The new year is approaching us at an alarming speed, no doubt bringing with it a plethora of digital trends for us to sink our teeth into.
2018 has been a year of building upon the social media trends of 2017, including the continued development of augmented reality, influencer marketing and video content. With 2018 beginning to fade the past tense, it’s no surprise that marketers are already wondering what kind of trends 2019 will bring to the table.
Of course, only those with access to a time machine will know with any degree of certainty what the future holds. But that doesn’t mean we can’t speculate! Here are some of the trends that are predicted for the ever-changing digital landscape in 2019:
Chatbots will become more ‘normal’ to consumers
Chatbots have been appearing on more and more websites over the last year or so. The idea is that a user’s time and effort is saved through the use of customer support, so that they don’t need to scroll through pages and pages to find the information they want. According to research by Gartner, more than 50% of medium to large enterprises will be using product chatbots.
Bots are more than just an effective means of mass communication; they also open up a 24/7 channel of communication between you and your customers. It’s thought that next year, more and more internet users will start to think of chatbots as ‘the norm’. To be honest, it’s happening already. A study by LivePerson discovered that 89% of users across the globe rated their overall perception of chatbots as either ‘positive’ or ‘neutral’.
Voice search will continue to rise
Almost one third of searches carried out through Google on a daily basis are voice searches, thanks in part to the rise of the virtual assistant. With devices such as Alexa and Google Home recognising human speech better than ever before, voice search is well and truly a “thing” now, and it’s probably not going to disappear when 2018 does.
Voice recognition technology is set to improve over the next few years, but what does this mean for digital marketing and SEO?
To put it simply, you need to optimise your digital marketing efforts for voice search as well as text-based search. You see, virtual assistants are changing the landscape of search queries. For example, if you live in Manchester and have spilt red wine on your favourite shirt, you might type “dry cleaners in Manchester” into a search engine. But if you’re using voice search for the same search query, you’re more likely to ask: “where’s my nearest dry cleaner?”
To rank highly in voice search results, use neutral language and include questions in your headings and sub-headings. You need to make it easy for Google to understand the topic of your content, as virtual assistants might pull snippets of information from your page to answer the user’s query.
SEO will be improved through topics instead of keywords
Search engine algorithms have changed recently, so instead of favouring keywords, they now prefer clusters of content centered around certain topics. With this in mind, marketers have started to link their content together, so they form ‘clusters’ around ‘pillars’ (topics) in relation to their category.
For example, if you sell beds, your pillar might simply be ‘beds’. The clusters around your pillar would be informed by long-tail keywords such as ‘how to style your bed’, ‘best ways to get a good night’s sleep’ and so on. Each cluster is a separate page that links to the pillar page, the idea being that when one page performs well, all the other pages in the cluster will see a boost. Topic clusters suggest to search engines that you are an expert in your field, giving you a bigger chance of ranking highly in SERPs.
Video will continue to dominate digital marketing
Video is by no means a new thing in the digital world, but just because everyone is using it now doesn’t mean it’s going to disappear in 2019. With 90% of customers claiming that seeing videos about products influenced their buying decision, you can’t afford not to invest in video advertising as the new year looms.
Snack ads will see more usage from brands
Though it kind of makes our tummies rumble, the term ‘snack ads’ doesn’t actually have anything to do with food. A snack ad is in fact a video ad that is shorter than 10 seconds long. The rise of video content we see online has led to a shorter attention span among users, making it tricky for brands to keep their customers’ attention.
Introducing the snack ad. Shorter ads are a way to keep audiences engaged by taking up less of their valuable time. YouTube currently uses these ads, with Fox hot on its heels. Expect to see these very brief ads being used by more and more brands in 2019 and beyond.
Not ready for 2019 yet? Don’t worry! Whether you want to create killer video ads or create a foolproof content marketing plan, our team of professionals are on hand to get you on top of the latest trends in time for the new year. Give us a call today to have a chat about how we can boost your business.