What better way to start off our 12 Days of Marketing content series than with a look ahead to the trends we anticipate will drive the digital marketing industry in the coming year?
1. Authenticity Will Reign Supreme
Consumers are overwhelmed by marketing from brands they know and brands they don’t. What makes a potential customer pick one brand over the other? Authenticity.
Over 80% of consumers said authenticity was important when it came to deciding what brands to support, with the percentage being even higher among the millennial cohort.
With consumer trust in advertising practices steadily eroding, brands can leverage user-generated content to retain authenticity. One great way to do this is by encouraging loyal customers to share their experiences.
2. Voice Search Is on the Rise
According to Google, 50% of searches will be conducted using voice search by 2020. While traditional search is most likely going to remain strong in 2019, brands should begin shifting their SEO strategies to stay ahead of the curve.
If Mary Meeker herself reported on the increasing popularity of voice search, you know it’s real. So make sure you spend some time in 2019 preparing for a future that heavily involves voice search.
3. Chatbots, Programmatic, and AI… Oh, My!
AI is no perfect science and we’re sure all the kinks won’t be ironed out in the new year. But that doesn’t mean AI won’t still play a large role in digital marketing strategy. Automating advertising with programmatic platforms will help marketers be more efficient. And in an era where consumers want answers in real time, chatbots are growing in popularity and will only become more useful as AI technology is refined.
4. Focus on the Micro-Moments
With people spending an average of 177 minutes on their phones each day, there are plenty of opportunities for brands to interact with potential consumers, even if it’s just for a brief moment.
Dubbed “micro-moments,” these opportunities arise when consumers are looking to take immediate action. In 2019, marketers will need to be prepared to capitalize on these micro-moments to reach high-intent consumers. Make sure your strategy enables your brand to be there, be useful and be quick to help you take advantage of these moments.
5. Utilizing Long-Form, Mobile-Only Video
Launched in June, IGTV is Instagram’s foray into long-form video streaming, though it caters only to mobile users as it only offers a vertical video playback. While YouTube is still the preferred platform when it comes to video content, IGTV is on the rise, and many predict that it will surpass YouTube in three to five years. So make sure your brand is comfortable with the format and is ready to adapt to this newest social media trend.
6. Influencer Marketing Is Still Powerful… When Done Right
2018 was a big year for influencer marketing, thanks in large part to increased consumer demand for authentic branded content. However, 2018 revealed that influencer marketing still had some kinks to work out.
In 2019, expect to see a heavy reliance on influencer marketing, but also heavier regulations, like proper disclosure of sponsored content and continuing the fight against fake followers.
7. The New Form of Search: Visual
Visual search allows users to search by opening up their phone camera and taking a picture. As this relatively new tech continues to develop and improve, we anticipate that it will become an increasingly popular method of searching in the very near future.
Especially important for retail brands, visual search is going to impact SEO strategy – so make sure you’re preparing properly and positioning your brand for success.
8. “Storifying” Social Media
Opportunities for brands to connect with and convert consumers will continue to grow in 2019 with every new format and feature being added to just about every social media platform. Stories have proven incredibly popular with users, and are set to surpass feeds as the primary forum through which users share content.
Be sure your brand is keeping up with these shifts in social communication. While polished traditional content posts aren’t going away anytime soon, studies have shown that more realistic, imperfect stories actually perform better.
9. More Shopping Options on Social Platforms
This year, Instagram launched their shoppable post feature. Since then, even more features have come into play that make it easy for consumers to shop directly from the app. We expect to see even more features like this that cater to consumer expectations of immediacy and convenience, on both Instagram and other platforms, in the near future.
With a bounty of features that make shopping as easy as possible, be sure your social media strategy works with how your audience likes to shop and how your brand is expected to interact with its followers.
10. (High Quality) Content is Still King
Despite all the changes in the marketing industry over the last year, content marketing remains incredibly important – but it, too, is evolving. To stay competitive, it’s important you’re aware of the latest content marketing trends.
Long-form content, video marketing (webinars, webcasts, etc.) and voice search continue to emerge as leading trends in content marketing.
11. Integrating AR and VR
Though they’ve underdelivered on most predictions from this time last year, augmented and virtual reality remain exciting new technologies, and are seeing steady integration into everyday marketing campaigns.
From attracting new customers to creating interactive experiences, there will be many opportunities to use AR/VR in 2019.
12. Transparency is Key
With so much focus and scrutiny on less-than-honest marketing and advertising practices, maintaining transparency and honesty with your clients or consumers is going to be essential in 2019.
Make sure your marketing practices are in compliance with national and state-level privacy laws. Transparency has become a key area of focus and consumers expect brand communications to be open and honest. Ensure your brand is living up to these consumer expectations.
These are just a handful of the trends we saw emerge in 2018 and believe will continue to shape the digital marketing landscape. There’s no one-size-fits-all marketing strategy, but by keeping these trends in mind when doing your 2019 planning, you’ll be on the right track.
Shayna Zeigen is the Public Relations Coordinator at Hawke Media.