Christmas is rapidly approaching and 2018 is nearly over, which means 2019 is just around the corner.
Of course it also means many marketers are planning ahead for the New Year, and making predictions about what the next 12 months will bring. To help you along with this train of thought, we’ve put together this blog post consisting of digital marketing trends for 2019, which contains not only our thoughts here at The Source, but the thoughts of a couple of other industry professionals too!
Firstly, here’s some of our thoughts:
We’ve seen chatbots become more popular this year, but their use has nowhere near peaked.
As machine learning and natural language processing (NLP), advances, chatbots should become more efficient and easier to deal with. Up until this point, NLP has struggled to detect nuances in meaning, often as a result of a lack of context, dialectical differences or even spelling errors, but with the technology advancing at a significant pace, chatbots will likely become a lot more human in 2019. In fact, we’re already looking at exploring chatbot options for a couple of our clients!
Also likely to take advantage in the developments to NLP is voice assistants such as Siri, Alexa, Bixby and Cortana, and as they become more advanced, the likelihood of their use will increase. In turn, this will result in more searches being made through voice search.
However, the claim that “50% of searches will be made by voice by 2020” is often-repeated in the industry, however, as Rebecca Sentence of eConsultancy acknowledged back in August, it’s time we stopped repeating this claim. As explained in Sentence’s article, it was originally made by Andrew Ng, who was previously Chief Scientist at Baidu, a Chinese search engine, and his original quote made in the latter part of 2014 is actually specific to China, and refers to his claim that “at least 50% of all searches are going to be either through images or speech”.
So let’s rewind and be realistic. Voice search will likely rise again in 2019, but that ‘50% by 2020’ figure is likely to be wide of the mark.
There’s a change coming in the Influencer Marketing sphere. Think about it. Influencers are highly unlikely to care about your brand or your products, they ultimately want the money you’re going to pay them for advertising their product. But consumers are beginning to see through this. They know that reality TV ‘stars’, (and I use that term quite loosely), are being paid to advertise a product which they probably don’t care about. In addition to this, consumers, particularly millennials and Generation Z’s, are becoming more conscious about the purchases they make. This means they’re doing more research than ever before, and are less likely to believe everything they’re told at face value. But, as well as this, more people are sharing their experiences online. So put the two together – make your customers your influencer. How this works is essentially a hybrid of affiliate and influencer marketing – your potential customers believe the ‘influencer’ as they’re an actual customer of the brand themselves, they’re engaging with your target audience on a regular basis, yet the ‘influencer’ is incentivised to share the product by a commission-based sales structure.
Community Building plays a key role in this from a brand perspective, and I think this is something we can expect to see a lot more of in the future.
In terms of content, then it’s no surprise that we’re tipping video to rule the roost in 2019. Tubular Insights predicts that 80% of the content we see online will take the form of visual representation in 2019.
However, while making videos and putting them up on YouTube is great, Live Video is also likely to be key moving forward into the New Year. With Facebook offering live video as well as the Watch feature, plus Instagram’s Stories and IGTV, there are more opportunities than ever to deliver great quality video to your audience.
Finally, we couldn’t consider 2019 trends without looking at Social Media, which is essentially taking over the world. According to We Are Social, the number of social media users in 2018 is 3.196 billion, up 13 percent year-on-year, and we could see that rise still in 2019, with almost 1 million people having made their social media debut every day over the past year, which is the equivalent to more than 11 new users every second.
So that’s some of our thoughts covered, but what are people in the industry saying?
Myles Carey – Digital Marketer, Consortia.
For me, 2019 will bring challenges for SEO specialists particularly, just as it does every year. In my opinion, 2019 will be dominated by user intent. You will need to adapt as you have been as every other company catches up too. Their SEO teams will be aware of RankBrain and already making headway on replacing title and description tags with more emotional text. It’ll be your job to beat them again and again as people become more and more aware of what needs to be changed.
Manuel Martinez – Senior Product Manager, SEO, JCPenney.
2019 will be the year where we get our SEO hands dirty. It’s encouraging to witness a renaissance of technical SEO as we can reassure ourselves that optimizing for organic search is as important as ever. As new technology is brought into the mix and user expectations grow daily, we keep adding tremendous value to businesses – and that’s great!
I have already seen a number of sites – especially in the food and hospitality marketplaces – taking advantage of dynamic rendering (where you effectively serve users one thing and bots another) with impressive results. It will be interesting to see how far some players will push this. We should monitor those in the market who introduce new, more advanced client-side functionalities while at the same time strive to serve Google’s bots what they need in order to rank their content. Watch this space.
Regarding rich results and structured data, it’s not only about voice search. Google are likely going to introduce new features for mobile that will divide the SEO channel into two camps: on one hand we will have to prioritize projects for desktop visitors where competition is less fierce, and on the other hand we have mobile rankings, catering for mobile visitors who think and behave differently. Our goal here will be to find the right mix between the two sides of SEO. By the way, the growing list of pending schema hint at what enhanced search result we will see in Google in the future and it’s a good place to start when projection upcoming features.
Finally, Google Data Studio is really taking the digital marketing world by storm. Now you can even make your own visualization and this tool is going to grow in 2019. My prediction is that it will replace some of the more expensive SEO tools that are out there within a couple of years. This will allow more visibility for SEO at a lower cost.
Meanwhile, VR/AR enthusiast Navah Berg says:
“Immersing your VR content in platforms like Facebook spaces and engaging with your audience and clients live via Virtual Reality could prove to be popular in 2019. Augmented Reality is also likely to be more widely used, with options such as creating lenses in Snapchat platform Snap and Facebook & Instagram through SparkAr, along with taking your product photos to a new level and getting 360 images.”
For more Digital Marketing Trends, Kev Lawson, B2B Marketing at Event Genius & Ticket Arena says, “Get yourself a copy of the Future 100 Trends report from J. Walter Thompson Intelligence. Some cracking insight.”
So there we have it, a look at digital marketing trends for 2019. Let’s see how many of our thoughts prove to be accurate!