Same procedure as every year. Just like digital signage trends were speculated at the beginning of 2018, were firmly established halfway through, and are now fully realized as the end is near, we turn to 2019 to make predictions.
Each year, trends focus predominantly on the technological aspect: new hardware and features, more affordable prices and options. However, despite this equally being true to the upcoming 2019, the focus is slightly shifting towards new ways of applying hardware to satisfy the consumer. For instance, AI and personalization have been around for some time with the focus now being more on how to get into the consumer’s head and how to use the available tools to influence and satisfy them.
1. Artificial intelligence
AI has been a regular subject of discussion throughout 2018, and it's likely to grow further in 2019. This will be the year we'll finally see more artificial intelligence and machine learning in action. This is by no means just the case in digital signage itself, AI will have an impact in the broader digital marketing as well. It’s growing rapidly due to increased scale and its benefits across several industries.
One of the best benefits of AI in anything marketing is its ability to gather data, providing information which helps sharpen plans. You may have seen our recent article on AI in digital signage. Aside from easier data collection, AI enables opportunities for personalization and interactivity, among several other benefits. Thus, there’s no doubt we’ll see further use cases and innovation in this field in the upcoming year and find even more unlocked potential.
You likely saw this one coming from a mile away. If there’s anything we’ve seen consistently grow and prove itself it’s interactivity. It’s become the hallmark of impacting digital signage. The rule of thumb at this point is if the customer can reach it, make it interactive.
The consensus on interactivity is that it brings empowerment to the consumer. In a store, for instance, it allows them to browse products and features or inquire on out of stock items. As more advanced aspects in digital signage greatly benefit from interactivity, it is becoming more commonplace. For instance, AI greatly benefits from interactivity as it can gather more information easily and apply appropriately. In the upcoming years, interactivity will be mentioned less. Instead we’ll see and talk about new innovations and ways to implement it.
3. Richer personalization
The trends to date have carried us far past simple attempts of predicting customer behavior. By now, the digital experienced customer expects you know what people want and expect from your business. This is where the element of personalization comes in, or rather already came in, as it is quite commonly used in digital signage campaigns.
Much like interactivity, personalization only keeps growing and is reaching the point where it’s almost a mandatory part of any campaign. Given the advancements on interactivity and artificial intelligence, personalization options increase. It is the technique, while the aforementioned two act as the tools to apply it.
Personalized content works! This is a fact we can all agree on, as it ensures the interaction between the customer and the business will be more memorable.
According to Beabloo, customers demand technology, personalization, empowerment and freedom. These can be given in several ways, one of which is automatic commerce, or a-commerce. Essentially, a-commerce enables customers to select items they'd like to purchase, with the payment process being automated. The purchase is made online with the item being scanned by their phone. Payment is effectuated automatically and a receipt sent by email.
The goal of a-commerce is to offer an easier and faster way for purchasing without a hassle or too much personal reflection. It aims to make programming purchases possible, and predicting them based on the user's buying patterns.
5. Collision of online and offline
Physical and virtual reality keep coming closer and closer to one another. Gathering data about customer behavior and ensuring people can make a purchase online while they're still physically in store are all things we’ll likely see in a more defined form in 2019.
Multi-channel attribution is growing as the lines between the digital and physical world frequently cross. Understanding what drives consumers helps design marketing channels and campaigns. Knowing the customers' touch points before the point of sale enhances strategies and optimizes budgets. For example if you know your customer has seen two ads targeted at early stages in the customer’s journey, allows you to focus on later stages of the journey at the point of sale down the line and phrase your messages accordingly. Per a report from 2017, 60% of marketers join online and offline attribution together, a significant up turn from 45% in 2016.
The digital signage trends steadily move forward with each passing year, without too many sharp turns. As we’ve seen from speculated trends for 2018, interactivity and personalization, for example, are always growing but each year new methods of their application emerge. 2019, while including these methods, will likely be marked with one step further into the direction of AI.
It is also immanent to see online and offline come closer together. From the consumer’s perspective, this would be convenient, and that is what the industry is striving for. As is the case with any speculation of the future, it is questionable whether expectations and predictions will fully bloom in 2019, but they certain will begin to sprout.