We can all recall times when analyst predictions about business trends didn’t turn out quite as expected. Paper books are a great example, predicted to meet their demise following the introduction of the eBook; these old-fashioned volumes haven’t all been used to light the world’s bonfires after all.
However, the race for digital prowess continues, those with digital savvy remain on top and it really pays to keep abreast of the latest digital marketing trends.
Whether you are interested in inbound marketing, content curation, artificial intelligence or voice search, and whether you like it or not, the technology you rely on to drive your sales is subject to fast moving marketing trends. You can’t afford to ignore these but we have made it simple.
Here are our top 4 predictions for digital marketing trends in 2019.
Shout it out – alternative search formats are here to stay
‘Alexa, give me a list of the top digital marketing trends for 2019’.
It may well be that it was exactly the above search query that brought you to this article. Even those who were in denial are now admitting that voice search is not only here to stay, it is growing.
According to a study by BrightLocal, over a 12-month period, voice search was used in 58% of local business information searches, the majority of these concerning reservations, business prices and product availability.
The voice search demographics show that voice search for local businesses is more popular with but not limited to those aged 18-34 (76%) with older consumers following along, 35-54 (64%) and over 55 at 37%.
If this still doesn’t convince you that voice search is a rising digital marketing trend, you should perhaps sit up and take notice of the 25% of consumers who don’t yet use voice search but are willing to give it a go.
Don’t be fooled either into thinking that voice search is the only alternative search format looming on the marketing trends horizon, image-based searches that utilise pictures snapped on your smartphone are already available in the form of apps such as Google Lens.
With obvious benefits to the visually impaired, these apps also have strong implications for those selling in fashion, household goods and education. There are image search apps out there to count your calories, identify trees and even tell you when your hotdog just isn’t.
With this in mind it only takes a short step to imagine what the world of video search is going to look like. For a while now, one of the key business trends has been story-telling, and, with video content being predicted to form over 80% of consumer internet traffic by 2020, there can be no doubt of the importance that video plays in this story-telling.
With their Showcase Shopping ads, Google are already maximising the potential of the moving image for premium search result listings and we are predicting that video-based searches won’t be too far behind.
Streamline it – marketing automation will strengthen your brand
Marketing automation tools have already made their way into mainstream accessibility and their capability to allow all sizes of business to run a wide variety of marketing activities, even with restricted resources, is only going to see their use grow.
Marketing automation allows for automated audience engagement and has the joint advantages of ensuring that you don’t miss engagement opportunities whilst leaving your team free to concentrate on more strategic tasks.
Key examples of current automated marketing include welcome programmes (to send post-registration responses), repurchase programmes (to gather customer feedback) and win-back programmes (to target inactive customers), all of which keep the flow going from initial click to conversion.
Pundits are predicting a continuation of emphasis on the personal touch and research is backing this up. An econsultancy study that showed a whopping 74% of marketers surveyed considered personalised content to be the main factor in boosting customer engagement.
Digital marketing trends for personalised content went way beyond customer name and interests a long time ago. Today’s automated digital marketing includes content that is tailored to specific requirements and presented in ways and at times known to suit individual consumers.
Some of the latest digital marketing trends in automation as we move into 2019 include:
- Highly tailored predictive lead scoring which is gaining popularity. This will assemble multiple factors, including demographics, behaviour, articles and social statistics which can be used to predict a lead’s qualification status for a particular campaign or content delivery action.
- Artificial intelligence in the form of chatbots will be used, not just for high volume customer engagement but also as an analysis tool for user requirements. According to a report by Ubisend, 20% of consumers would contemplate the possibility of purchasing goods and services via a chatbot.
- Integrated cross-channel or omnichannel marketing via mobile, email, social and content marketing which will increase simply because it has such a positive effect on customer retention. According to investp, companies with effective cross-channel marketing strategies retain around 89% of their customers, a whopping 56% more than those with limited channels.
Secure it – data security and privacy will continue to grab attention
There can be no doubt that data security has had more than its fair share of attention during 2018. With the GDPR to negotiate, Brexit uncertainties looming and data breach stories seemingly everywhere, the demand from consumers for trusted market places continues to mature.
The EU’s ePrivacy Regulation, which addresses some essential data privacy questions, is due for delayed launch in mid 2019.
This regulation is set to place stricter restrictions on direct marketing across a range of channels and will also impact on cookie enhanced information gathering. Its focus will be on electronic communications data, including both message content and metadata, both of which have the potential to contain ultra-sensitive information.
All of this makes sense but suggestions are that the ePrivacy Regulation might prove tricky to handle from a, ‘Does this apply to me?’ point of view.
With GDPR fines of up to €20m (or up to 4% of turnover) to avoid, an increasingly demanding and data-savvy audience and new legislation due any time, this is maybe the least glamorous of the latest digital marketing trends but it is one you definitely shouldn’t be ignoring.
It’s written in stone – content is still going to be king
It is now a given that the majority of us don’t like adverts, which means that inbound marketing and content curation are going to continue to be top priority digital marketing trends for 2019.
The importance of reputable content isn’t just about client preference; by the end of 2018, 12.2 million UK users will be blocking ads via an ad blocker and this number will be far greater across the rest of Europe.
Nobody can afford to sidestep that many potential contacts, which is why inbound marketing, which relies on useful, high-quality content to attract clients, is important to so many aspects of your business.
When it comes to digital marketing trends, reputation, brand awareness, brand authenticity and trust are all built on high quality content, but this doesn’t mean that content creation and distribution will remain static. Competition is strong and potential clients will be looking for:
- Brand transparency – company sources, ethics and impact
- Personalisation – a deeper understanding of a target audience
- Brand collaboration – working together across a niche
- Influencer developed content –influencers posting on your channels
As you move into 2019, think carefully about developing a content strategy that closely aligns with your goals and sought-after outcomes. Make sure you use metrics to build an understanding of your audience, do specific keyword research and promote your content once it has been created. If content is going to be king, you want to be the one putting the crown on his head.
Stop diving in headfirst, focus on your stroke
When it comes to the latest digital marketing trends, it is clear that ‘the next big thing’ is going to continue to be just around the corner.
Perhaps the biggest challenge that 2019 marketers are going to face will be sifting through business trends and concentrating on those that are going to show real ROI with their particular audience. It is going to be impossible to take advantage of all marketing trends in 2019 and beyond, without resorting to garbled messages and an inconsistent approach, as well as risking low payoff for investment.
In order to keep up with the competition, you will need to decide which of these digital marketing trends deserve your focus and a comprehensive business audit can provide the metrics to help you do just that.
With the right information to hand and some expert advice, your marketing direction and focus for 2019 will become clear. Get ahead of the crowd and call us today on 0800 110 5923.