Digital marketing newsletter Digital marketing trends present challenges and opportunities for businesses in 2019

Digital marketing trends present challenges and opportunities for businesses in 2019
26 February 2019 (Edited )
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Digital marketing newsletter ClickZ has published the interesting results from a survey of 700 US-based digital marketers done by Chatmeter in November 2018.

Respondents were asked to select from a list of 23 trends - related to technology, search, online retailing, social media, advertising, chatbots, etc - the 5 they believed would present the greatest challenges and opportunities in 2019.

The top 5 trends that emerged were (with % of mentions):

  1. Change of customer behavior driven by technological improvements (50.7%)
  2. Data protection and privacy (41.9%)
  3. Rise of voice search (36.1%)
  4. Machine learning (33.2%)
  5. Personalization (31.1%)

1. Change of customer behavior driven by technological improvements:

Components of this trend include:

  • Mobile
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  • Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Augmented Reality (AR)
  • Possible developments:
    • Bigger brands do more direct sales, cutting out smaller businesses.
    • Elimination of consideration/research phase of the buying cycle
    • Customers tied more closely to brands
  • Recommended actions:
    • Use effective mobile assets - simple calls to action, forms, buying funnels, one-click options.
    • Optimize for local searches - "near me" etc.
    • Use plugins to integrate mobile-friendly features.
    • Be visible on Amazon, which is a search engine as well as a retailer.
    • Join Google Shopping Actions.
    • Use Facebook chatbots.
    • Use Progressive Web Apps.

2. Data protection, privacy and regulation

  • Possible developments:
    • New technologies may cause consumers to trade privacy off for convenience.
    • Openness of brands re how data are used could lead to more sharing.
  • Recommended actions:
    • Explain benefits of, and incentivize, data sharing by customers.
    • Convert e-mail lists into Facebook Audiences, run ads there.
    • Enable customers to access and delete data that you have on them.
    • Tweak privacy policy to comply with GDPR

3. Rise of voice search

  • Possible developments:
    • Adoption will skyrocket once voice recognition goes from 95% to 99%.
    • Competition in Google searches will move from top 10 positions to top ONE position: the single best answer.
    • More diverse search queries add complexity, but less competition on each query phrase.
  • Recommended actions:
    • Optimize listings for local search.
    • Be #1, as voice search returns only one result.
    • Invest in keyword research using multiple sources: forum questions, tweets, phonecall notes.
    • Optimize for non-branded queries.
    • Optimize for long-tail queries that may trigger featured snippets.
    • Add Q&A and FAQ functionality to website, for search engine content.
    • Participate in Google Speakable.

4. Machine Learning

  • Possible developments:
    • Relieve humans from doing mechanical data functions.
    • Improve search and discovery through emotion detection, facial and speech recognition.
    • Integrate IoT data for advanced personalization.
  • Recommended actions:
    • Invest in Facebook Ads to get data.
    • Use sentiment analysis.
    • Use machine learning for lead scoring.

5. Personalization

  • Possible developments:
    • Privacy concerns will force evolution of personalization.
    • Transparency will be essential.
    • Real-time personalization driven by AI
  • Recommended actions:
    • Use off-the-shelf 3rd-party solutions, don't reinvent in-house.
    • Start by creating personalized experiences for returning customers.
    • Use Google and Facebook ads.
    • Use an automated e-mail platform to run personalized campaigns
    • Set up on-request content that users can access via chatbot.


That's a lot of material, and only the tip of the iceberg considering the content of the full report.

Some actionable items in there that caught my attention as being important but often overlooked are:

  • Smaller businesses right now need to start playing catch-up in direct sales.
  • Visibility and the ability to convert sales on mobile devices is absolutely essential.
  • You must strive to be #1 in Google mobile search for what you're selling.
  • For most consumer products, be visible on Amazon.
  • Even if not selling into the EU - becoming less likely by the day - comply with the GDPR.
  • If you depend heavily on e-mail for marketing, develop a less-intrusive backup plan.
  • For voice search, learn the words people use when trying to find and buy stuff like yours, and use them in all your marketing, website, ads.
  • Use Google and Facebook Ads to sell while acquiring customer data.
  • Don't try to build tech solutions in-house. Buy off the shelf from suppliers with good reviews.
  • Personalization for returning customers - the people on whom you have the most and best data - is a good place to start.

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