It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Yes of course Christmas, but also because as marketers, we get to set new goals and strategies for the coming year. At Moondust Agency we have been analysing marketing trends and upcoming technologies. Let’s look at what lies ahead for brands in 2019 and the areas you will need to focus or refocus your efforts.
1. Medium Becomes a Marketing Essential
We’ve been eagerly watching the rise of Medium throughout 2018. Medium now has 60 million monthly readers, publishes nearly 8 million user articles per month and its visitors are increasing by 140% year on year. Medium is a blogging platform where brands can increase their outreach and get themselves noticed in their sector. It also provides a SEO worthy spot for your website’s backlinks. Medium has a 93 Domain Authority (DA) which means people are likely to find your Medium content from a Google search. The other exciting aspect of Medium is its dashboard analytics. This meaty dashboard gives marketers excellent insights into their readership and the popularity of their articles.
Before you jump into publishing on Medium, stop and think about your strategy. This is an opportunity for you to reach a new audience. Don’t spoil it by simply republishing your old content. Think about exciting new content series that fit with your core product- or perhaps a new angle for the new year.
2. Content Should be Voice Search Compatible
Tech devices which rely on virtual assistants such as Ask Google and Siri aren’t going anywhere in 2019. In fact, 58% of consumers used voice searches to find local business information within the past year. Further to that, 27% visited a local business after conducting a voice search. We know that users are busier than ever, so utilising technology as a shortcut is on the rise. Right now, 41% of adults conduct at least one voice search per day and that number seems set to rise next year. Interestingly, there is also a rise in the number of voice recorded messages in Whatsapp too. Perhaps it’s to save our poor aching fingers after all that typing! With the help of devices such as Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, and Microsoft Cortana, 30% of all searches will be performed without the use of a screen.
One of the basic SEO rules when writing web content is to answer the questions your users are asking when they search. A user may type “flower shop Paris” or “wedding bouquets Paris” so incorporating this text into your website will help you to get more traffic. Things become even simpler with voice search content. That’s because users are very direct when asking questions of their devices. In most cases users will ask “Find me a flower shop in Paris” or“Where can I get a wedding bouquet in Paris”. If you are already writing for search, then you’re winning. Pay attention to voice search statistics in the coming year and tweak your content accordingly.
3. Influencer Marketing Will Get More Ethical
Yes really. We believe that 2019 is the year when influencer marketing will be held to account and forced to be more ethical. Influencer marketing has been huge throughout 2018 with brands looking to utilise the popularity of well-known celebrities and influencers further in 2019. That will certainly happen as the influencer trend is going nowhere. In fact, we see it expanding out onto platforms like Pinterest, Medium and further into YouTube. For a famous vlogger with 1 million followers, brands are paying a minimum of $20,000! But there have been growing gripes from social media users that influencers are simply hawking products in return for money. 86% of consumers state that authenticity is an important factor when deciding which brands to support. So, this could be significant. Most recently, a video tweet about influencers from Jameela Jamil went viral.
In her hilarious video, Jameela parodies influencers promoting detox tea and tells the likely reality behind the products. With nearly 30,000 retweets, it’s clear she’s not the only one who thinks that way. There are calls for more authenticity in influencer marketing which could mean the following:
· Risk warnings/disclaimers on the screen regarding the ability of the product
· Limitations on what influencers can say – especially regarding health or food products
· Greater calls for brands to match with influencers for mutual interests other than money
Influencer marketing isn’t cheap, so you may not be using A-list celebs to promote your products. That said, any partnerships you undertake in 2019 should be authentic and represent more than just a dollar exchange. Brands should seek out influencers who are a good match to their products and seek to be more transparent with their audiences.
4. Content Marketers Will Start Using Chatbots
It’s predicted that chatbots will handle 85% of all customer interactions by the year 2020. Yet many brands don’t know what a chatbot is or how to use one. In 2019 it’s time to learn because doing so will enable you to provide higher levels of customer satisfaction and expand your support.
All the questions below and more, can be answered using Facebook’s chatbot services.
· What are your opening hours/ delivery costs/ return policies?
· Do you have any jobs available?
· Where’s my order?
· Track my order
· What are your payment options?
· I’m having difficulties placing an order. Can you help?
· Send alerts about time sensitive offers and emergency notices
And Twitter is on the case too. The company has improved its enterprise offering so that developers can build more conclusive and engaging experiences via chatbots. Specifically, the API is designed to help developers build apps that can power customer service and brand engagement on Twitter. For international companies who need to provide around-the-clock customer service in multiple language, chatbots are a low cost and high value solution.
Chatbots have come a long way with over 70%ofcustomers reporting a good chatbot experience. That said, marketers should always proceed with caution. It wasn’t so long ago that Twitter users managed to teach Microsoft’s chatbot Tay how to be a racist.
The moral of that story is to pay very careful attention to your chatbots! Utilise platform included chatbots to assist your business and propel your social media marketing forward.
5. Social Media Ads Clash with Privacy Rules
2018 has been the year of privacy, data protection and of course GDPR. Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect on May 25 this year. It forced brands to take stock of any unethical data gathering practices including:
· Using bought or non-opted in email marketing lists
· Using those lists to target on social media
· Texting telephone numbers that have not given their permission
· Storing data without permission
And it levied some hefty fines. If the famous Cambridge Analytica scandal had happened after GDPR, Facebook’s fine would have been €1.4 billion. In line with GDPR and of course, general privacy concerns, Facebook made changes to the way advertisers can use data.
· Page visitors can see adverts that are running in their region:
· Page managers can no longer upload un-opted contact lists for custom audience targeting.
· Page managers must confirm that they adhere with Facebook’s anti-discrimination policy. That could soon mean that it is not permissible to exclude users based on age, gender and occupation.
This is great in theory. We all agree that it would be terrible to target based on race or religion or to exclude certain ethnicities. However, there are times when targeting based on age and gender is necessary. A brand selling beard trimmers for men will surely want to target their product to men aged 18+ and exclude women, right?
At Moondust, we place a high emphasis on organic social media marketing. Paid ads do have their place. However, marketers relying heavily on paid ads will need to keep an eye on the latest rules regarding customer consent, discrimination and data protection.
6. Instagram Will Outperform Facebook
Instagram has a billion active users, 4 billion likes per day and 23% more engagement than Facebook. It’s also tipped to snatch $5.48 billion in ad revenue in the US alone next year. Facebook has 2.27 billion users, but this figure is falling especially amongst under 30s. Of course, Facebook has owned Instagram since 2012 so this isn’t a problem for the social media giant. The implication is that social media marketers will need to pay attention to Insta in 2019. There are numerous social media trends pipped to be hot in 2019. Among them are live streaming and vertical video. Both pertain to Instagram. Advertisers found that when their ads were vertically oriented, they saw up to nine times more engagement.
There’s no time to rest up and get complacent about Instagram. As image and video sizes shift, it’s time to familiarise yourself with the new rules. Experiment with creating vertical videos and note your engagement levels.