It’s the second week of the new year, it still seems like we have time to edit strategies and prepare for the new year ahead of us. It’s been a slow two weeks for most, with for some being the toughest few weeks of the year.
Either way, the new year is upon us and it is time to really Think Ahead for the new year.
Here are our top picks and views for the Digital Marketing Trends of 2019.
Tech in Customer Service
It’s nothing new when we say technology will be integrating with of our physical lives and how brands communicate and work with consumers, but 2019 could be the year where tech really pushes forward.
In 2018, we saw several brands push forward different technologies to help consumers. Earlier last year, McDonald’s Egypt quietly started to install self-serve ordering machines in certain branches to reduce congestion and waiting times.
Vodafone International had locals scared after their new CEO stated that they will be laying off over 1,700 customer service members in Egypt, India and Romania. This was part of a plan to reduce costs and pay back a 31+ Billion Euro debt. They plan to replace customer service agents through AI and chatbots.
Read More on what Vodafone Egypt had to say > Vodafone EG NOT to layoff hundreds in effort to reduce costs
We have also discussed chatbots this year. Many brands have been switching to chatbots for their social channels, especially Facebook, to maintain strong and fast-paced communication with online consumers.
With our article on chatbots and examples on how to use them other than for customer service, we explain that it won’t be such a bad thing for chatbots to grow in the region, however there is still resistance from local audiences. Chatbots’ growth in 2019 won’t be dramatic, but it will help locals get used to the technology for a future boom.
Overall, tech will be cementing itself even more in our daily routines and how brands can help consumers for a more efficient experience.
From Google’s new speed update to new SEO/analytic cluster focuses, websites will be seeing a lot of tweaking to become as optimized as possible before the end of the year.
Launched in July of last year, Google’s speed update meant that “[mobile] pages that deliver the slowest experience to users” would have lesser chance to rank on the search engine, although the company did note that a page could still rank if it has great, relevant content.
Websites should be aiming to improve their mobile pages with faster loading speeds and better user experience. They should also be focusing more on content/topic clusters to land higher on SERPs.
Create deeper penetration with your content by building several content pieces/pages around a core topic. This allows search engines to send consumers to your website faster and more efficiently as well.
Content/Topic clusters lets search engines understand that you are an expert within the category or topic, making you more likely to rank higher on SERPs.
Keeping an eye on how popular search engines such as Google rank your pages is also important. According to MozCast, “an experiment in tracking the ‘weather’ patterns of the Google algorithm,” these are what Google is looking for when ranking SERPs.
Continued “Character-based” ad series
We’ve seen the rate of “character-based” ads grow over the years, we can now see advertisers adding more consistency to their advertising.
This year we saw Orange’s Abu Hafiza create more content with the telecommunications brand through different campaigns.
We also saw Raouf make a comeback during Ramadan, this time to introduce consumers to MINT, a new youth-centered banking solution. He appeared in several ads for EGBank, MINT and MINT Incubator.
Other famous ad characters are TODO’s bunch of chocolate misfits, Mandolin’s Mando and Vodafone’s genie. These are just several examples of character-based ad series that have become synonymous with the brands they are with.
With consistency still being an important buzzword in marketing circles, and the growing trend, there should be several new characters on screen this year.
Live Streaming Becomes Main Stream
Facebook’s algorithm continues to go through heavy scrutiny and upheavals as the social network continues to respond to one of the biggest digital leaks in history and GDPR. This meant several changes to the newsfeed algorithm, making it harder for brands to be seen through generic social media marketing.
Some marketers have found that streaming Facebook Live or Facebook Watch has helped them get through the new rules and changes, the same with Facebook Stories. The same can be applied on Instagram as well.
YouTube’s release of YouTube Premiere also pushes live streaming as a new way to get out of the clutter and have users opt into watching content. This allows channels to live stream a new video at a specific time and date so the channel and their viewers can watch and interact with each other at the same time. Premiere makes it easier for content creators to build anticipation for new videos, and have live interactions with fans and viewers.
Not only that, the MENA region, especially Egypt, is seeing an increase in consumers jumping onto streaming platforms. Platforms such as Amazon’s Twitch and China’s UpLive are some of the popular ones that local consumers are enjoying.
Brands should keep a look out on new niche platforms that involve video, especially live video, and find ways to create content or sponsor popular content creators.
Instagram Insights and Shopping
Late last year, we saw Instagram shopping in the region for the first time though Jumia Egypt.
Although Souq has yet to implement it, and Jumia’s other African accounts, Instagram’s power is about to increase ten-fold. Local crafters and sellers are on Instagram for its powerful visual nature that helps sales, and this feature finally reaching MENA will push e-commerce brands further into the app.
Otherwise, the platform’s growing data pool and audience means its influence in growing. According to We Are Social, Instagram’s users grew from 21% to 28% of those surveyed between January 2017 and January 2018. Although this is no current information on how the platform ended 2018, its popularity seems to be on the rise, especially with trendy features such as Stories.
Keep an eye out for Instagram shopping and analytics in 2019.