7 Marketing Trends To Expect In 2019
by Mike Khorev
During 2018, we have seen stagnancy in some marketing channels, and yet vast, rapid changes on others. However, I think most of us will agree that it has been an interesting year so far.
With that being said, here we will again compile our predictions for the marketing trends in 2019. As we have always said, knowing the latest trends and working marketing strategies are very important aspects of staying ahead of the competition.
Without further ado, let us begin with our first prediction.
1. Voice will be a more significant search medium
Voice search has risen in the past few years thanks to the popularity Siri and Google Assistant on our phones, as well as smart speakers and home assistant hubs like Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Google Home, and so on.
Many studies have predicted that voice search will continue to rise, such as this study by Gartner predicting that by 2020, will be done via voice, not only our search activities.
While voice recognition technology is now quite advanced and reliable, we can also expect it to get better in the years to come. We are expecting truly intelligent voice assistants in the really near future and its impact on both businesses and our personal lives.
The thing is, SEO for voice search is vastly different when compared to textual search. Specifically, we use different languages when speaking compared to typing. So, you might want to focus on more conversational keywords and develop content pieces with more conversational approaches.
Nowadays, we mainly use voice search when our hands are full or when we are simply too lazy to type. Yet, as voice recognition and word accuracy get even better in the years to come, voice search will become a necessity.
2. Video will be the king of traffic
It is obviously no secret that video is the primary content on the internet in the past half decade or so. Netflix alone accounts for 30% of the total internet traffic in recent years, and obviously we can’t neglect YouTube. Yet, what we have today will be insignificant in what’s coming the next few years.
According to Cisco, IP video traffic is predicted to reach 82 % of the global internet traffic. Even nowadays, most people prefer watching a video rather than reading a blog post, except for in-depth content, and this trend will continue, if not rise, in 2019 and onwards.
When done well, video can be a very effective marketing tool with a high conversion rate. According to Forbes, adding video to your email newsletter can boost CTR by up to 300%.
In 2019, video as a medium will continue to be more popular, as well as live streaming video content. Also, we can expect the shift into more interactive video content, which can be very effective in achieving more conversions.
During 2018 and even 2017, we have seen how A.I.-driven chatbots have taken over customer service for many big companies. It is predicted that by 2020, 85% of customer engagements will be dealt by chatbots.
There are obviously two main advantages of using chatbots over human customer support: first, one single chatbot can engage with a lot of customers at one time, saving your human resources costs. Second, it saves time, and you can have a 24/7 customer service without spending too much money.
Similar to voice search, the technology behind chatbots is continuously improving. But even today, the technology is pretty decent, where even the customer survey conducted by Digital Pulse in 2016 found that 85% of surveyed customers are satisfied with chatbot.
One common application for chatbots today is to let the chatbot engage with a new prospect, asking the preliminary questions like the prospect’s email address, their available budget, and so on.
When the prospect passed the preliminary questions, the chatbot can pass the conversation to a human salesperson. This way, we can automatically qualify prospects, and your salespeople’s valuable time and resources can be utilized on the prospects with the highest chance of conversion.
Also, consider the fact that implementing chatbots are now more affordable than ever. If you haven’t used a chatbot in 2018, you definitely should. Check out this guide by Sprout Social to help you further in implementing and utilizing a chatbot.
4. Content clustering for SEO
SEO has evolved just as search engines have changed their algorithms. Now, SEO is not solely about keywords, but will prefer clusters of content around a particular topic, this way, search engines can determine your credibility for that topic. Local SEO will also become vital to the success of small and medium-size companies and business owners need to make sure their websites are optimized for local prospects.
So, for 2019 and onwards, we should base our SEO approach on this concept: one ‘pillar’ content as a broad outline for this topic, and clusters of content to cover long-tail keywords related to this topic.
Let’s use an example to properly illustrate this: let’s say you are a SaaS business selling a cloud computing software. So, you want your site to rank for the ‘cloud computing’ topic.
Your pillar content, in this case, can be something like “The Definitive Guide To Cloud Computing”. Then, you can add cluster content pieces like “How To Choose A Cloud Computing Software”, “How To Maximize Productivity With Cloud Computing”, and so on.
The idea is, topic clusters establish your position as an expert of this niche, giving the search engines a strong ranking signal.
5. Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is certainly not a new marketing trend, having been one of the most important marketing tactics in the past few years. Yet, in 2019 and onwards, influencer marketing will be even more important than before.
We can’t deny the digital marketing landscape is even more saturated than before, and it’s really hard to get our voice heard amidst all the noises. This is where having an influencer to promote your product and/or brand can be very beneficial.
Although influencer marketing has been there for quite some time, we can also expect some changes especially thanks to the rising demands for influencers: many influencers, especially major ones and celebrities are now very expensive, and they are now pickier when choosing the brands they would want to promote.
This is where we can utilize micro-influencers, those with followers between 10,000 and 500,000. Micro-influencers are not only more accessible (and affordable) compared to the celebrities, but they also offer the benefit of authenticity: customers are getting smarter, and they know when celebrities and mega-influencers are promoting or endorsing a product. With micro-influencers, you can provide a more authentic voice resulting in less resistance from your prospects.
For a long time, marketers were often viewed negatively by customers, thanks to a long history of hard-selling, exaggerations, unethical advertising/sales practices, and even, blatant lies.
Because of this fact, many customers and prospects are now very resistant to promotional messages and marketing efforts, and in general are becoming harder to impress. Also, in this era of social media and maturity of the internet, it’s very easy to find any information about your product, service, or brand. In short: no matter what, you will need to be honest and transparent.
In 2019, this need of transparency will be even more prevalent than before: we’ll need to address negative complaints quickly and honestly, we will need to admit our faults, and we should never exaggerate our value propositions. In essence, we should only offer promises we can deliver upon.
In the next years to come, two-way communication between brands and customers will also become more common, being an essential aspect of building relationships and trusts.
7. People trust peer reviews and content, not advertising
Above, we have mentioned several times how people are now very resistant to promotional messages, especially advertisements. This is even more true for millennials, as many studies have suggested in recent years. This is, however, not saying that advertising is no longer effective, as when done right especially through newer forms like remarketing, it can still be effective. It’s just that advertising is no longer as effective as back then in the 90s, and should be used in combination with other marketing tactics to stay relevant.
This phenomenon has been around for quite some time now. In fact, a Nielsen study back in 2015 has stated that the top for most-trusted sources driving purchase decisions are: recommendations from people we know and trust, branded sites, editorial sites, and reviews. In fact, on that study, advertisements are placed near the bottom.
In the years to come, we can expect this trend to continue growing, and so we should focus on building social proofs and consistently publishing valuable content pieces to establish credibility, a concept we know as inbound marketing. Also, due to this trend, influencer marketing, which we have discussed above, will also be even more important in 2019 and onwards.
These seven marketing trends we have discussed are the ones to look for (and focus on) as we are entering the last quarter of this year and prepare for the next.
Obviously, these won’t be the only changes we’ll see in the marketing landscape, and there is not a “one-size-fits-all” approach in developing a marketing strategy. Yet, these seven we have discussed above can definitely help you achieve your 2019 marketing goals. You can also work with a digital marketing expert to ensure you stay on top for the marketing game.
February 16, 2019