Marketing Trends 2019 There are many new digital marketing trends and strategies that are evolving in the current high-tech, Internet-connected era and businesses now need to use them to succeed in their efforts because what worked for you last year may not work this year. Here are key digital marketing trends for 2019. Artificial Intelligence Artificial intelligence is taking over and will make world’s jobs simpler. AI can analyze consumer behavior and search patterns, utilizing data from social media platforms and blog posts to help businesses understand how users and customers find their products and services. For example, Facebook messenger bots (which we’ll talk more about later) can help you automate and optimize your customer service. Marketing is undergoing an evolution powered by analytics and AI. See our in depth review of AI here. Programmatic Advertising Programmatic advertising means using AI to automate ad buying so you can target more specific audiences. Real-time bidding or auctions, for example, is a type of programmatic ad buying. This automation is much more efficient and fast, which means higher conversions and lower customer acquisition costs. It’s changing the face of digital advertising so swiftly that, according to eMarketer, almost 90% of digital display ads in the U.S. will be programmatic by 2020. To learn how to capitalise on this digital marketing trend get in touch for some free marketing insights session here. Marketing automation and email marketing – This is also a perennial feature in our top five and it’s no surprise since, like content marketing, it’s effective for both B2C and B2B marketing. While some more mature organizations will make improvements through use of AI, other less mature businesses will benefit from improving the relevance and timing of their emails through using rules-based automation and personalisation. Big Data (including market and customer insight and predictive analytics) – It’s good to see big data in the top five since we believe in the power of data-driven marketing. Big data analysis such as predictive analytics typically requires larger budgets, so will be restricted mainly for larger organisations, but the use of market and customer insight using the tools shown in our Martech tools wheel is open to all businesses and I think is why this is a relatively popular choice. #5 CRO and improving website experiences – This is the first time that CRO has featured in the top 5, which is again a sign of increased adoption of data-driven marketing as processes improve in organizations who can now run ‘always-on’ improvements using structured AB testing programmes. There is also the option of new lower-cost tools including Google Optimize which is freely available. Chatbots Chatbots will continue to be an important part of digital marketing in 2019. This AI-based technology uses instant messaging to chat in real-time, day or night, with your customers or site visitors. With 1.4 billion people interacting with chatbots, 80% of savvy businesses are already using or plan to use chatbots by 2020. And by 2022, chatbots will help businesses save over $8 billion per annum, especially in the banking and healthcare industries. Many customers prefer interacting with chatbots as they are responsive, give answers promptly, accurately recall your entire buying history, and never lose patience. These virtual assistants offer outstanding customer service, meeting customers’ expectations and automating repetitive tasks – which means you can focus on more important work. Uber uses chatbot technology to communicate with customers, making it easy for them to hire cars even on Facebook Messenger, from Slack or via Google Maps. Passengers can use the menu to choose the type of ride, make a request, track the location of the car, send friends a time estimate of their arrival, and even make payment. To learn how to implement chatbots to improve your customer service, get in touch for a free marketing insights session here. Chatbots are just a specialized form of software that acts as a virtual “concierge,” communicating with users and assisting them in completing their goals. Chatbots interact with humans in a natural way, primarily through the use of text chat windows, but verbal interactions are also possible. Chatbots are already used extensively in Facebook, by the tens of thousands for different tasks. Everything from providing weather reports to automating some basic customer support functions can be easily handled by sophisticated software. Bots allow users to get personalized, focused interactions without pulling too much from limited human resources. Their effectiveness in 2018 is already showing a significant increase in usage, and that use is likely to continue growing for digital marketing in 2019. Content Marketing Content marketing continues to be an essential component of digital marketing, although there’s an increasing emphasis on nuance in content. The quality is always going to matter a lot, but now there’s a renewed interested in looking more deeply into who the intended recipients are. Having a deeper, more sophisticated understanding of a targeted market and being able to target that market more precisely is a rising trend in more effective marketing. So while general audience content was, is, and always will be important, specialized material for specific industries or experts can also yield impressive results. That, combined with improving techniques in measuring content effectiveness, keep content marketing relevant and moving forward. Content marketing – this has featured consistently in the top 3 for several years. I think it’s number 1 since content marketing can be applied by all types of business regardless of their sector or size and if the right strategy is followed can make an impact that supports communications across all touchpoint of the customer lifecycle. It fuels all digital channels from search, email and social media marketing. This makes having a defined content marketing strategy essential to competing in many sectors. Audiences Made Part Of Brand Stories The ability to engage with audiences (that is, making audiences part of the brand story) will have a huge impact. The less friction there is to engagement, the more connected people feel. Brands that are more willing to interact with customers publicly will have a strong impact—and brands that can show how this engagement influences their products and services will make an even bigger impact. – Bernard May, National Positions Thought Leadership Audiences seek expertise, critical insight and ways to be better at all points of interest. Experiential and interactive engagement with a brand is the future of consumer-brand connectivity. From live video, to recorded advice, to content with real-time responses, to contests and beyond, it’s about offering information and encouraging feedback from stakeholders in a way that establishes trust. – Scott Kellner, GPJ Experience Marketing Personalisation If you want to stand out in 2019, you need to personalize your marketing – and that means personalized content, products, emails, and more. With the availability of data like purchase history, consumer behavior and links clicked, custom content has never been easier. In fact, 96% of marketers believe that personalization advances customer relationships. A study by Marketo shows that personalized, triggered e-mails based on behavior are 3x better than batch-and-blast e-mails.” Businesses like Netflix and Amazon are already leveraging the power of personalization. Logging on to your Netflix account, for example, immediately shows you the evidence of this: the banner, carousels, order, artwork, text and search are all personalized for you. To learn how to implement personalisation across your customer touchpoints, get in touch for a free marketing insights session here. Video Marketing These numbers show the importance of incorporating video into your digital marketing strategy in 2019: 70% of consumers say that they have shared a brand’s video. 72% of businesses say video has improved their conversion rate. 52% of consumers say that watching product videos makes them more confident in online purchase decisions. 65% of executives visit the marketer’s website and 39% call a vendor after viewing a video. And don’t just think YouTube. To witness higher engagement with your video marketing, you can make a video post or start a live broadcast on Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn. Live video is gaining popularity, with a large number of businesses using it for interviews, product demos and “behind the scenes” glimpses of events, life in the office, how products are made, etc. With ever-decreasing costs of film equipment and the increasingly high-quality smartphone cameras, businesses and marketers are heading for personalized video messages rather than phone calls or emails, which is called the 1:1 video approach. YouTube and other videos are displayed in the SERPs, so video SEO is becoming much more important – like using text overlays and closed captions, in addition to your description, title and file names. And 360-degree video content, which allows for a more interactive experience, is on the rise – just look for the circular symbol in the top left corner to start sliding the moving image left or right as it’s playing. To learn how to up your video marketing game, get in touch for a free marketing insights session here. A total of 73% of all Americans engage with YouTube. That means more than half of all Americans are watching videos, and a lot of those videos are created in the service of digital marketing. While YouTube may be the most popular way to consume videos, even more popular than Facebook, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be putting videos on Facebook or any of the other social media platform for that matter. Video digital marketing, in some ways, offers the best of both worlds. The actual budgeting and mechanics of video production are well understood and documented, since video itself is a 20th century medium. However, now video is paired with the incredibly accurate and valuable user metrics of digital media to provide much more useful data on how specific efforts are performing. Whether you’re creating videos for Instagram, Facebook, YouTube or even your own website, it is a top-tier, incredibly effective digital marketing tool. You can capture and convey a lot of information and your brand’s personality with video. As long as you stick to the fundamentals of good video production, you can make impressive gains. Influencer Marketing Influencer marketing is a type of word-of-mouth marketing that focuses on using key leaders to drive your brand’s message to the larger market…. Rather than marketing directly to a large group of consumers, you instead pay influencers to get out the word for you. Using influencers is a very effective marketing tool that works to attract customers. Influencers can be anyone from celebrities and Instagram or YouTube stars to well-known bloggers and journalists who help spread the word about your business or product through their social channels. Because people generally trust consumer opinions over corporate statements, frozen food retailer Iceland “ditched celebrities in favour of real people, tapping into a dedicated community of micro-influencers” like “real mums”. After partnering with Channel Mum, Iceland’s approval ratings increased from 10% to 80%, which was a 72% increase above the agreed digital KPIs. To learn how to target influencers, get in touch for a free marketing insights session here. The Growth Of Micro-Influencers As influencer-tracking technologies continue to improve, brands are becoming better equipped at fielding and managing large networks of high-engagement, low-following micro influencers for their campaigns. This largely untapped market will soon allow for more brands to avoid the significant costs of mid- to high-level influencers and invest in more down-to-earth and relatable influencer marketing. – Jordan Edelson, Appetizer Mobile LLC Social Messaging Apps Think social messaging apps are just for sending emojis to your friends? Consider these numbers: 1.3 billion monthly users are active on Facebook Messenger 2 billion messages are sent between people and businesses on Facebook Messenger every month WhatsApp has 1.3 billion monthly active users 55 billion messages are sent via WhatsApp every day WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and WeChat have more combined users than Facebook or YouTube Since people are spending more of their time messaging each other, it makes sense to market your company’s services where your potential customers are hanging out. Social messaging apps can be very useful in sending messages to customers directly, as they allow personalization (another trend) and add value to the users’ experience. This differs from the messenger chatbots we discussed earlier. You’re actually able to market to customers using messaging apps now! For example, people can receive automated marketing messages from Facebook pages they like. Visual Search Visual search can take the user experience to a totally new level. With visual search, users can upload an image to conduct a search and get more specific results. Not surprisingly, Pinterest has jumped on the visual search bandwagon – they came out with Lens, a new visual search tool that allows users to take a photo of an item to find out where to buy it online, search for similar products, or view pinboards of related items. And Pinterest is not the only one with visual search. Google Lens is a visual search engine by Google, which recognizes objects, landmarks and other things visually through a camera app (currently only available on Pixel phones). If you take a photo of a: Business card: You can save the phone number or address to a contact. Book: You can get reviews and other details about it. Landmark or building: You can get more details about it. Painting in a museum: You can get details about it. And CamFind is a visual search mobile app, which enables users to search for anything from their mobile phones simply by snapping a picture and this app will tell you what it is. Instead of typing queries into a search engine, you can directly search through images to find similar images, price comparisons, local shopping results, etc. You can also take a picture of a movie poster and CamFind will show you movie information, trailers, showtimes, and local theaters. Marketers can get the edge on competitors by jumping on the visual search trend in 2019 to draw customers and serve them the perfect product. Micro-Moments People spend an average of 3 hours and 35 minutes on their smartphones every day, and by 2019, mobile devices will be the medium that gets the most minutes in the U.S. (finally surpassing television). This is changing the way brands must work to capture buyers’ attention. Micro-Moments is a “new consumer behavior,” as termed by Google, that delivers your marketing message clearly and concisely in a way that is of interest to the consumers – all within a span of seconds (otherwise, they lose their attention and are onto the next article!). People generally make instant decisions on what to eat, which restaurant to choose, what to purchase, or where to go, so Micro-Moments that that every marketer should know about are: Source To take advantage of micro-moments in 2019, be where consumers search for information in the moment – such as Google, Google Maps, Amazon, YouTube, and anywhere else people search for information at a moment’s notice. Take a look at how a variety of brands are using Micro-Moments in their marketing: Voice Search & Smart Speakers Hey Siri, what time is Mission Impossible playing tonight? Alexa, find me a recipe for apple butter. The increasing use of voice search has made it important for companies to rethink their digital marketing strategies in 2019. 50% of all searches will be voice searches by the year 2020 20% of mobile queries on Google are voice searches 25% of all Bing searches are voice searches Voice search plays an important role in providing all the relevant information that people are searching for through audio content. Artificial Intelligence is getting smarter and the number of errors made by voice assistants like Alexa, Siri and Google has reduced. Many brands have included voice search in their digital marketing strategies to deliver value-based content effectively to their customers. Domino’s Pizza uses voice search technology as a way to increase its sales, thus allowing customers to order pizzas through Alexa: Smart speakers like Alexa and Google Home are also on the rise: 39 million Americans use smart speakers and 65% of them say they wouldn’t want to go back to life without their voice-controlled assistant. Keep in mind that not only will more companies produce audio content in the hopes of gaining brand awareness (so you should, too), but ads are likely to come in soon. Alexa will tell you the answer to your question along with a “word from her sponsor”. Which means you’ll be able to purchase voice ad space – like Google AdWords, but for home speakers. For all voice technology, remember to write in a conversational tone, focus on getting featured snippets on Google, and think about keywords that people will speak rather than type. Social Media Stories With the growing popularity of social media “stories,” it is important for marketers to consider this format in their digital marketing strategy. Savvy marketers can even make use of live video, one of the most profitable social rollouts to date, to promote engagement and brand awareness. First Snapchat came out with the concept of “My Story,” then Instagram and Facebook stories were introduced, and now YouTube has unveiled their own story format, “Reels.” Since stories disappear after a set period of time, this is a great opportunity for marketers to make good use of FOMO (fear of missing out). You can feature your employees in the Stories, show the story behind the making of a product, ask for reviews about your products and services or get creative like BarkBox did when they created an Instagram Story of a “doggie interview”: Conclusion 2019 will be about better customer experience with personalization, automation and AI-powered technology, so to stay ahead of the curve and increase conversions in the coming year, you’ll need to get better at producing custom, conversational content – particularly audio and video content – to share with your better-targeted audience.