Digital advertising trends that will rule 2019: Rishi Sen

Guest Column: Chief of Staff at The 120 Media Collective explains how social media influencers, social messaging apps, chatbots and AI will be used in a big way this year

e4m by Rishi Sen
Updated: Jan 5, 2019 9:04 AM

2018 zoomed faster than it should have. While advertisers and marketers set the stage for a power-packed 2019, let’s look at few key trends that made the rounds in 2018 and will most definitely take brands to the hills of success in 2019.


Influencer Marketing

For almost a decade, we at The 120 Media Collective have been associated with the buzzword ‘content’. Content marketing as a form has been at the core of what we’ve been doing for brands over the years. Now, more than ever, with the rise of ad blockers at a 28 per cent penetration rate in India, content marketing as a marketing form has attained more limelight than ever. Influencer marketing is a key step in the distribution process of content marketing. A survey by Collective Bias reveals that 60 per cent of millennials consult a blog before making a purchase. Among others, 18.3 per cent men and 10 per cent women turn to blogs before making purchase decisions. Most of us have at least once run a search on Google after spotting a product on our social media feed. That’s the power of a seamless marketing strategy. With marketers turning to micro-influencers to attain richer engagement over reach, the authenticity of these people often plays a critical role in the success of a campaign. The fact that they are cost effective as well is just cherry on the cake. The use of social media influencers to help build brand advocacy has seen success all throughout 2018 and will likely show promising if not better results in 2019.


Social Messaging Apps

Let’s face it. Messaging apps are closer to us now than they ever were. Long gone are the days when text messages had a character limit. Players like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Viber, WeChat, etc. have changed the way we communicate. I’m told that over 75 per cent millennials prefer chatting over voice calls. According to a recent report by Similarweb, WhatsApp tops the list of social messaging apps with over 200 million monthly active users in India. On the other hand, Facebook Messenger has made it to the popularity table for marketers because of its easy API integrations and seamless plug-n-play with Facebook. Around 20 million pages on Facebook continue to use Messenger to communicate with their audience with close to 3,00,000 chatbots. These promising numbers eventually brought sponsored ads to life for the messaging platform. The platform also claims to have an engagement rate of over 50 per cent which is too big to ignore as marketers. These apps have made their mark and they’re clearly here to stay. Expect to see a few campaigns/innovations with these applications in 2019.  



The concept of chatbots were introduced in the early 1960s, but the term and the concept has got popular across industries only now. It’s obvious that the rise of mobile applications and multi-device friendly websites have paved a path for chatbots. Chatbots have been successfully helping in responding to generic enquiries, product/service knowledge across categories. Today, chatbots are based on artificial intelligence (AI) where they learn to serve better based on the data they’ve collected in past interactions and conversations, thereby immensely improving the customer engagement and communication. While 2018 saw multiple bots in their learning phase only being able to tackle first level queries/escalations, with newer technologies making its way to support AI and its use case, 2019 should see a significant part of the customer service process being run by chatbots.


Artificial Intelligence

AI is changing the way advertising is done so that it’s targeted better, therefore reaping meaningful results. Advertisers have struggled with quality control and cheap digital real estate since the beginning of time. Up until a while back, consumers have always consumed mass content across platforms knowing that they’re going to come across that’s unnecessary or just not for them. They’ve accepted it and moved on. As time passed, consumers have turned to the increasingly effective ad blockers to keep their screens clean. It’s only human to start avoiding something that you’re not content with. As newer forms of technology change the machine-human interaction, the advertising world is slowly adopting a new engagement model and redefining its core beliefs along the way. From where I’m sitting, it looks like an industry saviour. Customers expect to be heard, understood and respected, not forced to consume mass advertising. AI is slowly taking away the guesstimated approach that advertising agencies cook up after trying to read the limited data that they have access to. The power of conversational intelligence is likely to effectively tackle the volume game of the advertising model. Lesser ads. Precise ads. That’s what we’ve started seeing in 2018 and will likely see more in 2019.


(The author is Chief of Staff at The 120 Media Collective)

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of

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