“Trends” is one word I would often wrinkle my nose at in disdain because I never seemed to get it right. I’d always be the outlier that often wondered what was so fascinating about each trend that debuted each year and would scratch my head at the people around me who got it right off the bat. This was until I got into the Digital Marketing industry and it became my job to know what the new phenomenon was and how it would affect our clients. Now I’m the one who jumps on Twitter first every hour for trending news & have on alerts that religiously inform me of the latest developments to the point of admitting – I’m hooked. I have to say though, my new-found light on trends still doesn’t make me understand the fuss around Game of Thrones. Alas, a topic for another day as I duck for cover.

Industries and markets are changing over time with technological advancements dominating the landscape. Other trends include change in human behaviour, affecting decision making and purchasing power dynamics. Minding this as a business allows you to acknowledge the importance of trends. It also enables you to make better strategic decisions, capitalize on good business opportunities and overcome competition.

So what do you say we get your ducks in a row? It’s time to catch up.

Trend #1 – Good Content is still King

I’ll be biased and start with my speciality. There’s an increased emphasis on good content. In addition to that, there now will be a focus and interest in considering deeply who the intended recipients are too.

Having a deeper, more sophisticated understanding of a targeted market and being able to reach them effectively is a rising need in marketing. Click To Tweet

This basically means that while content meant for a general audience remains important, a call beckons for specialized material meant for specific industries or experts. This combined with improving techniques in measuring content effectiveness will yield impressive results.

This is an image of an Omni-Channel Marketing Plan
Source: Smart Insights

Other content marketing trends will include:

  • Having holistic strategies to support audience engagement and commercial goals of leads & sales.
  • New roles and structure to support content marketing activities as investment increases.
  • Improved measurement of content marketing effectiveness.

This is a graph showing factors contributing to content marketing success in 2018.
Source: Smart Insights

These were leading factors for content marketing success in 2018 and will still be influential elements in 2019, with a much more refined focus.

Trend #2 – Artificial Intelligence will excel at profiling buyers

AI this year will definitely dominate the marketing sphere and will power customer segmentation, click tracking, push notifications, retargeting & more. The machine intelligence already has tools that are generating content on whatever topic given.

How you use Artificial Intelligence for your digital marketing efforts will all depend on your goals and channels as a business. Blueshift conducted a study that showcased that 28% marketers are using AI for product recommendations and that 26% are using it for campaign optimization.

An image of marketers' AI usage goals
Source: Cardinal

Furthermore, AI is said to improve your customer service. A Forrester’s Global State of Artificial Intelligence Online Survey has revealed that 57% of businesses are using the advancement to improve their customer experience while 44% are utilizing it to improve existing products and services.

An image of benefits AI is expected to have on organizations.

Artificial Intelligence achieves all of this through personalization. Businesses can now personalize their elements to turn a marketing qualified lead (MQL) to a sales qualified lead (SQL). 67% of marketers believe that AI is currently providing personalized headlines and advertising copy. 66% have confidence that it’s delivering personalized advertising design formats. All this was made clear by an online marketing survey by IDC in collaboration with Criteo. There’s even word that 64% maintain that AI will implement real-time personalized advertising insertions and optimized message targeting by 2020.

Trend #3 – Accelerated Mobiles Pages (AMP) and PWA

Search engines are responsible for driving traffic to websites and the lead engine in all of this is Google. About 60% of search traffic on the giant search engine is sourced from mobile devices.

The rule of thumb when it comes to mobile search is that the longer a website’s load time, the higher the bounce rate and the lower your ranking on Google in return. Click To Tweet

An image of online searches initiated on a mobile device, by industry.

Having the need for pages that load faster then led to the introduction of the AMP project by Google. Accelerated Mobile Pages load in less than 0.5 seconds, creating a lower bounce rate. There are currently more than 4 billion AMP pages on the web.

Progressive Web App is described as “An enhanced web application that provides a native app-like experience to Web users by using a set of technologies that allow them to combine the best of both app & web functionalities in one secure environment.”  The goal of PWAs is to blur the distinction between native apps and the mobile web by bringing most of the native mobile apps advantages to the mobile browser.

The advantages of PWAs include:

  • Faster loading time
  • Better website experience
  • No need for user download
  • Eliminates app development costs
  • Users can create a shortcut on their smartphones

AMP lets your websites render fast and improves rankings on Google while PWA eliminates the high cost of developing a mobile app; providing the same great user experience on your mobile site.

While we’re on the topic of increased mobile use, this is another trend that is here to stay. Revenue for social media ads is expected to increase greatly in 2019 and most of that growth will be powered by mobile spending. In the year ahead, we’ll be experiencing more spending, optimized mobile video & graphic experiences, and amazing social media ad campaign management.

Trend #4 – Omnichannel Marketing

The fourth 2019 trend to follow in Digital Marketing is omnichannel marketing. Customers have become more advanced and are receiving their information through many channels. This discipline was initially introduced to allow prospects to communicate with businesses through various, different channels. How this worked was that, prospects were able to be introduced to your business through Twitter, Facebook ads or through your own store physically. Email subscribers could communicate through email and website visitors through chat or comments. However, multichannel marketing still did not solve consumers’ problems regardless of it being an improvement from single channel marketing. This year will see omnichannel marketing providing a better experience for your prospects because it gives ground for a seamless and consistent communication process to potential and existing customers across all channels.

An image of multichannel vs omnichannel
Source: Cardinal

For example, point of interaction may begin with a customer on a social media network and then it carries on through your SEO rankings and eventually through email. In the end you get the prospect which turns into a sales qualified lead.

The main aim of omnichannel marketing is to give you the ability to keep track of a potential lead’s interactions even when they are interacting with you through different channels. Additionally, your consumers will feel catered to and cared for when you pay attention to the details about previous interactions.

Invesp conducted a research that showed that companies with omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain on average 89% of their consumers as opposed to the 33% customer retention rate that companies with feeble omnichannel approaches get.

For your business to start making use of omnichannel marketing, get a customer relationship management (CRM) program that will assist you in keeping track of your consumer interactions on different platforms.

Trend #5 – Voice Search

With specific attention in the progression of voice recognition, voice searches have been increasingly getting popular. Items can be ordered using smart speakers and your home can be controlled strictly through verbal command on smart devices.

There are many reasons voice command leads to profits. The leading points are:

  • Voice search is easier and safer for people who are on the move. It’s more logical when driving for instance to talk to your phone rather than type. Even when walking, you can still use voice command without having to break your stride or heaven forbid, walk into poles.
  • Voice search is faster. People are able to talk faster than they can type which means that they are able to perform a voice search faster, saving time & being awarded convenience.

Now, if we get into the reasons why you should optimize your website for voice searches, you’ll be intrigued to learn that:

  1. Voice search usage is increasing on mobile. Voice searches accounted for 20% of searches on Android devices back in 2016 already and this is only expected to get higher.
  2. Smart speakers are becoming more popular given the roll out of Amazon Echo that took place a few years ago. Google Assistant and Apple Home pod followed this trend and have made smart speakers a hot commodity.
An image showing smart speaker stats.
Source: Cardinal

3. Majority of people using voice search are conducting a local search. More often than not, people who perform a voice search usually look to buy from a local business.

(Expert tip – To optimize your website for local SEO rankings and voice search, keep in mind the following:

  • Voice searches are usually longer than typed searches. The fact that they are easier to carry out, voice searches tend to be longer than typed searches. So, ensure to optimize your content for long-tail keywords if you’ll be optimizing focusing on this trend.
  • Voice searches are conversational. When people perform voice searches, it becomes a dialogue that mirrors one where they would be talking to someone else. This then makes it crucial to make certain that your website content is conversational.
Some experts predict that voice could comprise 50% of 2019 searches, making long-tail SEO strategies more vital than ever – Heads up. Click To Tweet

Sidebar: Website speed loading time also factors in here a lot. Optimizing for mobile and voice search to stay up with the trends of 2019 might be worth looking into.

Trend #6 – Chatbots

Human beings are social beings and revel in interacting with other humans, having a voice & being heard. However, constant engagement around the clock online is not realistic and won’t always get you closer to your customers. Chatbots then emerged as a solution to this and as a way to interact with website visitors on their own terms.

Advancement on Artificial Intelligence lately has enabled chatbots the ability to hold a basic conversation with visitors and answer frequently asked questions live like a human customer support rep would. Although the idea of live chat support systems with live representatives on the other end is not new, chatbots have presented a more efficient and quick way of communication. They are also more affordable and can answer visitors’ questions almost immediately.

An image of potential benefits of chatbots.

Leadpages installed a chatbot by Drift on its website to have answers immediately provided to users without having to use a human being.

After a certain period of time, the chatbot was set to greet visitors which alone increased the number of monthly conversions from 310 to 1168 – a 267% increase. There was also a 36% overall increase in their conversions from the use of chatbots. Incredible, right?

An image of a graph showing increase after chatbots.
Source: Cardinal

Trend #7 – Email and Marketing Automation

Lastly, a trend to keep up with in 2019 will be Email & Marketing Automation. Granted, the email tool has been in the game for some time now – however, what’s different about it now is personalization.

An image of facts about email personalization.
Source: Cardinal

Businesses now have the ability and advantage of sending different emails to different subscribers based on their interests – usually determined by the type of content they engage with. Personalization makes your email strategy more effective and can be extended to all your other marketing efforts as well.

GDPR consumer protection has actually also helped with ensuring that people receiving your emails have given the go ahead. This opt-in now means that you’re emailing people who are potential leads and are happy, existing audience. These are consumers likely to buy and return repeatedly.

“To improve your email communications, start repurposing it as a lead nurture and customer engagement tool. Use it to encourage learning and behaviours most closely associated with the big buyers in your database.”


Alex Membrillo,
CEO of Cardinal

Marketing automation will also show up big time this year. It’s also been a trend for some time but will continue to grow in 2019, consisting of benefits such as:

  • Time efficiency – If your marketing reps have to manually copy lead information, they spend time they could have used to contact more leads, for example.
  • Minimized error – Your marketing reps are humans and could forget to copy a lead’s contact details. Marketing automation software has all the records and can send alerts to help your staff stay on track.
  • Increased collaboration – Businesses lately have struggle with lack of collaboration between the marketing and sales departments. This means that the sales department doesn’t get all the details they need about a lead from marketing and vice versa. Marketing automation software makes all the information about a lead or customer available to any department at any time needed.

That’s about it. I think we’ve covered all basis and can now plan for the year ahead regarding your digital marketing efforts. For more help in staying ahead of the game, see The 10-Step Strategy You Will Not Rank Without in 2019 – Part 1!

References

Chaffey, D. (2019). 8 business-critical digital marketing trends for 2019 | Smart Insights. [online] Smart Insights. Available at: https://www.smartinsights.com/managing-digital-marketing/marketing-innovation/business-critical-digital-marketing-trends/ [Accessed 15 Feb. 2019].

Membrillo, A. (2019). 10 Digital Marketing Trends and Innovations For 2019 | Cardinal. [online] Cardinal. Available at: https://www.cardinaldigitalmarketing.com/blog/digital-marketing-trends-and-innovative-tactics-for-2019/ [Accessed 15 Feb. 2019].