As 2018 fades away, it is an opportune time to think about what 2019 looks like. Here are Senior Consultant Dr Amanda Olsson’s top predictions for social, digital and PR in the year ahead…
MOBILE CONTINUES TO DOMINATE with more than 1.2 billion users.
VIDEO!!! Adding a video to your email boosts click throughs by 200-300% according to HubSpot. This trend is still hot, and we expect more companies to be using this more regularly and with greater sophistication. We also expect more brand voices, not just the CEO’s or senior leadership team, so that different customers and demographics can be reached more authentically.
SIMULTANEOUS VIEWING will continue to dominate. This means that people will surf their tablet whilst watching TV, or watch their tablet whilst working on their computer. We also expect more engagement whilst you use these platforms. Think of The Voice and the integration with voting online, texting your vote or chatting about voting through Facebook pages. How will this affect your industry? You need to make the leap and not just put these developments into the fast-moving consumer goods category or the consumables category. Every brand has a market and those that flourish are able to see the implications of trends and be early users and adopters.
THOUGHT LEADERSHIP is increasingly sought after yet to few engage in true thought leadership. You need to speak clearly and loudly about something that you are passionate about. True leaders aren’t afraid to speak up. Those that will speak up will gain followers and brand loyalty and this content needs to be true, interesting and relevant.
More connections via social media platforms and MORE INTEGRATION OF APPS AND CHANNELS across these channels. More apps will talk to each other and they will integrate better. As an example, Google Mini has been limited to a few tasks but expect better integration with a broader range of tools.
More AUGMENTED REALITY being used by more brands to improve customer experiences.
More VOICE-BASED SEARCH. You can already easily send voice-based texts via Siri. Expect to see this more widely used with greater integration across different tools. Brand need to think about the words people will use when they search as opposed to the words that people use when they type content.
Greater need for MORE CONVERSATIONAL CONTENT that aligns better with voice search. Too often brands want copy that reads like a website or brochure. People don’t speak like this and your brand needs to adapt to these search terms in the language that they use. I spend my days with brands who value growth and transparency yet I could easily rename this content with a different industry and it would almost read the same. Be true to what you do and make your website reflect what you do rather than using meaningless words and vacuous terminology. Talk about what you do, how you do it well and make me understand this.
CHATBOTS – Chatbots are on the rise and you should expect to see them being used more widely and by more channels and brands.
SNACK SIZED ADS of 10 seconds. People turn off from long content and are bored halfway through most ads. Keep it tight, simple, memorable and your message will resonate better.
CLUSTER -BASED CONTENT is a way to improve SEO performance. We recommend adding long-tail key words with links back to the main hyperlinked keywords or pillars to drive engagement. Topic clusters position you as an expert in your field.
TRANSPARENCY of brand messaging. Admitting that this is who you are and what you stand for. Companies need to take ownership of mistakes as they simply cannot be hidden and too many brands have felt the wrath of this after diligent customers search online and prove them wrong.
As a corollary to this, brands need to take OWNERSHIP OF NEGATIVE FEEDBACK rather than attempting to hid this or run away from a negative comment. You can get out quicker and with your brand reputation intact if you own up to a mistake or gaff immediately.
Longer RELATIONSHIPS WITH AMBASSADORS to create more authentic content. Short term engagements are seen of as simply buying likes and the value of the relationship is negated. Brand that engage and create partnerships with ambassadors will do better than those than simply purchase an influencer.
Next year predictions are that video will be 80% of internet traffic and GEO-LOCATED VIDEOS with video based storytelling in micro-moments are on the rise.
Move to VERTICAL VIDEO reflecting phone design.
More AUTOMATION OF SIMPLE TASKS and requests taking customer-centric marketing to a whole new place.
More imaginative, creative STORYTELLING TO ENGAGE people on line better. Quality will continue to jump in leaps and bounds.
NATIVE ADVERTISING will continue to flourish and be a more integrated part of content. You won’t know that you are seeing an ad as they will be deeply enmeshed. Think about product placement and this is where native advertising will find additional footing.
People are continuing to run away from ads so MORE CONTENT MARKETING, INFLUENCER MARKETING, REFERRAL MARKETING.
Greater focus on GEN Z as they move into the workforce.
More SOCIAL LISTENING by brands. Customers may not necessarily follow or engage with your brand online, so you need to find them where they are and go beyond your own channels to gain insights and manage brand health.
MESSENGER MARKETING as a valid communication channel – with open rates 10x higher than emails and SMS this is a channel you want to be part of.
EPHEMERAL MARKETING e.g. Snapchat. You want to create a sense of FOMO if you don’t follow and stay engaged with the brand.