The last five years in the world of marketing has seen more changes, innovations and disruptions than in the previous 50, and this rapid progress isn’t showing any signs of slowing down or stopping. In fact, mid way through 2019 we are witnessing a dramatic shift once again in the digital marketing landscape, with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Visual Search (VS) becoming less of a gimmick associated with science fiction films, and now becoming a significant part of digital marketing strategy and integral to most of the trends within this list. 

Whilst you will have already started implementing your digital marketing strategy, it isn’t too late to take a look at the key digital marketing trends for 2019 and to align your strategy accordingly. If not, you could risk being left behind. Here are our suggestions: 

1. Voice search continues to grow

  • According to Google, 20% of all searches are voice.
  • 31% of smartphone users worldwide use voice tech at least once a week.
  • 50% of all online searches will be voice-based by 2020.
  • 30% of all web browsing sessions will be done without a screen by 2020.
  • 55% of households are expected to own smart speaker devices by 2022.
  • Almost 20% of all voice search queries are triggered by just 25 keywords.

(source:https://99firms.com/blog/voice-search-statistics/)

Voice search is growing fast with one in five searches now performed via voice queries through smartphones, tablets and voice assistants like Alexa, Siri or  Amazon Echo etc. People are using voice search because it’s faster, simpler and more user-friendly. This provides digital marketers with huge opportunities and one of the most effective ways to adapt to this trend is by adapting your content. 

Voice search is quite different from the typical text search. When you perform a text search Google gives you hundreds of pages of results. But if you ask the same question via a voice assistant, it will only give you a few results. More often, it will only give you one result, the top result, therefore it is necessary to tailor your SEO strategy to achieve a top ranking. This can be achieved by focusing on incorporating long-tailed keywords i.e. keywords that are more conversational and less like written terms, in your SEO strategy.

2. The rise of the chatbots

Love them or loathe them, the increasing use of chatbots has created quite a buzz over the past two years and shows no sign of slowing down. These AI-based conversational agents use instant messaging to interact with potential customers in real-time, on social media, on apps or on websites, at the customers’ convenience. 

One of the main factors that contribute to the popularity of chatbots is that they are quicker than humans in responding. They also allow businesses to save money while generating more revenue, thanks to the ability of chatbots to handle thousands of queries at once and work 24/7. Plus they are able to collect and remember personalised data for a specific customer which can be used to tailor further promotional campaigns. Rapid advancements in Artificial Intelligence are constantly evolving chatbots towards more complex interactions and better customer service, so we’re expecting to see a lot more of them in the future.

3. Greater focus on personalisation

Personalisation was one of the big themes in digital marketing last year and is fast becoming the backbone of all digital marketing. Around 98% of the marketers agree that personalisation helps to advance customer relationships, while 74% of them claim that it leads to a “strong” or “extreme” impact. And 88% also stated that their customers and prospects expect a personalised online experience. This expectation will have a significant impact on digital marketing strategies, shifting the focus away from traditional static content to dynamically rich content, to provide unique tailored experiences for every customer. 

The sheer amount of data now available to marketers collected from social networks, online purchases, mobile apps and CMS means that it has never been easier to develop highly personalised targeting strategies. A good example of a brand that has successfully personalised digital marketing is Starbucks. This global coffee brand used its gamified mobile app to offer a personalised shopping experience to its customers. The company used information such as purchase history and location to make the Starbucks Rewards Program as personal as possible and the program helped increase revenue by $2.65 billion.

4. Increasing demand for authentic content

In addition to personalisation, consumers also want brands to share authentic content. In a recent report by Stackla – “The Consumer Content Report: Influence in the Digital Age”, almost 86% of consumers state that authenticity is important to their decisions on which brands they choose to purchase from and support. The number is particularly high among millennials, with 90% saying authenticity is a critical factor in supporting a brand.

One of the best ways to lend authenticity to your brand is to leverage user-generated content (UGC). The same report states that consumers are three times more likely to say that content created by another consumer is authentic compared to content created by a brand. In short, anything from user reviews and social mentions to well-written blog posts by your clients can help attract more consumers.

5. Video marketing will become stronger than ever

Video marketing is nothing new. Many businesses are using it for live demonstrations of their products, behind the scenes information, interviews, etc. What makes video an effective instrument is that it provides a platform to blend entertainment with information. Thus, businesses can both engage their customers and highlight their USPs at the same time, connecting customers with the brand on an emotional level which ultimately increases brand loyalty. 

The amount of video content being consumed online is staggering. By 2022, it’s predicted that online video will make up more than 82% of all consumer internet traffic. The engagement statistics for video adverts are just as impressive, with videos attracting 300% more traffic. Companies using video in their marketing grow revenue 49% faster year-on-year than those that don’t, and 51% of marketing professionals worldwide named it as the channel with the best ROI. 

The benefits of incorporating video in your digital marketing strategy are evident and clear. Social video generates 1200% more shares than text and images combined, and 64% of consumers stated that they will make a purchase after watching branded videos on social platforms. Thus, videos can effectively increase brand awareness. According to Hubspot, using the word ‘video’ in the email subject line boosts the open rates by 19% and the CTR by 65%. Video marketing also impacts conversion rate significantly. 

The popularity of video is undoubtedly driven by the fact that the average attention span of consumers is declining and they are eager to gather as much information in the least time as possible. The ‘Stories’ feature, that is available on social networking websites such as Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp have gained huge popularity among users because it enables them to collect information in a short span of time. ‘Stories’ can be used to display a snippet or a preview of the main video which helps brands to garner maximum possible views. Without a doubt, video advertising is something that every business should now be incorporating into their digital marketing strategy. 

The digital marketing world will continue to change. But if you want your business to stand out in what is increasingly becoming an overly crowded marketplace, then it’s vital that the trends mentioned above are considered when planning your digital marketing strategy. 

If you care about your digital marketing campaigns and are feeling confused, then the Search Engine Marketing team at ExtraMile Communications are here to blow all your confusion away, so do not hesitate to get in touch.