2018 was quite the year… from Facebook data issues to Snapchat losing $1.3 billion due to a tweet, to Tesla building underground tunnels, the business/tech world made headlines. It was one for the books, but will 2019 top it? One of my favorite things to think and write about is where the world of tech, biz, and marketing is headed… So, there’s a lot to cover as we look to 2019, but before we get into it, let’s see how I fared last year.
2018 prediction recap:
- Voice becomes mainstream
- Verdict: Pretty spot on
- We broke out of early adopter phase in 2018 and into the mainstream with 58% of consumers have used voice search within the last year and 2/5 people use voice search every day. Amazon and Google made major advertising pushes in Q4 on the voice front with campaigns like the Home Alone throwback. Net, net this one was pretty spot on.
- VR settles as a niche play, AR thrives
- Verdict: Wide to the right
- While AR continued to grow at a decent pace with 117 million people now using ARkit and ARCoreApps a month, it seems to be slower growth than originally predicted. Additionally, VR had a strong close to the year with the launch of Oculus Quest and is $3.3 billion by 2020 across the industry. While most are saying AR revenue will surpass VR by 2021, it seems a slower build is indeed the case.
- Amazon’s ad service eats into Facebook and Google
- Verdict: Spot on
- While they still lag behind google and facebook in ad revenue, their ad service boomed in 2018, growing a whopping 165% in product spending (and that was as of Q2). While we’re still waiting for final numbers, the expectations are that Facebook & Google will claim just 48% of the new ad dollars in 2018 vs. 73% in 2016. Meanwhile, Amazon’s ad revenue blew past the $2 billion mark by Q2 2018.
- Snapchat gets acquired
- Verdict: Close, but no cigar
- Oh, Snapchat, the shining star once upon a time. I remember when people would tell me I was crazy thinking that Instagram would eat Snapchat for lunch. Turns out, they are… Snapchat started the year trading at $14, they are down to around $5.70. DAUs are down every quarter, advertisers are moving away, celebrities are moving on. While they didn’t get acquired, all the signal points to either them going bust or getting bought by someone like Google.
- Influencer marketing corrects itself
- Verdict: Spot on
- Following a NY Times article on the follower factory, influencer marketing has been on the hot seat ever since. Fake followers, automated bots, unauthentic product promotions, the world of influencer marketing is like the wild west and brands are looking for legitimacy. Instagram has stated they are going to crack down on bots and fake followers, but the verdict is still out as to how much impact it will have. That said, the purge has begun.
- Online + offline connection becomes make or break for retail
- Verdict: Spot on
- Amazon is opening more and more brick and mortar stores showing why it’s still important to have the online/offline connection with the integration of the Amazon payment system into their channels. They only plan to open more stores, so other retailers will need to invest in the offline/online relationship if they want to compete.
- On-demand delivery is widely adopted
- Verdict: Spot on
- Wallmart increasing its partnerships for free 2-day delivery and returns, Target buying Shipt and applying it to all product categories, and Amazon’s quadrupling its delivery van fleet, on-demand delivery is now widely adopted. It’s just a matter of time to see who’s going to figure out how to scale it the best.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s dive into 2019, where many of the trends will continue.
- Instagram becomes a full-fledged e-commerce platform
- I saw a tweet the other day that Instagram is now the QVC for millennials and I couldn’t agree more, e-comm is the future of the platform. With the app reaching 1 billion users in June and 72% of users buying a product they’ve seen on the app, the opportunity is here for the taking. In 2019, they will solve a core user problem by creating custom/personalized/visual product recommendations which will only lead to more e-comm conversions. They are rumored to be building a standalone app for shopping, but I think they will kill the idea and just integrate everything into the core app. I fully expect Instagram to be in the Amazon e-comm conversation by 2021/2022 (yes, I said it).
- Voice expands to setup search dominance by 2020
- Ahh voice, the trend that keeps on giving. Building off my 2018 prediction, I expect the 2/5 daily user number (see above) to be more like 4/5 by the end of the year. It’s too convenient, too integrated, too smart. Everyone will be asking Alexa, Siri, or Google to order pizza by December 31st. The 50% of all searches will be voice by 2020 stat will not only get hit but will be surpassed in my opinion. In a rapidly expanding world, where we’re moving faster than ever, there’s too much market opportunity to not capitalize.
- Snapchat becomes irrelevant for Advertisers
- I think 2019 is the year where you see Snapchat become irrelevant… I thought it was going to be last year, but it seems I was a year off in my prediction. DAUs are down every quarter, advertisers are running from the platform, and users are looking for consolidation of apps. Instagram gives you everything Snap does, but in a better user experience. I’m not a betting man, but I wouldn’t put any hope, money, or energy into the platform.
- Facebook takes a hit in the Ad market
- Facebook made headlines in 2018, for reasons that aren’t all too promising for the platform. In 2016, they accounted for more than half the social traffic (53%), but this data is on a downward trajectory, heading toward 43.5% in 2020. As a result, advertisers will begin to look elsewhere. To be honest, their hope and savior over the next 5-10 will be Instagram, but in the next year, expect to see their Ad revenue (fbook specific) decline due to users moving on and Amazon and Instagram’s (yes, I realize Facbeook, Inc still wins because of this) heating up.
- Tesla loses market share to other players
- While I’m no car expert, Tesla has been the dominant electric car player since the electric car came on the scene. And while I believe Elon is a visionary and Tesla has bigger plans than EVs, with Mercedes-Benz and General Motors making big pushes into EVs and hybrids, I think the technology is at a place where other players will begin to challenge Tesla for the crown. Tesla will lose market share in the EV space this year as people begin to adopt the technology more and more.
- Same day delivery for everything, everywhere
- All of the data points to same day delivery being across every product category in every location across the globe. Same-day or next-day delivery has tripled year-over-year and 65% of retailers are expected to offer same-day delivery, so this trend will only become bigger in 2019. It’s just what we, as impatient users, expect. Since owning the customer relationship is everything, the watch out will be to see if smaller brands can integrate same day delivery without being a prisoner of Amazon of Wallmart.
2019 should be a wild year.