SEO, Social Media, Strategy

New Year, New You, New Tech, and Newer Trends. Now that summer time is officially over, it’s time to say goodbye to the silly season and kick into gear. Winter is coming. So be prepared.

Now, the digital marketing world is always changing. Just when we think we understand our audience, a new technology, or new platform changes everything. And 2019 is no exception to the rule. This year there’s a wave of new “intelligence” to add to your marketing radar.

Staying in-the-know with the latest trends is a great way to stay ahead of the marketing game. So, which trends are going to determine the rules of engagement for 2019? Let’s fly through our 6 top digital marketing trends for 2019.

Digital Marketing Trend

#1 Voice SearcH

Voice search and digital marketing

Hey Siri, can you find me the nearest digital marketing agency?

It’s estimated that by 2020, 50% of web searches will be via voice command. Sounds like a lot, right? Well it makes plenty of sense. Voice searches are now much quicker and easier thanks to improvements in AI and voice recognition in the past few years. Which means more people are purchasing and using little helper bots (queue Google Assistant, Siri and Bixby).

Voice searches became a lot more popular over 2018 and are only going to continue skyrocketing through 2019. Voice search is now faster than typing, so it’s becoming a lot more normalised and popular with folks these days. Voice search also makes it easier to multi-task, it’s safer while driving, it allows you to pretend you have a personal assistant…there’s a lot to love.

Which means you need to bring your marketing A-game and stay ahead of the trend. Or at least keep up with it. Voice search usage has increased dramatically on mobile and smart speakers are making great sales. Which basically means that it’s high-time you optimise your website for voice search.

    • Voice searches are longer than typed searches; on the whole, people don’t talk as they write. Which means you’re going to need to start catering for this rambling. People tend to voice search with full sentences and questions not keywords. So, try optimising your content for long-tail keywords.
    • Voice searches are more conversational; Voice searchers are going to talk to their Siri like they would a human. So, optimise your content that way. Keep website content more conversational, and less robotic…or just plain boring.
    • Voice searches are fast; the majority of voice-searches are done on the good while multi-tasking. People don’t have the time to type their search, so they definitely don’t have time for sluggish page speed. So, make sure your website loading time (and site organisation) is FAST. Otherwise voice search won’t be choosing your site.
    • Voice searches are more sensitive to user intent; voice search is looking for the best match to search queries, which means SEO optimisation is more important than ever. You want to make sure every image, every video, and every bit of content on your site is tagged (appropriately) with relevant keywords and alt-text. And don’t forget your meta-descriptions and meta-titles. The search engines are the ones deciding if you’re worthy, not the humans. So, you’ve got to play the SEO game.
    • Voice searches are localised; Voice search is primarily used when people are finding local businesses. Which means you need to invest in local SEO strategies, to optimise for area.

On the plus side, while voice searches are dramatically on the rise, a lot of marketers aren’t jumping on the bandwagon just yet. Research has revealed that 62% of marketers are unlikely to implement voice search in the coming year, mainly because they lack the know-how. So, get the competitive advantage folks.

Digital Marketing Trend

#2 AI & Machine Learning

AI, Machine learning and digital marketing

The fourth addition to the Matrix Trilogy: Artificial Intelligence helps digital marketers

Have no fear. These robots are here to help the human race not destroy it. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are pulling their weight in the marketing world this year. They’re tools from the future, but now they’re here to assist. These technologies are now powering customer segmentation, retargetingpush notifications, click-tracking…in some cases AI technologies are even creating basic content

AI has continuously proven itself useful for simplifying data-based experiences and improving user experience. It can quickly scour databases and provide marketing insights. The kind of stuff that would take humans days to synthesise and analyse. The machines are just better at utilising data from online platforms to analyse consumer behaviour and search patterns.

Of course, how you put AI to work depends on your marketing goals. But you’ll definitely want to start thinking about getting to know how AI powered solutions work. Figure out how you can leverage their intelligence and delivery systems for marketing gain.

Now, mass use of AI and Machine Learning is not in a far distant future, so you may as well get a wriggle on in 2019. Get ahead of the game. Studies have found that, already, 28% of marketers are using AI for product recommendations, with a further 26% for campaign optimisation.

On top of this, 57% of business are using AI for customer service for overall customer experience and support. And another 44% of businesses are using AI to improve on existing goods and services.

That’s a whole lot of percentages that are only going to increase as 2019 continues. The future is in the bots. So, marketers and businesses alike that adopt AI will be able to save costs, accelerate growth, and get a competitive edge. Make sure you’re one of them.

Digital Marketing Trend

#3 Video Marketing

Video content and digital marketing

Rule the marketing school with video

Video is ruling the roost this year. Shocker. It’s been the golden child of marketing communication for some time now, thanks to smart phones and social media. The popularity of video has particularly been bolstered by platforms like Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime, Facebook, Snapchat…and so on and so forth. Video is the trend that keeps on giving.

It’s estimated that 82% of internet traffic will be through video by 2021but this doesn’t mean you have to wait. 2019 is prime time. In 2017, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that he sees video as a megatrendand to put video first in strategy. So, listen to the masters!

Whether you’re creating clips for Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat, or even your own site, video is an extremely effective marketing tool. It enables you to capture audience attention and engagement. The added bonus is that you can convey plenty of info and brand personality.

Videos are great at distributing brand messages while still entertaining audiences, which is awesome for accelerating brand growth. It also doesn’t need to cost a bomb. Short videos reign supreme on the Internet. So, you don’t have to worry too much about production costs. So long as you stick to some fundamentals of good production, you’re good to go.

And even then…production fundamentals may not even be so fundamental. You can whip out your smartphone, make a quick recording (funny is always ideal) and record a message for potential customers on a recent win, or some valuable insights. Sometimes the shoddy live video factor works better than highly curated videos. Which brings us to the next part…

Digital Marketing Trend

#4 Live Video

Live video and digital marketing

Live video and digital marketing. A Love Story.

Live video’s the real rising film star this year. Video itself is amazing. Live is even better. Live streaming has that sort of reality tv appeal, and also offers audiences the chance to feel like they “know” the behind the scenes of a brand. It creates closeness. And the more your brand connects with audiences, the better.

Live streaming also just makes digital marketing a hundred times more interesting for audiences. It’s live action rather than a carefully edited and crafted video. It adds that real time, you’re here with me, human dimension to a brand.

Live streaming is particularly great when it’s combined with influencer marketing. Audiences may not jump onto a live streaming session to see your digital marketing team. BUT, social media influencers and famous folks are a great draw card.

Using influencer live stream is a super useful, ultra-high-profile form of digital marketing right now and it’s becoming more and more important for marketing strategies. When done right, the spontaneity and interactivity of live streaming is a total cash cow for digital marketers.

Need more reasons why live video is so attractive and expected to grow?

    1. Authentic: live video feels more natural, original, and authentic. Even if it’s been carefully organised prior to camera time, there’s still room for something to change. Smart consumers know they’re only being shown what brands want them to see. A live stream negates disillusionment. It’s a whole lot more refreshing and palatable than a “doctored” video.
    2. Cost-effective: live streaming means no editors, low-to-no production costs…all that stuff that eats into your digital marketing budget. You just need a camera (or a phone) and you’re on.
    3. FOMO: people can always go back and view an uploaded video. But with live streaming you’re activating FOMO (fear of missing out) in your audiences. Aka, people wantto watch it because there’s the whole livethrill attached to it. If you’re hosting an industry event or product launch this gets accelerated a hundred-fold. You missed out on the event and the video.

Digital Marketing Trend

#5 Chatbots

Chatbots and digital marketing

Chatbots: Robots turned digital marketing assistant. (Definition sourced via Dictionary.com).

Getting back to the robotic side of life…Chatbots and Marketing Automation should be on your digital marketing radar for the remainder of 2019. Humans are social animals and part of that means interacting with others. But constantly engaging on social media or other customer services channels can put a drain on business’ time andmoney. Enter the chatbot

With improvements in AI over the years, chatbots have substantially improved their communication skills. Chatbots will serve the massive online social media market effortlessly and are expected to power 85% of all customer service interactions by the end of the year.

Simply put, Chatbots are just a specialised form of software that acts like a virtual assistant. They communicate with users and assist them by interacting with humans in a (relatively) natural way mostly through text chat windows. However, verbal interactions are now also possible!

What makes Chatbots so exciting is their major progress in conversational interfaces. This has already been great at helping businesses with general admin of simple questions. Chatbots can hold a basic conversation with visitors and answer the “most asked questions” like a live customer support rep would.

The bonus is that they’re much cheaper than a customer support person andcan answer visitor questions much faster. Their effectiveness and usage increased a fair bit in 2018 and they’re set to soar in digital marketing circles through 2019.

Digital Marketing Trend

#6 Content Marketing

Digital marketing content strategy

Content Is King. Dare to disobey and you’ll pay.

The phrase “Content Is King” still rings true for digital marketing. Sure, there are a whole lot more SEO and technological aspects (distribution is Queen!) to consider in your marketing strategy. But at the end of the day…what you’re trying to market to the (target) masses is good content that produces even better conversion rates.

Content marketing is, for the foreseeable future, an essential component of digital marketing. Quality is always going to matter, but for your ongoing 2019 strategy it’s time to more deeply consider who your intended recipients are. Going beyond basic target marketing to truly understanding your brand’s “Tribe”.

2019 is OUT with generalised audience content, and IN with more precise Tribal Marketing. Aka finding your target audience, assessing content engagement and effectiveness, keeping content relevant, and creating content that adds value.

The added value part is especially a biggie. Audiences putting trust in reputable content will be more important than ever before. The more engaging, informative and non-advisement(like) your content is the better your digital marketing prospects.

Authenticity wins in today’s digital marketing world. As consumers increasingly distrust advertising, authenticity or even downright brutal honesty is critical for most brands.

Currently 80% of internet users prefer high-quality, original content over canned solutions and this number isn’t going away anytime soon. So, create that brand personality, communicate authentically in your brands voice, offer content that adds real value for audiences, and ultimately boost brand loyalty for marketing triumph.

Final Words

All in all, the medium and consumer determine the rules of engagement. If you want to stay on top of the marketing game, you need to bring your A-game. You need to adapt! You need to keep up with the times.

So, optimise for Voice Search, utilise AI and Chatbot technologies, add video to your social strategy, and don’t forget content marketing. Stay up-to-date with the trends and you’ll keep your brand trending.