Advertising always changes. It must! Just like a piece of music, the emotional impact and mental draw of any ad campaign will naturally wear out the more you’re exposed to it.
In 2019, the advertising landscape is going to be informed by expanding technological possibilities, of course. This isn’t the whole story though. It’ll also be guided by changing attitudes and evolving consumer expectations.
Here are some of the key online advertising ingredients we’re likely to see in 2019.
New Media Will Grow in Significance
No prizes for predicting this one! We’re going to see advertisers striving to find ways of harnessing new media to add punch to their messaging.
Consumers’ Ears Are Going to Become More Important
Voice interfaces (like Alexa and Google Home) had a shaky start with consumers. Manufacturers and advertisers alike struggled to sell the tech as something with intuitively useful applications.
Over 2017 and 2018 though, the tide has definitely shifted. We’re now seeing home assistants not just embraced, but occupying a central role in how knowledge is accessed and consumed.
This is interesting (surprising even), especially given that media specialists speculated that long form podcast content was nothing more than an unusual blip, but it hasn’t gone away either. Voice-based interfaces seem to be part of a broader change we’re seeing in how we fickle humans like to spend our entertainment time.
The statistics suggest smart speakers are gobbling up other forms of media. 45% of smart speaker owners are listening to less radio. 38% are using their smart phone less. 32% are reading less. You get the idea.
In 2019, it’s very likely we’re going to see more ads shift away from strictly visual fare into serving up crisp, targeted audio content through smart speaker technology.
Artificial Intelligence Will Begin to Flex Its Muscle
Riding on the same techno-tsunami as voice-technology, AI algorithms are reaching a point where they’re seriously useful (if somewhat scary at times).
Sure, the technology is evolving fast, but just as significantly, perceptions are too. In a recent consumer survey, of 5000 consumers surveyed, only 19% reported a negative association with chatbots.
In 2019, big brands will continue to develop chatbots to provide hyper-targeted and intuitive messaging to potential customers.
It won’t stop there either, most likely. It’s reasonable to imagine we’ll also begin to see more of these sophisticated chatbots entering social media, smart speakers and major vending sites like Amazon.
The Pursuit of Authenticity Will Ramp Up
People trust conventional ads less than ever.
Whatever the method of delivery, traditional ads aren’t just viewed with apathy, they’re now being greeted with full blown skepticism. As many as 30 percent of Internet users are expected to be using ad blockers by the end of 2018.
On the flip side to this coin, in a 2017 survey of a representative sample of consumers across the US, UK and Australia 86% of consumers identified authenticity as a major factor in making a decision to support a brand.
This is going to have a big impact on what advertising looks like in 2019.
Authenticity In Influencer Marketing Is Likely to Become More Important
So, what is “influencer marketing?”
In essence, it’s getting customers with social media cred to do the advertising on behalf of the brand. It may take the form of a fitness junkie recommending a line of workout gear. Or it could be more subtle, like a millennial fashionista wearing the “right” brand of sunglasses on Instagram.
It’s easy to think that influencer marketing is a hollow and frivolous exercise, with the influencer in question promoting anyone who pays enough—and yes, there is definitely your fair share of this.
Oddly though, more often the exact opposite seems to be happening. A lot of influencers are realizing the best way to retain influence is to maintain authenticity.
In 2019, we’re likely to see influencers increasingly promoting products they actually believe in. Monetization will play second fiddle to the slower-burn of authenticity.
Expert Knowledge Will Make a Comeback
While spin, swagger and misdirection will never go out of style when it comes to gutter level advertising, we’ll see a growing shift in emphasis to experts who aim to deliver quality information and advice.
In many ways, this is quite similar to the above influencer phenomenon. It’s based around the unsurprising fact that the best way to appear impartial and well-informed, is to actually be those things.
While this valuing of expert information will take many forms, it’ll be especially concentrated in business and finance blogging.
We’re likely to see more home-business blogs that are built around the pursuit of providing solid, unbiased, and all-around advice on how to invest your time and money for maximum reward.
Brands Will Find Novel Ways to Say the Same Stuff
It isn’t just about innovation in technology and the pursuit of new messaging. We’ll also see advertisers finding ways to say the same stuff in surprising and novel ways.
Old Can Be Interesting … if It’s Old Enough
By now, online advertising has plundered almost every available avenue to surprise consumers into paying attention.
Moving into the new year, online ad campaigns are likely to introduce a decidedly old-school element.
Paper will make a comeback. Recently the preserve of the most traditional of clunky businesses, home delivered brochures and fliers are likely to see a renaissance in 2019.
We’re going to see new ways of seizing hold of envelope marketing, with slick graphics, clever presentation approaches and good old-fashioned quality copywriting being shoved in an envelope and delivered direct to consumers’ mailboxes.
What’s Happening Right Now Will Continue To Drive Consumers
Snapchat and Facebook will continue to lead the charge of live and interactive advertising content. This is an easy one to predict, simply because it’s proven incredibly successful in 2018.
Take Bacardi as an example. They recently ran a snapchat video campaign. It featured the option for consumers to interact with the content, adapting it to create live messages about the product.
It was just 60 seconds of animation but in the space of 24 hours, it achieved over 50 million impressions (equivalent to 29 years of viewing).
This blitzes more persistent forms of advertising, and other brands will almost certainly try to copy that success.
Maybe it’s the idea of something less permanent being more liberating. Perhaps people enjoy the raw and unscripted nature of videos that are a flash in the pan. Whatever it is, this growing trend toward immediate immersion in a moment is likely to dominate a lot of the online advertising we’ll see in 2019.
Understanding where online advertising is going is like predicting the trajectory of a ravenous dog in an international meat market. There are so many factors at play, the eventual precise destination is really anyone’s guess.
However, we can with reasonable reliability predict it won’t just be driven by what the technology allows us to achieve. It’ll also be driven by that basic human lust for novelty offset against a deeper desire for authenticity and meaning.
It’ll be interesting to see how it all plays out!