If marketers want to stay ahead of the competition they must be aware of the changes in the digital trends and adapt themselves to navigate them. Only then will they be able to grow their brand, generate more leads to increase their customer base, and better engage with existing customers. With 2020 round the corner, it is a good time to analyze the trends that impacted businesses in 2019, and predict what the new year is expected to bring. Read on to know the 5 key trends that impacted digital marketing in 2019.
1. Tech for Improved Customer Engagement
2019 saw a rise in the popularity of voice-based searches. This involved two kinds of searches.
- Searches done on smart speakers. These give immediate voice answers when a question is asked to the device. For example, Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana, Apple’s Homepod, and Google’s Home.
- Voice searches done through apps installed on smartphones or on desktops. For example, Siri and Google Assistant.
Many brands began to use voice-enabled devices to reach out to customers as this is both a non-expensive and an effective method to drive customer engagement leading to a better click-through rate.
When you implement voice search you must remember to:
- Use SEO that is written in natural language
- Create content keeping the target audience in mind
- Focus on long-tail keywords is necessary as customers are likely to ask specific questions
2019 was a year when chatbots continued to remain popular. A study showed that 45% of end-users like to use chatbots when it comes to customer service. This is a method that marketers leverage as it is an easy method to improve customer engagement.
- Chatbots offer real-time assistance to the customer
- They provide dedicated support
- Customer interactions are more proactive interactions
- For complex queries, chatbots have more patience!
Customers often need instant gratification. For example, when they are in a particular locality they want to know of the nearest cafe or petrol station. To leverage this, store owners are:
- Optimizing their locations on their websites
- Creating advertisements that have their store locations in it
By capitalizing on these micro-moments, marketers are able to improve the CX.
Live Streaming Videos
Live streaming videos on social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube is free, is not time consuming, and offers greater customer engagement as it happens in real-time. Hence, 2019 saw brands using this as a popular method to attract new customers.
Brands in industries like e-commerce have begun to reach out to potential customers through push notifications. For example, shoppers who left the shopping cart without making the purchase are reached out so as to tempt them to complete their purchase.
2. Augmented Reality
A study conducted by Statista showed that the AR and VR global market would read to over $200 billion in the next 4 years. Brands have begun to use augmented reality ads to generate greater brand awareness. For example, IKEA, L’Oreal used AR to improve the CX by allowing potential customers to visualize the products online before actually purchasing it.
3. Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence allows marketers to understand buyer patterns and user behavior to improve their marketing strategies. This is because:
- It helps to analyse data to predict emerging trends in customer habits
- This data can then be used to decide on which media will be sussed to reach out to customers in new and better ways
Hence brands like Amazon, Microsoft, and Google have begun to introduce resources in this domain. Various brands in industries like ecommerce, healthcare, food and beverage also saw AI being used. For example, food and beverage brands use AI to know which are the best delivery times while ecommerce brands use it to find out the demographics of the shoppers.
4. Account-based Marketing
2019 was the year of account based marketing (ABM) wherein marketers in the B2B industry began to focus on their audience in a more personalized manner. In the B2B space, ABM has an advantage because:
- Personalized messaging is devised for the target audience based on the customer information available
- The sales and marketing teams work in coordination to create the most effective marketing strategy, which reduces the sales cycle
- As the marketing activities is more measurable, it provides the highest ROI of all marketing tactics used in the B2B space
- As targeted accounts are focused, time and finances are least wasted
ABM was carried out by marketers in new and creative ways, for instance:
- Events wherein key prospects were invited to shows post which there was persistent follow-up e.g., VIP dinners were organized.
- Customized webinars were organized.
- Email campaigns were devised wherein potential customers were first segmented on various parameters like age, profession, geography, and more. Post this, separate emails were sent to these groups. 2019 saw emails getting more plain text oriented as well since HTML rich emails often get treated as spam.
- Direct mails also got a lot of focus. Marketers have begun to better analyze customer responses to targeted emails. For example, subscribers who open emails regularly are sent mails regularly while the unengaged ones are taken off the list and reached out to through other media. Also, the mails getting more clicks are analyzed to understand which content got more engagement
5. New Search Algorithms
When it comes to search engine marketing, Google dominates the scene. Hence, if companies want to rank high on the search pages, they need to stay abreast of the changes that Google brings in from time to time in the search algorithms.
- The biggest changes in 2019 was renaming AdWords to Ads and the introduction of the Doubleclick ad platform.
- Tools like Google Analytics, Data Studio, and others became more closely integrated as well.
- Slower sites began to get penalized and so companies began to focus on how to improve on the speed of their websites.
- With the growing popularity of voice-based search, customers are now asking more specific questions. Hence, Google, with its search snippets, has begun to give more weightage to sites that have been able to incorporate this feature.
Digital innovation is what brands need to stay ahead in the current competition. For this, trends must be paid heed to and adapted to. 2019 saw many emerging trends that impacted digital marketing. These can indeed be used as a good starting point for the year ahead. Bring on 2020!