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Experts Predict Big Changes In Online Marketing After Gazing Into Their Crystal Balls

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It’s no secret that the world of technology is coming alive right now. At the beginning of the month, the Consumer Electronics Show 2017 opened its doors to thousands of companies and tens of thousands of visitors and press. What was on display was simply stunning. To many people’s surprise, the breadth of the show eclipsed even that of 2016 when many analysts thought that it might have reached its zenith. Even now, commentators are digesting the event, with many announcing that digital technology truly went ubiquitous this year.

All this rapid change in technology has gotten marketers thinking. Artificial intelligence, big data, and virtual reality are going to make big waves, fundamentally changing how online marketing is conducted over the next five years or so. We’re also going to see shifts in the way that the internet works at a fundamental level. The idea of having an “internet connection” will likely disappear as being online will be something that is just constant, like having a supply of electricity to your computer. There will also be a lot less work for experienced human marketers to do, as well as the arrival of the internet in places beyond Earth (possibly Mars if SpaceX gets its act together).

Here are some of the predictions for what online marketing will look like in a decade’s time, inspired by industry experts:

Face To Face Interactions Will Be Rare – And Highly Valued.

In the future digital world, digital interactions will become the norm. We’ll all be meeting up in virtual spaces, using avatars, which to onlookers will be practically indistinguishable from our real bodies. No, the technology doesn’t exist to do that sort of thing just yet, but virtual reality on high-end gaming PCs provides a tantalizing glimpse of what’s possible. Today’s VR is at a similar stage in its development as smartphones were back in 2006. Back then, we were just a year away from the iPhone- the killer product that would change the world forever.

But this world of virtual interactions will leave customers hungry; they’ll be hungry for real interactions where they get to talk to a real person, not an avatar and not a bot. Strangely, with the world going so high tech, perhaps the first thing that will happen is that high value-added marketing will go personal, and companies that provide real human beings will be the ones who thrive. Taking a step back, even for the sake of nostalgia, could provide a competitive advantage.

There Will Be Less Competition.

As machine learning and artificial intelligence improve, new sophisticated algorithms will be introduced. These will have the effect of reducing the amount of competition between different online firms. Essentially, smart algorithms will learn from users and feed them on an individual basis, to the websites that are most appropriate for them. In a sense, it’ll be the search engines, not the companies themselves, doing the funneling.

Ultimately, this will mean less work and less competition. Companies won’t have to constantly churn out endless content on their sites, just to boost their rank or do SEO. Instead, Google and other search engines will change their practices, ensuring that they provide content to users that is actually useful, outside of the narrow domain of the web. Not many users want to read a plumbing blog, but many people need a plumber when their shower stops working.

Content Will Be Finely-Tuned For The Individual.

With the rise of the digital creative agency, we already see industries moving to create engaging online experiences for their customers. Companies and their partners understand that design is essential for generating sales and making the website experience as pleasant as possible.

In the future, the role of creative agencies will evolve. It won’t be so much about providing businesses themselves with the tools to improve the user experience of their websites: rather it’ll be about offering unique site experiences, based on the user’s own preferences. The information that websites present, as well as their design, will become something that is plastic. Things like individualized content – something that we see already in services like Flipboard and Feedly – will spread across all platforms, and will be done automatically.

Marketing will drive this since marketers will need to provide users with an immediately gratifying experience if they are to gain traction.

Non-Digital Ads Will Cease To Exist.

Once the internet is everywhere, what happens to non-digital ads? According to some experts, they will die entirely. Once people are hooked up to augmented reality devices, there’s no point having billboards or magazine ads. They’re just not highly targeted enough and, for most advertisers, will be a waste of money. Physical magazines and newspapers will continue to struggle to stay in business, thanks to this new, harsh economic reality.

Brands Will Prioritize Privacy And Use It As A Marketing Ploy.

One of the not-so-nice things about the digital world is that, in many cases, it’s a winner-take-all market. Google, for instance, dominated the search market early on and then reinvested its advertising revenue to make its platform even better, and in so doing, attracting more users and advertizing dollars. Now the company appears unassailable, even for the mighty Microsoft. This might explain why there’s a frenzied race between Google, Facebook, IBM, Amazon and Microsoft to improve their AI technology. The first company to get AI working will then be able to use it to further reinforce its advantage.

With the rise of single, dominant companies will come increased user concern about privacy. People won’t like the fact that Facebook and Google are feeding their sensitive information to governments who don’t have their best interest at heart. New brands will come along, offering “old world” levels of privacy and data protection so that users can finally live their digital lives without being under constant surveillance and being continuously tracked.

Marketing will, essentially, be more about going “off-grid,” leaving the digital world behind and being more independent. In effect, it’ll be a very similar style of marketing used to woo customers who want to escape their reliance on the electricity grid, but with far more powerful incentives.

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