Digital marketing is too big to ignore. Even if you own a traditional brick-and-mortar business, nobody can dispute the power of effective marketing.
A well-planned and executed marketing and advertising campaign can serve the needs of any business and increase the demand for the product or service that they offer.
But even as times change, the need for marketing remains. If you want to go where the people are, you need to have an online presence.
The influence of digital marketing has been progressively growing since the '90s. With just mere decades later, today it has become a major virtual environment for millions of people across the planet.
And for this reason, it is vital to look at the future trends that are potentially shaping the digital marketing landscape. And to examine the critical skills, you need to master to become a successful marketer in 2019 and beyond.
After all, the internet today is mostly dominated by social media, streaming content, and the ease of creating or consuming digital content.
So if you want to market to the right audience, let’s review the top trends digital marketers should know, and the skills that they have to prepare to master.
Marketing Trends in 2019
Facebook losing its grip
While Facebook is still presently the top social media platform across the world, this could likely change in the years to come.
Facebook underwent a tough 2018, mired with negative publicity such as the infamous data breach that hit 14 million users.
Facebook has also gained notoriety for being weaponised for political propaganda, which leads to a drop in popularity with the younger crowd.
As digital marketers, it’s important to really look at where their target market may be in the future.
While it’s doubtful to see Facebook fall off the face of the earth entirely, it may become an unsuitable platform for future campaigns, especially as it continues to lose its popularity with the younger demographics.
Facebook still remains a social media giant, as millions around the world still continue to check in on it, but be more mindful about who you're marketing to.
Ensure they're still active on Facebook, or else you're targeting on the wrong social media platform.
Instagram is a Favourite with the Kids
Despite all the doom-and-gloom for Facebook, luckily for them, they bought out their biggest competition. And it remains a hit with young people.
The image and video-based social media giant is highly optimised to extremely easy to share photos and videos using their smartphone.
Instagram’s meteoric rise has already crossed the one billion users mark, which is a remarkable achievement.
This makes Instagram one of the fastest rising social media platforms with much of its users belonging to the highly-coveted under 30s demographic group.
This user base was previously dominated by Facebook, which it is slowly losing due to its status as the platform for “old folks.”
The Rise of the Chatbots
Chatbots is a specialised piece of software that has been getting lots of buzz in recent years.
Think of it as a virtual "concierge" that talks to users, assisting them to complete their goals.
What makes chatbots of old different from modern chatbots is that they carry out their operations in very humanly ways, through the use of textboxes. Some highly advanced chatbots will even verbally interact with the users.
Chatbots are already very prevalent on Facebook, operating thousands of different tasks for Facebook users.
From weather reports to automating basic customer support, chatbots can handle a multitude of simple tasks easily, without the need for sophisticated software.
Another cool feature of chatbots is that they allow personalised user interactions, without the need to pull too much from limited human resources.
Their efficiency in 2018 is already showing a significant promise, with an increase in adoption across various types of businesses.
Therefore, it is safe to say that chatbots will continue to grow for digital marketing in 2019.
Video no longer a need, but a must
In the US alone, nearly 75% of all Americans engage with YouTube, according to Forbes.
There’s such a massive market of video watchers right now, and a ton of those videos are created as a form of content marketing strategy. You will be leaving money on the table if you choose to ignore video marketing.
While YouTube remains the most popular way to consume videos across the world (beating out Facebook), you should still focus on getting your video content on as many relevant social media platforms as possible.
With digital video marketing, you get the best of both worlds. Understanding the mechanics, budget, and dynamics of video production is easy and well documented since video production has been around for several decades.
Today, video is paired with the extremely accurate user metrics of digital marketing to provide much more relevant data on how your marketing efforts are doing.
Whether you're producing videos on Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or even your own business website, video marketing is an incredibly powerful digital marketing tool.
This medium allows you to convey and capture a ton of information and your brand's personality, allowing a much more compelling marketing message to reach your audience.
Just as long as you stick to the basics of good video production, anybody can produce great videos to make impressive gains in their marketing efforts.
More are tuning into Live Video Streaming
We’ve already talked about the importance of video, now let’s look at another one of the fastest rising stars in digital marketing – live streaming.
Live streaming services have seen an explosion in popularity in the past few years, thanks to platforms such as "Twitch," which allows gamers to record and stream gameplay footage across the web.
The popularity of live streaming has led to several devices like Nintendo’s Switch that come with built-in in-game recording functionality that allows gamers to record and share videos effortlessly.
Even businesses in the non-gaming industries have started to adopt live streaming. For example, Red Bull now has its own 24/7 Twitch channel.
Live streaming is especially significant for digital marketing when paired with influencer marketing.
That’s because it allows real-time user interaction with the audience, and let viewers have a vivid and full experience from the broadcaster.
Whether it's the social media influencers, celebrities, athletes, or musicians, live streaming can be a huge draw for the millennial audiences.
The use of live streaming is a high profile form of digital marketing at the moment. With spontaneity and interactivity as the core benefits of live streaming, using a likable on-screen personality can allow you to create a massive following for your business and brand too.
Good Content is Still King
Even in 2018, content marketing is still a vital component of digital marketing. While the strategy is still mostly the same, there’s an ever-increasing weight on having nuance in your content.
Regarding content quality, it will still be the top priority going forward, but now there’s a more focus towards looking more deeply into who the intended audiences are.
To achieve laser focus on your audience requires a deeper, more sophisticated understanding of your target market, and being able to pinpoint your market more accurately is a rising trend in the world of marketing.
While general content still has a role to play to draw in the bulk of your traffic, using specialised material based on specific industries or experts will also yield impressive results.
Combined with improving measuring techniques in gauging content effectiveness, keeping your content marketing relevant will still be the way to go in the years to come.
Emails Are Getting More Personal
With billions of email users worldwide, email marketing remains the top dog for personal and commercial communication purposes.
With little to no signs of fading away even after four decades, it’s safe to say that email marketing is here to stay and remains a crucial component in every digital marketing strategy.
However, what’s changing in email marketing is the level of personalisation.
Generic ‘cold-call’ type emails are no longer as effective as they once were, thanks to intelligent email spam filters present in most modern email providers that ensure users only receive emails from people they want to hear from.
This means that personalisation is a pivotal strategy to succeed in email marketing for 2019 and beyond.
Collecting email addresses to build your list, running drip email campaigns across different types of market audiences using personalised emails can be very useful in nurturing and converting leads to customers.
Voice Interaction On The Rise
Thanks to Siri, Google, Alexa, and a bevy of other smart voice devices gaining more traction, we are seeing a revolution of sorts with voice user interface tech.
The real takeaway here is that people still prefer to interact through the act of talking. And we are at the precipice of having machines catching up to human counterparts. Today we can use our voice to carry out a host of activities online.
Together with chatbots, we may see AIs being able to carry out coherent and intelligent conversations with humans in the near future. However, there are still some interface hurdles to clear before we can achieve this.
For example, running a voice search is very different from typing out a search query.
When a person performs a text-based search, he is given a list which spans ten or more results. But when someone asks a device to search and retrieve results, the device replies verbally and usually offer a handful of choices at most, and frequently, they supply just one option.
That means that optimising your SEO voice searches is going to require a different approach, and it's one area of digital marketing too hard to ignore because of the growing adoption of voice search than ever before.
For example, writing your meta-descriptions for your web pages may need to be much more on point than ever before.
You may also need to optimise descriptions for speech so that it "reads better" when the devices say it out loud.
Marketing Skills to Learn in 2019 (and Beyond)
Now that we’ve seen some of the growing trends that are set to take over the marketing landscape, it’s time to look at the skills you need to keep up with the future.
Learning something new can be a daunting task for most folks, but understand that this skill will most definitely pay off in the long run, whether it’s for you to create better content for your business, or hiring someone to take the reins.
Skill #1 — SEO and Data Analytics
Did you know that Google updates its algorithm more than 500 times each year?
This statistic may seem disheartening (and insane), but thankfully the behaviours of your audience aren’t likely to change as quickly as the algorithms.
First, you should stay focused on who your ideal buyers are and get a more profound grasp in the ways they interact with your content.
You’ll also need a long-term commitment towards keeping a finger on the pulse of the user metrics to understand the behaviours of your buyers so you can adapt your strategy as you go.
Make use marketing analytics tools such as Hotjar, Hubspot and Databox to help you attract more leads, nurturing them, and optimising your web content to reach higher SEO rankings and create the best user experience possible.
Skill #2 — Content Marketing
While content marketing strategies like blogging, publishing eBooks and infographics isn’t a new fad, but the way we consume that content is changing, according to Google.
The old school of thought involves keeping your content short and sweet — between 300–500 words.
But now, users gravitate towards content that’s more exhaustive and in long-form. They want content that can provide them with all the information. A one-stop-shop for all their info needs.
That’s why the creation of pillar content and pages on your website will let you cover as much of your content niche as possible, and let you separate your content into key topics and focus on them individually.
With pillar content, you can increase your search ranking for those subjects and your overall visibility.
And don’t forget that email is also an integral part of your content marketing strategy. As one of the oldest online marketing tool in existence today, your email content should be as engaging as your online content.
Skill #3 — Video
We’ve already covered how video is quite possibly the most influential tool you can leverage on to generate leads and sales.
Video is also a major factor in nurturing efforts. Going forward, that means video production needs to be a part of your marketing strategy and budget now and into the future.
As more millennials choose video as the preferred way to digest content, having professional video production becomes even more necessary. So make sure you equip yourself with the right tools and skills to get the job done.
And you’ll definitely want to invest in professional video production that puts your business’s best foot forward in the digital landscape.
Skill #4 — Social Media
Considering there are now more than 590 million active professionals on LinkedIn alone, it’s hard to believe the words of some business owners that say “Our buyers don’t use social media.”
Marketers today need to continue leveraging on LinkedIn and other major platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, to stay relevant to their target audience.
Even if you aren’t entirely convinced that promoting marketing on social media is worth the effort, there are still other indirect benefits you can gain from being active on social media.
For example, being present on Facebook and Twitter gives you the opportunity to showcase your company’s culture and attract skilled talent to help your business grow.
So don’t sleep on social media marketing, and start creating your presence.
As the saying goes “The only constant is change.”
It’s easy to study the current trends and statistics and feel like you need to master every single skill.
The truth is, it’s going to be hard to do it alone. If you don’t have a team of marketers to help you, then you’re going to feel overwhelmed.
I’d love to come along and help you to strategise your marketing plan to reach your business growth goals. If you’re interested, feel free to drop me a message using this contact form.
About Murray Dare
A digital marketing consultant and entrepreneur,
Murray runs his marketing agency Murraydare.co.uk and several online startups.
Murray has helped startups and businesses achieve online success through a considered approach to marketing.