Next year, people will spend more time online than they do watching TV — for the first time in history.
No matter your brand or industry, digital marketing has never been more important.
So what will be the enduring trends that dominate the new year?
Authenticity & trust or bust
Organizations around the world have been facing a crisis of confidence over the past year. Fake news, data breaches and influencer fraud have shaken consumers’ trust in public and private institutions — meaning credibility will continue to be a challenge for brands in 2019.
According to ExpertVoice, 96 percent of Americans believe that marketing and advertising professionals create content to intentionally mislead them in the buying process. And when Stackla surveyed 2,000 global consumers to understand what they value most when deciding which brands to support with their hard-earned money, 86 percent said authenticity was important.
In order to succeed in 2019, brands will need to put their most authentic foot forward. But when it comes to telling more authentic and transparent stories, the story and the storyteller matter.
This is where our next trend becomes apparent.
The era of user-generated content
I’m calling it now: 2019 will be the year of user-generated content (UGC).
For over a decade, social media platforms have been steadily taking over the Internet — combining forces with smartphones to give rise to an era of user-generated visual content.
Over 3.2 billion images are shared online everyday and 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute.Over 3.2 billion images are shared online everyday and 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute.Click To Tweet
Consumers have become the world’s greatest content creators. And buried within the content they create are the most authentic, trusted and relevant brand experiences that people crave and brands can’t manufacture.
People are 3x more likely to say content created by a consumer is authentic compared to content created by a brand. In fact, 60 percent of people say consumer-created content is the most authentic and influential form of content they interact with.
The authenticity, influence and volume of user-generated content is unmatched and largely untapped by today’s marketers who constantly struggle to create enough engaging visuals to support all their marketing activities.
To break through, build trust and cost effectively fuel their content needs, modern marketers will need to follow Stackla customers’ lead by fully embracing UGC as the best way to humanize and scale their visual content in 2019.
The growing value of videos
Video marketing has been on the rise for years now, but it’s poised to reach peak importance in the new year.
Videos are mobile friendly and easy to consume with the ability to quickly communicate complex information — a uniquely helpful resource for consumers throughout the purchasing process.
Cisco predicts that by next year 80 percent of the world’s internet traffic will be video and digital video ad spending is projected to reach $50.6 billion by 2022, with social ad videos exceeding $11.6 billion by 2020.
Whether they’re displayed in webpages, emails or social channels, videos consistently boost engagement and drive sales.
Luckily, it’s never been easier for marketers to create and source different types of video content — from live streaming via smartphone and user-generated videos to professionally produced product demos and social clips.
No matter what your budget looks like, where there’s a will, there’s a way for marketers to leverage more video content in 2019.
Boosting efficiencies with artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence, otherwise known as AI, has been an industry buzzword for a couple years, yet most brands are only now starting to adopt AI technologies.
While voice assistants, such as Siri and Alexa, may be the first examples that spring to mind when you think of AI, the greatest overlooked opportunity for AI lies in the internal efficiency improvements it can provide to organizations of all shapes and sizes.
In the new year, brands should look to take advantage of the automation and predictive intelligence companies like Stackla can offer with their AI technologies.
Bringing humanization to personalization
The importance of delivering personalized experiences to customers will only continue to grow as more and more brands break new ground.
Remember, people aren’t just comparing the experiences you provide with your competitors’ experiences, they’re comparing it to the personalized experiences they’re receiving from brands like Amazon, Netflix, Spotify, Sephora and others that they interact with everyday. If you want to compete with the level of personalization those types of brands create, you need to keep in mind the reason people want individualized experiences to begin with.
According to a recent Salesforce survey, 84 percent of customers say being treated like a person, not a number, is very important to winning their business. It’s the human connection people are seeking from brands, so focus on humanizing your personalization strategies in the new year.
Instead of simply adding peoples names and preferences to your emails, ads and mailers, try only displaying authentic images of other happy customers who are similar to the specific consumers you’re trying to reach. By using unique user-generated visuals to power your personalization, you can better connect with and relate to people on a human level.
In a world polluted with a lot of content noise, providing truly human experiences can be the difference between breaking through and being ignored.