2019 digital marketing trends: should you jump on the hype?
Every year, we’re told that the latest technologies available to us will make a real buzz in the world of marketing. However, when it comes down to it, the platforms and avenues that we are used to will remain at the centre of our marketing plans. This piece will look at the 2019 trends that need a little more thought despite how exciting they sound…
AI is an exciting thing, but it is also in its infancy. It might be coming on leaps and bounds, but we are still far from having our jobs impacted by it.
Computer learning and chatbots are becoming increasingly sophisticated and subtle. However, there is still a lot for developers to learn. Take, for example, the Facebook AI robots that ‘learnt’ their own language – one that their developers didn’t at first understand.
Now, this isn’t to say that computer learning isn’t important because it is, and marketers use it daily. Machine learning plays a part in defining delivery options for advertising, and it essentially ranks the keywords that we use for paid adverts and organic search.
AI is something that has been around and developing for years. It will continue to do so, but it will still be some time before AI impacts marketing the way that many anticipate.
With tech giants such as Facebook, Oculus (also owned by Facebook), Samsung (through their Gear VR) and Snap (through Snapchat Spectacles) all experimenting with VR/AR, we understand the hype. However, for now we predict that these will remain a novelty for some time.
To see why, you simply have to look at or experience these technologies. Currently, they are just not ready to take off as anything more than a novelty item. Take Snapchat Spectacles as an example. As a product that is intended to join AR (augmented reality) with social media in an effort to ‘life log’, these spectacles should be worn day to day. We have tried them, and they simply aren’t something that is subtle enough to be worn day to day.
A member of our team tried the Snapchat Spectacles, and we could only imagine what the world would look like if everyone had a pair.
Image source: NY Mag
The conclusion is that aside from being a great disguise, this technology simply isn’t suitable for a marketing purpose. Alongside this, as they are currently still a novelty, and we believe that unless marketing was super extremely subtle, it would in fact discourage use.
According to Hubspot, over 50% of consumers want to see more video, meaning that video creation will go up. However, video is expensive if you are doing it wrong. When making and distributing a video, you need to be willing to put money into making the video and getting the video seen by an audience. Videos rarely do well organically, and therefore boosting social media posts and targeting the people you want to see the video is hugely important.
What this is likely to result in is people taking video in-house. The concern we have is that this is will result in the quality of video content plummeting.
Aodhan at waster.com.au, a waste and recycling business, is putting lots of focus on video in 2019. He believes that there is less SEO competition in this area, and it is easier to rank. He says it is vital to get your message across in different ways as many people now will watch videos when they want and answer to a question - especially "how to" style questions.
We have been promised since 2016 that voice search is going to be huge next year. Despite this, we still aren’t there yet.
It took around 20 years for mobile search to succeed in equalling desktop search. Since the earliest versions of Siri appearing around 7 years ago, voice searches have accounted for 20% of all searches. In addition to this, the development of technology is slowing. According to Gordon Moore’s 1965 Law, technology speeds double every year. This was amended in 1970 to every two years, which has proved true for the best part of 50 years. However, this is slowing to around every 30 months.
Additionally, the awaited boom of voice search marketing would be dependent on smart products. This is a market that’s currently dominated by Amazon.
For smart products, a boom in terms of marketing would rely on Google losing its dominant position on Google making a serious move on the in-home market. For more information on this, see our post on Amazon making a move on Google.
One thing that we can say is that voice search will one day play a significant role in marketing. David Pagotto, the Founder and Managing Director of SIXGUN “believes that voice search will continue to grow, particularly voice search with greater purchase intent.”
Joanna at taylorwells.com.au - a pricing advisory business is getting ready for increasing voice search. "With voice search - it is vital to come number one for your key term or question" - so it is like an enhanced featured snippet in google.
Better Data and Personalisation
Renae Lunjevich, Manager Director of Australian-based digital marketing agency, Bang Digital, says: "2019 will be all about personalisation and using data to predict and manage each individual client's journey. As the space for consumers attention becomes shorter, there is an expectation from consumers that businesses deliver relevant information in a timely manner.
"This is where the importance of conversion rate optimisation, customer journey mapping and automation becomes critical. It's not just for big businesses with large budgets and large product/service offerings; there are small changes each and every business can make to maximise this opportunity.
"Digital marketing will become less about increasing paid advertising budgets, and more about ensuring that each dollar spent has a positive value for the business. This process will extend beyond the digital environment, and into CRM solutions to ensure that the experience is seamless from initial interaction upon digital, to human interaction. Bundled with this way of viewing digital is attribution modelling, and ensuring that we consider multiple touch points across multiple devices as contributing to the end goal, rather than just last click attribution.
"Businesses that combine all of these technologies together will see leverage above their competitors without needing to resort to promotions or offers. It's all about a consistent approach to continuous improvement."
For all the social media gurus out there, don’t fret – we’re not suggesting ignoring social media. It would be impossible, right? What we are suggesting is that social needs a rethink.
For many, social media is about their number of followers, or what we call ‘vanity metrics’. Social needs to have a purpose, and chasing a certain number of followers won’t help anyone. Additionally, social platforms are fighting for these metrics to have less power due to the crazy amounts that influencers get paid.
What we suggest looking for is engagement. Ways to measure engagement is through shares, traffic to site via social media platforms, and people commenting and liking on posts. Alongside this, it is important to note that 58% of users aged 16-24 and 25-34 are attempting to decrease their time on social. This means that it is even more important to get it right.
Furthermore, organic social isn’t what it once was. To make social work you need to be willing to ‘pay to play’. Great content with useful and tactical advertising is something we can certainly vouch for. Bianca Atkinson, Director & Marketing Strategist at Clique That agrees with this sentiment, adding: "Instagram, I feel, is going to take a similar decline like Facebook in terms of requiring more paid reach. Nonetheless, LinkedIn is growing in popularity and will become more and more valuable in 2019 for B2B. This is why we are doing more and training and workshops for businesses in this space."
Paul Juchima, Founder and CEO of Oi! Media, says: "Instagram advertising should increase considerably, with more quality advertising content in video format and more Instagram Stories ads."
Stanley Tan from Selby's, a leading provider of event branding solutions in Australia , says: "Content marketing will continue to play an important role in businesses. The ones who don't invest in content will fall behind the ones who do. Plus, video content is taking up the market share of text-based content. This is also due to the rise of cheaper and faster mobile data. Few years back, you couldn't load a 720p video without waiting. Today, you can load a 1080p video in an instant from YouTube and Facebook."
Melissa Newphry, Account Manager at Gorilla 360, adds that when it comes to written content, it also "needs to be high quality and well-researched. In the age of misinformation it's more important than ever to protect your brand's reputation by having content that is accurate and reliable."
Diversity and Accessibility
Paul Evans, Managing Director of Toro Digital, says: " I'm the Managing Director of a digital marketing agency that specialises in the legal industry. Based in Melbourne, Toro Digital works directly with the marketing teams of large law firms, start-up legal businesses and legal-related member associations.
I predict that marketers can expect accessibility and inclusion to be a key focus for this year. People who require an accessible website can no longer be ignored as they make up 1 in 5 online users. Web accessibility and inclusion has typically been the domain of government organisations and not-for-profits. 2019 will be the year it goes mainstream as we expect Google and social media sites to adapt their algorithms to add preference to content that is accessible and inclusive. Businesses, even small ones, that ignore this trend will undoubtedly get left behind."
Anne Miles, Managing Director at International Creative Services, says: "There's a new genre of marketing I'm calling "Reputation Marketing" which is a hybrid between sales activity, PR, content, and also sales processes in social media as automations. This is based on personal reputation and not company pages. We will see more brands adding diversity and inclusion in their communications casting and strategy."
Leanne Ross, Professional Practice Fellow of Marketing at the University of Otago, says: "The evolution of influencer marketing is hurtling at the industry thick and fast. 2019 looks set to see a raft of changes that will require marketers to yet again rethink this tactic within their strategies.
"The New York Times recently published an article referencing "Nanoinfluencers", the idea that your own friends and family with 1,000 or less followers could soon be paid to advertise products to you. It was widely derided as a sign that Digital Marketing had "lost the run of itself." However, these ideas are stemming from a genuine problem that even the online channels themselves can't seem to fix; that marketers are often paying content creators to communicate to fake - or purchased - audiences.
"While practitioners wait for more regulation and concrete systems to analyse "influence" and Return on Investment online, the shaky bridge leading us to that place in 2019 requires a laser focus on research and transparency before, during and after these types of campaigns."
The TJM take on 2019 digital trends
We aren’t ruling out digital trends. Instead, we are providing a realistic take on what the industry appears to be claiming will change our year. These trends are something to keep an eye on as they should be significant in our future. For now, our beloved PPC, SEO, and content is here to stay.
If you’re based near Cardiff and want to learn more about this year’s digital marketing trends, come along to our latest Digital Marketing Workshop: Debugging digital trends 2019. This interactive High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) session will be perfect for you if you want to determine whether this year’s digital trends actually fit your business.