Over the past few years we’ve seen new platforms come and go (whatever happened to Vero?). We’ve seen the rise of new trends in marketing and the downfall of popular platforms. The world of digital marketing has been an exciting and sometimes scary place for brands all over the world. As a digital native with over 20 years’ experience with digital media, I find myself contemplating one question, what will be the digital marketing trends 2019?
As we all start getting used to writing 2019 and forget about those pesky new year’s resolutions that we were so keen on two weeks ago but now look a little less achievable in the light of a new work week. We decided to look forward to the year ahead and explore what digital marketing trends brands should keep an eye on, or perhaps join in with over the next 12 months.
We reached out to some of our friends and professionals in the industry to ask: “What are the main areas of digital marketing that you’ll be focussing on in 2019 and why?”
Here’s what they said.
Digital Marketing Trends 2019
Amie Shearer, Head of Mumsnet’s influencer network is a firm believer that influencer marketing and integrity will lead the way in digital marketing trends 2019. Amie joined Mumsnet in 2017, overhauling Mumsnet’s Influencer Network of over 10,000 bloggers, vloggers and social media stars. She introduced software to track members’ channels and campaigns, putting data at the heart of every campaign. She’s passionate about transparency in influencer and social marketing as well as engagement being the key metric to success rather than reach.
“Influencer Marketing is the newest channel to hit the marketing industry and in the past few years has become somewhat of a buzzword. As a result, 2018 saw the influencer marketing industry start to pull up its socks to make this channel sustainable, more reliable and figure out how to truly establish ROI on a campaign.”
First and foremost Amie believes that Integrity will be the name of the game:
“Unilever’s CMO Keith Weed called social and influencer marketers out this year, saying the problems with social profiles buying fake followers, not having true engagement was rife and threatened to ruin the industry.
I couldn’t agree more, and this is something Mumsnet takes really seriously when selecting influencers to work on a campaign both for ourselves and our brand partners. 2019 will see the industry really begin to mature in many ways. First and foremost agencies, brands and influencers alike will keep ‘functioning with integrity’ front of mind as those who aren’t will start to feel the pinch. With new tools like Social Chain’s Like-Wise and Hype Auditor and data platforms coming to the forefront of the industry, it will be much harder to hide behind fake follower counts and wishy-washy campaign analytics.”
Importance of data
Secondly, Amie highlights the importance of data:
“2018 saw an explosion of data platforms launching such as Scrunch and Zine, and we brought a data platform in house at Mumsnet so we can really start to analyse the 10,000 plus influencers on our network’s audience demographics and channel performance. Facebook and Pinterest have also launched their own influencer marketplaces to help brands really get under the skin of influencers’ profiles, performance and audiences to ensure they’re targeting the right people.
With Brexit just around the corner no one is 100% how the market will react, and as a result, brands are watching how each penny performs more than ever. So in 2019 we’ll see data, campaign reporting and proving ROI become even more important as the industry becomes more standardised and brands need more proof of what’s really been achieved through the campaign.”
Thirdly Amie highlights the importance of influencer marketing in driving sales:
“Influencer marketing proved it was great for driving brand awareness long ago. But driving sales has taken longer to stick. With Brexit possibly pinching the purse strings and brands looking to eke out as much return on their investment as possible, 2019 will see more brands looking to drive sales – and to be able to track those sales and the customer journey – via influencer marketing. Whether that’s through trackable links on a Stories, swipe up, or through affiliate marketing on blog posts or YouTube descriptions, shifting product and services is going to be front of mind for most briefs.”
Pinterest for marketing
Finally, Amie champions Pinterest for digital marketing trends 2019. A platform that has seen high returns for many brands as users are known to be the most ‘sales-ready.’
“Pinterest has taken it’s time to grow and figure out its USP over the past six years or so, but 2019 is likely to be the year Pinterest really explodes – particularly with influencer marketing. Pinterest reports that 55% of its users use the platform to shop and a whopping 90% use it to aid purchasing decisions. The platform has also really upped its game in the last few years with regards to reporting and tracking, both on the platform itself, and on your own website seeing what people are pinning directly, meaning they’re really playing into the need for data and reporting we talked about earlier. Pinterest reports that 28% of adults globally are on the platform, meaning there’s still a lot of room to grow and they’re a long way off saturation – watch this space!”
Our next contributor is Bec Derrington. Founder and CEO of international PR site SourceBottle, a communication platform designed to connect journalists and bloggers with experts and case studies. SourceBottle is revolutionising the PR landscape. With her great entrepreneurial spirit, Bec has also founded the innovative Influencer Hub in 2016, a platform for converting your fans into your most powerful social asset.
Bec also champions influencers and believes that the real power will be in Micro influencer amplification:
“We’re looking to integrate the best tools to make it fun and easy for micro-influencer fans and team members to both co-create and amplify clients’ branded content authentically. Why? Because the degree of influence someone has on social media isn’t measured by the number of people who ‘see’ their content; it’s measured by the number of people who ‘act on’ their content. Naturally, it’s hard (and time-consuming) to mobilise and engage sufficient numbers of micro-influencers to scale the trust value of their content, hence why you need a tool.”
Secondly, she highlights inbound marketing:
“Why? Because we’re now better at analysing our clients’ (and our own) buyer personas to ensure we’re creating and offering up the very best content/tools to guide prospects through the purchasing journey.”
Thirdly for Bec is video marketing:
“On many of the social platforms (particularly LinkedIn), video content is getting 2 to 3 times more engagement than text-based posts.”
Search Engine Optimisation
Of first importance in digital marketing trends 2019 for Jeff is SEO:
“SEO – SEO has been my main focus for the past four years, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. We’ve been able to generate massive results with it, especially in the eCommerce space. I believe that, if done correctly, no other marketing tactic can beat SEO.”
Secondly, he’ll be focusing on his own presence on YouTube. After seeing the platform grow exponentially, he believes it’s time to stop watching and start doing:
“I can’t count how many times I’ve seen a good video, started binge-watching the creator’s channel, and then before I know it, I’m spending money with them. Now it’s time for me to start building out my own channel.”
And lastly, he believes that Facebook Ads will continue in popularity and effectiveness in digital marketing trends 2019:
“Facebook ads aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. The fact that you can reach hordes of people with your video or offer instantly should be taken advantage of through 2019 before it gets even more saturated.”
As the Founder and CEO of an international digital marketing brand, there’s no way I could leave this article without sharing my personal thoughts.
For my team and I, 2019 is the year of voice! We’re in the process of launching our new podcast, and we spent last year explore opportunities in tools such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home which in 2019 we’ll be pushing further into.
With 58% of consumers have used voice search to find local business information in 2018 and with ComScore predicting that 50% of all searches will be voice search by 2020, I believe the potential for voice content in marketing in the future is enormous.
Secondly, video production has proven great ROI over the past few years, and I don’t see that changing in 2019. When done well video marketing builds community and helps organisations in most stages of the buyer’s journey. Exploring more ways of using video from vertical video on platforms such as IGTV and Instagram stories, square videos as well as your traditional video aspect ratios will be relevant this year. Along with web series, YouTube channels and how-to videos.
In 2019 we’ll be using video more to reach out and connect with potential new clients. As well as support and reward our current ones.
Thirdly, without a doubt, influencer marketing is a big deal for 2019, and micro-influencer marketing is under-priced for the impact it can have on a brand. We’re increasing our digital PR spend this year to build relationships online, and we suggest you do the same.
My final thought is authenticity. To be authentic in your content marketing and branding. Let people get to know you and grow with you naturally. As Amie has already identified, we see all too many brands with thousands of “followers” yet no engagements, and very little authenticity accounts with mostly bots following them or who follow only to unfollow once they are followed back immediately. There’s nothing more off-putting to me, and I don’t believe I’m the only one. That’s why in 2019 we’re going to keep sharing our thoughts on the industry even if they aren’t the popular ones. We’re going to carry on building authentic relationships on and offline, and we’re going to continue backing up our values with action.
There you have it, our thoughts on digital marketing trends for 2019, what are your thoughts? Is there any particular area you’ll be focusing your efforts over the next year? What do you think we get wrong or right?