The digital marketing landscape in 2019 is undergoing dramatic changes. There are a number of new digital marketing strategies and trends that are starting to assume importance in this landscape that encompasses SEO, content marketing, social media and PPC. These include elements such as visual search and artificial intelligence, which not too long ago, might have been dismissed as the stuff of sci-fi movies. But, we now know they are real and here to stay. As a business, you need to use them in order to succeed and get ahead because the digital marketing strategies that worked last year may not necessarily prove effective this year.
Here are 6 of the hot digital marketing trends for 2019 that require your attention.
1. Artificial Intelligence
AI or artificial intelligence is already believed to be employed in digital marketing to analyze consumer behavior and search patterns, to utilize data from social media platforms and blogs to help businesses get a grasp on how customers find their products and services. Even as recently as a few years ago, marketers may not have considered incorporating artificial intelligence into their digital marketing strategies.
However, 2018, in my opinion, was a year when more and more marketers are getting comfortable and are gaining more confidence in employing artificial intelligence as a digital marketing strategy since it has proved to be effective. In fact, the potential for its further evolution into a territory where it could even surpass humans, is great.
There are some areas where AI could be used with success. One of those areas is digital advertising. For instance, Google Ads uses machine learning and AI to find people who are more prone to responding to the advertisement. To accomplish this, they might analyze users’ information to determine the best audience.
There is no question that chatbots will continue to be an important digital marketing strategy in 2019 and for the foreseeable future. In fact, according to a 2018 study, the global chatbot market is expected to grow 24.4% in the next 4 years.
But let’s step back – what is a chatbot?
Simply explained, chatbots are artificial intelligence systems that faciliate better sales or service for customers. Chatbots can be used in sales by guiding customers through the sales process. They can be used in service by helping customers troubleshoot technical issues.
If you’re a millennial like myself, you may prefer to interact with chatbots because they tend to be responsive, prompt with responses, accurately recall a customer’s purchasing history and don’t get emotional or impatient. These virtual assistants are establishing a track record of excellent customer service and automating repetitive jobs. Large companies can use chatbot technology to communicate with customers for a range of functions from choosing the type of ride to tracking the location of the car or making a payment.
3. Personalized Marketing
If you wish to stand out with your product or service in 2019, it’s imperative that you need to personalize your marketing in terms of products, content and messages. You now have data such as a consumer’s purchase history available at your fingertips. You have information about consumers’ behavior and which links they click on. Customizing content is easier now than ever before. In fact, among the 12 stunning statistics around personalization provided by Econsultancy it was crystal clear that customers overwhelmingly expect a personalized experience.
It’s well worth spending time and resources to create a high value personalized marketing strategy as the ROI is significant.
Indeed, personalized marketing can drive revenue by tailoring your messaging to your customers. As noted in the Econsultancy article, Deloitte found 36% of consumers had an interest in personalization and nearly half (48%) said they’d wait longer for a personalized experience. This is significant – and personalized marketing is not just done pre-sale. According to Econsultancy, “SalesForce found 62% of consumers expect companies to send personalised offers or discounts based on items they’ve already purchased.”
4. Video as a Marketing Tool
Videos have consistently proven to be an effective tool when it comes to digital marketing and is viewed as having the best ROI by 51% of marketers worldwide, according to Wordstream. It’s not just YouTube – although they’ve got a billion users worldwide. To promote better user engagement, you can post videos or start a live broadcast on Instagram or Facebook. Of course, don’t forget Twitter – an astonishing 82% of Twitter users watch videos as cited by Wordstream. But it also helps with SEO efforts – as video increases organic search traffic by an astonishing 157%, according to Brightcove. Of all these trends, video marketing is an absolute no-brainer!
With smartphones being able to capture high-quality videos, this is getting increasingly easy. In addition, 360-degree video content, which allows users to interact more, is gaining in popularity. Create videos that focus on a story rather than sales. Appeal to your customers’ needs and emotions. Shorter videos work best as over half of all videos published last year were 2 minutes or less. Don’t be afraid to use humor and plenty of creativity to get your message across.
5. Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is anchored by market influencers, key thought leaders and evangelists who driver a brand’s message to a larger market. For example, in these cases, instead of marketing directly to a certain audience, influencers are paid to get the word out for you, often through social media. Many companies are finding that using paid influencers is a very effective digital marketing tool that works well to draw customers. Of course, influencers don’t have to be celebrities. They may be YouTube stars or popular figures on Instagram with millions of followers. Many companies have now also gone for “micro-influencers,” shedding stars and celebrities for real people who can provide genuine, real-life testimonials.
But it’s not always necessary to pay influencers. Smart businesses utilize client testimonials found on sites like Google, Yelp, the Better Business Bureau and other niche review sites relevant to their industry.
6. Voice Search
If you have ever been involved in your company’s marketing efforts, you likely know what SEO or Search Marketing is. SEO is constantly evolving, and I believe that the next frontier for search marketing is voice search.
As more and more people use voice search technology, companies are being forced to reconsider their digital marketing strategies in 2019. Voice search (Siri, Alexa) plays an important role when it comes to providing relevant information people are searching for through audio content. The number of errors made by voice assistants such as Alexa and Siri have been reduced thanks to improvements in artificial intelligence. Of course, AI is far from perfect. For a good laugh, ask Siri these questions.
Companies are beginning to use voice search technology as a way to boost sales by automating the lead scoring process, predicting cross-sell and up-sell opportunities and more. You may soon be able to buy voice ad space. When you are producing audio content, don’t forget to use keywords that people will speak rather than type.
These hot digital marketing trends could help you not only stay ahead of the curve and empower your brand but also increase audience engagement. This leads to productive, meaningful conversations.
Reach out to Stikky Media and learn how to best utilize these 2019 marketing trends to achieve your marketing goals this year and beyond.
This is a guest blog by Chris Foerster from Fremont College.