With the ever growing list of changes in digital marketing, the Milestone team has picked out the most relevant, top ten digital trends that will impact the events industry in 2019.
#1 Augmented Reality (AR)
AR has been on the rise since 2016 and global brands continue to experiment with this medium. These brands have had major successes as developers continue to work through the limitations of the technology towards more accessible AR experiences. it is interesting to note that live events is one of the identified market segments where AR has been forecasted to grow by as much as approximately 400%. It is projected to have a market value of US$ 4.1 billion in 2025 (from $8 million in 2020). Of the nine identified markets, live events ranked #4 after video games, healthcare and engineering.
From virtual attendance to convenient virtual venue tours for event organizers and eye catching rich media banner ads that literally pop out from your screen, the possibilities are endless. Augmented reality offers users an immersive experience for consumers and therefore emotional connection to the brand.
#2 New customer journeys
Gone are the days of serving up a “Buy Now” ad. Consumers are seeking information, solutions and tailored messages. This process can take months or even years. The key is to build credibility and trust before selling anything. Search engines are where the customer journey begins because consumers do a lot of research about products before purchasing. These searches result in specific ads (now managed by AI) that point to your brand. The key is to not sell, but rather provide information using videos and blog posts. Your CTA should be “Learn More”, with pointers to your website with customised information specifically for that audience.
It’s only after this phase that we should switch to conversion messaging with a CTA to book, buy or act.
#3 Private Messaging
As people move towards private messaging, away from public forums, it is essential that brands have a chat option for their customers to get in touch with them. According to the Facebook report “Why Messaging Businesses is the New Normal,” 69% of US respondents said that they feel more confident about a brand when they can directly message them. Event FAQs can be easily be set up in Facebook pages and event owners can utilise this feature to get more enquiries.
#4 Mobile friendly ticketing
This should be a no brainer by now but we’re saying it again to reinforce its importance. Tamara Mendelsohn, website conversion instructor for Eventbrite’s Event Marketing Course says that the extra steps in the checkout process cause 10% of event-goers to abandon their purchase. Making it easy for people to buy tickets on mobile can get a 160% increase in ticket purchase completion. Ticket purchasing optimised for mobile is a definite must especially since mobile users are more likely to convert. Building a website that speaks to each type of audience will also help in driving sales on your website.
#5 Highly targeted emails
Building a large subscriber list for your eDMs is one thing, but understanding your audience segmentation is the secret to getting a higher click to open rate. Customised emails per type of audience gets more emails opened and converted into ticket sales or registration. For event marketers, sending out pre-sale emails of suggested shows based on audience type and preference has proven to be more effective in getting return attendees.
#6 Native Storytelling
Brands should utilise native advertising to engage their audiences more directly because content is customised to their language and needs. Creating useful proprietary content also increases your chances of viral sharing on social media, according to Forbes. But rather than strictly sharing the same piece of content on every channel, it’s important to create network-specific content as well. Event owners can utilise things like “Staff picks” or BTS videos across the different social media platforms.
#7 Use in-house talent to talk about your event
Your festival curator, sound engineer, graphic designer and even volunteer can be richer sources of unique information that your audiences are looking for. According to Forbes, Influencers have proven to be a costly method of marketing because of their high expense and low ROI. Brands will be moving towards more organic grassroots promotion. Another key tactic: Rather than relying on celebrity influencers, brands are leveraging their own internal experts and employee advocates.
#8 Less feed, more stories
Stories are now growing 15x faster than feed based sharing, according to Block Party’s Beyond the Newsfeed report. Facebook’s Cheif Product Officer goes on to predict that the stories format will surpass the feed as the primary way of sharing sometime next year. It’s a good platform to experiement with especially for small teams given it thrives on content that is live, raw, and unedited. Events can leverage this medium in so many ways and even create customized GIFs and stickers for people to use during their events.
#9 Programmatic Advertising
Programmatic advertising will directly benefit from all the advances in automation and AI, allowing highly targeted marketing to happen. This technology is already being tested beyond the realms of online ads with brands like Google, Sky and Amazon investing heavily in integrating this technology to television advertising! Programmatic TV will definitely be something to watch out for.
#10 Voice Activated Search
In 2017,The growing popularity of voice activated devices marks a new paradigm for event marketing. Just as mobile heralded a new era for location-based search, voice activated search is shifting the goal posts once more, with tactics like optimising for featured snippets and ‘near me’ phrases coming to the fore. A recent study from the US found that 41.7% of searchers use 5+ words and 96.5% of search queries have less than 50 searches per month. What this means is, there will be a rise of long-tail search queries. Whereas the traditional typed search might be “event space”, the voice search might include the phrase “find an event space in the CBD with breakout spaces and Wi-Fi”. Voice activated search results return several website or location listings, but the top result will be based on the closest to what is likely a lengthy sentence or string. Results will be ranked based on concise answers to voice search queries, with the average result being just 29 words in length.