#1. Augmented Reality
Pokémon Go was one of the first big global hits that catapulted the idea of augmented reality (AR) on to the global stage for all to enjoy. Since then various brands and businesses have been taking advantage of researching and employing the technology. For gamers, AR positions the user centrally within the game and allows them to submerge themselves within another world; for consumers it heightens the ability to be really engaged with the company and its brand.
IKEA, among other businesses, has already started to utilise this immersive technology to attract and engage with potential customers. IKEA, for example, allows potential customers to ‘sample’ different designs, and virtually ‘place’ products within their home through their online app. Employing the use of AR via their app, has produced a more engaging experience for customers as well making it easier for them to buy online.
Snapchat has also utilised the idea of AR, recognising the potential for expanding a brands market reach using this fun interactive technology. The social media platform has helped bring characters and famous faces such as Ed Sheeran right into the users living room.
AR is an emerging technology, one that is still in an embryotic stage but one that can still be very useful and valuable for businesses and organisations, so it would definitely be worth exploring options now on how it could perhaps improve or advance your company or service.
#2. Voice Search
In 2017, it was estimated that almost one third of the 3.5 billion daily searches performed via Google were voice searches (TheeDesign, 2017). With many devices now coming with a personal assistant type app such as Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri, more and more people are taking advantage of the quick search service – even Sky TV has started to use this technology with the user being able to speak into their TV remote control to direct their search options.
As a business, complying with requirements to ensure you are ‘voice searchable’ could give you a competitive advantage as an ‘early adopter’ of this emerging technology, however as a business you will also need to ensure that you SEO strategy is tailored to the correct requirements.
#3. Visual Search
Voice search is on the rise however so is the idea of SEO: Visual Search, which is growing in popularity with global brands such as Microsoft, Google and even Pinterest. The idea behind a visual search is where the technology identifies objects, for example clothes or interior design products, and then allows the user to find where they would be able to purchase the item.
Although it is still an emerging technology, and is quite limited for businesses at present, the potential for it and the possibilities it will have could grow rapidly once the technology is refined, is massive especially as consumer research highlights that visual graphics are a key deciding factor among 93% of consumers meaning that visual search has the potential to transform consumer experience as well as assist businesses and companies, especially those within the retail industry.
#4. Social Media
Social Media is still a top trend for 2019. As technology advances, it is becoming more available, more transferable, more engaging and with an estimated 3.196 billion global social media users it is definitely not going anywhere.
Advances in social media technology, and with the regularly updated new features they present, it is vital that businesses remain ahead of the curve and aware of the opportunities available.
With the increase in use of features such as videos and stories, and elements such as influencer marketing, social media has the potential and will continue to have the potential for businesses, big and small, to have an impact on their customers when it is utilised effectively.
#5. Keep it real!
Fake news and the concept of fake news is increasingly becoming a major talking point with many people beginning to question the authenticity of certain styles of news stories and reporting, as well as the branding and marketing of businesses. Therefore, keeping it real, and reflecting your brand authentically will become more and more important. A filter over an apple to make it look shinier can be helpful in a campaign but photoshopped images with layer after layer of filters, produces a fake item, one which is not truly reflective of your business and will result in a disappointed customer.
User generated content showing the true product and its true use is something that customers prefer. GoPro, the small, compact video camera, advertises its possibilities through sharing user experience videos and user generated content rather than talking about the technical capabilities of the camera, allowing potential customers to truly see the features of the camera in action as used by a fellow-consumer, as well as get involved in the marketing of the camera. UGC, true testimonials and sharing the authenticity of brands via a marketing campaign will definitely be a trend on the increase in 2019.