Many industry experts have been writing about what the new year will have in store for us. Their articles provide a sense of what is just on the horizon, and the best are tangible enough to keep watch on as the year unfolds.
But with my future-leaning perspective, I typically think in terms of years, not months. That’s why in this article I am taking a 12-month leap, assessing what 2018 will mean for predictions in 2019. Bookmark this for your summer strategic-planning sessions.
Prediction A: Artificial Intelligence Goes From "Nice-To-Have" To "Must-Have"
Artificial intelligence (AI) is clearly here to stay. By the end of 2018, it will be as embedded into our daily lives as smartphones, urban traffic, and oxygen. Companies are and will continue to use AI as the underpinning of data analysis, front-line communication, automating routine tasks, and other processes that enable them to rethink roles, service levels, and more.
If you are not already using AI in some part of your business today, you are less efficient and less profitable than your nearest competitor, and answering customer-facing inquiries more slowly. As companies become more comfortable with AI, and gain a better understanding of the technology's potential for better management and customer service, they will certainly look for software and services providers that make use of AI, when deciding where to spend their 2019 budget.
Prediction B: Blockchain Will Help Solve Advertising Buying Challenges
Over the course of 2018, we will have seen a number of companies and agencies test the “smart contracts” feature and tokens based on blockchain technology as a way to corral the many inputs and outputs of media. Organizations are bullish on blockchain technology's potenital to put buyers and sellers on a common framework for transactions. In 2019, I predict brands will be working with media agencies, trading desks, and their in-house media teams to execute 10% of their ad buys using a blockchain-based framework.
Prediction C: Content And Context Will Clash With Commerce
Content marketing ran amok in 2017; by 2019, marketers will have shifted their approach. The number of content marketing programs will shrink as brands begin to realize that they are in a fight for consumer time and attention, resulting in a shift to quality over quantity. Companies will focus on high-quality branded content, improving creation, volume, and messaging. Video creation will take center stage, and videographers who used to create commercials from six to 60 seconds will shift their creative approach to creating more two- to three- minute video to reinforce brand stories.
Prediction D: Duopoly, No More, As Amazon Expands Into OTT Ads
Early indications for 2018 are that the Google/Facebook duopoly will account for over 80% of digital advertising spend, and possibly all of its growth, as smaller players get absorbed or hit a revenue ceiling. The one company that will use 2018 to line up as a 2019 contender is Amazon, which is going to add TV advertising to its Prime Video service for viewers who are not Prime subscribers. This will unlock the video advertising business for Amazon, which has primarily relied on sponsored search results and display advertising to drive its multibillion-dollar ad business.
What predictions do you have in store for a year for now? Help me complete this longer term alphabet of actions.