The 4 Digital Marketing Trends to Watch This Year
With technology advancing like never before, agility and adaptability are integral to digital marketing in 2019. And keeping up with trends in the digital marketing realm has never been more critical than it is at this moment. Here are 4 of the top trends that I foresee playing a big role in digital marketing in 2019.
Marketing is an ever-evolving discipline … which is probably what I love most about it! No day in marketing is ever the same as the day before … and if it is, then there’s likely something stale with your marketing strategy! In the words of Beth Comstock, “Marketing’s job is never done. It’s about perpetual motion. We must continue to innovate every day.”
With this golden nugget of wisdom in mind, one of the best ways to continually evolve and innovate as a marketer is to keep up with new trends in digital marketing, which are evolving faster than ever before.
Here are 4 of the biggest trends in digital marketing that will shape 2019. Keep in mind, these are just 4 of many trends that will influence the digital marketing world this year and in the years to come!
1. Personalization Will Rule Like Never Before
The days of a one-email-serves-all mentality are long gone. Personalizing emails is a simple, effective means of ensuring your message is targeted to your consumer. Wait a minute… email? Isn’t that a passé form of communication in the digital marketing world? Nope! Email is still one of the major means of communication for people globally and is still one of your best opportunities to reach your client.
Dependent on what email builder you use, personalization can take many shapes. Typically, this takes the form of writing email copy with ‘smart’ fields that auto-populate with the contact’s information from your customer relationship management (CRM) database. The benefit of this technique is the scale of your efforts. You can make 1 simple email that becomes many more, targeted, personal emails.
Let me add a caveat here … as a human, and a marketer, I BEG of you… don’t take this too far! There is a fine line between personalization being effective and it being… well, just plain creepy. So here are a few cautionary notes:
Never use personalization when you are using information that the individual has not given you explicitly. For example, if you use a CRM database that ‘fills in the blanks’ of a contact’s personal information for you, you are going beyond what that individual has consented to. Though this data is useful when it comes to creating campaigns and segmenting your audience, that’s what it should be kept for. Instead, limit personalization to solely information you have learned about your contact through forms on your site.
Keep it simple, keep it natural, and don’t overdo it. If you begin by addressing them by their first name, then don’t also stuff in their company name, job title and location all within the intro paragraph. Maintain a natural cadence to your conversation.
Think of how you would respond to your email. This is truly the golden rule. At the end of the day, don’t send an email that you wouldn’t be delighted to receive yourself.
2. Influencers Aren’t Going Anywhere!
Influencer marketing is a trend that has really taken off over the past couple of years, and trust me, this tactic is not going anywhere. For those of you less familiar with this, influencer marketing is a tactic that combines celebrity (or influencer) endorsement of a product, with content marketing strategy and tactics.
If you’re interested in learning more about the fundamentals of influencer marketing and how it works, take a look at this very comprehensive article from Forbes.
So why is influencer marketing becoming more and more popular? How is it effective? The answer to the latter lies in the fact that influencer marketing links back to a fundamental marketing tactic: word-of-mouth. It’s simply a fact that the average consumer is more likely to trust someone they “know” (I put this in quotations as most of the time these influencers are not individuals that the consumer has met, but rather someone they follow on social media and come to rely on and trust for advice and guidance on products), rather than from a company’s own advertisement.
Experts predict that influencer marketing will grow even more in 2019, because of both GDPR limitations and the growth in adblockers. With these limitations, advertisers are looking for new ways to get their message out to their audiences.
3. Artificial Intelligence Will Win The Race
Cue the eye-rolls! It’s no secret that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is growing like never before… and you’re likely sick of hearing about it! However, this trend is too big to ignore, as AI capabilities and their role in marketing will only continue to grow. For sales and marketing teams, AI technology can assist in tasks such as finding prospects who resemble existing customers, allowing the marketer to know who next to target for new advertising campaigns.
There are also some more unimaginable things coming down the pipeline for AI in marketing. It’s forecasted that AI will eventually be able to assist marketers with “intent advertising,” which pretty much boils down to exactly what it sounds like; advertising what the shopper is intending to buy, rather than basing off the keywords the shopper enters in the search engine. Google’s already made the move toward serving up their Search Engine Results Page (SERP) based on the searcher’s intention rather than actual keywords, so this advent involving AI is really to be expected.
4. Voice Search Will Continue To Be Key For SERP
In September I was lucky enough to attend Hubspot Inbound, which is an annual world-class marketing event held in Boston.
While at the conference, I was on a mission to learn more about Search Engine Optimization (SEO), as in my opinion, SEO took a totally new shape in 2018. In each of those SEO sessions I attended, time and again, experts cited the importance of voice search, if you want to gain access to the coveted featured snippet spot (For those of you who may not be familiar with the ‘featured snippet,’ it’s essentially the result that Google serves above all other results and ads, that the search engine believes is the best answer to that individual query – the result is often bolded, and larger than other SERPs).
As I learned at Inbound, the featured snippet and voice search are intrinsically linked. How? Because when a searcher opts to use voice search, the result that is read back to them is itself the featured snippet.
Now, voice search has other key important details for the marketer in 2019. Some recommend that marketers start looking at ways to optimize their websites for voice search, as by 2020, estimates say that voice search will be… get this… 50% of all daily Google searches! How can marketers start this optimization? Experts say that using more natural language in your SEO is the key – thinking of what your target audience may say in their voice search, which tends to be longer and more specific queries than typed searches.
If you’re curious in really sinking your teeth into this and wanting a more detailed explanation of the link between voice search and featured snippets, I recommend checking out this blog post by Moz – their blog is an exemplary marketing resource, especially for keeping up to date with the latest trends in digital marketing! (No, I don’t work for or with Moz… I just REALLY love their blog)
Another great resource for keeping up with the role of voice search in marketing is this Hubspot page, which they continue to update as research progresses.
As I said, these are just 4 of an infinite amount of trends coming down the pipeline for digital marketing in 2019. The bottom line really harks back to that Comstock quote, and that is that as marketers, it’s our job and our purpose to continuously evolve. As digital marketers, this is ever more the case; we must evolve not just in concept, but in the technological tools we use, and in the tactics we deploy.