#Trends – What to Expect in 2019
Marketers have been talking about AI for some time, but brands are still very much behind on adoption. Why? It boils down to investing dollars into other tactics that are easier to grasp and are lower hanging fruit. Wrapping your head around all that AI can affect is tough. There are a few areas that we see headway on so far this year.
- ChatBots – These virtual assistants are helping companies improve customer service, and automating repetitive tasks that typically take a large team and even larger overhead to accomplish.
- Advertising – Research shows 67% of marketers believe that AI is currently delivering personalized headlines and advertising copy and 66% believe AI is delivering personalized advertising design formats. Looking ahead, data shows 64% of marketers think AI will deliver real-time, personalized advertising by 2020. But, regardless of thought or beliefs, the adoption is still low. 83% of marketers are aware of AI but only 14% have implemented it into their marketing strategies. *Source: IDC
- Just one word – Avastars (more about this later).
We can’t shut up about influencers and their impact on digital this year. Adoption of an influencer strategy is nearing “MUST” status for brands. 2019 is the year for consumer opinions completely trumping brand and marketing statements. Transparency and trust amongst brands is a huge factor. If you’re just getting started in the influencer strategy, take this tip. Let influencers do what they do best. Tell a great story and allow the influencing to be organic. Too often, brands want to hold control over the what’s, when’s, how’s of an influencer’s approach to promotion of the product, brand, etc. and that dilutes the entire intention.
- Avastars are on the rise. You’re probably thinking, what in the hell is an avastar?! Just typing this word confirms just how close we are to 2020. It just seems so futuristic, right? Well, we’re here. They’re here. Avastars that is. Meet Lil Miquela. She has 1.5m followers on Instagram, and the company that owns her, Brud, is closing a new round of funding between $20m and $30m to continue developing her and a slew of other avastars. Crazy, right?!
- Micro-Influencers like mom bloggers, foodies, socially-versed locals, and avid travelers are increasing in demand as brands look to adoption of influencer strategy combined with a niche approach. Budget has a lot to do with this group as well, especially as smaller businesses get on board.
3. Ad Fraud
The fight against ad fraud is surging. If you’re in digital advertising, you find yourself at the mercy of top ad exchanges, networks, and publishers. We’re also at the mercy of ad fraud and click fraud.
Ad fraud is gaining more attention than ever and moving up in importance amongst the right people. This is a good thing. The not so good thing is that click and ad fraud amongst mobile is on the rise with little protection and nearly 70% of digital ad spend this year will be on mobile.
It comes down to accountability and transparency. If you’re using an exchange, be diligent in your questions about how that platform is dealing with ad fraud. You must stay informed. If you have an agency or a team handling the advertising directly with networks and publishers, be sure your teams are looking at the data, analytics and opportunities for ad fraud amongst your buys. We have to remember that ad fraud doesn’t just stop at clicks, views, engagements, etc. but also affects your online conversions. Forms, surveys, apps, downloads can be fraud as well. Bottom line, don’t wait for others to try and solve this. It won’t be anytime soon.
4. Native Advertising
Consumers are not about constant disruptions in their online experience and they demand a better ad experience. Same with mobile. According to eMarketer, 1 in 4 internet users are actively blocking ads. This trend is going to continue to rise and affect our ability to target and message audiences across the board.
As a way to better the user’s experience with ads, brands are moving a larger amount of ad spend to native buys. Native ads are expecting to reach $41.14 billion, 61.4% of the total ad spending in 2019.
I think we say this every year that we put out a trends article. If you aren’t creating video as part of your marketing efforts, you WILL lose market share.
It’s not only about recorded and promoted video, it’s all about stories and live video. Facebook, Instagram, and now even YouTube are focused on this shift this year. Brands are embracing this shift and allocating more of their ad spend to sponsored stories. People spend an average of 3 hours and 35 minutes on their smartphones every day, and this year, mobile devices will be the medium that gets the most minutes in the U.S. (finally surpassing television). Not only is it easier than ever to record high-quality video, it’s easier than ever to edit and post video content. Let’s get it.