Digital trends of 2019 you need to look out for: Manika Juneja, WATConsult

Guest Column: Juneja, AVP (Operations), WATConsult says 2019 will be a boon for the businesses who will be agile enough to adapt the digital transformation model

e4m by Manika Juneja
Updated: Jan 21, 2019 9:12 AM  | 5 min read
Manika Juneja

Yes folks, it’s that time of the year when as a digital consultant, I often get asked by clients, marketers and industry colleagues; what are the trends that you foresee for the year? But before we proceed let’s take a glance at the fact that digital medium has witnessed a lot of churn in 2018 right from data piracy with biggies like Facebook and Google to the #MeToo movement which resulted in changing the dynamic of the industry. Moreover 2018 has been the stepping stone for digital marketing to be an integral part of the marketing mix. In my view, 2019 will prove the real worth of digital marketing with KPIs aligned to brand building and sales rather than the medium which gives you mere likes, comments and shares as ROI.

Let’s take a look at some trends which will dominate the digital marketing in 2019:

Digital – Impacting the Business
The current business landscape is more dynamic than ever. Today’s customers look out for connected experience across channels and verticals at various touchpoints. Right from staying on top of the consumer mindset in the marketing funnel to providing them personalisation in the offerings, after sales support, customers are expecting brands to deliver information that is accessible anytime, anywhere, on the channel of their choice (mobile, online or any other POS). Meeting these customer expectations in the cutting-edge competitive scenario are forcing organisations to evolve their systems and processes for better understanding of the customer and offering personalisation at scale. Digital Transformation, data driven decisions, digital commerce, AI & Machine Learning are no longer the buzz words but the essential components of business transformation model for brands seeking effective ROI. India is still catching up with the trend with ecommerce giants like Amazon, Flipkart etc, being the early adapters, however 2019 will be a boon for the businesses who will be agile enough to adapt the digital transformation model.

After the wave of moment marketing, cause-vertising will be the next big trend with respect to content marketing. Cause-vertising will lead the brands to focus on their proposition and connect with the consumer using this purpose-led message into a beautiful storytelling. The key here is to stay true to the brand and find the sweet spot to convert the customers using this new approach of content marketing. We have seen several campaigns like #ShareTheLoad, #ToughMoms using this form of messaging but what was missing was the impact or result in the true form leading into a behavioral change. In the cluttered advertising space, consumption patterns are mostly consistent; there are high chances of consumers getting more attracted towards brands that align with the emotion of the cause and showcase the real contribution as the outcome in the form of a tangible or more noticeable change. 

The rise in the programmatic advertising is no surprise to digital marketing experts, however comparing the sheer size of the digital advertising industry, in the era of data and technology the growth is still at a nascent stage in India with close to 20-22 per cent of ad budgets going to this form of advertising. With Bharat getting access to smartphone and Internet penetration, the rise of digitization, the increase in awareness about the offerings like unique targeting capability and transparency, the ability to gather valuable insights to save ad wastage and better ROI are some of the reasons for the trend to catch up faster in India. In 2019, programmatic will be the go-to strategy for digital marketing and change the face of it.

“Hey Google, what is VOICE SEARCH?”
“Alexa, what are the digital trends of 2019?”

The increasing use of voice search, penetration of voice assistants and smart speakers have empowered users to access information like never before. Fifty per cent of all searches are predicted to be voice searches by 2020. This has also led a way for the non-English speaking audience use Internet with ease.

However, in order to lead the pack in the era of Voice Search, content optimisation needs to take the front seat in the gambit of marketing. Voice-search-friendly content will fall under hygiene which brands will not be able to ignore for a long time.  

Video On-Demand / OTT
With the rise of personalised screen being the preferred entertainment enabler, OTT media players are exhibiting a strong growth. As per the recent BCG report, India’s OTT market has potential to reach $5bn by 2023. The number of players has seen a spike in the last few years with Netflix, Hotstar, Amazon prime topping the chart. The penetration in various parts of India has forced the OTT players to produce local and regional content for the Indian consumers. High profiling sports event, original content series, syndication of international content will witness the maximum advertising opportunities. 

All in all, as a marketer here’s a quick check list you can use to ensure you achieve your short term and long term goals in 2019.
Ensure you have a better understanding of the customer, personalisation is the key, ask yourself if your campaigns have real-world impact, ROI through digital is a possibility do not be afraid to take it head-on, regional video content could be your best friend when speaking to consumers and finally, it’s not too late to VOICE out your message!

(The author is the Assistant Vice President (Operations), WATConsult)

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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