Customer brand interactions
Brands need to engage and interact with increasingly savvy customers online. No longer is a brand just a provider of a great product or service, they need to be part of people’s lives to differentiate themselves and data has a massive role to play in this:
- Chatbots and Voice Search – Customers want answers with minimal fuss and chatbots provide a low-cost solution to presenting FAQ information or finding the answer to questions never asked before. As chatbots become smarter and more widespread in 2019 they may replace call centres, especially as voice search is now integrated into all mobile devices allowing for a more conversational interaction.
- Drones and Driverless Cars – Speedy drone delivery may become a reality in the upcoming months allowing businesses to deliver a product within minutes of a purchase, bypassing delivery woes. Driverless cars will also soon become the ultimate taxi service to cheaply ferry around food orders, big products or people at any time whilst being fully tracked on GPS. Ironically, data collected from people working for companies such as Uber and Deliveroo will go towards the very same automation to replace many of the same workers.
- Augmented Reality Apps – Apps that interact with the real world are collecting valuable data on where people are and who they interact with. Advertising will likely be added alongside the killer Augmented Reality apps in 2019 (most likely the upcoming Harry Potter Pokemon Go Clone) or the data will go towards better ad targeting methods.
Predictive customer targeting
People are becoming increasingly demanding online:
- Selling a product? Many people will search for a cheaper price elsewhere
- Providing a service? Many people will research your business reviews and testimonials
- Providing customers with options? Many people will want to contact you or find out information immediately
Digital marketers can no longer place products or services online and sit back comfortably, they need to catch people in the micro-moment, the point at which they are either:
- Researching into a product/service
- Looking for a place offering a product/service
- Need help towards a related topic
- Want to buy a product/service
Traditionally marketers looked at user search terms, affinity audiences or demographics to differentiate between people in different stages along the funnel. With search engines, communication providers and social networks utilising machine learning and artificial intelligence on the vast amounts of data they have on each user, it’s becoming possible to predict to the user’s needs instead of being reactive to the user’s needs.
One example of this currently is Google Ads, who extended in-market targeting methods to search campaigns in 2018 and is likely to extend this to shopping in 2019 – which will make a huge impact on those not participating. This audience target method allows you to either boost bids or actively pick out people who are looking to make a purchase based on their search history and other behind-the-scene factors. This same targeting method can be found on Facebook and Bing Ads, plus a new “life event” targeting method is available for Gmail and YouTube currently which continues to evolve and expand.
Another big change from Google Ads to come in 2019 will be product price benchmarks, an Amazon-style comparison chart to ensure that your product is the cheapest on the market:
It may create a race to the bottom for advertisers but it will also enable advertisers to stop wasting ad spend on products which are no longer competitive.
Online business pressure
2019 will certainly bring more data horror stories to the limelight as well as adding pressure to businesses that aren’t top of the latest digital marketing trends:
- GDPR – Personal data is now protected by the European General Data Protection Regulation act and record fines have been handed out recently with many more on the horizon. Companies which haven’t secured data are getting exposed almost weekly now, making GDPR a big topic in upcoming years whilst businesses are still transitioning.
- Tech Giants – Most businesses online are under the shadow of tech giants such as Amazon and Apple and thousands will go under in 2019, including some well-known brands. Without offering something unique or a certain level of service online, companies are facing a situation to quickly evolve or go extinct which can create internal conflicts if directors of companies do not invest towards digital or quality staff.
- Staff Transitions – Brexit will be one of the biggest topics of 2019 which will likely remove a lot of skilled and talented foreign workers from the UK. This skill reduction combined with the fact that a lot of digital agencies need data/insight specialists will increase business-to-business competition to attract and keep the right talent.
Machines running the show
Computers are excellent at completing one task very efficiently and very accurately. Fortunately, machines still can’t think for themselves so they require data and computer scientists to work their magic.
2019 will certainly bring machine learning to the forefront including:
- Fully Automated Analysis – Data will be fed into machine learning tools which can identify patterns within the data such as changing trends or hidden opportunities with certain targeting methods. Google and Bing are already utilising machine learning to improve their organic and paid search algorithms as well as automatically reporting on insights from analytical data from the web. More advanced systems such as IBM Watson are technically free and can handle big data sets.
- Dynamic Pricing – Currently implemented on websites offering ticket services such as hotels, flights, cruises, events, etc. dynamic pricing could finally hit mainstream online-only products in 2019. To hit the sweet spot between volume, profit-per-sale, supply and demand, dynamic pricing can tweak product prices to squeeze every penny of potential profit out of a product listing online.
- Connecting Offline with Online – Whether you like it or not, TV ads will soon be personalised towards your browsing history and demographics. Netflix, Sky and other paid TV networks may one day go free and run highly targeted ads utilising data from online sources for profitability. Google recently introduced the TV screen device category for YouTube viewers watching through televisions and this is likely to be expanded into other areas of our lives including dynamic high street banner ads and personalised TV advertising such as Channel 4’s Alien ads with usernames incorporated into the ad.
If you need any help understanding how these trends will impact your business or how you can make them work for you, get in touch now.