By David Norcross, Managing Director of Lexicon
Social media has enjoyed a secure place in our lives for over a decade, and it was always clear that the technology was here to stay. The only question was: How would it fit in with our lifestyles? Was social media destined to become an occasional pastime, or play more of a central role in how we interact with each other?
The unstoppable growth of these platforms – both in terms of their overall user base, and in the average amount of time spent per user – has made the answer abundantly clear: In terms of influence, social media wears the crown and nothing else even comes close.
Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn grabbed the public’s attention through constant innovation, each one building its own niche to maximize engagement. So where do they go from here? And what can we expect in 2019 from a digital marketing standpoint?
9 Trends for 2019
- B2B social media. The most recent reports (Q2 2018) show a staggering 37% increase in LinkedIn revenue and a 41% growth in LinkedIn user sessions. With 600 million users worldwide, and the ability to target audiences by company, field or profession, the platform is an outstanding place to make high-value contacts.
- The Evolution of Electronic Direct Mail. This marketing strategy has been in place for some time, but its implementation in countries like Thailand has mostly been halfhearted. Effective EDMs should be crisply written and designed, precisely targeted based on audience interest, linked directly to relevant sales pages, and tracked for clicks and conversions. All interactions should be framed as win-win, leaving readers feeling valued and appreciated even if they don’t take you up on your offer. By crafting EDMs properly, or wrapping them in newsletters, you’ll leave a positive impression in your readers’ minds.
- Influencer marketing. Celebrities will always stay in the spotlight, but smaller and more niche influencers can do a more effective job of bringing authenticity and genuine connection to your marketing efforts. Look for a significant rise in video and Instagram-based influencer marketing, centered around semi-famous personalities who are respected as authorities within the field they are promoting.
- Getting the audience involved. For even greater authenticity, ask your own customers to do your marketing work for you – and give prizes and publicity to the ones who make the best ads, designs, or videos in support of your products. Genuinely enthusiastic submissions will start coming in if your product has a real fan base, giving you all the social proof you’ll ever need to show the quality of your brand.
- Artificial intelligence. This trend is more geared toward apps and websites than social media venues. Interactive interfaces can ask users what kind of content they are looking for, and scan their responses with AI software to direct them to the relevant products or services you can offer. This feature requires strong programming and writing skills to ensure a smooth user experience, as customers navigate through your app or site by interacting with your company avatar.
- Augmented reality. By overlaying text or images onto real-world digital representations, AR technology merges the real and the virtual in a way that will only grow to be more seamless over time. Already the technology is being promoted heavily by tech companies like Apple, and platforms like Snapchat, which are expanding the possibilities of the format to include better optimized experiences for advertisers and users alike.
- Short-form video. It took several years for marketers to figure out how to use the internet as a medium for video advertising, but the current trend of explainer videos and introductory videos for articles have proven to be a big hit among users who want more information before they decide to spend time on a website or start reading a blog. Instead of acting as pure advertisements, many of the most effective videos are just there to help orient the audience, and prime them to receive the accompanying content.
- Podcasts. While the best videos are often short, the best audio tends to be long-form. In-depth conversations are perfect for demonstrating expertise on a subject, while also keeping audiences informed and entertained in their free time, during their commutes, or as they go through their daily activities at home. Ideally, podcasts will keep advertising time to a bare minimum while creating an open, relaxing space for conversation that audiences can appreciate at a general level.
- Marketing efforts going >90% digital. The more you invest in smart digital marketing campaigns, the more your efforts will pay off. Thailand leads the world in terms of time spent online, and the costs to advertise domestically on Facebook are still well below the world average. Expect 2019 to be the year that every company realizes a strong online and social media presence is mandatory for growth. A polished online image can do wonders for your marketing efforts, particularly if it is accompanied by a unique brand voice that users genuinely feel affection for and want to follow.
As we count down to another exciting new year, consider that your competitors are likely planning to embrace one (or several) of the above marketing strategies as they prepare their 2019 budget. If your company would like to move forward with an effective digital marketing upgrade, contact Lexicon today.
David Norcross is Managing Director of Lexicon. Lexicon is a creative Digital PR & Marketing agency in Bangkok.