Another year has flown by, and the World (just about) kept on ticking. 2018 was largely very successful for online retailers whilst the high street has continued to suffer.

AI didn’t take all our jobs and well, let’s not mention the B word. At Tone, we are really lucky here to house a collection of brilliant minds, from web developers to designer and animators – our team all experience marketing, and indeed, the World in different ways, so this year we have brought together our team and asked them what their predictions are for 2019. Here they are.

Prediction 1: Changes in Consumer Behaviour

David Redmond
Commercial Director
It feels like consumers are still teetering along the online balance beam, looking for the sweet spot where they’re comfortable with what they buy, how they buy it and how they consume information. Take Netflix for example – a much-lauded disruptor that has quickly become a staple for all societal segments is itself now subject to challenge. With Disney, Amazon, BBC and others themselves looking to hack into market share that Netflix only relatively recently won, it feels like balance in the streaming Force has not yet been achieved.Retail powerhouses and high street icons are failing and falling with regularity while businesses that embrace the audience that now lives online have prospered. For every House of Fraser, there’s an Asos catering to a migrating customer base. It’s not just goods that are changing their market stall pitches though – entertainment businesses that are combining traditional channels with online experiences are seeing results. The Rank Group for example (Mecca Bingo and Grosvenor Casinos) have seen traditional retail revenues fall by 5% and digital rise by 10%.

For me, 2019 will see new challenger brands rise and some heritage brands disappear but what will be at the very crux of it all is how these different businesses accommodated their digital clientele.

Prediction 2: Voice Search Optimisation

Adam Veitch
Senior Project Manager
Voice search optimisation is slowly becoming more widely adopted. Still relatively new as a dedicated marketing tactic, the signs of a shift to voice-activated browsing are already starting to surface.

We expect this trend to begin to take off in 2019, and once it does, wouldn’t it be great to be ahead of the curve?

We all know that mobile devices are now the most popular search engine device with 60% of Google searches being carried out on mobile. But with the introduction of mobile personal assistants such as Apple’s Siri, Amazon Echo, Google Home Hub etc. Search queries are naturally becoming more conversational.

Google announced that a fifth of all mobile searches are voice searches. This equates to 12% of all Google searches (420 million) being voice queries!

Combined with the increased prominence of featured snippets in Google SERPs these days, 2019 is the perfect time to get innovative by optimising structured data for mobile, targeting long-tail conversational search queries and re-purposing your landing page experiences with a mobile-first approach.

Voice search is no longer a new technology, but marketing for it is still relatively new. Get ahead of the pack before the new wave of marketers follow suit in 2020 and beyond.

In this video, Neil Patel shares some great actionable advice in just 126 seconds.

Prediction 3: More VR/AR

Brandon Ingham
Web Developer
As we see the development of things like Mapbox Virtual Reality it paves the way for the return of technology similar to Google Glass which wasn’t quite ready for the real world the first time around due to the lack of software and hardware compatibility and even just the tools to create these sort of experiences were not fully developed yet.Now we have the ability to spawn objects into real-life scenes, making it possible to build more immersive games, experiences, and tools. The entry-level versions of VR technology is now becoming cheaper and more accessible which will mean we’ll see a rise in the number of VR and AR experiences across all platforms benefitting both consumers and businesses.

Prediction 4: The Rise of “Human” Marketing & Interactions

Lewis Rennison
Marketing & Relationships Manager
How many chatbots have you engaged with recently? Did it answer your question(s)? How does it make you feel as a potential customer to have your query ignored by a Human when you need their support the most? According to Gartner Juniper chatbots will be involved in 85% of all types of business-customers interaction by 2020.In a bid to create more personalised experiences, brands who truly care about how their customer engages with them will shelf the AI & automation in order to create more meaningful, personalised experiences and stories. AI will be pushed in to more operational and data processing roles certainly, but switched on brands will strengthen their personalisation through AR, Video & VR instead, (think putting glasses on yourself to see how they look, personalised video responses from your sales advisor, live video chat). These things are happening right now, with companies like IKEASephora and Audi.

The day’s of “Chatbots” being the next big thing in marketing will be numbered once brands start seeing their customer loyalty & lead quality improve by using “Human” marketing.

Prediction 5: Evolving Workspaces

Sarah Daykin
Key Account Manager
Innovative companies are no longer thinking of workspaces as the traditional ‘office’ environment and are instead looking at how technology and flexible working can give employees access to what they need, in a network of locations, based on the project at hand.  According to a recent study by Powwownow the number of employees that favour flexible working has increased to 75%, with 82% saying they are more productive during this time. 

At Tone we have adapted to this by offering work from home days, flexi-hours and introducing online tools such as DropboxTeamwork and to make sure our team can easily access projects on the move, in the office, or from the comfort of their homes – depending on what working environment works best at that time. 

Prediction 6: The revival of gestural interaction with tech

Jamie Shaw
Graphic Designer
Way back in 2013 when Samsung announced their flagship device, the Samsung Galaxy S4 – the interest of Air Gesture peaked the interest of consumers, claiming ease of use and a “revolutionary new way to interact with your phone”. One year later, it was scrapped from their lineup and left to be forgotten.Now, Google’s Project Soli, (Which many thought to be halted indefinitely since the last update in 2016), has now passed FCC approval for a radar-based motion sensor that can be used in everyday smart devices such as smart watches and radios – to controlling a 447 Tonne plane. That’s cool.

Prediction 7: Social Media and Marketing Online

Lewis Rennison
Marketing & Relationships Manager
This year will see a switch in the use of social media channels in businesses, with more businesses advertising on sites like Instagram and Facebook than ever before, in 2019 we would expect the trend of advertising on social channels to change. Previously these types of platforms have been used as an extra sales technique however, this type of use has been proven to be uneconomical and unproductive.Consumers today are looking for a type of storytelling where they can follow the progress of how a business is changing and how they are developing. There needs to be some sort of personality in the posts to grab the attention of the viewer. A businesses brand and logo are obviously important, but what people really invest in are your beliefs and what you stand for, if they share them…. you’re on to a winner.

“Intrusive traditional marketing went out of the window a long time ago… Let the product sell itself, strong visuals and honest relationships are the things that are going to increase your performance online. Being transparent with your audience is a way to build trust, and when you have trust, you will sell.” (Sam Conor – Speakeazy UK)

Social media marketing in 2019 will see a change that pushes marketing to where it should be, which is to create brand awareness and act as continuous storytelling.

Prediction 8: Swim even harder to stay afloat in the sea of video content

Ashley Peacocke
Graphic Designer
From the growth of Instagram Stories, to interactive video advertising across social networks, 2018 was a huge year for video. The number of businesses using video as a marketing tool jumped from 63% to 81% in 2018 and is expected to continue to rise in 2019 – but is this a good thing?Anyone can make a video, anytime, anywhere and share it on a variety of channels with social media platforms generating more than 8 billion views a day and 1,200% more shares than text and image posts. Brands, and anyone hoping to increase traffic and sales will need to really do their homework and make sure that they’re posting creative, thoughtful, high-quality content that’s specific to their audience and stands out from the noise. How well do you know your audience, and will your content stand out?

Prediction 9: Micro Video Ads

Anthony Mcloughlin
Project Manager
Generally 15 seconds or less in length, micro video ads are used to grab people’s attention quickly and spur engagement to the increasingly short attention span of today’s consumers.

Peoples’ social feeds have never been as competitive and it’s getting harder to not only grab peoples’ attention, but to retain peoples’ attention. This is where micro-videos can triumph. The shorter a video is, the more likely people will watch to the end.

Shorter attention spans are a reality we need to face as marketers and micro videos-should form part of your overall marketing strategy if you want to prosper in 2019.

Prediction 10: More design software than ever before

Michael Almond
Lead Designer
Over the past few years, numerous applications have been released aiming to be the next big thing for web-based design. Some people are still happy using Photoshop but most should have moved on from the likes of Photoshop and the now-defunct Fireworks. Now we see the race is on to build the ultimate tool which caters to today’s needs; responsive design, prototyping, animation, syncing with other useful apps (like Marvel, Invision, Sympli) and in some instances software which creates the code once you have designed it.

Last year we saw a few new releases that are still in or freshly out of beta phase, like Adobe XD and Invision Studio which should provide some healthy competition. Add them to the other pool of other current popular tools which are constantly evolving like Sketch, Affinity Designer, Framer and Macaw and we have a nice selection to try out and see what works best for us in 2019.

Prediction 11: Moving away from conventional grids in 2019

Jordan Podda
Frontend Developer
Traditionally websites were built with a standardised grid and everything follows within this wrapper. The past year has seen a handful of sites pop up which utilise a broken grid structure to promote key elements of the site and bring a new look and feel to the web.When designed and built correctly these can bring a new depth to the mundane grid system we all follow.

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Posted By Lewis Rennison