Looking Back to Move Forward: How Digital Marketing Changed in 2019
Digital marketing is something that no modern business can afford to ignore.
Whether you’re a small one-man company or a huge enterprise, you need a reliable way to bring people to your business and help them to fall in love with your products.
Unfortunately, there’s more to being successful with your digital marketing campaigns than just knowing a thing or two about social media, content, and SEO.
One of the most challenging things about the current marketplace is the fact that it’s constantly changing and evolving. The strategies that you need to use to connect with your audience in 2020 might not be the same as the ones you used in 2019.
While it’s impossible to predict exactly what the future might bring to the digital marketing world, we can make a few fairly accurate assumptions by looking back at the last 12 months and using what we’ve learned. Before we share our personal predictions for the trends that you’re likely to see in digital marketing for 2020, we’re going to share some important lessons from 2019.
Lesson 1: People Are Searching in Different Ways
SEO, or “Search Engine Optimisation” has always been a valuable part of the marketing landscape – ever since the launch of internet search engines. If you want to make sure that your customers can find you online, then you need to make sure that you’re ranking for the right keywords on Google.
However, the way that people look for information online is changing. In the past, customers were reliant entirely on typing phrases into a search bar. Now, thanks to the arrival of smart speakers like Google Home and Amazon Echo, people can ask for information using voice search instead. Voice search has been ramping up at a rapid pace throughout 2019, with around 50% of online searches predicted to take place through voice next year.
If you haven’t started experimenting with how you can rank for voice search yet, now’s the time to get started. First and foremost, you’ll need to think about how you can use more natural language in your keyword campaigns, like “what kind of marketing can I do for free” instead of just “free marketing ideas”.
Lesson 2: The Customer Journey is Complicated
Customers aren’t just spending more time searching through smart speakers either. Your users are also more connected than ever to their smartphones. In the mobile landscape, marketers need to think about how they can leverage every aspect of the customer journey to connect with customers. This means taking advantage of “micro-moments”.
When a customer searches for something on their phone, looks for directions to an online store, or tries to make a purchase, marketers can make the most of these moments. The more you look at micro-moments, the more you can create targeted content that delivers a stronger return on investment.
In order for today’s budding businesses to make the most of micro-moments, they’ll need to understand the basic practices involved with each one. For instance, brick and mortar stores can take advantage of location searches by taking advantage of things like local SEO and searches that center around the phrase “near me.” You can even create specific online ads for your store’s location or offer insights into popular products to boost your search engine visibility.
Lesson 3: Video Is Still Popular
Throughout 2019, customers continued to explore video in a multitude of new and exciting ways. Concepts like Instagram’s IGTV became more prominent, while countless social media sites experimented with the benefits of live streaming. By getting involved with video in 2019, companies discovered a new way of connecting with their target audience on a deeper, more emotional level. After all, while text has its value, video offers an insight into the lives and times of the business that you’re learning about.
Video content is an excellent opportunity to share a multitude of different kinds of content options with your audience. For instance, you could make a video how-to guide that tells your audience everything you need to know about using your new product or service. Alternatively, you could simply place a presentation on the front page of your website that informs your customer of what your business is all about.
Keep in mind that the way you produce your video is important going into 2020. According to studies, the number of videos watched via mobile increases by 100% each year. You’ll need to ensure that any content you create looks just as good on a mobile as it does on a desktop PC.
Lesson 4: Data is the Key to Successful Marketing
One of the biggest ways that marketing has changed during 2019, is that it’s becoming increasingly intelligent. While businesses have always known that they need to understand their audience to deliver enticing promotional experiences, we haven’t always been able to gain the right insights from the data that we have collected. However, now that Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and other market leaders are extending access to their resources for AI and machine learning, there are more opportunities available than ever.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning built into a digital marketing strategy allows today’s advertising experts to determine how they can best engage with their buyers. You can use your artificial intelligence strategy to find out what kind of devices your customers use most, what content they respond to best, and what drives their decision making.
You can even use some forms of intelligent technology to change the way that you cross-sell and up-sell to prospective customers. Many modern businesses are beginning to experiment with things like chatbots and automated components as part of the marketing strategy. In the marketing world, when a customer asks your chatbot a question about a product, the bot could respond along with some links to similar products, increasing your opportunities for new sales.
Lesson 5: Personalization is Everything
Throughout 2019, as we began to recognize the importance of data and intelligent insights, we also saw that customers are starting to expect different experiences from the companies that they buy from. Todays’ consumers don’t want a one-size-fits-all approach to marketing. Instead, your target audience is depending on you to give them marketing experiences that are relevant and customized to their needs.
Personalizing your marketing content to suit your specific audience will rely on your ability to gather data and use it in building more informed user personas. Collect as much information as you can from your email marketing, social media, and other tools, and use it to find out what kind of experience your audience is looking for. Remember, although personalizing your content and marketing strategies can mean spending more time on your campaigns, it does pay off in the end.
In the eCommerce world, personalized content has an amazing impact on your customers. Studies have shown that 44% of users that have a personalized experience when shopping online are more likely to become repeat buyers.
Lesson 6: SEO Continues to Evolve
Finally, any budding business owner in the digital landscape should know a thing or two about search engine optimization. SEO is how you make sure that you appear naturally as part of your customer’s buying journey – when they search for terms that are relevant to you. Unfortunately, while SEO is essential to most marketing strategies, the rules around it are constantly changing. To give users the best possible experience, Google is constantly updating its algorithms.
In 2019, we saw updates to the SEO landscape that included everything from a new focus on mobile optimized pages, to an enhanced demand for better link building strategies. In 2020, we’re probably going to see even more changes happening in the search engine world.
As we leave 2019 and move into the next year, make sure that you’re keeping your finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the search engine world. Always be up-to-date on the latest strategies and solutions that you need to consider to improve your rankings with Google.
Ready to Move Forward?
Though all businesses need to have a strategy for digital marketing these days, it’s not always easy to find the one that’s right for you. As the consumer landscape and the marketing world continues to evolve, it’s important to make sure that you’re always one step ahead of the trends.
While no-one can predict what the future might hold with absolute certainty, looking at the trends that we’ve experienced recently, and learning from them can help you to prepare better for the year ahead.