2019 Trend Forecast – Digital Communications
Three months ago
Our Digital Strategist highlights the key advances in digital communication to be aware of in the year ahead.
Beth Stewart, Digital Strategist
Personalisation is a must
Personalising content and digital marketing so it is relevant to your audience will be crucial for brands in 2019 – 42% of consumers are less interested in a brand’s products and services if the content the brand provides is not personally relevant to them.*
“More than ever, consumers expect and demand a personally relevant experience wherever they go and whatever they do digitally. Digital marketers who leave this irreversible trend unaddressed are missing a tremendous business opportunity and placing their brands and business results at risk.”
To understand what is personally relevant to your customers, it will become imperative to first research their individual likes, dislikes, needs and motivations and develop a profile – or Audience Typology – for them so, meaningful content can be strategically developed to engage them.
In the coming year, you will see subtle logo animations and small motion graphic sequences online that add to overall user experience, for example, an interesting roll-over effect or an elegant page transition. You will also start to notice more ‘micro-interactions’ on mobile platforms – discreet animations used purely to charm the user. These understated visual effects on a website or in digital advertisements can enhance your visual identity and encourage greater user engagement.
Micro animations: Nick Buturishvili
Social Media vs Customer Experience
While many companies still set KPIs to measure ROI for social media, it is only one part of a bigger journey for brands and their customers. Likes and follows alone are meaningless metrics – social needs to be part of a larger omni-channel strategy including all digital and offline marketing initiatives to truly strengthen a brand’s relationship with its customers.
Dark social is on the rise – it is getting harder to measure true engagement. While your post ‘shares’ may be declining, this does not account for people saving your content and sending it privately via messenger apps such as Slack and WhatsApp, which are fast becoming a primary form of communication. Publicly writing messages on a friend’s Facebook profile is now less common and often reserved only for special occasions.
Speed is key – especially on mobile
We’ve always known that slow websites lose audiences but since July last year, Google has been rolling out their Speed Update algorithm so websites that perform slowly on a mobile now also rank lower in search results.
This will continue in 2019, and with the rise of Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)** – the search results with a thunderbolt icon next to them – a slow website will be damaging to any brand.
AI, Machine Learning and Voice First
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Chatbots are vital in the age of customer centricity. Constant developments in machine learning and the rise of Alexa and Google Home mean that establishing trust with customers will eventually depend not only on responding instantly, but also solving a problem or finding an answer for each user.
The ‘Voice First’ tech innovation will definitely become more of a focus for big brands this year as these in-home products gain in popularity – specific apps can be developed to teach a voice device new skills and to raise awareness for your brand.
Approximately 20% of Google searches on mobile are done via voice command and this is projected to grow as voice recognition technology increases.
Video as a staple
In 2019, video marketing should be a core-marketing tactic for your brand, not an afterthought. With the growth of live online video content, including the introduction of Instagram TV and YouTube Live, and Facebook continually optimising their algorithm to prioritise video, it will become the norm for communication with your audience. With the multitude of video editing apps now available, anyone can be a video producer so quality content will be vital.
Put simply, if you’re not doing video marketing, you should be.
By 2021, mobile video will account for 78% of total mobile data traffic. ***
*Source: PR News Wire
**Source: AMP Project
***Source: Cisco Visual Networking Index
This is the second part of our 2019 Trend Forecast series.