The Best Way to Predict the Future is to Invent It

It’s that time of year when we put on our fortune teller hats and attempt to predict the future. What does 2019 hold for Digital Marketing? Where is technology going to take us? How do we adapt? Can we adapt?

Use Your Voice

Amazon reports that they have sold more than 20 million Alexa devices. Microsoft have more than 141 million monthly users of Cortana and Apple claims that more than 500 million customers use Siri. With the growing popularity of being able to “talk” to our tech, we need to begin to allow for Voice Activated Search in our Digital Marketing Strategies.

In 2009 global smartphone usage was 173.5 million, today – less than 10 years later it is almost 1.5 billion. If voice activated device purchases continue to rise ComScore estimates that by 2020, half of all search enquiries will be voiced-based.

Authenticity Is Key

We have already seen that most people will purchase a product or visit a restaurant based on reputation. A good review or great social media conversation can be the best promotion for a company. User generated content is becoming more and more reputable as real people, taking real actions with real opinions, share their experiences online.

How many youngsters want to purchase something because their favourite “YouTuber” has endorsed it? A parent might research a brand of nappies online and see testimonials or posts from other parents sharing recommendations. A couple could search for a local restaurant and view the Facebook page before deciding to visit, customers have shared photos, written reviews and tagged themselves at a restaurant raving about how great it is.

Create and Evolve with Artificial Intelligence

AI is already very much in play, however we predict much more of it in the future. Chatbots are not only great gatherers of information, they are fast responders. The lack of human interaction means they can respond to potential customers straight away, and in a fast paced world, obtaining answers or information quickly can be the winning move in some industries.

BabyCentreUK is a popular Chatbot offering helpful content, tips and important information for expectant and new parents. By asking simple questions about the problem it can offer personalised advice and targeted content. When users signed up they had to input their due date or child’s age, this then meant BabyCentreUK could send them specific content/offers/information based on their situation.

Augmented Reality is Simple Reality

Making consumer lives easier is a key goal for any businesses. Using Augmented Reality does just that. Want to buy a new sofa? Not sure how it will look in your sitting room? Some furniture stores have apps that can allow you to place the item “virtually” in your room. Want a new hairstyle but not sure what to choose? There will be an app available to give users the option to experiment with “selfies” and see how different styles look. Testing makeup, trying clothes, price comparisons, nutritional food information, paint colours on walls, designing a takeaway pizza, the list is endless.

Visual Search

If you type “shoes” into a search engine, image search brings up lots of images of…”Shoes.” The search engine is using data associated with the image files to bring up the images. Visual search will use an image instead of a word to search. It identifies the object and then searches for images related to that object. For example if you were using an image of a specific red, flat shoe, visual search would recognise this and bring up images of red, flat shoes identical to, or as close to the original search image.

The idea behind visual search is that consumers can be out and about, at work, at a friend’s, on holiday and they may see something they like – perhaps a lamp or chair. By using visual search they can take a photo of the item and source the exact or very similar product online.

Visual search is still in the early stages of development, it is a complex process that requires a machine to think like a human, but it is possible and it is likely something that will become much more commonplace in the future.

Conclusion

What does the future hold? Consumers want products and services at the tip of their fingers, when the internet first launched that’s what they got. Now consumers want products and services at the tip of their fingers, but products and services that are recommended, personalised and maybe even what they need before they realise they need it.

 

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