13 / 09 / 18
7th December 2018
It's almost the turn of a new year and an imminent date to define a marketing strategy for any businesses new financial year is on the horizon.
We have to be innovative, we have to find the gaps in the market and we have to be smart. Sometimes that’s easier said than done when time is of the essence for so many things.
What are companies (namely competitors and the big brands we aspire to) going to be looking into developing, focussing on and heralding the way for in 2019, when it comes to digital marketing?
We’ve taken a look at the digital marketing trends set to increase in popularity throughout 2019 and beyond.
This might sound like a given but it’s become unsurprising to hear clients tell us what they think they know about their customer’s needs and likes, as opposed to actually knowing. As marketers, we have access to so many tools at our fingertips to understand what people want and how to put them first and always at the forefront of any brand. Are we using them? Sadly, not everyone is.
2019 is going to see a change though. Customers are more aware than ever before about how they’re marketed to and who they want to actually listen to. Gone are the days of the hard sell or insistent (and sometimes downright invasive) paid advertisements. Consumers are looking out for what matters to them and want to see that it matters to the companies they invest in too.
Fujitsu’s Changing Britain report stated that only 31% of people believe that businesses have good intentions.
Batoko are one of our favourites for knowing their audience and putting them first. They’re rubbish, literally - creating swimwear that’s been 100% recycled from plastic bottles, vegan, fun, flattering and super comfy.
Their brand’s tone of voice, digital presence and user experience online all aids their brand in connecting with their audience. Which leads us onto...
What gives a Brand more authenticity? It's credibility, and that’s becoming even more evident with consumers turning to the likes of TrustPilot, Reviews.co.uk and social media networks to makes their recommendations. If a brand isn’t credible in this day-and-age, it’s not worth entrusting time and money into.
Recently and more so through the next year, we’re going to see brands turning to their users and engaging with the content they generate for them. Batoko (as previously mentioned) is a brilliant example of that. They sell their swimwear through their user’s experiences. Their instagram feed is full of user generated content - images of their customers wearing their swimsuits all over the world.
It’s going to become the most popular form of marketing to sell products amongst independent online retailers like that of Lucy and Yak, but also big brands such as BMW, Adobe and Starbucks. It’s no longer about just selling a product, it’s about selling a lifestyle choice through peer-to-peer influence. That’s UGC and customer centric marketing combined.
It’s time to start really engaging with your audiences through the platforms available to your business to see growth through your own customer base. They already advocate your brand by investing in it, so invest in them. It’s worth it in the long run especially considering the cut on costs needed for product photography and asset creation for social media feeds. And now with the ability to shop through the likes of Instagram, it’s going to be a real game changer.
Facebook were hot under the collar in 2018 with their Cambridge Analytica debacle and it certainly raised awareness when it came to people’s data and how it’s used. More and more brands have tried their hand at paid advertising through social networks and whilst sometimes it might give their brand some awareness, generally it’s discouraging consumers when it comes to a purchase.
Ads are invasive, they’re suspiciously observant and I’m sure I’m not the first person to say that I was talking about a product and then received an advertisement for it later that day. I don’t think we’re being listened to by any means, but ads have become too intrusive on their audience. It’s one thing disrupting a moment, it’s another entirely invading every second of downtime.
We already mentioned authenticity being key to credibility for a brand and helpfulness is going to snowball that trust, by stepping away from pushy ads and automation, and moving toward genuine usefulness.
Organic content made for audiences to absorb at their own leisure is going to promote confidence in a brand. Knowing your audience’s needs, wants, likes and namely, their struggles, is going to open up a world of organic traffic to your company website.
Interesting and informative content with a subtle tie to your products is going to (at first slowly whilst content ranks) generate stronger, more solid leads and build future proofed content on your website that will gain momentum the longer it’s available.
When we talk about organic content and marketing, we’re entering the world of micro moments and consumer behaviour. Consider seeing a face on the television and you can’t remember for the life of you the actor’s name. You pick up your phone and you go to a search engine to type in the name of the show. That’s a micro moment. It’s about tapping into snippets of a customer’s journey and bringing light to a brand where competitors have not.
Content creation plays a key role in micro moments. If you understand your customer and what they’re interested in and what they will be searching for, you can create the exact article, campaign page or infographic that’ll give them the answer. Your brand is a hero in that moment and every moment there after when they come to your business for the answer first.
Micro moments are when consumers search for what they want, when they want - and they’re drawn to brands that deliver on their needs in that moment.
Just think about popular culture. Game of Thrones for example and the nation’s anticipation for the final season to see who will finally sit on the Iron Throne. Ever searched in Google to remind yourself of a scene? Maybe a death?... what episode was that and how did it happen? A savvy developer created a website to tell you just that on the Game of Thrones Death Timeline. They knew what their audience would be looking for and they created the content to help them.
Is it the age of assistance? Maybe the year. 2019 is going to see a huge rise in AI chatbots, more content for the curious consumer to help them along the decision making process, and engagement in the moment rather then leaving customers on the wayside waiting for an answer. It’s time to be clever with your content.
But never create content for contents sake, consider what your audience needs - whether that’s how-tos, video snippets on social or an entire website devoted to one thing to help people remember. The operative word always being help.
Video is no stranger to digital marketing trends year after year. Its popularity increases with every brand looking to make their stamp with moving image. It doesn’t have to be costly though. People will pause in the moment and absorb as long as it’s of interest to them. Throughout 2019 you’ll begin to see a change in perspective with many brands turning to video over static content with a 80-20 shift in favour of video and animation.
However, it’s very important to know what platform to dominate and ensure your focus is on your best performing channel. If you’re using video content for advertisements, know and narrow down your audience and ensure you’re being targeted. It’s not about how many people you reach, it’s about who.
Consider using subtitles to enable users during commutes and quiet moments to still view your content without volume. Video content doesn’t always need sound to engage - it just needs to be good and relevant to its audience.
Live video might not be new to social strategies but it’s very under used amongst businesses. It’s about bringing your audience closer to your company, its ethos and meeting more of the team (and personality) behind the brand.
Got something you want to share? Of course you can do that by traditional means such as newsletters, articles, PR - or - you could try reaching your brand in the moment and capture their attention with a live video. Let your brand advocates, those that faithfully follow your company on social media, know about something new and exciting there and then.
Letting your audience in and being transparent is one of the biggest steps to becoming their go-to. Their brand. The one they advocate without question.
Visual search technology has improved dramatically and with the likes of Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr, where content is shared without necessarily owning the rights to it, it’s easy for it to become lost in translation. Where was it from originally? Where can I find that? Where do I buy that?
Visual search is complex and takes the image itself into query. Popular visual searches sit within fashion/clothing, home decor, nails, hair styles, beauty, products, food, vehicles and travel.
In 2014, Pinterest made it possible for users to highlight items in their pins to find visually similar pins on their platform. Pinterest have now added the functionality to search for images and not words, citing “lets you use the camera in your Pinterest app to discover ideas inspired by objects you see out in the real world.”
90% of Pinterest users use the platform to make purchase decisions. Pinterest allows users to make a confident buying decision and the ability to find exactly what they want, whilst they’re out and about, and opens up a whole new playing field for brands uploading their products (organically) on their business accounts on Pinterest boards for users to find their content. Paid advertisements will boost that, sure, but if you’re in it for the long haul then it’s going to be a game changer for brands catching a user in (you guessed it) their micro moments.
Asos is also developing a proprietary system to allow shoppers to take a picture of an item when shopping in a store to be able to find something similar on Asos later. It joins up their digital approach, allowing Asos users to make the most out of the online retailer and their premier services.
Overall in 2019 the primary objective of your digital marketing strategy should be to begin putting your audience first - their wants and needs. It’s not about the hardsell or trying to push a product to the mass market. It’s about developing a relationship with your customers and creating a desire in them to want to return to your brand time and time again.
It’s about being accessible, authentic and available to help. It’s the triple A’s. Make sure your customers matter to your business and your brand will matter to them.
Just as a footnote it’s important to consider some of the trends that might seem like a sure fire way to gain momentum and tap into a market that your brand doesn’t currently reach... but in reality it might not actually be the case for your audience.
Smart speakers such as the Amazon echo range are a great convenience for households and offices but brands are now beginning to see an opportunity in advertisement. Smart speakers present an exclusive means to communicate but more alarmingly promote to people in their own homes.
People can buy an item with just their voice. They can set themselves reminders to buy an item that regularly runs out. 41% of people who own a voice-activated speaker say it feels like talking to a friend or another person.
How long is it going to be until an AI assistant is reminding you without asking or offering alternatives to a purchase? Until it knows your behaviour to make recommendations and because it feels like talking to a friend it might have our best interests at heart? It’s certainly food for thought and one to be wary of, of tapping in to in the future as a brand.
Paid advertisement on social media isn’t going to go anywhere and whilst we believe organic content will begin to out way social media advertisements. For brands it can be an opener to a conversation with previously unreached leads.
Use paid but use it wisely, strategically and not on mass. Pick your moments. Use a targeted approach and don’t aggressively use advertisements to gain impressions and reach. Remember it’s about who and the quality of the audience you target. More views doesn’t mean more leads.
We can’t stress enough when it comes to content that creating relevant, interesting and needed content is key - not creating content for the sake of it being visible. Understand your audience. Look at your analytics. Find out what people are searching for and expand on it, find the gaps, find the sweet spots. Good content shouldn’t be a chore. Good content will set your company apart as a leader and a trusted advisory.
Want to know more about these digital trends or are you looking for help to turn your marketing strategy into one that matters to your audience? Get in touch.
Interesting? There’s plenty more where that came from…