Can you believe the year is already drawing to a close? It feels like only yesterday we were waving goodbye to 2018 and hello to 2019! There’s no doubt it’s been a big 12 months for digital marketing since we wrote our last year in review blog post. With the online arena continuing to adapt and evolve, so too must the brands and marketers who work within it.Therefore, this year we thought we’d trying something a little different and present you with some predictions from our very own Bang Digital team. We’ve got strategy, search, social, website design, customer journey and everything in-between covered. So strap in and read on to find out what’s in store for 2019 - trust us, you’ll want to hear what the team’s got to say!Renae, Managing DirectorPersonalisation at the core2019 will be all about personalisation and using data to predict and manage each individual client's journey. As the space for consumers attention becomes shorter, there is an expectation from consumers that businesses deliver relevant information in a timely manner. This is where the importance of conversion rate optimisation, customer journey mapping and automation becomes critical. It’s not just for big businesses with large budgets and large product/service offerings, there are small changes each and every business can make to maximise this opportunity.Digital marketing will become less about increasing paid advertising budgets and more about ensuring that each dollar spent has a positive value for the business. This process will extend beyond the digital environment and into CRM solutions to ensure that the experience is seamless from initial interaction upon digital, to human interaction.Bundled with this way of viewing digital is attribution modelling and ensuring that we consider multiple touch points across multiple devices as contributing to the end goal, rather than just last click attribution. Businesses that combine all of these technologies together will see leverage above their competitors without needing to resort to promotions or offers. It's all about a consistent approach to continuous improvement.Carly, Campaign ManagerKeeping up with changing consumer need & behavioursThanks to a multitude of digital touchpoints, consumer habits and expectations are changing rapidly. Consumers have less patience as they come to expect, with increasing frequency, that businesses will anticipate their needs - what they need and when. A recent Google study highlighted one consumer's journey to purchase a car which included 900 digital touchpoints from research and consideration through to purchase.So it's important your digital strategy stays across these digital interactions - known as micro-moments - in order to successfully map out your customer journey, understand how your customers are engaging with your brand and what marketing messaging you need to serve them and when. Capturing prospective customers in these intent-driven moments allows you to better nurture through the sales process. 2018 has also seen the rise of personal searches - with consumers now trusting search results more than ever before. Whether it's answering a quick question, solving a problem or exploring a large purchase decision, consumers expect search to deliver them trustworthy results, personalised and relevant to their interests.Coming into 2019, video is paving the way for search, with 85% of searchers on Youtube. Google is using YouTube to replace TV advertising for millennials as they increasingly turn to streaming services and YouTube for their online search queries. To drive leads in 2019, you'll need to take your marketing message to YouTube audiences and connect with those using YouTube as a research tool when considering your product or services. The use of Responsive Ads across the Google network has also been an absolute game changer. Machine learning means more cost-effective campaigns, faster optimisation, more immediate learnings and better results and I'm excited to see how machine learning continues to evolve coming into 2019.Jack, Head of DigitalAutomation in full forceMachine learning is already changing the digital landscape and we'll continue to see this technology advance in 2019. Our role as search strategists is to leverage machine learning and combine it with human intelligence to successfully manage PCC campaigns. We no longer have to spend time on repetitive tasks such as updating bids, which frees up time to focus on developing the strategy behind the campaigns - something machine learning is yet to fully understand. Brad, Digital DirectorMobile-first & growth-driven designMy first prediction for 2019 is approaching a website redesign from a 'mobile first' perspective. Web developers will usually design the homepage for desktop and then work backwards through the tablet/phone variations. But in 2018 Google rolled out 'mobile first' indexing as the majority of people are now visiting websites on their phone (rather than desktops).So in 2019 it’s going to be critical that the 'mobile' design and functionality is the initial primary focus of any web development project. Second to this, I think that 'growth driven design' is going to change the way website projects are undertaken.Rather than approaching a website redesign as a large one-off project, I predict that in 2019 people will start taking an iterative approach to their re-design process. There will be a cyclical process of defining a goal/objective, implementing the changes, monitoring/tracking, then undertaking continuous improvements based on the data.This will mean that website improvements are launched far more quickly than a 'standard' website project and better results in the long run.Geordie, Customer Journey StrategistThe role of IoT in the customer journeyThe term Internet of Things (IoT) has evolved into a catchall buzzword but what it means to me is traditional products that once were standalone and ‘dumb’ now being connected to the internet. That is the strict tech definition, talking about products like fridges, air conditioners and even toilet rolls.But like many technological advances, IoT will only be as good as the applications that are developed on it. What good is an iPhone without the apps? Similarly, a smart toilet roll is useless if it’s not connected to an application that makes a customers life better.In terms of the mass adoption of IoT, we are starting to see more devices becoming a part of the mainstream, like fitness trackers (Apple Watch, FitBit), cars (Tesla) and smart homes. The app ecosystem and the integration of IoT devices into our everyday life, however, is still relatively immature as businesses are still figuring out ways to utilise this new(ish) technology.As IoT devices become more integrated with our daily life, there is going to be an astronomical shift in the experience that customers have with brands of all types. The understanding of customers, their behaviours and preferences will improve exponentially enabling hyper-targeting of messaging, content and indeed advertising.As a customer, the line between online and offline experiences will be blurred and while the net result will be for the good of the consumer, there will definitely be experiences that cross the creepy line. This won't be an experience limited to the individual either as we move towards smart cities where water, power, roads and more are connected and optimised.This likely won't be a sudden shift and will happen over time in the same way that smartphones and social media slowly but surely revolutionised society. Sure enough though, the integration of IoT into our daily lives will transform how we interact with brands and their products, and how businesses deliver a great, personalised customer experience.Maddy, Social Media ManagerAI for everyoneWhether it be used for enhancing the Facebook Marketplace to make the buying and selling process easier, transforming the way campaigns spend, bid and are optimised, or even who and how we are targeting across social media platforms, I predict that AI will revolutionise social media in 2019.Over the past few months, we have seen Facebook and Instagram rolling out AI features to not only further improve and enhance the user’s experience while within these platforms but to also assist the wider social media community with providing help and assistance to their friends and family who may be in need. And these features haven’t even scratched the surface of the possibilities of AI. So, what can we expect from AI in 2019? Big things. With the introduction of even more new features being rolled out across all social media platforms, such as the AI for price range suggestions and auto-categorisation on Marketplace, and the collaborative approach social platforms are already taking on working with third-party AI systems, it’s only a matter of time until AI marketing becomes the norm. What would I like to see in 2019? I would love to see Facebook and Instagram take the lead in utilising AI to further ‘humanise’ the way campaigns are optimised. This might look like additional learnings made throughout the learning period which will better inform a campaign’s outcome, new and improved bidding and budget strategies, or even dynamic advert variation, including multiple copy and creative uploads.So what do you think of our team’s predictions? If your business wants to strengthen its digital marketing efforts in 2019, contact Bang Digital today!