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Innovations in the digital space and the rapid advancement of technology are constantly changing the rules and redefining what we believe is possible across numerous, diverse industries. Digital Marketing is no exception. In fact, it is one of arenas most sensitive to these tech-driven fluctuations.The Digital Marketer that isn’t constantly evolving their mindset in line with this state of flux is ultimately doomed to get left behind. So, to help you and your business stay ahead of the curve, we’ve forecasted what we believe will be the 5 most crucial trends in the field of Digital Marketing in 2019.

There’s no stopping Social Media

The big 3: Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn, are all set to have a massive year. With active social media users numbering in the billions across these and other platforms, the market is bigger and more engaged than ever before, and the savvy digital marketer should be salivating at the prospect of gaining even the smallest slice of this ever-growing pie.Businesses are flocking to these social networks in fear of missing out on the coming wave, and platform users are far more receptive to marketing messages on these channels than in previous years. Additionally, the boom in seamless purchasing through the channels makes doing business through social media simple, safe and enticing for both buyer and seller.Leveraging features such as IGTV, Instagram Content Marketing and ads, LinkedIn ads, Facebook Messenger marketing and even WhatsApp marketing will see digital marketers spoiled for choice with channels to reach their audience in their comfort zones, sharing genuine product and service messages that feel organic.Why spend millions on traditional media marketing messages, which are more often than not received with hostility and/or ignored entirely, when you can utilise smart, targeted social media campaigns that are seamlessly integrated into the users’ daily experience? The possibilities are nearly endless, and we can only see this trend reaching ever greater heights in the years to come.

The machines are taking over

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is fast becoming a ubiquitous concept across the digital spectrum. Everything from search algorithms to cellphone cameras are operated or supplemented in some capacity by AI, and it’s predicted that before long entire industries will be run on AI, rendering many human jobs obsolete. But it’s certainly not all doom and gloom.AI automates and enhances many tasks and processes that would be too mundane, time-consuming or overly-complex for human employees. Cross-checking databases with AI can provide marketing teams with invaluable consumer behaviour insight and help to map trends, forecast purchasing patterns, and personalise marketing messages on scales previously deemed impossible. Ultimately, AI will make it possible to tailor your marketing messages to any audience, of any size, seamlessly. The future is, indeed, exciting.

The dominance of digital experiences

A positive, memorable experience is one of the most powerful marketing tools available. Not only is a favourable experience far more likely to motivate immediate purchasing behaviour, but it is almost guaranteed to create positive brand perception and a degree of brand ambassadorship.Whereas experiences have mostly been limited to the real world in years gone by, with the development of new technologies, more intelligent software and more powerful internet connections, digital experiences are becoming common, and the realms of possibility within this space are constantly expanding. Technologies such as Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs) and Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are two specific channels which are redefining the digital space.The experience of walking into a clothing store and trying on a pair of pants, for example, can be recreated digitally, allowing one to shop for personal items without the need to try them in person. The user is able to ‘try on’ various sizes, colours fits and so forth, as well as being able to customise the items with personal touches and messages that truly take the digital experiences to what is almost a tangible level.

Life: Live

Facebook Live, Instagram Live, Youtube Live, Periscope… The livestreaming trend is already taking over all the major platforms and we’re seeing everyone from movie stars to business leaders and even technologically-illiterate uncles streaming their daily routines. Somehow there’s something fascinating about seeing interesting individuals going about ordinary or even boring activities in real-time.Video has been the king of content marketing for many years now and the logical progression to live video feeds was always something of an inevitability. Seeing something ‘live’ not only ensures that what we’re seeing is genuine and unaltered (for now, at least) but creates an intrinsic sense of excitement and drama at the possibility that anything might happen next. In the hands of a charismatic ‘influencer’ something as simple as a cellphone with an internet connection becomes a channel to keep millions enthralled and unable to look away for fear of missing out (FOMO) on the action. Combine this with a subtle and clever marketing message or product placement and the results can be astounding.Which leads us to…

The influence of Influencers

The fact is, we tend to believe other people far more readily than brands. As obviously forced and disingenuous as many celebrity endorsements are, seeing your favourite singer posting a picture in their new Nike sneakers with a gushing caption is a powerful marketing message. For the Average Joe, Influencers and celebrities are akin to deities who can do no wrong, and their word is as good as gold; when they say buy, Joe obeys.Brands realise the power of influencer endorsements, and as the masses continue to flock to social media and the power these influencers yield increases, this is a trend that will no doubt be on the rise in 2019.