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Shrenik Gandhi, Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder, White Rivers Media lists down some trends that would drive digi...
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Digital Trends to look ahead in 2020

Shrenik Gandhi, Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder, White Rivers Media lists down some trends that would drive digi...
  • While the last decade saw digital grow and gain more importance, the next one will have digital as the centerpiece.
  • Shrenik Gandhi, Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder, White Rivers Media lists down some trends that would drive digital marketing industry in 2020 and help it reach its peak.
2019 has been an interesting year for digital marketers. From the rise of augmented reality and video content to voice search and influencer marketing, this year the trajectory of digital industry has only gone up. And to stay ahead in the market, it’s always beneficial to be aware of the evolving digital trends. With this decade coming to an end, here are some notable trends which will play an important role in digital marketing in the coming year.

Importance of Consumer Privacy
Owing to privacy failures from technology companies in the past few years, the establishment of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation and increased demand to impose controls on technology companies, 2020 will witness more companies focusing on privacy and data security issues. It is expected that many will adopt privacy and transparency as a brand differentiator, allowing users to opt in or out of data collection schemes with greater ease and awareness than in the past. The bigger question is whether digital giants like Amazon (via Alexa) and Facebook will quietly keep on gathering all the data they can from the users or join the others.

Stories will take the Center Stage
As per industry reports, stories are growing 15X faster than feeds. With nearly a billion accounts across Snapchat, Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook, and Messenger, creating and watching these vertical, ephemeral slideshows, it’s clearly the format of the future. Surpassing feeds, the story format is becoming the most popular way people share things on social media. The users are on a constant lookout for ways in which they can glorify every moment and add it to their narrative of the day. Basis this the advertisers need to rethink their message on how they can pique the users’ interest using backgrounds, overlays, and convert the whole story into a feeling that lingers even if viewers don’t tap through.

Voice Search/ Conversational Marketing
Rapid consumer adoption of smart speakers and innovation in search query processing, conversational interfaces and messaging is paving way for conversational marketing. Conversational marketing technologies like Voice Search Optimization (VSO) enable interactions between companies and customers that mimic human dialogue and do so at scale.

Text and voice requests are significantly different. For example, the user will write "the best sushi in Mumbai", but he will say: "Where to eat delicious sushi?" There doesn’t seem to be much difference between the two statements. However, this greatly affects SEO. The online services implement voice query analysis accordingly and redo their content for them. This leads to the preference of natural language over keywords in web content and completely ditches overly technical language. In this realm of voice technology, one specific asset that builds a connection between computer systems and the human voice command is Neuro-linguistic programming. Often referred to as NLP, it’s a kind of a programming language that helps computers in understanding the underlying human tone, sarcasm, puns, and even deeper context clues like double meanings.

Multi-experience
Multi-experience replaces technology-literate people with people-literate technology. This involves an evolution from the traditional single point interaction to include multisensory and multi-touchpoint interfaces like wearables and advanced computer sensors.

At present, immersive experiences that use augmented reality (AR), virtual (VR), mixed reality, multichannel human-machine interfaces and sensing technologies are what comprise the multi-experience. This trend in the future will be called an ambient experience.

Let’s take the example of Domino’s Pizza, who with the inclusion of autonomous vehicles, a pizza tracker and smart speaker communications created an experience beyond app-based ordering. This kind of integration will be the way forward.

Real-time Personalization
In 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator, according to Frost & Sullivan. Success, therefore, lies in creating real-time personalized experiences — spanning marketing, sales and customer service — aimed at resonating deeply with customers so that they feel valued and appreciated.

Brands and marketers will have to focus on real time personalization without invading the personal space on the end user.

Augmented and Virtual Reality Will Continue to Grow
The rise of AR and VR spaces will create new, immersive advertising environments for businesses that can’t be simply skimmed over. With larger than life scope in social media, the practical applications of virtual and augmented reality are only going to increase in 2020. For a more bite-sized version of this, you can consider Snapchat’s newly launched AR Bar in Snap Camera. From scanning a math problem to get the answer or a product to see results on Amazon to scanning the sky to see whales swim over the horizon, or to watch butterflies emerge as you open your palm is putting the technology right at your fingertips, it locates contextually relevant Lenses whenever you point your camera at certain objects.

It’s an emerging technology that will give brands an opportunity to come up with fun and interactive ways for promotion. Moreover, these platforms are making it easier for creators to start building their own lenses. For Instance, the new update for Snapchat’s Lens Studio now includes templates for augmented reality creators — including Land markers, which empower creators to build Lenses that can transform the world's most iconic landmarks in real-time.

Thus, all in all, while the last decade saw digital grow, and digital becoming very important, the next one will have digital as the centerpiece. This is a decade which will redefine a lot of rules in advertising, with smarter marketing and smarter consumers. With a plethora of new trends and challenges on the way, the coming year will help businesses in gaining a competitive edge, generate leads and deepen relationships with their existing customers.

And hence, the first year of the decade is a crucial stepping stone.

- By Shrenik Gandhi, Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder, White Rivers Media
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