When we typed the title of this post into Google’s search bar, more than 98 million results popped into view within 0.65 seconds. That’s equal to one result for every person living in California, Texas, Florida, Washington, and Wyoming combined (give or take a few).
Current digital marketing trends are incredibly popular topics. If we could gaze into our crystal ball and see with clarity the answers to the questions asked within all those content pieces, we’d be the most popular agency in the world by now.
However, through our combined efforts to read through many of the available (reputable and some not-so-reputable) sources available along with our own experiences, we put together a list of digital marketing topics we’re watching in 2019.
Instagram is still hot
Are you tired of talking about Instagram yet? I hope not, because there are several reasons why you should continue to keep using Instagram as part of your digital strategy. If your audience includes young adults, Instagram is a great place for you to reach them since 61 percent of users are between the ages of 18-34.
“Instagram is going to take social media by storm in 2019,” Natalie Bieschke, social media specialist, said. “It’s slick and easy for not only businesses but personal accounts, too. No one wants to read novels on social media anymore, they want content to be fast and to the point. Instagram is the way to go.”
Instagram offers more than a window into the world of younger generations, though.
What are you recording?
Videos, videos, videos – I know you’re tired of us reminding you, but their importance in your marketing strategy is only growing with every year and innovation. Some predictions say 82 percent of all internet traffic will be video by 2021. Others predict live video will make up 13 percent of all video traffic.
400 million users watch Instagram Stories every day and Facebook and Instagram will alert your followers when you begin a live video. Through these platforms, your business can easily reach your audience in a genuine and affordable way. Live videos and Stories don’t need fancy equipment and editing. The more natural the video – the more trust your brand builds with your audience.
“Create quick and simple Stories with your smartphone,” Erin Willeford, social media specialist, said. “Give your audience a behind-the-scenes glimpse of a company event, a fun project your team is working on, or even just a simple boomerang of your employees having fun in the office. You can also incorporate stories into your advertising strategy to reach an even larger potential customer base.”
Showing your team in live video piles on the authenticity and transparency of everything you do, while keeping a low production cost.
How much should you automate?
In 2018, we saw automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) make an obvious impact on digital marketing practices, specifically in pay-per-click advertising. Expect to continue seeing options for machines to take over workloads and make decisions, not only for day-to-day tasks but also your ad design and copy through dynamic ads. Does this mean search engine marketing specialists are a thing of the past? Of course not.
Platforms using powerful decision-making technology to spend the available marketing dollars (fueled by AI) are doing well and will continue to do so into 2019. This means specialists need to be able to operate this tech and accurately decipher the results.
“Automation is becoming increasingly necessary, but adoption rates are very low because people don’t trust black box algorithms,” Adam Kutner, display manager, said. “Ad technology companies are learning that accountability and automation must go hand-in-hand to be successful. Unfortunately, there has been a misuse of advertiser dollars in the recent past (shady markup practices, inflated pricing, false ad buys, false reporting), which puts every nickel under much-needed scrutiny from trained professionals.”
The content landscape is changing
We believe top-notch content is still one of the most important tools in your digital marketing toolbox. However, the landscape continues to change. An article from Forbes lists five predicted trends for content. In our opinion, we believe one of them is the most important.
Developing and implementing an ongoing content strategy, which includes all the facets of content marketing instead of simply creating an editorial calendar, is imperative. Gone are the days of simply basing topics on expected search traffic and seasonal trends. Your content calendar should reflect your plans for content promotion, email marketing, persona segmentation, and more. At BigWing, we believe in a customized content strategy based on your business story, audience, products and services, and competitors.
“Crafting a content calendar should be a strategic effort,” Allison Kirbo, inbound marketing team lead, said. “If you’re writing content but not considering if your audience actually wants or needs that content, it’s a wasted effort. Do your research up front to figure out what information your target audiences need and crave and then use that to come up with content topics that answer their questions. Once you have an idea of which topics to write about, develop a comprehensive strategy for where that content will live, how you’ll promote it, and how it can be used in other facets of your digital marketing.”
The fight for inbox space
When email exploded onto the scene, trends associated optimal send times, spam laws, email views, open rates, and click-through rates began. It’s 2019 and we’re still talking email. But this time, the game has changed and email is moving forward.
If you aren’t personalizing, segmenting, and (at least partially) automating your email marketing campaigns, you’re probably missing out on important interactions with your audience. Additionally, if you’re stuck in the world of only using one email template – whether it’s graphics-based or text-based – you’re likely losing interaction among your subscribers.
“Email marketing should be approached as an ongoing conversation with your customers,” Jill Hogue, content marketing specialist, said. “Once you start that initial conversation, it’s up to you to learn more about who you’re speaking to. As you gather more information about them, as you would in any typical conversation, your emails should continue to become more informative to their specific interests and needs.”
Your company must send emails like a real person and treat your audience like real people. If you continue sending email blasts of the past, you will consistently fill people’s trash.
Every year, experts claim it will be the year that voice search makes a huge difference to our marketing strategies. While the prevalence of smart speakers, smartphones, and other devices that use voice search continues to grow, it hasn’t taken over yet.
We think “voice search” may be getting more attention than it deserves. Voice search buzz should be replaced with discussions about “the age of conversation.” Algorithms have advanced to the point where they can understand intent, syntax, meaning, and more. Whether you say it or type it really doesn’t matter. It just happens that people are searching vocally with newer devices.
“One way this shift is obvious is to ask someone over 60 how they would search something,” Kyle Elrod, senior SEO strategic account manager, said. “Then ask a 12-year-old how they’d search for the same thing. The older person is likely going to throw out choppy keywords while the 12-year-old is just going to ask a question. It’s not about voice, it’s about understanding conversations on the part of search engines.”
Today, optimization needs to focus on being the best answer to a question instead of simply matching keywords. Optimize for the intent of a search and you’ll be on the right track.
Influencers who are small but mighty
Believe it or not, creating successful influencer marketing campaigns requires more than simply hiring the biggest celebrity you can afford to talk about your product or service. We promise. Influencers are people who have earned the trust of their audience or someone who can gain their trust quickly. An influencer must show transparency, authenticity, and form a relationship with their audience. These requirements make the ground fertile for businesses to grow relationships with nano-influencers.
“One of the biggest benefits of working with nano-influencers is their engagement rates,” Lauren Norton, influencer marketing specialist, said. “Their followers react with likes and conversational comments – regularly looking for their posts in their feeds, not because it’s the cool thing to do (like they would for a celebrity), but because they genuinely care about what the nano-influencer has to say.”
Nano-influencers have between 1,000 and 5,000 followers, usually on Instagram, but the same numbers could correlate into blog pageviews or correlating followings on other platforms such as Twitter, Twitch, YouTube, or podcasts. This is your cool cousin or that guy you knew in middle school who have “the coolest posts you’ve ever seen.” You trust their opinion and would purchase a product they recommend. They may already be getting compensated for sharing cool stuff through their profile – or they might just share products they love without compensation.
“The key is to find someone who is skilled at getting their audience interested in a product, but doesn’t fill their feed with product promotions,” Lauren said. “You don’t want your product to be hidden among other brands. Take advantage of this new marketing trend and give nano-influencers their ‘big break.’ Their following will celebrate their success and your brand will stand out in their feed.”
Influencer marketing has been on the rise for several years, but nano-influencers provide a wealth of untapped opportunity. And the companies that are working with these influencers are coming out on top.
The most important digital marketing trend of 2019
Did you notice some repeated themes throughout the different trends? We did. Knowing who your audience is before you craft your marketing strategy is what it’s all about. Know who you’re talking to and how you can make their lives better with your product or service. Then tell them about it authentically and with transparency. If you only take one thing away from this article, let it be that understanding your audience is key to impacting their purchase decisions.
Not sure if you’re ready to tackle your 2019 marketing strategy alone? Overwhelmed by the details? Let us know. We’d love to learn more about what you’re doing and see how we can help. Don’t let 2019 slip away.