven most powerful marketing trends or….

Authenticity wins. Always.

As consumers are increasingly distrusting of advertising and marketing, not even authenticity but even brutal honesty is becoming critical for brands.

The great majority of consumers (86 percent) states that authenticity is an important factor when deciding what brands to support (Stackla Report)This number is even higher among millennials. Since people place more trust in humans than in brands, influencer marketing has been, and still is, trending up. We might be blind when it comes to ads. On the other hand, authentic content, generated voluntarily by fellow customers,, catches our eyes easily.

One of the greatest examples of how to use UGC (User Generated Content) is provided by GoPro. There are almost 5000 videos posted online each day with the #GoPro hashtag – from cliff diving and vertical skydiving to filming wild nature and eco-friendly initiatives. How did they manage to grow such engagement? While their competitors’ content simply talks about waterproof lenses and metapixel levels, GoPro’s content glorifies passion, inspires and fills with awe. Through trusted and engaging UGC, used throughout their multichannel marketing efforts, they win consumers hearts (and wallets).

Make an effort to motivate your customers to share their experiences with your brands. It will definitely pay off, as consumers are three times more likely to say that content created by a consumer is authentic compared to content created by a brand.

Voice Search Is On The Rise

Almost one third of the 3.5 billion searches performed on Google every day are voice searches, with personal assistant devices leading the way (TheeDesign, 2017). More and more people use Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri and Google Assistant everyday. As their capacity for recognizing human speech has improved significantly, they can be incredibly helpful in both searching for information on the Web and doing things around the house.

What does this shift to voice search mean for marketers? Mostly, a lot of work.

Voice search differs from the typical desktop or mobile search. When you open Google on your browser and type in your search query, you’ll see hundreds of pages of search results. It’s not that hard to be one of them. But when you ask Siri a question, it will give you just a few results. Many times, only one. If your website is one of them, the CTR can potentially be much higher. But it needs to be there in the first place. Therefore, tailoring your SEO strategy for voice search is crucial.

Voice recognition technology is only expected to grow and to improve. It will bring a significant disruption to the marketing world. We always focused on SEO and optimization of UX and UI, but when there is no screen then these aspects become irrelevant. How will businesses adapt to these changes? For now, there is no answer to this question.

ComScore estimates, that by 2020, half of all search queries will be voice-based. Understanding the nuances of voice search and implementing them into your marketing strategy will definitely be worthwhile.

AI Offers What Humans Can’t

Artificial intelligence is the hot topic in marketing. Even though many still don’t understand it’s capabilities and limitations, the technology is taking a shape.

The most widely implemented form of AI are chatbots, which help brands to improve customer service while keeping a lid on budgets. Chatbots are quicker than humans in giving any data-related answers and taking requests. They have humor and personalities and offer personalized service to any customer in need, any time. Chatbots can be integrated with a website, an application, and even with a social media platform. They also gather user information that can later be used to better tailor marketing strategies.

One great example of chatbot use is WeChat, the dominant mobile messaging platform in China, with more than one billion monthly active users (Statista). Besides its main purpose which is sending private messages, WeChat lets you handle a bunch of shopping-related activities, such as: getting a taxi or some takeout, customizing and ordering a pair of Nikes, booking a doctor’s appointment or paying your bills.

Having said all that, the chatbots trend is not going to leave the digital marketing industry without making its mark in the coming years as AI research improves.

AI is also rising in the Programmatic advertising space, as it can help marketers to more efficiently buy ads and to target audiences more specifically. This is all done to increase the chances of success of the marketing campaign and reduce the customer acquisition costs. AI technology gives marketers a chance to finally be able to deliver on the promise of “right user, right message, right time, right place.” Not only by anticipating who might engage with an ad, but also by being able to quickly pass on a bid opportunity in their media-buying system.

Micro-Moments Are Taking Over A Consumer Journey

Today’s consumers are bombarded by content, ads, offers, emails, push notifications and everything else. All the time. We have reached the point, where we simply cannot process any more information. As U.S. consumers already spend 3 hours 35 minutes per day on their smartphones (eMarketer), brands and marketers have a really hard time attracting the attention of their audience. That’s where micro-moment marketing steps in.

The micro-moment is a new type of consumer behavior, which occurs when people reflexively turn to a device, usually a smartphone, to act on a need to learn something, do something, get to know something or buy somethingThere are a lot of different types of micro-moments such as I-want-to-know moment, I-want-to-go-moment, I-want-to-do moment or I-want-to-buy moment. According to Google’s content marketing team, Think with Google,users experience “micro-moments” on average 150 times a day.

Why are micro-moments so important? Because people, in general, make instant decisions on what to buy, where to go or which restaurant to eat at, which gives you a span of only seconds to catch their attention. Micro-moments work, because they provide consumers with the right information exactly when they need it.

Ultimately, the whole consumer decision journey is a combination of these micro-moments across all channels and devices. The successful brands of tomorrow will be those meeting their consumers needs in these micro-moments.

AR & VR – There Isn’t Just One Reality Anymore

Today’s user wants basically two things – to be engaged and to be an active participant in brand messaging. Augmented and Virtual Realities (AR and VR) can fulfill both of these needs, offering brands tremendous opportunities in the field of customer experience.

Businesses are already embracing the power of this new technology in creating brand awareness, as well as in selling individual products. IKEA, for example, has been using VR gaming technology since 2016. With its shopping app, IKEA VR Experience, its customers’ can try out different IKEA solutions before buying them. Other big players that have experimented with AR include Nivea, Starbucks and Volkswagen.

Virtual and Augmented Realities are becoming increasingly commonplace as a marketing tool for brands. The VR and AR market is supposed to be worth 27 billion dollars.  It is expected that in only four years, it will reach the size of 209.2billion dollars (Statista).

VR and AR marketing are still emerging, so it’s a great time to explore your options and get ahead of the curve.

Social Media Has Taken Over

There are 3.196 billion global social media users, which equates to 42% market penetration (We are Social). With numbers like that, its significance to the society cannot be ignored — especially in the marketing world.  

As social media has become embedded in almost everyone’s daily life, understanding the changes implemented in the social networks is essential for businesses. And these change a lot. The most popular social trends right now are video, automation, and influencers, but there is much more. I’ve taken the time to analyze today’s social media landscape and identified the crucial trends for 2019.

What you should remember above all is that dominating a single platform is not enough anymore. Your leads on Facebook are not on YouTube, and those on YouTube are different to those reading your website content. As such, the key to your success is to repurpose your content across multiple (relevant) platforms.

Social media has a big impact. If you haven’t given much thought to your social media marketing strategy yet, now is the time.

Visual Search Might Be Bigger Than You Think

Machine learning is taking online search to new levels, and it’s not just voice search that’s on the rise. While many have been focused on the marketing potential of capturing conversational queries thrown at personal assistants, big brands such as Google, Pinterest and Microsoft have been focused on developing a stronger competitor in interactive SEO: visual search.

How does visual search work? When Google first presented its Lens last year, it was described as a kind of search in reverse. Rather than type a text query and get image results, you could point your phone’s camera at an object to find text-based information.

Visual Search would identify objects within the image and then search for images related to those objects. For instance, based on an image of a bed, you’d be able to use visual search to shop for an identical or similar bed to the one in the image.

While the above sounds pretty incredible, the technology surrounding visual search is still limited. This is because machine learning must recreate the mind’s image processing before it can effectively produce a viable visual search application. It’s not only about identifying an image. The machine must be able to recognize a variety of colors, shapes, sizes, and patterns the way the human mind does.

As 93% of consumers consider visuals to be the key deciding factor in a purchasing decision (Kissmetrics), visual search engines are bound to revolutionize the retail industry.   

Conclusion:

The advertising scene continuously grows, what inevitably leads to changes.

New marketing trends come to the surface year by year. Some of them stay to reshape the industry; some of them fade away pretty quickly.

Make sure you know how to distinguish them.

Do your research.

And when it’s needed – adapt.

Biggest marketing trends of 2019 –  Friends or Foes? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Key takeaways:

  • Be authentic. Make use of User Generated Content, as people are three times more likely to believe their fellow customers than the brand itself.
  • By 2020, half of all search queries will be voice-based. Make sure you understand the nuances of voice search and implement them into your marketing strategy.
  • The whole consumer decision journey is a combination of the micro-moments across all channels and devices. If you want to succeed tomorrow, meet your consumers’ needs in these micro-moments.
  • VR and AR marketing are still emerging. It’s a great time to explore your options and get ahead of the curve.
  • If you’re not on social media, you don’t exist.
  • Visual search technology will be able to provide new opportunities for brands to engage and interact with their target markets in a whole new way.
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