Digital marketing is complex and has many moving parts – SEO, social media, marketing automation, PPC, and more. New technologies, techniques, and ever-changing Google and Facebook algorithms keep many digital marketing teams on their toes, including ours. A large part of our job is to stay up-to-date on the upcoming trends so our clients’ digital marketing campaigns remain effective.
In the past few years, the industry saw the rise of many new technologies. 2019 will be the year that brings them all together. Here’s what we predict will be the digital marketing trends for 2019:
1. Video – A Must for 2019
Video is becoming more and more popular, and this trend is only going to get stronger. Current predictions indicate that by 2019, video will account for 80% of consumer internet traffic. Still not convinced? Here are some additional supporting stats:
- 45% of people watch more than an hour of Facebook or YouTube videos a week (Insivia)
- Marketers who use video grow revenue 49% faster than those who do not (Vidyard)
- On average, consumers spent 2.6x more time on pages with video than without (Wistia)
Part of the reason video is becoming increasingly popular is accessibility. Even just a few years ago, videos took a long time to load and were difficult to access on mobile.
Now, they are easy to access and there are entire social networks dedicated to video, such as Snapchat and Periscope. Even Instagram is getting more video-friendly with Instagram TV.
During the past couple years, we were also introduced to Facebook Live and Instagram Live, an entirely new avenue of live stream video. Brands can instantly connect with customers via video. If you haven’t jumped into live stream video yet, 2019 is the time to do it. According to Facebook, Facebook Live videos are watched three times longer than videos that aren’t live.
Here’s an example:
Buzzfeed used Facebook Live to broadcast this dance battle:
Infographics are still going to be big in 2019 as well. Users continue to digest information using infographics and video instead of reading long blog posts. Interactive infographics are now a thing too, helping to convey complex information quickly through interactive, brightly colored, and engaging visuals.
3. Marketing Automation
Marketing automation allows you to do everything an email marketing platform can do, and much, much more. Most businesses benefits from a more sophisticated approach to lead generation, customer acquisition, and list management. These are things that a basic email platform can’t provide.
Marketing automation allows you to track your visitors, identify correct prospects, and automatically send them the right message at the right time. It also helps you attribute revenue back to the right marketing channels/campaigns.
Integrating a solid marketing automation platform into your digital marketing strategy is a current and smart move by any business in 2019.
4. Chat Bots
Over the last several years, we’ve been communicating more and more with bots. You probably interacted with one the last time you called your mobile service provider.
At first, these bots seemed to make it harder to solve problems, but over the years, they’ve gotten smarter thanks to improved artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.
Machine learning and AI are also why Facebook knows its users so well. Facebook has learned what its users look like and will ask if they want to tag themselves in a photo. It uses location data and learned reading habits so it knows exactly which ads, events, and information its users will like.
In 2019, this technology will continue to be perfected and incorporated into company websites. Soon, web interactions between sessions will become seamless. Imagine a website that already knows exactly what your customer is looking for by simply analyzing their past interactions with your company. Customer service via the web is becoming faster and more efficient every day thanks to these new technologies — so don’t overlook them in your web presence.
Is content still king? You better believe it!
Not only does content demonstrate knowledge and expertise to potential customers reading your articles or pages, it’s what search engines put in their search results. In short, content fuels the fire that is your search engine optimization, so it’s best to never stop creating content.
What kinds of content should you be creating in 2019?
In 2019 it’s time to get smart about your content strategy. Instead of simply pumping out article after article on topics that your prospects may or may not care about, it’s important to research the topics and create related content that is interlinked to each other.
Additionally, it’s best to take quality content and repurpose it across multiple channels. For example, instead of simply writing an article about topic X, it would be best to write an article on topic X that has links to the video, podcast, whitepaper, and webinar on the same topic. In fact, it’s possible to use transcription services to turn videos into indexable content.
Another 2019 content strategy trend is optimization. It’s difficult to continuously come up with more and more topics to create content about. Instead, take the time to optimize your top performing content. Use Google Analytics to determine which pieces of content are engaging prospects the most, and optimize them to be up-to-date, filled with visuals, videos, downloadable assets, etc.
6. SEO – Position Zero
Nope, SEO is not dead. While each of Google’s algorithm updates makes gaming the system less and less of an effective strategy, there are still many SEO best practices that can make a significant impact on your website’s ranking.
A 2019 SEO trend to know is “Position Zero.” Position Zero or “#0” position is the featured snippet of text that appears before the search results.
This prime-time ranking spot typically answers the question or search query and includes a link back to the source of the information. Dr. Peter J. Meyers wrote an interesting article on Moz about “O” position and tips for getting this ranking.
7. Voice Search – Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Siri
In the last few years, digital assistants have been on the rise. Amazon Echo and Google Home sales have dominated the holiday seasons, even though the technology is still new and being refined. Consumers also have access to digital assistants on their mobile devices in the form of voice-activated search assistants like Siri, Google, and Cortana. Access to these technologies has led to a rise in voice searches.
Voice search will especially come into play when it comes to keyword selection. People search differently with their voice than they do when searching the web.
For example, if someone is looking for an Indian restaurant they might:
- Google search – “indian restaurant raleigh”
- Voice search – “where is the closest Indian restaurant?”
The differences between the two might seem small, but the results (or responses) you get will vary. To take advantage of voice search, you’ll want to include phrases and long-tail keywords in your SEO strategy.
8. Paid Social Ads – Get on Instagram
Most advertisers are familiar with Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn — but it’s hard to ignore what Instagram has built in such a short amount of time.
With 800+ million monthly active users, 80% of which follow a business, the opportunity is there for some brand exposure. Not only that, but Instagram now allows for tracking conversions in the store.
Keep in mind that as a result of the Cambridge Analytica data breach, Facebook made some significant changes that restrict advertisers to only using Facebook’s 1st party data — not the 3rd party data advertisers were used to leveraging.
9. Integrated Campaigns
The most effective marketing campaigns cross all channels and reinforce each other. Don’t fall into the trap of only leveraging one to two channels — use them all at once.
Integrated campaigns are measurably more effective than those just using one single channel. It all starts with a strong, central idea, so it’s best to start there and then customize your marketing for each channel. Spending on each channel should be relative to the expected ROI.
Not doing an integrated campaign is like playing soccer with only half the team on the field. Sure those might be good players, but just like with all team sports, the total (effectiveness) is greater than the sum of its parts.
Here’s an example:
Nike partnered with Wieden + Kennedy on a project called Breaking2 – running a sub-two-hour marathon – which has never been done before in the history of running.
To do this, they did the following:
- Created a brand-new shoe, the Zoom Vaporfly Elite
- Extensively trained 3 professional running athletes
- Constructed a live event, similar to a race environment
- Worked with Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Mindshare to live stream the run across the world
- Promoted the project with the hashtag, Breaking2
The live stream was viewed by almost 20 million people. Nike’s hashtag, #Breaking2, had over 2 trillion impressions. And even though the runners missed the goal by 25 seconds, the project, which was turned into a documentary, has inspired runners all over the world.
This campaign has since been listed on several best ads list and is considered a branding triumph by AdWeek.
With this example, you might be thinking that integrated campaigns can only be implemented successfully by big companies with huge marketing budgets. But when you leverage your marketing channels successfully, you can create the same effect no matter how big or small your marketing budget is.
10. Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is the equivalent of a celebrity endorsement, but far more convincing to your target audience. By leveraging influential people on social media, you’re able to reach their audience with a voice that they trust.
Use social media to educate and inform. In short, be helpful. Over time you will be recognized as a helpful resource — one that other companies want to work with.
Another way to leverage influencers is by finding people who reach your target demographic and then sponsoring them as a brand advocate. Brands that are leveraging influencers to spread their message are experiencing nearly 10X rise in conversion rate.
Our own Sharon Dawson is a brand ambassador for Nuun, electrolyte enhanced drinks tablets for athletes. On Instagram, she regularly shares the races (both in-person and virtual) she’s competing in, her activewear, and how she trains and stays active. Nuun leverages her local thought leadership (and following) to increase their brand awareness and consumption, while giving Sharon discounts and special goodies for sharing in return.