#SMTrends2019 : 5 emerging trends that will redefine digital strategy in 2019

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Puneet Tandon, Digital Strategy Lead, COCO by DHFL General Insurance shares the digital marketing trends that will emerge in 2019 changing the industry for agencies and marketers.

It’s that time of the year again when we marketers gaze into the crystal ball and attempt to predict what the future is going to be like. As we are aware that digital is an ever-evolving industry, it is only imperative that we keep up with the upcoming trends in order to be prepared and adapt marketing strategies to make them more effective.

Before you go ahead and say, hey it’s the same old list that appears every year, I want to explicitly state it’s not. I am going to try and make this as objective as possible. So, I am omitting some usual suspects like “Content will continue to be the king” or “Influencers are going to get more important”.

Since we have set the ground rules, let’s look at the list of the digital trends that you cannot afford to miss as a marketer in 2019:

1.) Artificial Intelligence

Before you spring from your seat screaming “Skynet is here!”, let me assure you we are far from that scenario. AI is the new buzzword that you hear in any marketing conference or summit these days, and everyone says it is the future. But due to its complex nature, not many marketers and brand owners understand it.

To put it in simple terms, AI is an underlying technology that can analyze online user behavior & patterns and use data from all forms of digital channels to automate tasks that otherwise a human would have to do. One of the early uses in digital for AI is automation of Customer Response Management (or ORM) using chatbots. There used to be manual resources that traditionally responded to customer queries on Social media and other digital channels. With AI, the queries can be responded by an automated system in a way it sounds very human. This will gain importance further for brands that see high volumes of queries flowing in.

Another use case for AI is InsureTech companies analyzing a user’s online behavior and profiling to recommend what insurance policy and what add-ons will be the most suited for them. While at the onset, the technology is not perfect, but since AI employs subset tech like Machine Learning, Deep Learning etc. to learn and get smarter over time. Imagine a time when brands will be able to completely automate these processes with humans only monitoring the processes.

2.) Instant Messaging Platforms

We have come a long way from communicating via SMS and online Chat messengers (remember Yahoo! Chat?). The instant chat platforms like Whatsapp, Facebook messenger, WeChat etc. have taken over how we communicate with each other and their rising popularity can be seen from this chart below:


Data Source: Statista

There is no denying the fact that these messaging platforms are used for more than just sending emojis. These platforms have transformed from being for personal use to being critical for business usage too. A few benefits these platforms allow for businesses are:

  1. These platforms have become a part of the users’ lifestyle. This is where the business’ customers hang out. It makes sense to reach out to them here.
  2. Personalization using rich-media and URLs can be done on these platforms.
  3. These platforms are more casual and less formal like email.

So if you are a B2C (or even B2B) business and you’re on the fence before making a decision whether to include Instant Messaging Platforms like Whatsapp for Business in your communication strategy, maybe its time to take the leap.

3.) Video Content Marketing

Like it or not, videos are becoming the popular choice of medium for content creators whether it is brands or agencies or influencers.

Why, you ask? Here are some statistics to put things in perspective:

  1. 55% of people watch videos daily
  2. Youtube has over a Billion users (that’s almost 1/3rdpeople on the internet)
  3. Around 400 hours of content is uploaded on Youtube every minute

Videos are cool and all but they are expensive to use as regular social media content which makes a lot of brands averse to them. Additionally, Social Media / Digital agencies might have basic animators but do not have specialized production teams, which means they have to out-source, further increasing the cost for the brands.

However, a brand doesn’t have to always put out production level content and can include some workarounds in the content strategy. Tools like Magisto, Hyperlapse, Inshot, Splice etc. will help you make some really cool videos at a shoe-string budget.

4.) Influencer Marketing 2.0

Haven’t we all read/heard about the power Influencer Marketing brings along with it? It saw a big surge over the past couple of years and allowed brands to break the clutter by reaching out to their target audience via influential social media users who were trustworthy. With more and more brands jumping on the bandwagon, Influencer Marketing has become more of a staple in every Digital strategy presentation (even in Mainline and PR agency presentations now).

But there is a small problem. Well, small would be an understatement because of the bug known as Fake Influencers. When youngsters started realising that brands pay or give away free merchandise to “influencers”, everybody wanted to be one. Since becoming an influencer takes a lot of effort and is a slow burn, there was an easy way to reach there – bots. This allowed anyone and everyone to inflate numbers through unethical methods, fooling brands and agencies alike. But a lot has been said on this epidemic and social media platforms are already taking stringent actions to curb the fake-influencer-economy.

This will give rise to a new refined form of influencer marketing where influencers will be selected not because of their huge numbers, but for the business impact they can bring on the table. In that scenario, everyone wins.

Also read: #SMTrends2019 – Key AI Marketing trends for 2019 brands need to know of

5.) “Alexa, who is Puneet Tandon?”

A lot of marketers didn’t see Voice Search coming this early. But the evolution of Artificial Intelligence driven voice assistants from Apple (Siri), Amazon (Alexa) and Google has made brand marketers rethink their marketing strategies for 2019. Picture this:

  1. 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020. (comScore)
  2. About 30% of all searches will be done without a screen by 2020. (Gartner)
  3. The voice recognition market will be a $601 million industry by 2019. (Technavio)

This was the obvious next step for technology, if you are a Marvel fan you know we all need a Jarvis in our lives. Truly, voice assistants bring in convenience to your searches, e-commerce, home automation like never before. Brands like Zomato and Uber allow users to order food and a cab respectively through Alexa commands.

Audio search currently doesn’t have a lot of advertising like how text search does, but brands have started to take notice. SRK’s movie Zero has just launched an Alexa skill to promote the upcoming movie.

The best part about the marketing space is that there is never a dull moment as far as the industry is concerned. There is always so much new to know, to learn and to implement. With each new tech innovation, our marketing strategies are becoming more effective for the brands and more valuable for the consumers.

The above-listed trends are emerging to redefine how marketing strategies will be prepared in the future. And I can’t wait to see how.

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