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Web Trends – 2018 and Beyond Web Trends – 2018 and Beyond

Web Trends – 2018 and Beyond

In my Digital Year in Review, I identified that the major trend underpinning the biggest developments in web was mobile. It drove changes in the way we design, develop, manage and promoted websites throughout 2017. Mobile will continue to influence the year ahead and beyond, but what other technological trends will come of age in 2018? What technological waves will reach tipping point and become mainstream?  We take a look at one hot area of focus, discussion and investment – artificial intelligence.

There has been plenty of debate in recent years about artificial intelligence and whether it will take humanity to the next level or whether it could mean the end of the human race. While that debate probably won’t play out in the next few years, what we do know is that artificial intelligence is having an increasingly bigger impact on our lives.

For some, the impact is negative in that algorithms and machines are replacing human jobs. Take for example, truck drivers.  This significant workforce is set to be completely replaced with autonomous trucks over the next few years. In other industries, AI has more positive effects and result in an evolution of the work vs. replacement of it. Repetitive and menial tasks can now be automated leaving the person to do more cognitively engaging work.

Luckily for us marketers and more creative types, AI is automating what used to be menial and time-consuming tasks. Take for example, the management of a pay-per-click campaign. It used to be that we would have to manually adjust bid prices on ads, look for new keyword opportunities, and make changes to the campaign to optimise the performance. Nowadays, Google and Facebook have automated these features for us so that we can focus on finding new insights and implementing new strategies that result in bigger gains.

How else will AI impact digital marketing? I believe it will enable us to improve our marketing. We all know that conversion rates improve as relevance improves. Our overall conversion rate is an average score as to how well our website performs across all the different individuals that visit our site. But what if we can present our website in a way that specifically speaks to the individual that is visiting?  If we could use the images that appeal to the visitor.  If we could communicate our value in words that the visitor relates to and if we can customise the offer to best meet the visitor’s needs?  This would result in exponential improvements in conversion rates.

This is what we call personalisation. It is the holy grail of online marketing.  Providing a customised experience to the visitor.  How we see this transpiring right now is the use of big data to identify the profile of the visitor and then serving them up the most relevant content. Perhaps one day, we’ll have a completely AI-driven robot that can have real-time conversations with the visitors and customise the user experience on the fly. This would be the ultimate digital sales and marketing machine.

But is this really just a dream?  We are already seeing progress towards this.  Take The Grid, which is an AI driven website solution. You just add your content and it builds your site for you.  Want more? How about AI-written words? Persado is a marketing focused solution that uses AI to generate words that outperform humans in generating emotional responses. Or how about Automated Insights, which automates the creation of unique narratives based on the data you want to present.

All we need is for somebody to combine all of these into one solution and put enough computing power behind it to do it in real-time and we would be out of a job. Correct? Unlikely. AI can automate and generate words and layouts but it is how these words and layouts are used that communicate the message that makes for effective communication. If you’re wondering whether robots or algorithms is going to replace your job in the near future, you can look up the likelihood of it at the ABC’s Could a Robot Do Your Job? page. Lucky for us, we’re on the lower end of the scale at 28%.  Hooray – for now.

What other big trends are impacting you or your industry? Blockchain? 3D printing? Biogenetics? What can you do to ride the technology wave?  Let us know in the comments. If you want to discuss these trends further or want to take some action to capture some of the opportunities available to you, give us a call at (02) 8211 0668 or email us at [email protected].

Michael Lam

Co-founder of Cornerstone and web junkie, Michael knows just how to diagnose your online problems and remedy the issue. An online enthusiast who believes in technology as an enabler of growth, Michael worries about all the details so you don't have to.

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