As we close out 2018 and enter a new year, it’s time to look toward the future.
Many of you might be making some new year’s resolutions such as diet changes, workout routines, and quitting bad habits.
But outside of your personal goals, you also need to keep an eye on your business operations. More specifically, you must focus on your marketing department.
Marketing continues to change over time. Each year we’re seeing new trends.
What worked for your company in 2010 may not work in 2019.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying you need to completely abandon or change your strategy that worked in 2018. But you need to at least recognize the newest trends.
It will be up to you to make any necessary adjustments based on what’s trending.
Here’s the thing. Other marketers are already jumping on board with new trends and technology.
To gain an advantage over your competitors, you want to prepare yourself to adapt to these trends before they have the chance.
I’ve narrowed down the top ten marketing trends you need to look out for in 2019.
Chatbots and live chat isn’t new technology by any stretch. However, we’re definitely seeing a shift in the way these are being used from a marketing perspective.
Have you seen chatbots recently when visiting websites?
According to stats, 1.4 billion people interact with chatbots each year.
And 80% of companies say they’re already using or plan to use chatbots by 2020.
I’m expecting to see a huge increase in chatbots being used for marketing purposes in 2019 in order to reach that number by 2020.
You should consider using this technology in your business if you’re not already doing so. That’s because implementing live chat provides better customer service.
It’s much easier for customers to communicate with chatbots online than to send an email or call a representative.
Using chatbots has many potential benefits:
You can have a chatbot window automatically pop up once a visitor lands on your website.
This will make it much easier for them to reach your customer service team.
Chatbots also help drive conversions.
Live chat makes it three times more likely that your customers will complete the purchase process. Furthermore, live chats generate a 20% increase in conversions and a 305% increase in ROI.
Marketers have recognized these advantages and acted accordingly.
I’m expecting to see more websites with chatbots in 2019. You should consider using this marketing strategy as well.
2. Interactive video content
Video marketing has been trending upward for years now.
We’re seeing an increase in videos on social media, websites, and blogs. People are even running successful video blogs.
But in 2019, we’ll start seeing additional changes in the way video is consumed. I’m talking about interactive videos.
The Washington Post uploaded this 360-degree video to its YouTube page:
As the video plays, users have a chance to view the entire area by clicking the navigation button in the top left corner of the screen.
You can start using interactive videos for all other purposes I mentioned earlier:
- social media
The idea behind interactive videos is to increase engagement:
They perform better than regular videos. There is a greater chance that people will finish watching a 360-degree video and you’ll get a higher return on your investment.
In fact, 98% of people in the United States believe that 360-degree videos are more exciting than traditional video formats.
And 90% of people say content is better when it can be viewed with a 360-degree view. It should be no surprise that 360 videos have a click-through rate eight times greater than that of traditional videos.
Furthermore, 70% of marketers say interactive videos have had a positive impact on their businesses.
Audiences are 65% more likely to interact with a 360-degree video.
Given these numbers, we’ll see more of this content in the coming years, starting in 2019.
Have you heard of IGTV?
It’s a standalone app owned and operated by Instagram.
This concept launched in June 2018 and was specifically made for mobile devices.
This app is similar to YouTube. One of the major differences is that all of the videos are vertical since they are made for phones.
Video content plays as soon as you open the app, similarly to the way a video would be playing if you turned on a TV in your house.
Instagram has seemingly taken over social media.
Everything the team touches turns to gold.
Its active users have been trending upward since its inception in 2010:
I don’t see any signs of this slowing down.
Even if it can get only a fraction of those 1+ billion users to download and use IGTV, the new app will be a big hit in 2019.
Marketers will need to adjust their strategies accordingly.
They’ll need to have a presence on IGTV in addition to Instagram.
This will force marketing teams to produce more video content specifically for this app.
You’ve got to follow the consumer. If your target audience and current customers are using IGTV, you need to do the same.
Since the platform is so new, you can get ahead of the game right now by familiarizing yourself with the app and producing more content for it.
4. Enhanced personalized recommendations
Artificial intelligence algorithms are making it possible to offer more personalized content than ever before.
Your company can increase sales by personalizing the customer experience.
I’m sure you’ve seen this in your own life. For example, when watching Netflix, you get recommended movies and TV shows based on what you’ve watched so far.
Businesses use this on their websites as well.
Again, this isn’t necessarily new. I’m sure some of you might even be using this strategy on your sites.
But in 2019, the technology will make these recommendations better and more accurate than ever before.
Consumers are willing to share personal data if they can benefit from a more personalized experience.
As you can see from the graph above, younger generations are much more accepting of this technology than older ones.
That said, everyone needs to jump on board now.
This marketing strategy will be the way of the future.
5. Facebook and Instagram ads
Paid social media ads aren’t new, but the trends are definitely changing.
More businesses are focusing on Facebook and Instagram ads than on other social media platforms.
As you can see, Instagram and Facebook are the only two social sites that more businesses are planning to use paid ads for than not.
And ads on other social sites such as Twitter, Pinterest, and Snapchat are slowly becoming obsolete.
In fact, 31% of brands on Instagram are currently using ads.
That number is up from 24% in 2017, 12% in 2016, and just 4% in 2015. The volume of ads on this platform has grown nearly eight times in just four years.
It doesn’t surprise me that Facebook and Instagram are the two platforms trending upward for paid advertisements.
Since Facebook owns Instagram, businesses manage ads on both of these social sites in the same place. The format makes it much easier for businesses to create ads that target the right audience, based on its needs.
You even have the option to use lifetime value to create a Facebook audience that actually converts.
Those same benefits aren’t offered when you advertise on other social sites.
The types of ads that can be run between Facebook and Instagram are also versatile. Businesses can experiment with these formats to see what gives them the best results.
What does this mean for you?
If you’re currently using other social media platforms to advertise, you may want to consider switching to those trending.
If you are not running any paid ads, you should at least try them, or your competition might steal your customers on social media.
6. Beacon technology
Beacon technology is similar to GPS, but it’s not quite as complex.
Businesses are leveraging beacon technology to target customers, especially in retail stores. Here’s how it works.
First, companies need to encourage their customers to download their mobile apps.
Once the app is installed on a user’s device, it will track their location. When an app user walks by a beacon in a store, the company knows exactly where the customer is within that store.
It’ll be able to tell when the person is shopping for a specific product. Then, the brand can send the user a promotion via a push notification that’s related to what they’re looking at.
It’s a great way to improve the profitability of your small business mobile app.
Ecommerce businesses can use this technology too, even without a physical store.
If you have an ecommerce platform, you can place beacons in public areas relevant to what your company offers. Then you can send targeted push notifications when app users are in the vicinity of those beacons.
The reason why this technology will increase in popularity in 2019 is because mobile app popularity is growing as well.
And 42% of small businesses already have mobile apps.
An additional 30% of companies plan to build an app in the future. Further, 55% of businesses owned by Millennials have mobile apps.
Younger generations have recognized the importance of this technology. That’s why they are adapting sooner.
Your company needs to jump on board as well. You won’t be able to leverage beacon technology without a mobile app.
7. Voice search
Between smartphones and products such as Amazon Echo or Google Home, voice search is booming.
Voice recognition software isn’t new. You’ve been able to use the speech to text function of your phone for years now, but you’ve probably experienced its imprecision.
Technology has evolved. Google Home has 95% word level accuracy.
Voice search will have a direct impact on ecommerce sales.
Experts predict that by 2020, 50% of searches will be voice searches.
Last year, 13% of households in America owned a smart speaker. This number is expected to reach 55% by 2022.
As of January 2018, voice search was conducted 1 billion times a month. I predict that number to be higher in 2019.
8. Predictive analysis
Predictive analysis is somewhat related to personalized recommendations.
But the AI and machine learning algorithms used for predictive analysis can be used for many other things.
Here’s a look at how businesses are already using this technology:
As you can see, 23% of businesses are using predictive analysis, while 90% of businesses believe it’s important to use this technology.
Since business owners recognize its importance, but less than a quarter of them are actually using the technology, it’s only a matter of time before they jump on board.
As you can see from the graph, only 26% of businesses surveyed have no plans to use predictive analytics in the near future. Everyone else is either currently using it or has plans to use it for marketing.
Predictive analysis will help you segment your customers better.
This technology can help improve your automation efforts and reduce churn.
One of the best ways to use predictive analysis is to prequalify your leads. Algorithms and software can help you come up with a better lead scoring system.
By prioritizing your leads and identifying top prospective customers, you’ll be able to generate more conversions.
9. Mobile payments
Does your business currently accept mobile payments?
If not, you need to plan on it soon. This will be a growing trend in 2019.
Just look at these numbers:
One portion of mobile payments allows customers to pay for goods and services directly from a mobile app.
Businesses such as Starbucks have an app that allows customers to buy coffee in their storefronts by paying with their mobile phones in advance.
Another portion of mobile pay comes from alternative payment methods.
Roughly 440 million users across the world used contactless pay options in 2018, such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay.
That number is expected to increase to 760 million by 2020.
To go from 440 million users to 760 million users, 2019 will have to be a huge year for mobile payments.
Your business should adapt and be prepared to accept these types of payments.
Consumers are getting used to it. If you don’t have their preferred payment option, they may take their business elsewhere.
10. AI and machine learning adaptation
Many trends on my list use AI and machine learning.
This technology has been around for quite some time, but it continues to improve and evolve each year.
There are many different uses for AI in the future:
Lots of these functions can be applied to your marketing strategy.
You need to learn the marketing skills you need to survive in the age of AI.
Furthermore, AI is the fastest growing marketing technology:
It has the highest year-over-year growth compared to all other technologies on the list.
Your company can no longer afford to ignore adapting to the new technologies, such as AI and machine learning.
If you do, you won’t be able to keep up with your competitors.
2019 is going to be a big year for marketers.
New technology and ease of accessibility have made marketing more competitive than ever before. That’s why you need to recognize the newest trends.
If you’re not sure what to expect in 2019 from a marketing perspective, you can use this guide as a reference.
This isn’t a list of bold predictions or trends that I pulled out of thin air.
Everything I listed above is backed by data that’s trending upward. It’s a safe bet to follow these trends if you want to be successful.
What marketing trends is your brand planning to follow in 2019?