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10 marketing trend predictions for 2019

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With 2019 just around the corner, Mark Stringer, founder of PrettyGreen, pauses to consider what the top ten trends affecting marketing are likely to be as we hurtle towards a new year.

Fitness – Live from your lounge

Working up a sweat - online fitness classes will make an impact in 2019
Working up a sweat – online fitness classes will make an impact in 2019

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The convenience of home workouts has always been popular (think Jane Fonda); today there are literally millions of options available – from endurance to balance, speed to strength and a world of perfecting specific skills. As premium cycling brand Peloton rides into the UK, we’re likely to see the growth of more live online classes. Making sessions live, combined with the ability to measure performance/ compete with one another/ personalise your plan will craft out many more niches for brands to serve.

Space – the new marketing frontier 

Space - the final frontier for marketing opportunities
Space – the final frontier for marketing opportunities

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With Richard Branson announcing that Virgin Galactic (SpaceShipTwo) could be up in space before Christmas, and Jeff Bezos of Amazon set to follow closely behind, space opens up an entirely new world for brands to play in. Celebrities will be part of the cohort defying gravity, further peaking media interest – brands quick off the mark will reap the greatest rewards.

Mindfulness will take a rest

Sleep is key for productivity
Sleep is key for productivity

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The idea that sleep (like lunch) is for wimps, is about to smashed. Sleep is going to become the new battlefield for mindfulness and health. While good sleep has always been promoted, only now are we beginning to understand the key cognitive and physical benefits. From next year and beyond we’ll see more sleep pods in the office, with brands and companies beginning to dial up their sleep credentials.

Love thy neighbour

Love thy neighbour - the Pepsi ad showed how not to do it
Love thy neighbour – the Pepsi ad showed how not to do it

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It’s not just Brexit that will divide us in 2019. Unlike any other time in recent history, the threat of global conflict looms heavy; from the Middle East, Russia, Korea and China. The arguments, the uncertainty and the political jockeying are not going to abate anytime soon, which provides an interesting opportunity for brands. Not necessarily political stance but an emotional one. We have already seen efforts from brands to try to unite people across political or social divides. In Grey New York’s recent study “The Famously Effective Business of Togetherness” it was stated that 88% of people felt the need for unity and 60% thought brands could help achieve this. However, when entering this space care, craft and credibly are fundamental.

Mobile will become supercharged

5G will make inroads in 2019
5G will make inroads in 2019

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This one won’t kick in until the end of 2019 when the first networks will start to roll out their fifth generation mobile technology; 5G is going to be the rocket fuel we’ve all been waiting for from a mobile data point of view. Websites will load in the blink of an eye, HD films will download in seconds (vs. the 10 or so minutes we currently wait) and buffering will be a distant memory. 5G will also vastly increase the speed that machines communicate with one other. Brands will be more ambitious and creative with their plans, confidently bringing mobile content to the fore.

It’s just not cricket

Anyone for cricket?
Anyone for cricket?

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Although it’s unlikely that cricket will have the same impact as the rugby or football World Cup does on our sense of pride and optimism; the Cricket World Cup is coming to the UK in May and June 2019, and we’ll be able to hear the sound of leather against willow across England and Wales. The multi-national aspect of the teams from 16 countries, combined with the global reach and diverse ethnicity, potentially gives brands the opportunity to really dial up an incredibly local and relevant marketing campaign.

Blockchain

Blockchain and tokenisation could revolutionise sports marketing
Socios.com – football fan tokens

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Blockchain this, blockchain that. Every day the media is awash with stories. But the majority of us don’t understand the positive impact that it is potentially going to have on so many different aspects of our lives. 2019 will begin to see the adoption across some interesting playgrounds, such as sport and ticketing, Fan Tokenisation in Football and even food provenance.  Whether we understand it or not, blockchain is going to change the way we buy.

Find your voice

Advancements in voice technology will continue in 2019
Advancements in voice technology will continue in 2019

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We all joke about how bad both Alexa and Siri are at doing anything you ask, but there are now over 45,000 skills on Alexa, indicative of how voice is continuing to grow. As adoption becomes more mainstream, brands will move from gimmicks to finding ways to add real value to consumers lives.  By 2020 it’s predicted that every major brand will have a voice strategy baked into its marketing plans, so time for us all to get thinking.  

Who’s influencing the influencers?

Black fishing scandal on Instagram - watch out charlatans
Black fishing scandal on Instagram – watch out charlatans

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Influencers aren’t going anywhere; but (much like the blackfishing scandal that blew up on Instagram) the world is waking up to the charlatans, the false followers, false views and utter BS that abounds this space. Brands that will continue to do well with influencers will be the brands that look at it as a channel – who see influencers as broadcasters and publishers in their own right, and who work with them, collaboratively and respectfully, to ensure credible and authentic output. 

Touch it, feel it, smell it, crave it, experience it 

LEGO Princess brand experience from PrettyGreen
LEGO Princess brand experience from PrettyGreen

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Brick and mortar stores continue to struggle, making this important consumer touchpoint, and related connection with product, harder. This does not mean brands can’t meaningfully connect with people in the physical world though. Even if not in stores, consumers are still out there – we just have to work harder to get in front of them! Good brand in-hand experiences lead to an 85% intention to purchase and a 4:1 ROI. 2019 and beyond will be a time when brand experiences matter more than ever and budgets will need to shift to reflect this.

Mark Stringer, founder of PrettyGreen

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Who should take advantage of IGTV first?

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YouTube has had a near monopoly on the long-form video space — until recently. Instagram’s IGTV is here and it looks like it could be a formidable competitor. IGTV is the popular social media platform’s very own vertical video app, which is designed to allow brands, influencers, and creators to post longer segments; allowing for videos up to one hour in length, compared to the previous length of only one minute.

IGTV will almost certainly develop as a bona fide YouTube competitor, at a time when YouTube may be in its most vulnerable state. Here are the most likely reasons why:

IGTV could be a brand safety oasis

YouTube is especially sensitive to IGTV at the moment due to brand safety concerns. For the past year, YouTube’s biggest challenge has been assuring advertisers that their buys will be safe. At one point, 250 brands stopped advertising on the platform altogether. And, while almost all brands have returned, and YouTube has invested heavily in being a better partner, half of advertisers say YouTube has done a poor job with brand safety and managing inventory quality.

For IGTV, this is a gift. Though it has been careful not to say so explicitly, Instagram will likely be positioning IGTV as a more curated and brand-safe environment than YouTube. Brands want an alternative in light of safety concerns, so they’re looking at options from Snapchat and other premium publishers. We see this in our own spend data, with YouTube ad growth almost completely flat; increasing by just 0.2% from January to May.

So, what can brands do in the interim, whose main concern is brand safety? The instinct is to be cautious. But that may not be the right answer. Instead brands should be clear and firm with expectations. Brands first to market will be able to push Instagram to be brand safe – to demand it – and IGTV has the opportunity to challenge Google Preferred by providing brands with a transparent, brand-safe solution to YouTube’s shortcomings. However, the platform has to prove it by example first.

YouTube has made significant strides in showing advertisers that they are taking brand safety concerns seriously (e.g. the implementation of whitelist and blacklist technologies, partnering with DoubleVerify). IGTV has to be brand-safe out of the gate — or at the very least, safer than its competitor — to draw those advertisers away from YouTube.

Advertisers will like IGTV for performance

Beyond brand safety, IGTV could beat YouTube on performance. Over the past two years, the demand for performance by digital media has exploded. Last year, brand frustrations culminated when P&G and Unilever, two of the world’s biggest advertisers, dramatically cut ad spend due to concerns around transparency and ROI. Ad budgets are being scrutinized more than ever and a growing number of operations are being taken in-house.

This ties back to IGTV and YouTube in a few ways. First, according to ANA data, influencer marketing has surged. Seventy-five percent of brands are spending on influencers and nearly half will increase spending in the next year. Why? Sixty percent say they’re happy with the performance they’ve seen, with Instagram being the second-most popular channel for influencer programs, just behind Facebook.

Instagram has established itself more strongly as a performance channel than YouTube and it offers an unmatched ability to drive purchases. That’s an advertiser’s dream, of course. A recent study, reported by RetailDive, and conducted by Dana Rebecca Designs, revealed that 72% of users have made a purchase decision as a direct result of something they saw on Instagram. YouTube, by contrast, has helped with purchase decisions already planned. If Instagram can deliver similar performance through IGTV, advertisers will come calling.

Retail brands, specifically those that are significantly reliant on online shopping, should realign their budgets to make IGTV a priority, as IGTV will be a great resource for driving the right type of customers toward a purchase.

Instagram is growing, while YouTube is not

Unfortunately for YouTube, brand safety isn’t the only major challenge it has grappled with recently. In addition to ad growth, viewership numbers have begun to slow down. A few months ago, major channels and influencers on YouTube saw their monthly views stall. An analysis by eMarketer echoed this pattern, noting that YouTube’s audience growth was 13% in 2016 but only 9% in 2017. According to the report, “YouTube viewership is nearing saturation in many markets.” Those numbers are likely to continue to erode.

IGTV, by contrast, is only just getting started. Its growth prospects are bright. Instagram’s user base is growing by 5% each quarter. The company recently announced 1 billion monthly active users. YouTube has more at 1.8 billion, but Instagram hasn’t shown any signs of plateauing. Also, consider that consumer tastes have shifted towards vertical video as mobile viewing has exploded. IGTV is a vertical video-first platform, while YouTube only added vertical video compatibility in January. The viewership trends are in Instagram’s favor, whereas YouTube is playing catch up.

YouTube could wonder about its ability to maintain audience numbers if top stars and influencers desert it. At its core, Instagram is a social network. YouTube, by comparison, is not. Most come to YouTube for personalities like Smosh and Jenna Marbles. But if the personalities go away, so do the viewers.

In recent months, some influencers haveeither left the platform or chosen to diversify their content across challenger services such as Twitch. As YouTube tightens brand safety and copyright controls in an effort to calm advertisers, creators are concerned that the cleanup is leading to “viewer suppression” and demonetization. IGTV has already partnered with popular influencers such as King Bach and LeLe Pons for its launch, and any blowback among YouTube’s community of stars will only help it attract more creators.

Tread cautiously

IGTV’s opportunity to become a brand-safe, performance-driven, vertical video alternative to YouTube isn’t just hype. That being said, brands should remain vigilant during this time, and not act on impulse once IGTV decides to monetize. Some may be tempted to dive right in, due to the influencer-heavy list of content creators on the platform, but IGTV will have to prove it has learned from the woes of its competitor, before it can truly outshine YouTube.

Todd Krizelman is chief executive officer of MediaRadar

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Group Nine centralizes branded content team with launch of an in-house studio

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Group Nine Media is bringing its branded content strategy under one roof with the launch of in-house studio Brandshop.

The digital publisher announced today (11 December) that Brandshop will bring together the creative services teams across its four brands — NowThis, Thrillist, Seeker, and The Dodo — and the branded entertainment piece of its production studio Jash.

Group Nine president Christa Carone said centralizing everything will better inform the outlet's editorial strategy.

"The campaigns, the videos, and all of the programs we're developing are entirely informed on the insights that we're seeing from the audiences that engage with our editorial content. So, when an advertiser asks what young are people interested in, [we have a] robust set of data to be able to answer that question in an informed way," Carone told The Drum.

According to Nielsen, Group Nine reaches over 80% of US adults in their 20s. Group Nine brands earn more than 140 social engagements each month, per Listen First Media.

Yosef Johnson, senior vice president and head of Brandshop, will lead the new studio. He called it a "holistic new shop" across Group Nine's four brands.

Group Nine is the latest media company to push a brand content strategy. Condé Nast recently set up its own agency and brand consultancy in the UK.

Carone said Group Nine is seeing "very healthy, double-digit growth" in the area, and that as a social-first publisher it has a unique position in offering branded content.

"We lean very heavily into the social platform. It's one of the reasons we know advertisers want to work with us, because we are known in the marketplace as being one of the most robust social-first publishers, so our learnings from that are helping advertisers better understand how they can engage with younger audiences on social," Carone said.

Digital media currently stands on some shaky grounds as it competes for advertising dollars with giants such as Facebook and Google. BuzzFeed's chief executive suggested a merger among media companies could help publishers better compete.

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Marketing Day: Facebook’s ad tests, Alexa’s email feature, Hulu’s OTT ad marketplace

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Here’s our recap of what happened in online marketing today, as reported on Marketing Land and other places across the web.

From Marketing Land:

Recent Headlines From MarTech Today, Our Sister Site Dedicated To Marketing Technology:

Online Marketing News From Around The Web:

The post Marketing Day: Facebook’s ad tests, Alexa’s email feature, Hulu’s OTT ad marketplace appeared first on Marketing Land.

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