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Digital Marketing Trends Expected In 2019

Here is the list of 19 digital marketing trends and predictions that people should watch out for in 2019

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2018 was a sprint to the finish for Digital India. With a 16% Y-O-Y growth in smartphone usage, India surpassed the US to become the fastest growing mobile market last year. Reliance JIO enabled this rapid rise of 4G, resulting in accelerated content consumption across the country. As internet penetration increases the digital marketing landscape will also grow. Here is the list of 19 digital marketing trends and predictions that people should watch out for in 2019.

1. Search to become Faster, Smarter, Crisper: Google will rise to give answers rather than give results. All Why’s, How’s and Where’s will be answered within Google search, without a click of a button. Brands and Content websites will need to adapt to give answers directly to stay relevant on SEO. Google’s Search AI will evolve to predict subsequent queries & answers with greater accuracy. 

2. Video Rules Over Text: Video will continue to dominate social channels, Live Video - Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube Live, in particular. A large segment of new internet users is more comfortable consuming content on video than text. Brands that recognise this will increase their share of Digital Marketing spend on Videos.

3. Users Adopting ‘Visual Search’: A new wave of Visual Search can improve search experiences for users making a search as easy as taking a picture. Pinterest has tested this with their Lens feature which allows users to take a picture of an article and subsequently find out where to purchase it.

4. Amazon as a Marketing Channel: Amazon's role as a marketing channel is to grow significantly because it has rich customer data and because it is the starting point for product searches. Amazon’s growing position as a product discovery platform will make Google put a great deal of effort to service & increase the share of products visible in search results.  

5. The growth of digital adoption in Tier 4 cities & beyond: This will push Video, Voice & Vernacular to grow, resulting in the growth of regional OTT Video Content & advertising and Voice search. In Rural & Semi-Urban markets, Digital Product launches & marketing campaigns will move increasingly from being Mobile-first to Mobile-Only.

6. We will see data in action: Mid-sized companies will adopt Customer Data Management Platforms and make better use of them to get a richer profile of a customer’s journey.

7. Data gets secure: Individuals and companies will be less willing to share data and will keep data they own more secure. There will be a tightrope walk between political parties and digital sharing platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp, and Google who will have to learn to share data ethically and in a manner that respects voters. 

8. Apps will lose their promise: Because of too many installed Apps on a phone, frequent updates needed by apps, high uninstall rates, & increasing app install fraud on phones, more consumers & companies may choose progressive web app (PWA) options. It’s likely that in 2019, services/products that pass the ‘Toothbrush Test’ (“Must be used at least twice a day”) - will be preferred as apps while the rest will be on shaky ground 

9. Catch on the go: As audiences get busier, content will be consumed on the move. This means that Omnichannel sales approach across video sites, social media, Over the Top players and Digital out of home placements during transit such as OLA Play etc will increase. This also spells the rapid growth of Digital out of home placements that are Hyperlocally relevant - eg. inside Malls, Restaurants, Bus stands, Railway Stations.

10. AI Powered Social Media: Many social channels already have AI working in their background. Such features help in image recognition and make auto recommendations of products; hence in 2019 AI will grow to power social media even more than it does today. 

11. The Rise of Creative Native Ads or Contextual placements that make the cut: Brands will aspire to make content customized to suit Gen-Z users resulting in Innovative & Interactive Ad formats – such ads will stand out but won’t interrupt the user’s flow.

12. Distribution- key in Content Marketing: Content will play a huge role in brand and product promotion but because the proliferation of ads on social channels has already saturated the medium, content will be used for product discoverability in a more subtle manner.

13. Stories Will Become Engaging: Stories, especially on Instagram, will continue to evolve - more features will be added as brands and individuals take to sharing micro-content using Stories

14. Whatsapp Ads: Whatsapp is now prime real-estate for Facebook to expand advertisements on. A person’s Whatsapp Status will be the first testing ground for ads and Meta-data sharing between Whatsapp & Facebook will also increase.

15. Brands need to be “on Brand”, so to say: Brands will increasingly try to insert themselves into the ongoing narrative on Social Media such as Memes, Topical, and Chatter. The ones that do this uniquely will succeed in translating their effort into Digital PR which will lead to sustained Brand presence. 

16. AR & VR will lead creative marketing: Amazon’s Prime Day Sale this year was a good example of marketing led by Virtual Reality. Brands will bet big on AR and VR in 2019. 

17. Year of ‘Programmatic Guaranteed’: Apprehensions over brand safety & brand suitability have been addressed to a large extent; hence it’s the right time for brands to experiment with a larger scale on Programmatic in India. Digitally enabled TV Screens, possibly Digital Out Of Home media and Audio etc - will be accessible on a single Platform in 2019.  

18. Influencers Get Niche: Influencer marketing took off in a big way last year and we will see influencer management platforms and tools that enable micro-influencers, category specific influencers who are able to drive consideration for niche products, and in-house influencers, grow in scope as brands nurture social-media-savvy employees to adopt influencer responsibilities 

19. ROI Focus on the High: Unit-economics will continue to be a buzzword for most digital companies who are focused on cost-efficiencies. Measurement and attribution will continue to be a challenge because of an increase in cross-channel advertising.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


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digital marketing

Abhishek Upadhya

The author is VP Digital Strategy & Innovation at HiveMinds, a Unit of Madison World

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Ashwini K P

The author is Head Social Media, Creative & Content at HiveMinds, a Unit of Madison World

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