A new year can best be described as nature’s own ephemeral content. It allows us to post, share and access moments that last 365 days, after which it disappears totally out of existence. In 2019, the good, the bad, and the ugly will definitely dominate the digital space (as it does every year). But, before you start getting dazed as things begin to play out big time right before your eyes, it is safe to get familiar with trends that we expect to drive marketing communications this year. Here they are:
Visual continues to rule
Every year, there’s always a significant change in the content consumption taste of social media audiences. Riding on its year-on-year prominence, visuals, including ephemeral content, video content, and live streaming is expected to dominate marketing communication efforts in 2019.
According to experts, 80% of what we consume online will be video content. Also, we expect that the shift to more personal ways of engaging on social media with ephemeral contents will cement ‘stories’ place over ‘feeds’ as the primary way people share content with friends. Live streaming is also expected to continue its rise as a powerful tool to interact, engage and strengthen relationships between a brand and its followers on social media.
Continued rise of messaging
Interestingly, messaging apps already overtook social media apps in terms of usage, and they’ll definitely play bigger in 2019. The 2.8 billion active users shared between Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp (both owned by Facebook) paint the picture of this reality. This is another manifestation of the shift to personalization among social users.
Instead of sharing openly on social networks, people are moving beyond public posts and opting to engage in private or small group conversations when interacting with friends and even their favourite brands. For brands, this creates a whole new frontier as eyeballs shift to private feeds. And by understanding how people use messaging apps, brands can find the much sought after engagement that has continued to decline on social media.
Whatsapp to do more for businesses
Image credit: TechErina
One area where the demand for messaging has continued to rise is customer service. In 2018, banks like UBA, Diamond and Stanbic IBTC quickly adopted artificial intelligence, in the form of Chatbots, to provide personalized customer experience. In 2019, more and more brands will enhance their online customer service options with the launch of their own Chatbots, and also leverage AI bots for lead generation and social selling. According to Hootsuite, more than 85% of all customer service interactions will be powered by AI bots by 2020.
With the release of the Whatsapp business API last year, and the deployment of UBA’S Leo on Whatsapp, we expect it to emerge as a primary social customer service channel in 2019.
No doubt, we saw a significant spike in the adoption of social media influencer marketing by brands in 2018. But, with the growing number of social media influencers, the cost of their services, the ascent of messaging apps and ephemeral contents, more brands will look to play big with micro-influencer marketing in 2019. Micro-influencers are often considered experts in their niche (and they exist in every marketing niche). Unlike major influences, micro-influencers do not have as many followers, but most of their followers are genuinely interested in what they have to say.
Reign of Augmented Reality (AR)
Augmented Reality is expected to continue its reign as a tool for brands to creatively and innovatively connect with their audience and customers. Over the last few years, social media and AR have combined well to serve us eye-popping digital experiences, and now feels like the time we’d get to see further application of this feature in marketing communications.
Propelled by an increase in its deployment on mobile devices and tablets and a seemingly unquenchable thirst for personalized customer experience, AR can make brand messages more engaging, fun and even more actionable.
Of course, we are sure that this year wouldn’t pass without the release of new tools, and there will be challenges faced by marketers in trying to cope with them. Nevertheless, we are confident 2019 will be an eventful year for social media and we can’t wait to start getting a taste of the juice.