2018 pushed the boundaries of digital marketing into exciting realms including voice search and mobile first. Online businesses were encouraged to truly connect with their audience as a means of driving revenue and creating long-lasting relationships.
Digital Marketing is an umbrella term for several forms of marketing such as SEO, web design, CRO and UX, but these days all of these marketing forms are beginning to merge into a symbiotic process in which one cannot thrive without the other.
Now we’ve told you what we think, let’s see what our friends are saying…
Craig Murphy, Managing Director at ALT Agency
The Rise of the Chatbot
2018 has already seen people becoming more aware of chatbots and with Facebook messenger offering a simple chatbot integration its growing more popular than ever.
Chatbots firstly cut down on human resource; they can deal with multiple enquiries at the same time, quicker than a human, leaving the end user with an incredibly fast user experience that felt as though it was tailored specifically for them.
With AI getting more and more intelligent as it learns, it’s highly likely that we will start to see chatbots include adverts as this would allow marketers to target users more specifically based on their exact query.
There are a number of ways this can play out but a likely scenario is restaurants, for example, paying to show ads when people are asking their voice-activated assistants to find them restaurants nearby, this would allow directions, booking a table and viewing the menu possible at the click of a button or of course on voice command.
James Anstee, Social Media Consultant at Content4Social
More Focus on LinkedIn
With over 500 million users LinkedIn is by no means a small social media network but, in 2019 we will see it being used by more and more businesses to generate leads.
The statistics for using LinkedIn as an online marketing tool speak for themselves with 80% of B2B leads coming from LinkedIn as well as 79% of B2B marketers labelling it as a useful source for lead generation.
It is surprising to learn that less than 1% of LinkedIn’s total users are getting the most out of the platform. Only three million LinkedIn users post content weekly yet there are nine billion content impressions in LinkedIn feeds every week.
To put it simply if you join the three million people who are posting content weekly on LinkedIn, you have a much greater chance of your content being seen compared to posting on the other leading social media networks.
This is by no means a secret however and every week the number of people creating content on LinkedIn is increasing. By the end of 2019 expect the number of users posting content weekly to be much larger.
Ric Rodriguez, SEO Director at iProspect
In 2018, search engines needed to have the answers; in 2019, they will need to be the answer. As users continue to consume information across an ever more varied list of platforms and sources, it is becoming increasingly difficult for the likes of Google, Bing et al. to remain relevant. This year saw the movement of many upcoming “search competitors” into the mainstream. It is no longer the convention to search for a taxi service. Instead, we use Uber; or to book a holiday via a travel agent, when we could use Airbnb.
This behavioural shift has changed the expectations of the search engine’s audience; we do not want to look for the perfect solution to our query, but expect this to be served directly to us, based on the data we have provided to our chosen partners – and we expect this to happen fast.
To counter this industry-wide change, search engines have adapted on two fronts; first, they increased the level of information they provide directly in search results; second, they incentivised webmasters to create websites that offer fantastic experiences to users, through mobile-first thinking and rewarding user-centric sites in search.
Google My Business received a raft of new features to make the process of finding a local business even better – and driving meaningful engagements and transactions will be a crucial focus for this team over the next year. If you are brick and mortar business and have not yet considered your local SEO strategy, now is the time.
A notable trend this year (although Google and industry experts have been talking about “things, not strings” for quite some time) was the rise of relevancy and “information management”. Website data powers a myriad of “secondary search”
services, from featured snippets to voice. This I believe will be become an important part of SEO in 2019.
As users find the answers to their questions across an ever-growing list of digital endpoints, ensuring that your brand owns the data across the feeds that power these will be the key to success. In turn, as more structured information becomes available, I expect that we will see search engines use it to understand the true value of a website to users. Perhaps, in 2019 we start to see the end of a links-based “trust” system, moving to one based on the usefulness of a website’s content alone.
Charlie Lawrance, Founder & CEO of Gecko Squared
In 2019 we are going to see the continuing rise in the cost of Facebook advertising, as it becomes a more popular marketing channel. The increase in the number of advertisers pushes up the demand for ad space, but with a limited supply of ad inventory this will increase CPMs and make Facebook advertising more expensive.
Therefore, new advertisers who don’t have a proper Facebook advertising strategy and are just boosting their posts or advertising ad hoc will lose out to more experienced advertisers and could come to the false conclusion that Facebook ads don’t work for their business.
Also, advertisers who have a low first purchase order value, where they need to acquire customers for under £10 per purchase to be profitable, will be pushed out of the platform if they make decisions only using their immediate Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) based on the value of first purchases reported by Facebook.
Sustainable and long term success with Facebook advertising will come from assessing your True ROA’s and which factors in your customer lifetime value and enables you to correctly understand the real impact of Facebook advertising on your business.
It is no longer a marketing channel that you can dabble with and see fluke results.