Voice, GDPR, eCommerce, VR and AR – only a few of 2018’s hyped technology developments. As digital maturity picks up speed year on year, week on week, day on day, we’ve spoken to our Account Director Niall Kiernan to make some predictions for the year ahead. We’re always looking around the corner on behalf of our clients so we thought it would be interesting (see: terrifying) to put our thoughts on the line. Kick back, grab a coffee and have a read of some of our ramblings…

1. The Evolution of Influencer Marketing

Authenticity is currency in social. 2018 was the year where influencer marketing really took hold and dominated conversation amongst the industry. As the tactic evolved, some marketing efforts took a more sinister turn as influencers cashed in on deliberate inauthenticity and fictional personas. This fakery poses some very real questions for brands for the future of their influencer marketing efforts in 2019.

Take Miquela Sousa for example. On paper, Lil Miquela is your typical millennial influencer boasting 1.5 million Instagram followers. She endorses aspirational products and flaunts flashy outfits that influencers pride themselves on. All this influence and here’s the kicker… she’s not real! This typifies the evolution of digital as AI technology becomes more commonplace. This example of digital communication requires strong consideration from future focused brands who have their finger on the pulse. Fake influencers, who are influential? What’s real anymore?

What about real influencers we hear you say? UK Agency Social Chain released a fraud detector for influencer marketing late last year. Follower fraud is a major concern amongst brands looking to utilise influencers for marketing campaigns. Their tool can determine if and how much of influencer engagement is real or fake using artificial intelligence technology. As the crackdown continues, we expect to see new tactics emerge for the general public to grow their organic audiences. Beware marketers, influencers are always one step ahead of the game so we expect this to be very topical this year. Anticipate the rise of AI and Influencer Marketing.

2. Say Hello to Contextual Commerce

Social commerce is on the rise. With the potential launch of some new Instagram apps, we predict the growth of social commerce as brands focus on improving the online customer journey for their consumers to battle the ever growing wave of nifty startups taking on the big brands. By reducing friction between different online touch points, brands are facilitating popular consumer behaviour by allowing purchasing decisions to be made instantly. The rise of ZipPay and other companies facilitating Instagram culture and the obsession with instant gratification will continue to grow.


As brands improve their online experience, contextual marketing will be incredibly prevalent over the next 12 months. Contextual commerce is the idea of capturing a sale or a customer in the moment of discovery on any platform where they discover your product or service, so ultimately where their intent is at the highest. Given the diversification of social media, with multiple social platforms and messaging services, people are now finding products anywhere on the internet, not just on the brand website. We will see brands make it easier and easier for consumers to purchase products throughout the internet in more convenient ways. Marketers need to adapt and be ready to think bigger than bringing customers to their own channels.

3. Marketing Science & The role of Data

The ability to reach consumers on the channels of their choice with the right message – at the right time and in the right place – has created a huge opportunity for marketers. Data will become critical to marketing performance over the next few years as marketing spend faces ever-increasing scrutiny. The good news is that data analysis capabilities are improving and this is an opportunity for brands who have a plan in place to use this approach.

Marketers can now align all of a company’s relevant marketing data — whether it’s earned, paid or owned media, across multiple channels, campaigns and regions — and consolidate it into a single, comprehensive source of truth. Digital is no longer siloed and marketers must work with increasing numbers of partners in a more collaborative manner to harness the true potential of data. There will be more partnerships throughout 2019 as brands look to capitalise on and leverage similar audiences. Brands need to review their data policies and ensure that they’re capitalising on the customer information they already hold before they acquire new data.

2020 will roll around in no time as the industry continues to work at breakneck speeds to capitalise on marketing opportunities that this digital evolution produces. It’s a tricky space for large brands as many try to fight off new competitors to even consolidate their own position. Innovation is vital for brands who wish to remain relevant in this digital age. If there’s one thing we’ve learned from 2018, it’s that our wildest predictions are coming closer and closer to fruition. Even if we did expect AR and VR to take over the world in 2018. Ah well, we weren’t alone in that thought.  


Let’s see if our predictions for 2019 ring through, we’ll see you in 2020…