20 Dec 5 Digital Marketing Trends to Watch out for in 2019
Technology continues to change buyers’ behaviors and expectations. Gadgets and tech that we used to read about are now part of daily life and everyone is connected with smartphones in their pockets. Marketing departments have had to revolutionize their methods in response.
Consumers now have the means to conduct their own research without the need for a sales pitch. They can field dozens of reviews from their friends, neighbors and strangers online. Obtrusive advertising has been tossed out in favor of educational and entertaining content. How this content is found and delivered, and how businesses interact with consumers, is changing in 2019 as the use of new AI technology is expanding and consumers are demanding authenticity and embracing businesses that share their values.
At one time, consumers may have found the idea of artificial intelligence intrusive. Now, nearly one-fifth of the way through the 21st century, people have become used to computers that act human. Chatbots are integrated with mobile apps, websites and social media platforms. The global market for chatbots is ballooning with annual growth of 24 percent. People have not only become comfortable with bots replacing live humans, but they have come to expect the instant service chatbots provide. Businesses that have not yet developed a strategy for using chatbots to improve customer service need to focus on this for the New Year.
Short video ads, live streaming and user-generated content
Forget expensive TV spots. Bite-sized YouTube videos, social media live streams and user-provided images and video can get the message out for a lot less money. These entertaining bits of media have the authenticity and the real voices ad-weary consumers seek. Earlier this year, Fox Networks Group announced the launch of a new advertising format, the six-second ad, which will be aired across their digital and on-demand sites. In 2019, marketers will increase their use of live streaming video and create more user-generated content campaigns to satisfy consumers’ need for timely and authentic content.
Voice-controlled assistants such as Amazon Alexa, Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana are becoming indispensable in households across the country. Marketers can leverage this change in consumer habits by integrating their products and services with smart speaker functions. With the ability to interpret natural language, smart speakers can often interact with customers to answer questions, make recommendations and process sales.
Content topic clusters
Inbound marketing strategies will continue to rely on content to drive website traffic, build brand awareness and nurture customer loyalty. Search engine algorithms continue to grow in sophistication. Google has moved beyond exact keyword matches to seek close variants of keywords and phrases that are more aligned with the way users actually perform searches. Marketers can help search engines serve up relevant suggestions by aggregating their content into interlinked topic clusters.
What is a topic cluster? Type a term into a search bar and scroll down the page to “related searches” or “People also ask.” Those are your topics. For example, the query “How to plant a flower garden” will suggest links to “How do you prepare soil for planting?” and “When should you start planting flowers?” A retail garden shop’s website would create a pillar post on flowerbeds with backlinks to these different sub-topics, creating relevant, internally-linked clusters that make it easier for people to navigate the website while optimizing the pages for search engines.
A human face
Consumers, who are already savvy in the ways of marketing, have over time become more skeptical of anything they find online. They want to know the people behind the products and services they buy and need to make an emotional connection to a company. Enter Social CEOs, organization leaders who step out in public, via social media, as the human face of their company. This more personal and value-driven marketing may also be seen in “buy local” movements, including the antidote to Black Friday madness, Small Business Saturday, and the entire farmers market locavore scene.
Social media makes it possible to interact with consumers in ways that haven’t been possible since shopping malls and corporate farms put mom, pop and Farmer Brown out of business. To get a human face out in front of the company logo, businesses must invest in personal storytelling and open up two-way communication channels with their current and prospective customers.