I promise that this is the last time I say it…
…it’s a new year! 2019 is upon us.
While life might not be (that much) different from just a couple of weeks ago, everything in the digital landscape continues to shift.
Regular readers may remember The Digital Marketing Trends You Need to Know for 2018. In this post I made predictions for the (short-term) future of digital marketing trends:
- Influencer Marketing
- Voice Searches
- Video Marketing
- Storytelling content
These predictions were based on our client work and a few tests we’d performed (for you guys).
I won’t use this opportunity to tell you that I’m a marketing psychic. Instead, I’ll leave it up to you. Let me know what you think about my predictions in the comments or via Messenger…
…and in the meantime, I’m going to make a few more for the coming year (and yes, they’re all different to 2018).
The trends I’m going to explain in the rest of this article are already in existence, but over the course of the coming year I predict that they’ll become cornerstone strategies in the digital marketing world.
Let’s get ahead of the game.
Digital Marketing Trends 2019
Facebook Instant Experiences
Mobile is now the most used device for internet browsing and despite a dip in December 2018 (probably due to the increase in online shopping) its strength has returned in 2019 and is predicted to rise.
The huge percentage of mobile users online should be seen as an advantage for digital marketers, especially for those willing to try Facebook’s latest advertising feature, Instant Experiences.
The updated (and much improved) version of Canvas ads, Instant Experiences provides a ton of massive plus points for Facebook advertisers.
At their most basic level, an Instant Experiences ad links natively to a Facebook landing page (with loads of customisable options), rather than an external webpage.
This might sound like a backwards step, but Facebook have updated Instant Experience ads so pixel tracking, analytics and retargeting can be used (just like it was your own website).
In other words, you can build a landing page within Facebook and receive all the same advertising optimisation advantages.
The biggest reason for low conversion rates on mobile is webpage load speed, with many users abandoning websites after just a few seconds wait time. Instant Experiences completely sidesteps this problem…
… and with customisable templates for vertical screens, a variety of content formats (photo, video, copy, slideshows) and the ability to create lead forms and sell natively on Facebook (via a Facebook store)…
…I expect Instant Experiences to become a massive hit in 2019.
Leaving Pollution Behind
The world of content marketing has gone wild.
A sharp rise in the number of companies using content to market their business has created something I like to refer to as ‘content pollution’. This ‘pollution’ is formed by blogs who put little or no care into their content (no research, no skill and minimal effort).
Content that acts as clickbait, is incredibly short or provides no value will fall even further down the pecking order in 2019.
Google have already shown their desire to separate themselves from this type of content with their E-A-T update at the end of 2018.
In the world of digital there is so much competition, that (most of the time) you only have one opportunity to captivate readers with your content.
Your content marketing campaigns must be aimed at creating return visitors and moving readers through a content funnel. Content that has been created just for the sake of it acts as nothing more than pollution and actually tarnishes your brand.
When there’s more competition, it’s more difficult to win. Leave the ‘content pollution’ behind in 2019 with well-researched, high quality articles. If this means creating less content, so be it!
Prove your expertise, build authority and create content visitors can trust (to gain as many return visitors as possible!) before they’re forever turned off by content pollution.
Social Media Stories
Snapchat launched their ‘Stories’ feature way back in 2013, but it wasn’t until 2016 (when Instagram copied their creation) that the rise of social media stories began.
Alongside Snapchat and Instagram: Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, Skype (Highlights) and YouTube (Reels) have all created their own version of ‘Stories’ and they’re taking off.
Instagram (the current market leader in active ‘Stories’ users) reported in 2018 that 400 million people were Daily Active Users of their prized feature and this will continue to grow in 2019.
Stories do not enter social media feeds and only appear (on the home screen) to current followers…
…this might sound like a negative to many brands and marketers, but it actually provides an incredible opportunity for businesses to engage and capture the attention of their audience.
It’s been reported that as much as 20% of stories posted by brands result in a direct interaction with a user.
Whilst stories might not increase your reach, they allow you to be an ever present reminder of your brand and offering, as well as humanising your business.
Building loyal followers with engaging ‘stories’ will drive an explosion in word-of-mouth marketing and create customer evangelists, thus increasing your reach and customer value.
If you aren’t already, make sure you are regularly using stories as part of your social media strategy.
I know I promised no repetition from last year’s digital marketing trends article and this might look very similar (to influencer marketing), but let me explain why it’s not.
2018 saw a massive growth in the number of people who claim to be ‘influencers’ and this completely changed the ‘influencer’ game and how brands (should) approach them.
Being a social media ‘influencer’ is no longer as simple as having a large following. In fact, brands should approach anybody with a large following with extreme caution.
This is because there is a lot of money to be made as an influencer. Brands are desperate for social media recommendations and mentions, and this has seen the average influencer’s price per post explode.
And when there is a surge in demand, people find shortcuts to reach the top. This has created a need for an ‘easy way’ for anybody to 10x their social followings in a matter of minutes. The social media bot has allowed them to do this, offering profiles the chance to buy followers.
The majority of these ‘bought followers’ are not even real, and even if they are, they have been bought! This means that the following actually has no interest in the buyers content.
If a following has no interest in the creator’s content, they are worthless. For example, a bought following of 100k who do not view, like, share or save a creators content is worth less than a following of 1k who actively follow and engage with every post!
That’s why it’s so important for brands hoping to take advantage of influencer marketing to measure the engagement of EVERY POST on an influencer’s profile. Social likes can be bought too, so it’s important to look at all the recent posts and ensure they all have decent levels of engagement.
A good measurement of a profile’s quality is when their likes and shares are roughly 5–10% of their following (per post). For example, a profile with 1k followers should have between 50–100+ likes and shares on all their recent posts.
This ‘influencer deception’ has also led to the rise of micro-influencers. These are accounts with small, but very loyal and engaged followings. They primarily operate within specific niche’s and are highly-valued for their audience connection.
When a micro-influencer recommends something to their audience, it has a big impact and drives buying decisions (or at least consideration). This is because it’s similar to a word-of-mouth recommendation from a friend.
And the best thing is, micro-influencers are extremely low cost and quite often post in exchange for a free product.
Whilst they might be slightly harder to find, micro-influencers will have a massive impact on the marketing success of small and medium brands in 2019.
In the wake of a number of data breaches and digital security issues in 2018, prospects are now more wary than ever to spend money online with brands they know very little about.
Even the best brand awareness marketing campaigns can leave prospects feeling suspicious about handing over their contact or payment details. This has made trust more important than ever.
There are a number of awesome ways to break these barriers down, but my personal favourite is conversational marketing.
Conversational marketing is a one-on-one approach, with brands speaking directly to prospects via any of the numerous channels available.
Over the course of 2018, Messenger marketing (more specifically chatbots) became an integral part of many of the most successful digital marketing brands. Facebook also launched a new feature to their ads, allowing businesses to create a call-to-action that drives users straight to WhatsApp (also owned by Facebook).
Although WhatsApp doesn’t currently run any marketing and ads that drive users to WhatsApp should only be used to improve the customer experience (e.g. updates, reminders) I expect this to change either this year or next.
Conversational marketing is growing and becoming increasingly important to customers. Prospects want to see the people behind the business. For example, how many websites have you seen with a chat-box on their home-screen? And how many of these have the photo and name of a real person?
It might surprise you to hear that these ‘real people’ are often pre-empted by a series of options (from a bot), that usually resolve any prospect’s question. And, even when they’re not, these chats can be left open, with the responder answering the questions in bulk at one set time.
Google has taken us into an era where we can discover almost anything in the click of a few buttons and customers expect this immediacy from businesses too. You should be using digital channels like Messenger, WhatsApp and live chat to learn about your customers’ biggest problems, create a more human experience and build trust.
As we all know, video is taking over in the marketing space, but it’s LIVE VIDEOS that will really take centre stage in 2019.
Videos are currently used for all forms of marketing, vlog content, video marketing (digital advertising) and even as product explainers to improve customer experience…
…but as good as videos are, they lack something that’s becoming increasingly important in marketing (highlighted in the conversational marketing section above)…
…immediacy, engagement and conversations.
Yes, videos spark interaction (primarily comments and social media engagement), but because they’re pre-recorded, it’s difficult for a prospect to instantly flag a question or react to a call-to-action or instruction.
Live video changes all this.
If you’ve ever seen a recording of a live video from one of the big brands on social media, you will know that the comments and reactions roll in at the same moment they were sent on the live video. This makes the live video re-run even more valuable, because many of the people watching later will have the same problems (or responses).
Yes, there will be mistakes made when producing live videos, but the positives far outweigh this one negative. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LiveStream are just a few of the networks currently providing this amazing opportunity to brands.
If you’re involved in a brand that produces videos, try a LIVE VIDEO. Promote the video with your audience before going live and leave it on your business profile when you’ve finished recording. If there are super-valuable snippets within your live recording, cut them up and use them to promote your brand (across other channels!).
Live video provides marketers with so many opportunities. Some brands have already begun making regular live videos, it’s time you got ahead of the curve too.
The trends highlighted in this article are only predictions, but they are based on a solid understanding of the direction of digital (it’s my full-time job).
There will be some ideas on this list that don’t fit with your brand, go with the strategy that you feel the closest affinity to and run with it.
If you can adopt a marketing strategy, optimise and perfect it ahead of everyone else, you will reap the benefits.
What do you think about these digital marketing trends for 2019? Do you agree with my selections?
And how do you think I did with the 2018 predictions? Did you implement any of them last year? How did you get on?