Out with the old and in with the new. The arrival of the new year is always a time to start fresh, set new goals and toss out some bad habits. It’s a tactic we use in our everyday lives, so why not in our marketing?

 

2019 is predicted to be an exciting year for digital marketing. At every turn, there seems to be new advancements in strategy and technology, so for any business hoping to grow their search traffic, build their audience, and turn a big ROI, sticking with last year’s strategies might not cut it. Staying on top of the new digital trends and taking steps to implement new tactics will be the key to staying relevant and successful this year. Here are a few digital marketing trends to be on the lookout for in 2019.

 

Chatbots

 

Already, over 1.4 billion people are using chatbots. And with AI technology getting more advanced, we can expect chatbots to become even more prevalent in 2019. These bots use artificial intelligence, specifically Natural Language Processing (NLP), to communicate with customers via mobile apps or computers. Chatboxes allow for a more timely and streamlined method of communication than ever before, which is why most people use them for customer service requests. People can ask questions, make returns and access purchase history with these virtual assistants. Because chatbots are quick to respond, always friendly, available any time day or night, and never put you on hold, they make for a frictionless consumer experience.  

 

Companies are taking advantage of chatbots to make the lives of their customers and employees easier. For example, 1-800-Flowers offers a chatbot via Facebook Messenger that can take customers through the entire ordering process and even save their info for the future.

 

 

 

If your company hasn’t started thinking about chatbots, now is definitely the time. Projections say that 80 percent of businesses are either already using chatbots or are gearing up to use them by 2020, at which time the AI is expected to save businesses around $8 billion per year.

 

Influencer Marketing

 

No matter where technology takes us, nothing will ever be as effective as word-of-mouth advertising. This is because customers will always trust their friends and people they know over an ad. That is why influencer marketing has been and is going to continue to be huge in 2019. Compensating an influential person to promote your product or business on their personal platforms has proven very effective for sales and brand recognition.

 

These influencers could be bloggers, journalists, or social media gurus with a big following. Instagram and YouTube are typically the most popular and successful for these influencers. Due to the nature of these platforms, followers are able to feel closer and more connected to the influencers they love. They feel like they know and trust their opinions and recommendations, which means if you find the right influencer for your brand, you could make a large profit from their followers.  

 

Some businesses are even ditching celebrity endorsements for a few micro-influencers. In the case of frozen food retailer Iceland, canceling their celebrity endorsements and switching to ordinary people skyrocketed their approval ratings from 10-80 percent. Research showed that “real” people are more trustworthy than celebrities and brands.

 

Visual Search

 

Visual search saw a lot of advancements in 2018, and we only expect this form of search to grow throughout 2019. The medium has the potential to change the way we search because all users have to do to learn about an object in front of them is snap a photo.

 

This can be seen on Google Lens where users can take a photo of a dog to see what breed it is, snap a picture of a dress to find out where to buy a similar one, and even photograph a business card to upload the info instantly into your contacts. 

 

 

You can also find this new technology on Pinterest. The social media giant that focuses on photos and pins has launched their own Lens that lets users take a photo to find out where to buy similar items online or view related pin boards. There is no doubt visual search has huge potential, and we have only seen the tip of the iceberg so far.

Micro-Moments

 

2019 is projected to be the year mobile use finally surpasses television. So, if your business doesn’t have a way to reach customers via their smartphones, it’s time to start buckling down. Make sure your web pages are properly optimized for mobile, otherwise customers may struggle with slow load time and distorted formatting.   

 

Micro-Moments, a term coined by Google, is all about accurately delivering your message to your target audience in a matter of seconds. Today’s consumers are notorious for making quick choices about what to read, buy and eat. And according to Olapic, users are more likely to remember where to find the information than what the information actually is. That means your business needs to be ready to show up at the top of queries on Google, Maps, YouTube, and Amazon if you want to win and retain your target customers. 

Voice Search & Smart Speakers

 

In addition to visual search, voice search and smart speakers are also on the rise. In fact, 20 percent of mobile queries on Google are now voice searches, and by 2020, it is projected that 50 percent of all searches will be done by voice. This is going to mean big changes for SEO and how consumers interact with brands. With similar AI components to the chatbox, voice search technology contains more advanced Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning capabilities.

 

 

Domino’s Pizza now allows customers to place orders using their Alexa device. Estee Lauder has even partnered with Google to give users an in-home beauty consultant. Consumers can now use Estee Lauder’s interface to ask beauty questions, get recommendations on products and receive a step by step walkthrough of their customized nighttime beauty routine.

 

With all of the advancements in search, it is also projected that ads will be coming to home voice devices. For example, Alexa may start answering questions with an additional, “Word from our sponsors.” While this has not been released yet, it may offer brands new advertising opportunities.

 

In the meantime, develop your SEO. Typically, voice search technology pulls from Google’s featured snippets to answer user’s questions. Therefore, the more high-ranking featured snippets your business can achieve, the better your chances are for being recognized on voice search. If you need a little help with your search results, talk to an expert in search engine optimization.  

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