2019 is just around the corner, so it’s time to check on the latest digital marketing trends and see how you can use them in your digital marketing strategy. Is VR/AR still on their way to hit it big? How is increasing number of users connecting privately going to affect digital marketing? Exactly how personalized can digital marketing get? Buckle up and let’s dive in!
With any marketing communications, brands have to go where their audiences are, and in 2019 that means vertical video. Vertical video is what the cool kids are doing, said Current Time’s managing editor Glenn Kates in his talk at November Social Media Week Kyiv (my blog post about the event). Crello team presented their vision for vertical video at the same event.
Crello marketing team at Social Media Week in Kyiv, November 15, 2018. Pictured speakers – Eugine Dychko and Dima Grebennikov. Photographed by Igor Vetushko
Users don’t want to keep rotating their phones back and forth between horizontal and vertical orientations. With over 400 million using Instagram Stories daily, Stories ads are picking up as well – have you noticed the sudden surge of sponsored content in yours? Moreover, all the major players – Instagram, Facebook, YouTube – are betting on long-form vertical video. Think IGTV, Facebook Watch, and YouTube rolling out full support of vertical videos (no black sidebars and all).
AI has proved to be a great tool for marketers as chatbots for support and information services have become increasingly popular. The tool is great for conducting automated conversations with customers when no human personnel is available – whether it’s inquiries outside working hours or when incoming message load is too high to process.
Another useful AI role in marketing is customizing offers and items featured in the recommended section to help narrow the choice for customers as research shows too much choice hinders purchasing behavior – it’s just too stressful to consider all the options and the risk of making a mistake seems considerably higher in those conditions.
As major influencers become celebrities in their own right – Lilly Singh, Bethany Mota, Michelle Phan, Ingrid Nielsen to name a few, – brands are turning to influencers with just a few thousand active subscribers.
Working with micro-influencers requires more initial work to select the right ones for your brand, but collaborating with them can become an authentic partnership and their followers are much less desensitized to paid content.
Perfectly produced promotional photos are facing a stiff competition from off-the-cuff, on-the-go shots of your product or service in action. These visuals feel genuine and are well-liked by the audiences. That’s why using user-generated content for marketing has been a growing trend and is only going to strengthen in 2019.
Continuing the move to authenticity, live casts from brand events, behind the scenes and educational undertakings are becoming a very popular way to draw rise brand awareness and build brand image. Some 460,000+ users watched Google’s annual hardware launch event that took place on October 9 in New York City:
Image from YouTube
Live casts is an easy way for brands connect with audiences worldwide, even if the event they are hosting is very small or is set in a remote location.
Human-like brand communications style
Brands have long evolved from cold, faceless units to much more human-like entities that have a certain tone of voice, maintain an open line of communication with their customers and go through life challenges together with their loyal base.
Here’s a Jeni’s Ice Creams Twitter timeline:
Image from Twitter
Even more personal
Marketing is going to become even more personal – and we aren’t just talking about AI segmentation that helps businesses send custom emails and personalized offers or deals.
The growing trend is taking customer information and coming up with a unique, personalized product just for them – you can order personalized vitamins, tea sets, foundation (from Lancome, no less) and more.
Image from PlateJoy
As voice search and voice assistants become more advanced and sophisticated, users rely more on these avenues of managing their lives, which means marketing strategies of companies across the globe are soon going to feature more and more voice-based initiatives. And even if brands can’t buy ads on Alexa just yet, they can retain developers to build Alexa skills featuring utterances that people are likely to use when searching for their product.
Content clusters for SEO
Keeping up with the algorithms is an uphill battle for most marketers. One of the changes in the search engine algorithms in the recent years was preference for so-called content clusters. These are a collection of pages that offer quality content that fits within a set topic.
The preference is said to be designed to give more weight to expert sources as more high quality pages on the same topic from one source often mean they offer more in-depth and nuanced information.
Users aren’t just using actual ad blocks to prevent their browsers from showing them advertisements on the pages they visit, but at this point we all kind of have mental ad blocks built in our heads – we look for an x on any popup we see even before we read what it’s actually about. That means companies need to find other ways to reach their users than contextual advertising.
Social media networks have been adjusting their ad formats to blend in with users’ feeds as much as possible, too. For example, Instagram’s Story ads, when designed right, can look exactly like updates from the accounts a user is actually following:
Image from Instagram
No websites for smaller businesses
This one is a little risky, but what’s the point of making a trend list without including one or two that are completely out there? Well, this one is exactly that. Another trend we are seeing in its very early stages is small businesses relying on social to sell their products and not spending marketing budget on creating a website at all.
Right now brands can only add products when they have an online store to link them back to, but Instagram is rumored to be working on a dedicated app for shopping. Meanwhile, small businesses circumvent the absence of a shopping website by creating social media pages to feature their full lookbooks and inventories to help customers browse the items and decide on their order:
Image from Instagram
Now that you’ve got this far in our 2019 digital marketing trends overview, you probably have a few questions left. Namely – why no mention of marketing using opportunities presented by the augmented and virtual reality technologies and how indeed is tendency for users to connect privately going to affect the world of marketing?
Well, while the idea of previewing a couch in your living room may seem appealing in theory, we don’t see the trend picking up just yet. Maybe 2020?
Image from YouTube
As for users connecting privately, especially via messengers – at the end of the day, services need to monetize, and just as ads are coming to WhatsApp, a lot of other messaging apps are inevitably going to follow suit.