In 2018 the world saw a marriage of policy and technology to give consumers more control over their data. In 2019, as the relationship between humans and technology continues to become more intertwined, I believe we’ll see an even more marked shift in how we deal with data, from stricter guidelines outlining how marketers can access it to a greater dependency on the devices we use to make sense of it.
In 2019, marketers need to keep up or be left behind. Here’s how.
Consumers will gain more control of their data
In May, the EU took a major step toward protecting the digital rights and privacy of its citizens when it implemented GDPR, launching a new standard that changed how companies handle consumer privacy and gave people new rights to their own data.
GDPR spawned an international awareness and conversation about data privacy, data mining and control over individual usage. That was just the beginning. With similar policies being talked about in the U.S., brands and marketers will need to make their own policies to preempt these new rules to not only comply with regulations but also ensure that consumers feel like their data is being transparently utilized. Consumers will demand it.
First real blockchain solutions will debut
Blockchain will be more than just something to track bitcoin; the hype might actually translate into something tangible in 2019 as we begin to see the first commercial applications of blockchain. In advertising, blockchain is becoming a fundamental part of the infrastructure with the technology already being utilized through initiatives by adChain and Rebel AI, which secure digital advertising and protect publisher identity and brand spend using machine learning, blockchain and encryption technologies.
In 2019, anyone working in the advertising or marketing space needs to embrace blockchain as it has the power to provide full supply chain clarity thanks to the transparent, immutable ledger. We’re just on the cusp of it now, but blockchain’s going to wholly transform the media industry.
Becoming a screen-agnostic society
Voice continues to take us further away from our screens, thanks to myriad touchpoints to use our voices today. We are becoming more dependent on digital assistants like Alexa, Cortana, Google and Siri for simple operational tasks. When was the last time your phone left your pocket? With the number of smart speaker devices in use across the U.S. expected to exceed 90 million by the end of 2018, growing at a rate of almost 48 percent (faster than any tech product since the smartphone), marketers should prepare themselves for advertising solutions focused on voice.
This is especially applicable in conjunction with these digital assistants, as the number of CPG brands getting into the game grows larger every day. More ecommerce is happening without a screen, and this will dramatically change how advertisers reach customers.
5G will alter how we create and consume content
In June the 3GPP, the international group that governs cellular standards, officially signed off on the stand-alone 5G New Radio (NR) spec, marking a major step toward next-generation cellular networks. Both wireless and technology providers have conducted field tests across several regions, including those in the United States, Japan and South Korea, and the first 5G-capable will start to appear early next year.
This game-changing technology (imagine downloading the equivalent of 50 HD movies in five seconds) will spur innovation around the type of content a consumer can readily access anywhere, anytime and change the way people interact with data. Marketers will need to leverage this tech to target their audience at faster, more efficient speeds and even provide AR and VR users with a lag-free experience.
This will also pose a challenge, though. Because of the inevitable influx of data on 5G, marketers will need to employ tried and true technology like location data and cornerstone best practices like proper audience segmentation to cut through the noise.
Smarter AI will make our lives easier
As more companies work to enhance the relationship between the machine and the human, they are also teaching AI to better understand the nuances of human interactions. Companies like Kia and Hyundai are planning to include AI assistants in their vehicles starting in 2019. Google, Apple and Amazon will continue to make advancements to their AI assistants making our lives even easier as they learn habits and anticipate needs faster and more accurately.
Millennials and younger are primed to lead the adoption of this connectivity, and it is impossible to even think of all the implications. Marketers will need to adapt and integrate this technology into their ad platforms quickly by doing things like optimizing voice or risk being made obsolete as younger generations’ purchasing power increases.
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