Voice assistants reinvent search. Network ad loads are reduced. Brands take center stage and chatbots take on customer service. This is just a taste of what’s in store for the global marketing industry in 2019.

We asked our team of marketing experts around the globe to give us their top industry predictions for the coming year. Here are their thoughts.

Voice assistants will reinvent the way we manage search marketing

Reaching the right audience through online search is key for marketers and the next big turning point will be around voice assistants. While the penetration rate for this technology is still low in markets such as France, marketers should plan to be prepared as this will revolutionise e-commerce and customer relationships. Purposeful interactions with Alexa, Cortana or Google Home hardly leave any room for advertising messages, thus SEO/SEA will be completely reinvented voice assistants won’t deliver only the best responses but the most correct, understandable and helpful information. This could also lead to questions regarding tracking, as marketers we will not refer to clicks based on keywords requests but to more elaborate vocal sentences. Finally, the way we think about audio creative will also be reinvented as well as content management with new players. For example, Google recently announced they will produce audio podcasts.

Laurent Thévenet, Client Success Director, France

Brands will matter…again

The brand will matter – again. It does not seem very new, but it will be more important than ever. With new challenger brands that try to disrupt markets and an increasing number of new players in general it will become more and more important that brands deliver a clear value to their customers. Only by understanding their customers/ by putting themselves in their customers’ shoes they will be able to differentiate from their competition and to create a relevant brand that really matter. And only if the brand stands for something they will be able to convince their customers in the long run.

Jennifer Tietze, Senior Brand Manager, Berlin

Quality becomes king

The year 2019 could be the year we say goodbye to click-through-rate (CTR) and cost-per-view (CPV) as KPIs and really focus on quality visits instead. There is a whole spectrum of consumer activity between a lowly bounced visit and the ultimate conversion, the order. Understanding different types of visits is key for anyone who wants to optimise campaigns. So instead of just looking at CPV, we will be looking more at cost per quality visit (CPQV). The definition of quality in CPQV can be different for every advertiser and requires understanding of their business, a lot of data and some creative smart brains who can make the learnings actionable.

Marc Dahmen, Content and Insights Director, Netherlands

Chatbots will take on customer service

Chatbots, a new method of advertising, will continue to witness growth. From Facebook to Skype, many social media platforms are now allowing users to leverage chatbots. As a result, more than 18,000 chatbots have been developed by brands on Facebook to offer better customer experiences. These chatbots are mostly intended to provide improved customer service, with 24-hour, 7-day a week availability on social media platforms and websites.

Rameshwar Thakur, Director of Business Development, India

Voice search erupts

We’re anticipating the continued growth of voice controlled devices, making a big impact on both the advertising and ecommerce landscape in 2019. Voice activated devices will be applied to almost every human need and the next year is set to see a surge in growth of more advanced versions to the current range of voice devices including Amazon’s Alexa devices and Google Assist. We predict, consumer habits will progressively shift towards voice activated purchases on smart phones and in home devices globally.

Samantha Phillips, Client Services Lead, UK

Network ad loads get reduced

Fox, Viacom and a number of other cable networks have committed to reducing the length of commercial periods they run. For example, where you may have seen 7 to 9 commercials in a break previously, now it may be cut down to 4 to 6 commercials. Additionally, in some programs networks will look to sell commercial spots at a higher rate, reasoning that a less cluttered environment effectively improves viewer experience and is thus more effective. One notable example: in February 2018 NBC Universal unveiled plans for its new ‘prime pod’ ad format, which is one :60 second spot of audience targeted advertising in the first or last break of all primetime, original series across its entire broadcast and cable portfolio, as part of its larger initiative to reduce ads by 10 percent this past fall. While originally the premiums prompted sticker shock, NBC ultimately sold the format for a 75 percent premium above the average cost of an ad in each show. Additionally, NBC sold 80 percent of its prime commercial spots in the upfront season. This should be top of mind for marketers, especially those who expect that rates will be flat or lowered due to the recent cord-cutting trend.

Stephanie Stawniczy, Director, TV Media Activation, US

Offline media tracking makes its way to South Africa

As South African brands gain increasing awareness about performance marketing and become more and more ROI focused, we believe that 2019 will see more brands than ever tracking their offline media. Since tracking the performance of the brand, not the media, is a relatively new concept in South Africa, a lot of education is still needed and we believe that many brands will catch up in 2019. This could also mean the introduction of competitor software to the market since DCMN’s DC Analytics is currently the only software of its kind in South Africa.

Irina Herf, General Manager, South Africa

India’s OTT challenger will come to light

India’s challenger to the world’s largest OTT platform, Netflix, might not actually be another pure OTT platform like Hotstar. Surely with a 10M+ subscriber base, along with free delivery and music, Amazon Prime would provide amazing competition, but the dark horse might turn out to be Jio. Jio currently boasts a user base of 250M people on its network already. With the recent acquisition of music streaming app Saavn, followed by deals with media giants like Eros, Balaji, Star for video and tie ups with cable networks, Jio might have figured out the recipe for the magic potion. These acquisitions and partnerships could not only end up disrupting the telecom industry, but also the content and OTT space in India.

Vikas Gowda, Senior Offline Marketing Manager, India