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2019: Key digital marketing trends for the year ahead

February 18, 2019

The rapid pace of change in the digital world means that, no matter what industry you’re in, there’s never a dull moment in the world of marketing. But to stay relevant, it’s critical that we stay ahead of the curve; that we make ourselves aware of what trends are just around the corner and think about how we are going to use them in our own strategies.

2018 was an exciting year for marketing, with automation, personalisation and data privacy (to name but a few) having a huge influence. This year we’ll see a few familiar faces -- like video --  take centre stage, as well as a few newcomers.

Let’s take a look at some of the digital marketing trends to have on your radar in 2019.

1. Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning

From targeted ads that use machine learning to read data to chatbots that mimic human intelligence, AI is high on the list this year. Increasingly, businesses will use AI to collect and analyze data in order to make more data-driven decisions that will enable them to connect better with their users and speed up processes.

2. Virtual reality & augmented reality

Virtual Reality (VR) is an artificial, computer-generated recreation of a real life scenario, whereas Augmented Reality (AR) is a technology that overlays computer-generated enhancements on an existing reality to make it interactive. Both serve to enrich or enhance the user’s experience.

Until recently, marketers have been slow to adopt the trend, but AR apps and VR glasses are making this technology more accessible. Even if its not relevant for you right now, it’s worth thinking about how you could utilize AR and VR in the future!

3. Extertise and thought leadership

In a digital sphere overflowing with content and competition, audiences are opting for brands that provide valuable insight and expertise. To achieve this, businesses are investing time in producing the calibre of content that will keep stakeholders engaged on an experiential level and add value to their online experience.

A few ideas for achieving this include: employing experts from the field to help create video content; publishing in-depth and insightful long-form content and engaging in meaningful conversation and debate.

4. Micro-influencers

We’re all familiar with the concept of an ‘influencer’, but now businesses are turning to ‘micro-influencers’ to help promote their campaigns and brands. In some ways, micro-influencers are more valuable than macro influencers with more followers, because their followers can actually be more engaged.

To achieve the best results from an ROI perspective, savvy brands are hiring groups of micro-influencers. Collectively, they will have a larger reach and probably won’t cost as much as a big name celebrity, meaning you save on marketing spend too.

5. Predictive analytics

Marketers use analytics to predict and evaluate, and it’s the former that’s going to take precedence this year for many brands. By using a propensity model (a statistical scorecard that is used to predict the behaviour of a client base), brands can make an educated guess as to how likely it is that an individual will convert.

To do predictive analytics and propensity models properly you need to make sure the data you have is up to scratch. Errors, gaps and randomness will result in a higher level of inaccuracy.

6. Customers as brand ambassadors

Clients can act as influencers too, and this year we’re set to see more businesses encouraging customers to act as brand ambassadors. Not only does this empower the customer, but builds trust with the wider audience who are looking for authentic content and feedback.

There are many tools on the market to help you integrate customer feedback into your marketing efforts, such as Bazaar Voice and TrustPilot. Facebook and Google reviews are also valuable (and free).

7. Quality over quantity

This goes hand-in-hand with point three. Consumers can feel overwhelmed with content, and in a bid to rise up the ranks on Google some marketers end up churning out ‘optimized’ yet sub-standard material stuffed with keywords.

In 2019, we predict brands will focus on quality over quantity, and invest time in producing more thoughtful, engaging content that serves a real purpose.

8. Respecting Privacy

2018 saw the introduction of the new GDPR EU law and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) will come into effect in 2020. As such, marketers need to make sure they are collecting, storing and using people’s data in an ethical way to maintain the trust of their client base and avoid penalties.

Transparency is key - consumers want to have ultimate control over how their data is used. This means getting consent from consumers before using their data and being clear about what it is going to be used for (as well as giving them the option to opt out, of course).

So there you have it: 8 marketing trends for 2019. This is by no means an exhaustive list,so do keep an eye on the blog for further tips and advice.  All the best for the year ahead!

This is a guest post by FULL FABRIC. FULL FABRIC is a higher education solutions and technology company that helps institutions around the world attract and engage the best applicants and streamline existing processes, through their Admissions and CRM software suite.
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