The move into 2019 also comes with a shift in digital marketing.
We sat down with 17 experts to ask how the digital marketing landscape will change in the new year.
Read on to learn the digital marketing predictions for 2019, what new technologies and trends are on the horizon, and how you can prepare. Plus, hear the tactics the experts are exploring and planning to implement in 2019.
Ralph Burns, CEO of Tier 11
There’s a big change on the horizon in Facebook marketing.
At Tier 11, we specialize in growing businesses faster than they could on their own using the 2 most powerful advertising platforms on the planet, namely, Facebook and Instagram.
As a result, we do a ton of testing on these platforms. Thanks to our intimate relationship with Facebook, we’re typically among the first companies to try out new features and ad formats to deliver better results for our clients—oftentimes as a beta before the rest of the world.
Pretty. Dang. Cool.
And what I’m about to share is one of the most exciting new changes to come along to Facebook in some time.
But before I explain what it is, first let’s set the stage for why it’s so important.
If you do any advertising on Facebook, you know that mobile traffic is taking over. These days only about 1 in 3 people use Facebook on a laptop or desktop, compared to over 95% who access Facebook on a smartphone:
This is nothing new—mobile has been on the rise for years now.
But while mobile accounts for more and more traffic, it still lags behind desktops in terms of conversion rates. And a big reason for that is due to slower load speeds on mobile devices.
This is a problem because the longer it takes for your page to load, the lower your conversion rates will be:
And it’s even worse if your website isn’t mobile-optimized. Don’t even get me started there.
But recently, Facebook has taken a big step toward solving this problem with their introduction of “Facebook Instant Experiences.”
Facebook’s Instant Experiences aren’t actually new—they’re really just a revamped version of the old mobile Canvas ads. But while Canvas ads never really caught on (for one thing, they were hard to use), Instant Experience is already proving to be much, much more user-friendly and much more effective for advertisers.
With Instant Experiences, you can create a super-speedy equivalent to a landing page that will load directly inside of Facebook. You can add just about anything you want to Instant experiences, like photos, videos, lead ad forms, and any kind of pixel you want. (The Facebook pixel is automatically added, but you can also embed pixels for Google Analytics, Hotjar, etc.)
Notice how high-end and professional these can look? And even with all those images and videos, Facebook claims that they still load up to 15x faster than a standard mobile website.
So, what does this mean?
It means that in 2019, you’re going to start seeing more and more Facebook ads that take place entirely on the Facebook platform. Instead of clicking an ad and being sent off of Facebook and onto a website, the ad will trigger an Instant Experience.
This is a win-win for everyone involved. It’s a better experience for users who don’t like to wait, and it will result in higher conversion rates for advertisers.
And unlike Canvas ads, which were challenging to build, Instant Experiences allow you to take advantage of templates.
Look at how easy it is to get started. First, check the box next to “Add an Instant Experience”:
Then choose the template that best fits your goals. If you want to acquire new customers, for example, start with the Customer Acquisition template and customize it from there.
Eventually, the day will come when it’s common practice to buy products and services directly inside a social platform. You’ll be able to embed a “Buy Now” button inside your Instant Experiences, allowing people to complete their purchase using a service like Google Pay or Apple Pay—all without ever leaving Facebook.
This is a big deal to Facebook since they’re always looking for new ways to keep people on their platform. So, you can bet they’ll continue to develop these Instant Experiences to make them more sophisticated, easier to use, and more effective.
Amanda Powell, Acquisitions Manager of DigitalMarketer
SEO is ever-changing. And there’s no doubt that constant algorithm changes and updates keep us on our toes.
For instance, in March 2018, you may have noticed mobile-first indexing started to roll out. And Google started indexing sites based on the mobile version of their website.
In 2019, mobile search will continue to stay relevant.
But for 2019, I have 3 main predictions for SEO that go beyond mobile that SEOs and marketers should keep an eye on…
1) Voice Search
Yep. We’ve officially welcomed robots into our homes and now interact with them regularly. This is important because, according to comScore, it’s estimated that 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020.
And in case you didn’t know, 2020 is basically ONE YEAR AWAY! 😄 I think it’s safe to say that it will need to be a pretty big focus for SEOs in 2019.
What does this mean for optimization?
It means search strategists need to focus on long-tail keywords and conversational language.
Voice search will also be exponentially more important for local businesses since 46% of voice search users look for local businesses on a daily basis. Alexa just got a whole lot more real.
Video is already breaking through the search results by way of rich results on a daily basis. Here at DM, video has actually been a huge driver of our organic efforts this year. Videos like this one…
Video traffic is even predicted to be 82% of ALL traffic by 2022.
What does this mean for optimization?
Transcripts will be extremely important, so Google can see the text of your video content to crawl.
You’ll also need to make sure you start optimizing your videos just like your landing pages—include keywords in the title, and description and make sure the subject matter of your video is relevant, of course.
3) Featured Snippets
One of the big scares this year for SEOs was when Google removed all links from specific queries (see here).
While the blue links were eventually added back in, it was a big insight into the future of organic search.
Google is trying to give the people what they want. Search engine algorithms want to serve users the most relevant results.
So even though the Google test isn’t active anymore, it does show that they were testing to see if it could serve only exactly what a user wanted.
What does this mean for optimization?
This means it’s more important than ever to strive for the position zero on Google.
Any content you create should be rooted in intent. And it’s becoming increasingly more important for your content to not only be informative but also useful.
Overall, 2019 is going to bring some big strategy changes when it comes to SEO. Content creation needs to be more intentional and optimization will need constant updates. But that’s the fun of SEO, it’s constantly changing, which keeps things interesting!
Mike Rhodes, Founder & CEO of WebSavvy
Most people are probably expecting me to talk about upcoming changes to Google Ads. And I would, except that I’m currently under an NDA with Google not to talk about forthcoming features.
So instead, I’m going to step back and speak more broadly about the general digital marketing trends that I see happening in 2019. And those trends fall into 3 main topics:
1) The Way People Search Is Changing
Voice search is going to continue to rise next year. It’s estimated that by 2020, 30% of all searches will be made without a screen. (And ComScore puts that number even higher, at 50%.)
This will have huge implications, in particular for SEO.
Right now, any time you perform a search on Google, you get a screen with 10 or so organic results (plus the ads). This means that 10 companies all get a shot at your attention.
But voice search often returns only a single result. Which means the vast majority of voice searches will go to the top-ranking site for a given search term.
This is still an evolving technology, so things are bound to change. But it’s definitely something to keep your eye on in 2019.
Another change that’s on the horizon is visual search. Google Lens is a new technology that allows people to search based on images, rather than text.
For example, you can just take a picture of your friend’s shoes with your phone and Google will show you a bunch of similar-looking shoes… with a buy button underneath each one. Over time, this is going to have an enormous impact on retail shopping and ecommerce.
2) The Way People Interact Online Is Changing
The way we interact with each other, and with businesses, is also changing.
In 2019, we’re going to start seeing a lot more hyper-targeted personalization on websites and in business communication.
For example, email marketing is getting smarter. More and more companies are starting to use machine learning that will track your online behavior on their website and use that data to send more personalized, more relevant emails.
Another big change coming next year is a significant increase in the use of chatbots for marketing. This is another way companies are adapting to deliver faster, more personalized communication and, ultimately, a better user experience for consumers.
3) Our Expectations Are Changing
As technology evolves, so do our expectations. And the biggest expectation that more and more of us have today is speed.
Basically, we want things to load fast.
The main place where this is still an issue is on mobile, where load times can still be frustratingly slow for some people. As a result, you can expect to see Google pushing Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) in 2019.
Here at WebSavvy, we became the single-largest user of AMP in Australia in 2018 when we moved a large number of client landing pages from regular pages to AMPs. When we did, we saw surprisingly good increases in both our load times and our conversion rates.
So, if you’re not already using AMP, I recommend you do so now.
You can also expect to hear more about Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) in 2019. Google will be pushing this technology to help promote apps that are fast, reliable, and engaging. If your business has an app, it would definitely be a good idea to look into PWA.
So, to summarize, here’s what I think we’re all going to start seeing more of in 2019:
- More video. This applies to ads in general, and specifically to YouTube. Next year you’re going to start to see a greater variety of ad types on YouTube, making this a more versatile and effective advertising platform.
- Influencer marketing is going to continue to grow, and I think you can expect Facebook to make a strong push toward finding a way to generate revenue from it.
- Retail stores will close in record numbers, and Amazon will overtake Apple in terms of market cap. (If I were a betting man, I’d put my money in Amazon stock.)
- Expect to hear more about machine learning, deep learning, and AI.
Speaking of that last bullet point:
AI is all about prediction. It’s our way of training machines to make better and faster predictions about all sorts of things. (What ads are we most likely to respond to? What search phrase are we most likely to be interested in? What shows on Netflix are we most likely to want to watch?)
And as these predictions become faster, cheaper, and more accurate, this will lead to an increase in the need for—and the value of—human judgment and creativity.
In other words: as the machines begin to do more of the boring stuff, our job as humans will be to add judgment and creativity to the mix to help guide all of this machine learning in a productive direction.
So, I also recommend making sure creativity is a large part of what you do. And if it isn’t, you might want to start moving in that direction in 2019.
Kathryn Aragon, Founder of Kathryn Aragon Media
In 2019, content marketing will become more balanced and realistic.
For years, content marketing has been hailed as king of all digital marketing strategies.
But in the last few years, we’ve reached a saturation point. Content marketing isn’t new or exciting. The mere act of publishing a blog post doesn’t help you rank and won’t help you sell more products.
As we enter 2019, I see more businesses admitting this, much as content strategist Jacob McMillen does in this post from November 17, 2018:
I started taking a similar approach early in 2018. Clients would ask me to promise bold business results, such as doubling their traffic or raising profits by some percentage. I’ve had to tone down their expectations—as Jacob calls it, “unselling” some of what content can do.
It’s not a popular move, but it needs to happen because it’s the only way we’ll be able to make content work in the future.
So, what does it mean to “unsell” content marketing?
It means being more realistic:
- Page one on Google isn’t a guarantee, especially if you’re in a competitive industry or going after a keyword that’s owned by hugely successful brands
- A better blog doesn’t usually deliver higher profits
- Traffic and engagement are trending down, not up, for most blogs
I see 2 reactions as brands accept the reality of these trends…
Some—the ones who are looking for easy buttons—will quit content marketing. Others—the smart ones—will understand the need for balance.
Content marketing isn’t dead. It isn’t a waste of time. It’s just changing. Again.
You see, content marketing has been around for centuries. It will continue for at least as long. As technology and society has changed, we’ve simply changed how we do it.
Entering 2019, we’re at a pivot point. What’s been working isn’t working anymore, and even top content marketers are struggling to get the same results they used to get.
To fix that, we’ve raised the bar so high, it’s almost impossible to meet.
In the last year, I’ve seen pure exhaustion among content marketers. Yet they’re scared to slow down. They’re afraid of losing the engagement they still have.
In 2019, businesses will realize that content marketing isn’t the end-all of digital marketing. It’s just 1 strategy, and instead of carrying all the others, it should integrate with them.
Then, realizing this, businesses will start to relax. They’ll understand that publishing less often could actually increase engagement levels—because their followers won’t develop banner blindness toward their content.
So, what’s the strategy moving forward?
Start with your business goals. Be clear about what you’re trying to achieve in 2019.
Then think about the tactics that are most likely to deliver the results you’re looking for. Don’t rely on just 1 channel or marketing tactic. Instead, integrate them.
Look for efficiencies you can exploit.
For example, if you always run a major campaign in spring, plan your content to support that campaign. But don’t increase your editorial schedule. Slow it down. Write one well-optimized blog post a month leading up to your campaign. Pull from those posts to create a collection of graphics, memes, and quotes for social media. And use them to create a few Lead Magnets and create your funnels.
Finally, pay close attention to your numbers. If any content strategy isn’t working, don’t hesitate to give it up or change it or completely reinvent it.
In 2019, content marketing won’t be about publishing more. It will be about publishing more strategically. For some brands, that will mean publishing less. For others, it could mean breaking some of those best practices we’re so addicted to. For all of us, it will mean thinking outside the box.
Here’s what WON’T change…
Quality, authority, and authenticity will continue to matter.
You need to be relevant. Don’t get entrenched in the way you’ve always done things. Your audience is changing. You need to be aware of social and technological trends that are behind these changes—and adapt.
Copycatting doesn’t work. Discover your own strengths and your own brand personality. Then create content that expresses your own uniqueness.
Stories will continue to get results. People don’t want to hear all about you and your products. They want to hear real stories that engage them on an emotional level, that make your brand seem more human and accessible.
Neil Flinchbaugh, Founder & Digital Copywriter of NWF Digital Copywriting
As a digital copywriter, it’s part of my job to keep a close eye on how businesses are communicating with people online. And based on some of the recent changes that have happened over the past 2 years or so, I think we will see a big shift start to happen in digital copywriting next year.
In 2019, copywriting is going to take a BIG step toward becoming more personalized and conversational.
I’m specifically referring to copy written for the newest and fastest-growing online marketing medium, which is messaging apps. Check out this blog post for an explanation of just how fast Messenger Marketing is growing.
While Messenger Marketing is relatively new on the scene (Facebook didn’t open the Messenger API until April 2016), many marketers are already predicting that it will overtake email as the dominant communication channel within the next few years.
And when you compare the 2 mediums, it’s not hard to see why. Messenger is blowing email out of the water in every engagement category we’ve got:
Most Messenger Marketing in the US right now is done via Facebook Messenger. But both WhatsApp and iMessage will be following suit and opening up their APIs as well—increasing the reach of this medium even more.
So, if messaging apps really are going to overtake email as our #1 communication channel, how is that monumental shift going to affect the kind of copy we write to appeal to our customers?
First, let’s get this out of the way: the fundamentals of great copywriting WON’T change in 2019. Or in 2020, or 2021. This is true because the people you’re writing to are still human beings, and human nature isn’t likely to change anytime soon.
That means you still need to craft a killer message that speaks to a compelling desire in your audience. You still need to appeal to powerful emotions, trigger a sense of urgency, and back up your claims with social proof and other credibility-boosters.
So, the underlying message behind your sales copy is going to stay the same.
But the medium you use to communicate that message is changing, and that means the WAY you communicate that underlying message is going to have to change too.
And the biggest fundamental shift that’s happening with Messenger Marketing is that instead of talking AT people (the way we do with most other marketing mediums), you’re going to have to start conversing WITH them.
This means we’ll have to start doing a few things differently…
1) In 2019, Copy Will Be Delivered in Shorter Chunks
If you take a minute to scroll through your text messages, I’m betting you won’t see a lot of big paragraphs or long explanations. Most messages are a single sentence long. And you probably don’t send more than 3 or so messages at a time without waiting for a reply.
These are the same kind of short, succinct messages we’ll need to use when writing copy for messaging apps.
After all, most people use Messenger on their phone, where screen real estate is limited. Only a few paragraphs will fit on a phone screen at a time:
And that screen space just about cuts in half once you open the keyboard:
This is why, when writing for Messenger, you have to be ruthlessly concise.
You need to pare down your message to the absolute essentials and avoid overloading people with too much text at once.
REMEMBER: you don’t want to force your users to scroll up to see the beginning of your message. That’s a bad experience.
Now, if you have a longer message—something that requires several hundred words or more to deliver—for the love of all that’s holy, don’t just paste it inside of Messenger.
Instead, ask the user if they want to learn more about the topic. If the answer is yes, either embed a video or insert a link to a blog post on your website.
And speaking of asking questions…
2) In 2019, Copy Will Ask More Questions & Take Better Advantage of Branching Logic
Remember that conversations are a 2-way street. You can’t just yap on and on and on without giving the other person a chance to speak, or else they’ll quickly start to ignore you.
And in Messenger Marketing, the best way of getting the user’s input and feedback is by asking questions and giving the option of several quick replies. Here’s what that looks like:
This guitar chatbot makes it easy for you to specify what aspects of guitar playing you’re most interested in—which keeps you engaged with the bot because it forces you to tap a button to continue.
It feels more conversational.
But engagement is only a piece of the puzzle here. There’s another, deeper benefit to asking more questions…
3) In 2019, Marketing Messages Will Become Much More Personalized
As we begin to ask more questions in our copy, we’ll inevitably start to learn more about our audience. Asking questions is an easy way to get a quick idea of which topics your customers are most interested in.
And with that knowledge comes the ability to deliver more relevant, personalized content.
To go back to the example of the guitar chatbot, let’s say User A tells us he’s interested in Soloing. And User B tells us she’s interested in Music Theory.
You can save this information and use it to make sure that User A gets content related to Soloing, and User B gets content related to Music Theory. This will…
- Reduce your unsubscribe rates
- Improve your click-through rates
- And most importantly, keep your users happy
It’s the same idea we already use today to segment our email marketing campaigns. But because the engagement rate on Messenger is so much higher than it is for email, we have even MORE potential to learn about our customers and deliver more personalized messaging.
And we can apply this technique to sales messages, too (not just content). For example, if you were selling an all-inclusive guitar playing program, you could write separate versions of that sales copy to appeal to each of those different interests.
So, User A would get a marketing message that focuses on how this program will help him to be a better soloist. And User B would get a marketing message that focuses on how this program will help her to master music theory.
The catch to all this is that in order to deliver this personalized content, we’re also going to have to start using more branching logic in order to take advantage of this personalization.
So instead of writing just a simple message that we deliver to everyone, businesses will need to craft multiple messages that are custom-written for each of their customer avatars.
It’s more work and will involve creating more copy and content to accommodate all these avatars, but the improved user experience and conversion rates will be well worth the effort.
Most importantly, it will help to give your users the kind of highly responsive and personal-feeling communication that they’ve come to expect.
Sunny Lenarduzzi, Founder of YouTube for Bosses
My biggest digital marketing prediction for 2019 is that YouTube will dominate as the king of long-form video platforms.
Yes, I know what you’re thinking—hasn’t it always been the dominant force in long-form content?
Well, with Facebook making a massive video push over the last couple of years and Instagram introducing IGTV, there has been competition.
But, facts are facts! Not only is YouTube the social platform most used by US adults (73%), but when it comes to long-form video, 33% of total view time on YouTube is attributed to long-form content.
And as YouTube continues to compete with traditional TV programs, the algorithm is rewarding long-form content for increased watch and session time on the platform.
And as a creator myself, I know that if you combine long-form content with a consistent schedule, you are guaranteed to create a loyal audience. I like to call it “The Oprah Effect”—if you give your audience an exact time and date to tune in, they will be there.
YouTube, unlike other platforms, has a massive advantage when it comes to attention. Instead of a “scroll” mentality, viewers make time in their schedule to sit down and watch their favorite channels on YouTube.
So, not only do you build a loyal audience, but your audience is actually paying attention to your content—as opposed to being distracted by a million other posts on other social platforms.
People come to YouTube with the intent to watch videos—unlike other platforms—and binge watch them for long periods of time.
Other platforms will continue to try to compete, but YouTube is still the go-to video destination on the internet. And I’m seeing more and more business owners migrate over to YouTube as a valuable source of brand building and lead generation.
Josh Turner, Founder & CEO of LinkedSelling
LinkedIn’s recent rollout of “Objective Based Advertising” is going to make it even more powerful and people are going to be flocking to LinkedIn ads.
For years, LinkedIn’s advertising platform has played second (or third) fiddle to Facebook and other social media advertising platforms.
But in the past 10 months, they’ve been getting their act together and rolling out features that are helping advertisers more easily generate and track conversions.
I don’t expect a major reduction in the cost per click in the next 12 months—LinkedIn charges a premium for their audience—but what we’ve been seeing in our internal and client campaigns is a significant decrease in our cost per objective.
What is an “objective” in this case?
What I’m referring to is a higher leverage buying opportunity—a booked sales appointment or a requested sales appointment.
With LinkedIn’s ability to now measure conversions and therefore allow you to invest in the campaigns that are getting the best results, you just need the right objective for the platform.
By focusing on simplifying the path to your funnel objectives and letting your high-ticket prospects cut to the front of the line in your LinkedIn campaigns, you can see a significant increase in conversions.
And the word is starting to creep out as more and more advertisers start experimenting with the high-ticket audience that LinkedIn provides.
Those who simply just copy over a Facebook ads campaign to LinkedIn are setting themselves up to struggle. For LinkedIn, the smart move is tailoring your ads to get prospects into a higher-leverage opportunity sooner.
From the changes and direction we’ve seen them heading in for the past year, my prediction is that LinkedIn continues to build out more marketer-friendly features in 2019 and becomes the most popular network for getting sales appointments for B2B businesses.
Rachel Miller, Organic Traffic Strategist of Moolah
Content won’t matter if there isn’t a conversation to accompany it.
Last year, we saw a giant leap in the importance of conversations in the social media algorithms. The more person-to-person interactions a brand received on social media, the greater the results were of that content performing well BOTH organically and in paid media.
But not only did conversations increase the placement of content into users feeds, it also increased sales.
I predict this trend will only become stronger through 2019.
Posting videos or getting your audience to watch/read your content is not going to be enough. You will have to foster conversation as well as consumption.
And while we have seen a drastic increase in ad spend for “stand-alone” campaigns (as pictured below)…
…campaigns that are fueled by community and conversations with your audience are growing exponentially. And without any ad spend.
Brands who don’t focus on conversations are risking becoming obsolete since their customers will just have those conversations elsewhere.
We want our users to take action on content. These actions begin as a micro-conversation—a like, a heart, a fast reaction. And they work up toward a conversation. And ultimately, a sale.
Ted Prodromou, Executive LinkedIn Coach of Search Marketing Simplified, LLC
2019 is the year LinkedIn finally hits the mainstream.
Here are some reasons I think LinkedIn is ready to break out:
The Microsoft effect is starting to happen.
In 2016, Microsoft purchased LinkedIn, but we haven’t seen many changes until recently. At the end of November 2018, Microsoft briefly surpassed Apple (and Google) as the most valuable company in the world (over $770 billion) and monetizing LinkedIn is an easy way to increase their bottom line. For years, I’ve been saying LinkedIn is leaving billions on the table and it looks like Microsoft is finally seizing the opportunity.
Add to this that Facebook is reeling from bad publicity, and people are closing their accounts because of the negativity and political divide.
For a while, it seemed like I could post a cake recipe on Facebook and it would turn into a political attack by both sides. One side would blame Obama or Hillary’s email and the other side would blame Trump for one ingredient they didn’t like in the recipe. I took a few breaks from Facebook this year because of the political attacks out of nowhere. Facebook is under attack by the politicians around the world because of the way they handled the fake news attacks and Facebook isn’t responding fast enough.
For years, running Facebook ads was a great way to generate low-cost leads. But as more businesses jump into the game, ad prices rise. So it’s not as cost-effective for many businesses. Also, as people leave Facebook, your target audience may shrink.
I’m seeing a lot of chatter in many marketing groups and forums that big marketers are finally seeing the value in LinkedIn. This is good news and bad news because we all know once marketers see an opportunity, they pummel it until it’s dead.
LinkedIn is growing, but very slowly.
For years LinkedIn was adding 2 new members per second, but it’s slowed significantly. In April 2017, LinkedIn claimed they had 500 million members, and today, they are hovering around 590 million.
I have always said I prefer quality over quantity and LinkedIn is by far the highest quality community out there.
Content marketing on LinkedIn is absolutely crushing it right now. CEO Jeff Weiner announced last year that he wanted LinkedIn to become the largest content platform on the internet and LinkedIn members are responding. Thousands of articles are being published every day and native video is really taking off.
And to top it off, LinkedIn’s algorithm is constantly being tweaked to get the right content in front of you. It seems like every time I log into LinkedIn, I see subtle changes in the dashboard and mobile app.
LinkedIn is 100% committed to creating an amazing user experience and they are finally making it happen.
Sue B. Zimmerman, The Instagram Expert of Sue B. Zimmerman Enterprise
In 2019, Shoppable Instagram will continue to grow and venture into shoppable services.
With over 1 billion Instagram users—500 million using Instagram every day—and over 200 million users using business profiles daily, it makes sense shopping on Instagram has exploded over the past year.
With a tap of your finger, you can go from looking at something you admire to the storefront making a purchase.
This is a huge bonus for businesses in general and even bigger for small businesses with smaller budgets.
Previously, accounts would need to direct a customer to their bio to allow them to shop, i.e. requiring an extra step for action OR pay for ads to get a direct link.
Initially, shoppable posts rolled out with shopping tags in posts in March 2018. And recently (September 2018), Instagram has expanded to shoppable tags in stories. The process is the same; connecting a business page to a catalog on Facebook, which means only products are able to be sold, not services.
With the expansion of shoppable products in stories and the success Instagram has had for being a place where people go to shop, 60% of Instagrammers say that they discover new products on Instagram and 72% of users have made a purchase from something they have seen on Instagram.
We foresee shoppable services having the same success as products.
Businesses who have service products—like spa services, coaching, nutrition programs, online programs, business downloads, and eBooks—will all be able to have a seamless buying opportunity just as products have on Instagram.
Brad Martineau, Co-Founder & CEO of SixthDivision
The past few years have been big on marketing automation and marketing funnels. And while funnels have their place, the way we understand and use them to reach new customers is going to take a BIG step forward in 2019.
I see 3 big changes coming down the road.
Funnels Are Not Enough
The first change is the growing awareness that funnels, by themselves, are not enough.
They don’t give your users the kind of experience that will make them fall in love with your brand. They’re too isolated. They involve only bits and pieces of your company rather than giving people a holistic experience of everything you have to offer.
Instead, the world is moving toward creating more cohesive customer journeys.
The difference between a funnel and a customer journey is like the difference between a single subway line and a citywide public transportation system. The customer journey (the public transit system) includes multiple funnels (subways lines), and it provides a way of combining those funnels together to help move people not just from point A to point B, but also to point C, D, E, F, and so on.
To put it another way:
Now that marketing funnels are becoming more common, companies are starting to take a bigger-picture view. They’re starting to engineer ways to move their customers through multiple funnels. To sell them multiple products. All with the goal of maximizing revenue and providing a better experience for the customer.
And speaking of customer experience, here’s the second big change coming to marketing automation…
It’s All About the Customer Experience
Over the past few years, a lot of marketers have attempted to simply “throw up a funnel,” with varying degrees of success. In many cases, the marketer puts all of their focus on the funnel itself, rather than the messaging in the funnel or the product/service that funnel is promoting.
Well, that is not going to cut it in 2019.
Funnels are no longer new.
And it doesn’t matter how sophisticated your funnel is—people simply aren’t going to convert if you don’t spend the time to…
- Create something people want
- Explain it to them in a way that’s clear and compelling
- Do it all through the delivery of an experience that your prospects and customers will connect with
And last but not least, here’s the third change that’s coming.
The “Client Journey Architect”
In 2019, we are going to start to see a new skillset begin to develop in the marketing world: the “Client Journey Architect.”
Right now, most marketing departments are divided in half between…
- The visionary—the founder or leader who decides the direction the company is going to go
- “Digital drywallers”—the people who actually put that direction into action
Well, this Client Journey Architect will sit right in the middle of these 2 groups.
In a nutshell, the Client Journey Architect will be the person who implements everything I talked about earlier.
They’re the ones who take all the disjointed, disconnected funnels and products in a company and piece them together into a more cohesive whole. Taking a bunch of solitary subway lines and turning them into a fully integrated transportation system that can take people anywhere they want to go.
That will change the landscape and economy of digital marketing because architects will be in demand at a premium and digital drywallers will become commoditized and have to level up or price down.
Nathalie Lussier, Founder of AccessAlly
In 2019, the trend toward personalization will continue, and more sites will be using visitor data to decide on the right calls to action.
I see this playing out across a combination of tools in a tech stack…
- From advertising platforms like Facebook to help segment people
- To email automation tools like ActiveCampaign to manage the different segments via tags
- And website-specific add-ons like RightMessage and AccessAlly to personalize the website experience itself
An example of personalization at work is special offers triggered by specific on-site actions, like in the image below. Notice how the copy changes depending on the user’s relationship with you…
Or, let’s say someone completes a short quiz and based on their answers they get a special discounted offer that lines up with the needs expressed in the quiz.
Or, after visiting a specific blog category, there’s a follow-up email sequence that sends them more of the same content—without the need to opt-in again.
The technology for this type of personalization and “on the spot” segmentation and offer promotion is here. It’s just a matter of using it strategically and making sure it comes off as beneficial to the end users.
Russ Henneberry, Digital Marketing Consultant, Author, & Speaker at RussHenneberry.com
As click costs from paid Google and Facebook traffic continue to rise and artificial intelligence (AI) and algorithms continue to make more and more decisions about the audiences you are targeting, 2 things will happen…
1. An Increasing Need to Get the Fundamentals Right
With AI handling more and more targeting options, the edge will slide to those who understand how to craft a great offer and articulate it well to prospects.
In other words, this is a good time to brush up on your copywriting skills.
(RELATED: Perpetual Traffic Episode 34: 14 Elements of Persuasive Ad Copy)
2. A Renewed Interest in Organic Traffic
But it’s worth it for many reasons including the fact that it reduces your “Cost Per” metrics.
In other words, if you buy 1,000 clicks from Facebook for $2 a pop and get 200 leads, your Cost-Per-Lead (CPL) cost is $10. If you add 1,000 clicks from organic search and your numbers remain the same, you’ve just cut your CPL to $5.
My recommendation is to not stop your digital advertising campaigns but, instead, supplement paid traffic with low or no-cost traffic from search and social.
Shannon Goodell, Social Media Manager of DigitalMarketer
Instagram continues its rise with nearly 1 billion monthly active users and 400 million Stories users.
It’s become one of the most popular social channels. People are flocking to Instagram to escape the negativity of other platforms (Facebook and Twitter, in particular).
Here at DigitalMarketer, we consistently get more positive feedback on our Instagram posts than on all other platforms.
And in 2019, Instagram will become an even bigger player for brands.
People, especially the younger audience, go on social to be educated, entertained, and inspired. And Instagram is the perfect channel for just this. Each image posted on Instagram gets 23% more engagement than on Facebook.
Facebook (Instagram’s parent company) realizes that they must focus on Instagram to succeed.
So Facebook continues to release new features focused on monetization and making marketers’ lives easier with Instagram. These are some of the features that were released just this year; a large portion of them with a focus on improving the Story experience:
- Add clickable profile usernames and hashtags in your bio
- Anti-bullying features
- Type modes and new fonts within stories to add personality
- Adding GIFs on Stories
- Mention stickers to tag account in your Stories
- Shoppable Stories and posts
- New shopping features for customers
- Repost Instagram Stories
- Re-share Instagram posts to Stories
- Stickers in Stories
- IGTV previews in Stories
And Instagram isn’t slowing down anytime soon.
As you can see above, the big emphasis in 2018 has been on Stories. In 2019, that will only continue (and grow).
Given this focus on Stories and monetizing them, I believe there will be even more ways to connect with your target audience through Stories. At every stage of the Customer Value Journey.
Oli Billson, Founder & CEO of Oliver Billson Marketing
Here are 4 predictions I have for 2019 that’ll help you stay on the cutting edge so you can make enormous strides in your business.
Prediction #1: Mobile Marketing Will Provide Huge Opportunities for Businesses Who Embrace It in 2019
According to comScore, the average American adult (18+) spends 2 hours and 51 minutes on their cellphone every day. They also found mobile device adoption rates are increasing at a huge rate, surpassing 80% in 2017.
This gives you ample opportunity to capture the attention of your target audience on devices they use so frequently in their lives.
We are already taking advantage of this trend here at NextLevelBusiness. That’s why we engineered the Phone Funnel Framework™ that allows us to connect with prospects via the devices they have in their pockets: their cellphone.
The Phone Funnel Framework™ follows several steps…
…which you can learn more about from these podcast episodes:
- Perpetual Traffic Episode 150: 3 Facebook Funnels to Drive More High-Ticket Leads
- Perpetual Traffic Episode 170: Drive More Conversions from Facebook Messenger Using “The FSMC Formula”
If you haven’t made the shift toward focusing more on mobile marketing in your business, I highly recommend you do so. It’s a trend that will continue to progress in 2019 and beyond.
PREDICTION #2: Prospects & Customers Will Crave More Authenticity & Human Touch from Businesses in 2019
Advances in marketing automation have allowed the average business owner to grow and scale their business and make better decisions.
However, these advances have made marketing more “impersonal” to their target audiences and have eroded relationships with long-term customers.
Sure, you can implement automation to perform basic tasks. But you should implement a personal touch whenever it is possible so prospects don’t feel they’re interacting with someone hiding behind a computer.
The challenge, though, is how to scale adding a personal touch to your marketing communications without taking a lot of your time. We solved this problem by using bonjoro.com to make personal, short videos for our customers so they don’t feel like just a number by sending.
Here’s an example of one of those videos:
The best part is these videos aren’t fancy. I just take out my iPhone and record a quick video to teach an important point or congratulate them for taking an action.
This is much more personal than sending emails. It also shows our customers that we do care for them, which boosts the chances they’ll stick around.
Of course, nothing beats taking a second and writing an old-fashioned handwritten note to clients who act on one of your offers, or a long-time customer who has been buying from you for a while!
PREDICTION #3: Behavioral Marketing Will Help You Cut Through the Clutter of a Crowded Marketplace in 2019
Gone are the days when you can have a big email list, send the same generic message to all of them, and expect the same level of response you may have achieved 5 years ago.
It’s now more powerful to serve unique and specific content and marketing messages to prospects and customers based on their prior actions.
Because most of your prospects/customers see the same marketing and sales messages over and over. And they’re on other people’s mailing lists and they get their marketing messages as well, so they’re swamped!
So, you need to cut through the clutter by delivering more uniquely tailored messages that match their previous actions.
That’s why robust marketing automation software like Infusionsoft is critical for most businesses. It allows you to segment user based on their previous actions automatically.
It also allows you to track which emails and promotions they’re clicking on and buying, respectively, so you can get an accurate picture of what your prospects and customers REALLY want.
PREDICTION #4: Social Proof Needs to Be More Specific & Robust in 2019
Social proof is extremely important when it comes to marketing. Prospects and customers want to see that other people have had success getting the result they desire from using your product/service.
The problem is most businesses don’t have enough social proof, or the proof they have doesn’t match their target demographic.
An example is a consulting company who is trying to target lawyers, but all the social proof they have on their website is from dentists.
The solution is to collect reviews aligned to specific buyer personas (a.k.a. customer avatars).
For example, if you’re a business who serves chiropractors who are making under $500K in revenue, then you need to have testimonials from that demographic.
Also, make sure your social proof is results-based and specific. Too many marketers have general “feel good” testimonials that don’t talk about a specific result.
To conclude, I believe 2019 will bring amazing opportunities for businesses who take these predictions to heart and adjust accordingly. That way, you can put your business ahead of the game in the new year and beyond!
Mary Kathryn Johnson, Founder & CEO of Messenger Funnels
For the last few years, in-demand professional copywriters have become extremely talented at generating long-form story copy that draws us into the worlds of their clients and gets us to trust and participate in the adventure.
I predict a very successful sub-set of professional copywriters will emerge over the course of the coming year. And that is the chatbot copywriter.
We have all heard of the conversational marketplace and the need to become conversational marketers in the new age of chatbots, AI, machine learning, and personalized marketing. But as with every new high-converting process, even the early adopters who do things poorly make money.
Many chatbots today contain copy derived from emails broken up into chunks and delivered in Facebook Messenger. Chunks of long-form story email copy are passive, and they simply tell a story in short bursts.
Creating good chatbot copy is an art designed to create a participatory adventure for the subscriber. It is designed to get subscribers to interact and participate in a journey. It is active.
As more marketers and business owners start using chatbots on Messenger, and eventually WhatsApp, iMessage, and Twitter, copywriters who are talented at generating…
- Short-form story copy
…that draws us into the chatbot worlds of their clients will be in high demand!
In 2019, I predict that a new copywriting industry will be born.
And these early adopters who generate consistent revenue for their clients through their chatbot copy will become the new copywriting experts for the next decade and will drive the value of the conversational marketplace.
Dennis Yu, CTO of BlitzMetrics
Smart businesses will focus on vertical video in 2019 to drive awareness, consideration, and sales.
Just like you and me, consumers are too smart for ads. So they cherish the “man on the street” style of authentic, iPhone-captured video.
The Nike’s of the world will create high-production pieces, but even they are generating 1-minute videos to distribute on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and even Snapchat.
But my prediction is not an argument for more UGC (user-generated content), which is often done poorly and randomly.
Smart marketers will create “authentic-looking” videos in triggered re-marketing sequences. That means:
- Vertical videos that work in a sound-off environment—using captions, simple visual effects from free phone apps
- Stories instead of testimonials—to show people as humans who are multi-faceted and vulnerable, instead of yes-bots who all uniformly shill about your products and services
- Sequenced content instead of a content calendar—viewers of Video A on Facebook get retargeted into Video B on another channel, and vice-versa
- Many public figure pages instead of a brand monolith—to boost posts from figureheads that your audience respects, entertaining instead of just selling
- Smarter attribution instead of “conversion rate”—the more mid-funnel content you have, the greater the “assist” of social to drive search traffic, chatbot to email, etc.
All this means that you must measure the flow of traffic not only down your funnel but across your channels, such that your marketing is an X*Y grid.
Your customers are moving down and across this grid, as you prioritize which boxes in this giant game of tic-tac-toe.
I predict that most marketers will fail to grasp the power of 1-minute videos because…
- They don’t believe it will work in their vertical
- Don’t believe they have the resources/time ($1 a day and 1-minute video)
- And can’t measure the ROI (needs attribution tools like what Facebook now offers)
This is your opportunity to leap ahead of your competitors.