If there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s that digital marketing is constantly shifting to strategically adapt to consumer behavior. What does this mean for companies? To be an effective and relevant brand in your industry, digital marketing can’t take a backseat. A sound marketing strategy should be a fundamental part of your business goals and initiatives for 2019.
At MAKE, we consider ourselves to be early-adapters to the evolving trends of each new year. To keep us sharp and in the “know” for the upcoming year, we evaluated the scope of digital marketing for 2018, and want to share a few trends and predictions you can look for in 2019.
WORD OF MOUTH (GONE DIGITAL)
As a consumer in whatever capacity, you’ve either participated in the classic “word of mouth” marketing, or several of your decisions have been influenced by it. Word of mouth marketing has been around forever. Whether we realize it or not, so many of our interests, buying habits and the way we choose to spend our time are shaped by the thoughts and opinions people in our lives.
People are trusting branded ads less and less, and instead trusting the people that they know. It’s a win-win for businesses and consumers. When you put out a product that breeds an exceptional user-experience — people want to share their stories with others. There’s power and influence when someone hears about a product or brand for the first time from a person they know and trust, like a family member of close friend. This sort of trust is what can turn a peer into one of your buying customers. It’s value-added marketing based on positives user experiences.
While the basis of word of mouth remains the same, how it’s leveraged has been transformed by the way people interact and engage with friends, family and other influencers on social channels.
Social Media Influencers
Social Media Influencers have transformed the idea of “word of mouth.” We used to ask our friends or our moms for their reviews on the products we should and shouldn’t buy, but now influencers have become surrogate sisters, mothers, and friends who users trust to lead them in the right direction when it comes to brands.
These social media influencers are leading the way in driving digital marketing strategies. This type of influencer could be a blogger, fitness-enthusiast, celebrity, small business or any individual with a prominent social media presence and a loyal base of followers they have influence with.
Here’s just a glimpse into the numbers for 2018. Facebook is leading the way with over 2 billion monthly active users, Instagram follows closely behind with 1 billion, Twitter with 326 million, and Snapchat with 186 million daily users. That’s A LOT of people consuming content daily.
When it comes to brand collaboration, research has found that 78% of social media influencers use Instagram as their platform. So, what does this mean for businesses? There are strategies for building relationships with the right influencers for your brand that can help reach your target audience, build trust, and drive engagement.
If you don’t have the internal capacity to get it done, you can find a digital marketing team who does. Our MAKErs can craft an influencer marketing strategy to broaden your reach with new customers, strengthen your brand awareness and kickstart your 2019 business goals.
Relationships, trust and transparency are essential to every healthy and growing business. And – referral partnerships are built on just that. The more reputable brands and individuals you have talking highly of your brand, values, products and their personal experiences — the better.
Paid ads can only get you so far. Not only that, but people are more likely to check out or engage with your brand if it’s recommended by another brand or individual that they follow and trust.
2019 is going to be less about ad spend, and more about making real touches with potential, buying customers through referral partnerships and influencer marketing. Think of it like, “you scratch my back, I scratch yours,” with true relational equity. You’ll want to find a partner AND be a partner who is committed and driven by mutual success. These types of partnerships can help expand your reach, identify and nurture potential leads and ultimately drive more business to you.
As people continue to rely more and more on “word of mouth” marketing, having referral partnerships will become and even greater asset to growing your business in 2019.
Creating content can be an exhausting part of any marketing strategy if you don’t have the time or resources allocated to get it done. While consistency is always key, it’s not always easy. We have some good news. You can use an untapped resource for getting the content you need…it’s called user-generated content (UGC).
User-generated content is where you look outward and start utilizing those who know and love your brand the most (besides your team, of course) — your tried and true customer.
People are always looking for ways to share their stories and product experiences. User-generated content is a great solution to bridge the gap and invite your customer to be a part of your brand story through original, experience-inspired content. 64% of millennials and 53% of baby boomers want more options for sharing their thoughts and opinions about a company. Studies have also shown that consumers trust user-generated content more than any other form of content.
GoPro is a great example of a brand that thrives with UGC. GoPro was founded in 2002 by an surfer, skier and motorsports athlete named Nick Woodman who simply wanted a better way to film himself and his friends while surfing. The heartbeat behind their brand initiative was to give people a way to capture the world like they had never seen before. GoPro consistently encourages their customers to share their own GoPro photos and videos to be featured on their “photo of the day” spot on social. They also have the GoPro Awards, which is an opportunity for their users to submit footage they’ve captured for a chance to be awarded with cash. Talk about an incentive!
User-generated content gives your audience what they’re looking for — authenticity always wins. It also saves you time and your own resources, while improving your brand credibility.
Get Started on User-Generated Content in 2019:
1. Build up your presence on social channels
2. Narrow down your target audience
3. Create a UGC campaign to match your audience
4. Offer an incentive (reward) to encourage participation
5. Launch campaign on relative social channels
KEEP UP WITH SEO
No digital marketing plan is ever complete without the integration of a good SEO strategy. Trends in search and user-behavior are always changing, and your brand visibility has everything to do with how well your content is optimized.
If you want to keep up in 2019, you need to make room for these trends in SEO:
50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020. As voice search becomes more popular, the tone of your content and responses should be just as conversational. This year, when you’re prepping your keyword strategy think: stream of consciousness.
Over 52% of searches this year were made via mobile phone. If you’re site isn’t mobile-optimized you’re already behind.
1/3 of online activity is spent watching video, and 92% of mobile video viewers share videos with other people. Video content is easily digested and extremely shareable. If you haven’t put a focus on creating video content – you should definitely start thinking about it for 2019.
Pinterest’s CEO Ben Silbermann has previously said that “the future of search will be about pictures rather than keywords.” It is getting easier and easier for people to snap a picture and be able to purchase items in their photo. Search engines are getting better at understanding the components of images. So how can brands react?
- Visibility for Organic Images
- Advertise on Pinterest or similar platforms that have visual-search capabilities
- Build it into your brand and content strategy
Micro moments are most easily described as the “I want to go”, “I want to know”, “I want to do”, “I want to buy” moments. These are the game-changing moments for advertisers and consumers. When people reflexively turn to their devices to fill a need. The goal? Find the micro moment, fill the need.
SOCIAL MEDIA TRENDS
Although we’d like to predict ALL the social media trends for 2019,
- Stories: We’ve all heard of (experienced) the FOMO sentiment: fear of missing out. Stories are a chance for brands to capitalize on the consumer FOMO feeling.
- “Snack Ads” take us back to the idea of generating video content. Snack ads are video ads less than 10 seconds long, i.e. “snack-sized”. Snack Ads help me consume content quickly, before their attention moves somewhere else.
At MAKE, our team helps grow brands in innovative ways by combining business goals with data-driven solutions to keep them relevant and on track for steady growth. If you want to keep up in the fast pace environment of digital, you need a marketing group to keep you forward-thinking with a quick reflex to trends and projections as they surface. Learn more about our services here.