Voice, virtual influence lead way

Voice, virtual influence lead way

Voice search, virtual influencers and the YouTube platform are technology trends in 2019 that brands should focus on alongside their content strategies and business objectives, rather than being trapped by fancy tech and copycat measures, says a US-based public relations and digital marketing firm.

"Amid the rapid change of technology, brands must be adaptable to catch up with the new trends, making their messages reach the right channels and target audiences," said Mike Cearley, global managing director of social and innovation at FleishmanHillard.

In 2019, brands should make content compelling by adding voice search or a digital assistant, he said.

Moreover, brands might use virtual influencers created by artificial intelligence instead of real human influencers or key opinion leaders. However, these virtual influencers are still costly and are better suited to some specific areas such as lifestyle presentation.

Mr Cearley said the YouTube platform remains an attractive platform for brands because it contains "user networks" such as for games. There are more than 200 million users viewing game content on YouTube every day, and in the past year users spent over 50 billion hours watching gaming videos on YouTube.

Brands should not fall into the social media trap by focusing on technology, but rather they should concentrate on the business aspects. Meanwhile, they should apply strategies and content planning.

"Don't be a copycat and use every channel, use selective channels that reach specific groups of users," Mr Cearley said.

Asa Piwkhun, vice-president for social and innovation at FleishmanHillard Thailand, said that as of January 2018, Thailand had 51 million active social media users, with 46 million on YouTube. Each day, there are some 17 million views of YouTube.

With a tight media budget, brands should use the "call to action", which converts the message to sales advertising campaigns related to consumers' lives instead of just conveying the products or functions with a focus on views, shares or comments.

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