With the New Year inevitably comes the predictions from the experts of what will be the hottest trends of 2019. This year is no different and despite the digital landscape progressing rapidly, a lot of the trends are predicted to be developments on what is already in existence. Nevertheless, here is a round-up of what to expect:

Voice Search will be on the up having gained traction in 2018 with big brands beginning to explore its capabilities. With the likes of Amazon Alexa, Apple HomePod and Google Assistant, consumers can ask their digital aide for weather reports, shopping lists and setting alarms etc., but this is just the beginning! Gartner, the global leading research company, predicts that voice-activated searches will account for 30% of web-browsing sessions by 2020. And the smart speaker market is just a taster of what’s to come in the form of a whole new network of voice-enabled devices from televisions to kitchen appliances to cars!

This year will also see increased visibility of Chatbots over mobile apps. Bots make it easy and quick to interact with your audiences and remove the hassle of downloading storage-consuming apps. Brands can customise their tone of voice and send personalised content based on user prompts which makes the customer journey more efficient and increase likelihood of a conversion. The cost-effectiveness of running a bot is another added benefit that will see its value only continue to rise.

There will be no slowing down of Stories either. The format, pioneered by Snapchat, has now been embraced by several platforms and most successfully leveraged on Instagram. It’s not hard to see why as it’s a popular way for brands to consistently update their profiles, keep followers engaged and create excitement on new products. Expect to see an increase in ads in between slides and more targeted ones too!

New forms of reality have tried to break the consumer market with little overwhelming success so far. For those unsure, AR inserts objects in to a real-life setting much like Ikea has done with their Place app that allows homemakers the chance to see what products will look like in their home. Whereas VR creates a completely new environment that an individual can experience via a headset like what TOMs created to show the impact of their charitable donations. Augmented reality is predicted to take off in 2019, whereas the demand for virtual reality is likely to subside for the time being. AR tech can be applied to all kind of fields and offers the perfect mix between reality and virtual reality, so real physical devices can be used while saving costs and reducing risks.

And finally, video is set to continue dominating all content marketing trends and Live Video at that. The emphasis on engagement throughout live content will be key too, just like Eleven Sports who recently created its ‘Watch Together’ feature that allows users to watch live action together with friends and family in the same online space at the same time. People are consuming video in more interactive ways and brands will need to adapt to keep their attention.

So, there we have it, five of the top digital marketing trends to take off this year; voice search, chatbots, stories, augmented reality and live interactive video. The digital transformation will continue to change how brands communicate with their customers and it’s important to keep up with the changing landscape of the industry as their implications will continue to have relevancy far beyond the year ahead.

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