As 2018 comes to an end, we look ahead to 2019 and ask: what digital marketing trends will be shaking up the market next? Digital consultant Tracey Jarvis & Co-CEO Alexandra Mayhew discuss.

Artificial intelligence (AI)

The key way you’ll see AI impact your online experience next year will be via chat bots. This AI-based  technology uses instant messaging to chat in real-time, day or night, with customers or site  visitors.

You may also find yourself using AI unwittingly in your reporting and analysis, for example utilising tools that automate your financial or business reports. Most digital marketers are already familiar with Google Analytics reports, but watch for new digital marketing reports that connect Google AdWords, Facebook, and Twitter ads, providing a multi-channel analysis.

Search engine optimisation (SEO) will influence your traditional public relations work

We are all comfortable with SEO – a marketer’s tool to generate keywords, topics, and content that manipulates search results to increase eyeballs on a website.  However, SEO will go beyond the web in 2019. You’ll see savvy CEOs utilising the SEO keyword strategy for their speeches, staff communications, media engagement, and other key messaging. This reflective language will win them points with their target audiences online and offline, and ultimately benefit their bottom line.

Geo marketing – specifically, geo-fencing

Geo-fencing gives local businesses or communities an opportunity to interact through mobile devices with visitors who are in a specified area.  It can be used when someone has downloaded an app or through Google paid search or social ads. We’re seeing this used profusely in international markets, Australia appears behind the curve – which is why we think Australian marketers will be playing catch up in 2019.

Voice search & smart speakers

As people continue to forfeit privacy for convenience, new ‘smart’ digital assistants rise in prominence. Currently, 20 per cent of mobile  queries on Google are voice searches, and by 2020 50 per cent of all searches will be voice searches.

Video marketing

The importance of video is nothing new, but the statistics remain impressive:

  • 70% of consumers say that they  have shared a brand’s  video.

  • 72% of businesses say video has improved  their conversion rate.

  • 52% of consumers say that watching  product videos makes  them more confident in  online purchase decisions.  

  • 65% of executives visit the marketer’s website and 39% call a vendor after viewing a video.

The upward trajectory of the impact of video is expected to continue.

Social messaging apps

Access to social messaging apps for marketing purposes will become more prominent next year.

In 2018 there were 1.3 billion monthly users active on Facebook Messenger, with two billion messages sent between people and businesses (every month) – making Messenger a key communications platform for businesses.  

Visual Search

As people continue to preference visual and audio over copy, the rise of image search continues. The key visual search tools are: Pinterest Lens and Google Lens. In 2019 we should expect Google to put a lot of resources into integrating visual search with its other products, like Google Maps and Shopping.

Social media stories

The ‘stories’ features across social sites (Snapchat: My Story, Facebook Stories, Instagram Stories, and YouTube – launching Reels) continue to rise in prominence. Marketers will continue to be able to influence these features through: paid advertising slots, influencer marketing, and owned channels.

Online influencers

The engagement of influencers to build brands and awareness will continue to rise – as people will continue to trust consumer opinions over corporate statements. However, we will continue to see a move away from celebrity endorsement to paying micro and macro influencers – as purchasers are more strongly influenced by these ‘smaller’ influencers who are more relatable and consumers report higher levels of trust.

SMS campaigns

SMS  campaigns  have the best  engagement and open  rate of any marketing  medium. These will continue to remain an important part of any holistic campaign.