Google’s mobile-first index
Google announced back in March 2018 that they would start the switch over to a mobile-first index – although they’d been encouraging brands to turn their efforts to their mobile websites for several years prior to this.
This is big news for SEO teams, because it officially means that Google will crawl a business’ mobile pages first, and will only switch back to desktop if there is no equivalent mobile page available.
With 52.2% of worldwide traffic coming entirely from mobile phones in 2018 (an increase from 50.3% in 2017); Google mobile searches have overtaken desktop searches for a while. That’s why, it’s so important that you take note of this 2019 digital marketing trend.
If you’re wondering what you can do to optimise your site for Google’s mobile-first index, then the first step is to switch to a responsive website (if you haven’t already!). Google’s Mobile Friendly Testing Tool is a free tool that checks to see how your website performs on mobile, and provides you with handy tips on how you can make it friendlier for mobile users.
When it comes to a mobile-friendly site, perhaps the most important aspect is page speed. Google confirmed that page speed is a ranking factor for mobile websites in July 2018, and previous research has shown that 53% of visitors will leave a mobile site if a page takes longer than three seconds to load. So, if your website is slow, you’re losing out on valuable traffic (and most likely sales and leads).
Want to know how fast your mobile site is? Head on over to Google’s Mobile Speed Scorecard, where you can compare your site with your competitors.
The implementation of chatbots will increase
Did you know that 56% of people would rather message a brand than call customer service? With that in mind, one digital marketing trend you should take note of in 2019, is that chatbots will start to replace traditional customer service.
Some businesses are already early adopters of this technology, with 300,000+ active chatbots on Facebook Messenger alone. Consider the fact that there are over 8 billion messages sent between customers and brands every month, and you start to see how chatbots can release some of the burden off social media teams around the world.
The question is: how can you make chatbots work for your brand? Firstly, you’ll need to do some research into the types of questions your audience are likely to ask (bearing in mind you’ll usually have different questions on Facebook and Twitter). You’ll need to map out your customers’ various journeys once they’ve asked a question; and you’ll also need to determine your chatbot’s answers and tone of voice.
Brands are finding chatbots particularly useful for out-of-service hours, when employees can’t be reached. Considering the fact that whilst customers will usually expect brands to respond to their messages within 0-4 hours, yet the average brand takes 10 hours to respond; chatbots can help to lessen this gap.
For more information on how you can successfully implement chatbots into your digital marketing strategy (and other social media insights), check out our blog on the latest social media trends that you need to know about.
Source a circle of micro-influencers
65% of brands plan to increase spend on influencer marketing in 2019, with the main aims being to build brand awareness (86%), expand into new audiences (74%), and improve brand advocacy (69%).
Like with the rest of these digital marketing trends for 2019, the first thing you should do is question whether you should actually work with influencers in the first place. Whilst B2C companies may be able to see success, if you’re a B2B company, it’s unlikely to form part of your strategy for the year ahead.
If you’ve decided that you’d like to dip your toes into the world of influencer marketing, then we’d suggest you look to the micro-influencers. These are loosely defined as people with Instagram accounts that are followed by between 1,000-100,000 people, and have proven to drive higher levels of engagement than big name celebrities (60% more, in fact).
When it comes to influencers, it’s important to never force a relationship. There should be a natural link – ideally, they should already be talking about your brands online.
One brand that’s cottoned onto this, is Iceland. They ditched celebrities in favour of micro-influencers, who also happened to be their biggest advocates: mums. Think about it: if you see a celebrity plugging a brand, of course you’re going to assume that they’ve been paid for it, so their recommendations don’t seem genuine.
Instead, if you can work with people who are already genuinely passionate about your brand, it will resonate with other customers.
Video is hugely powerful…
If you haven’t yet incorporated video into your digital marketing strategy, then these stats should convince you (sourced from Impact):
- 70% of consumers have shared a brand’s video on social media
- 72% of brands say that by including video in their marketing strategy, they’ve seen improved conversion rates
- 52% of consumers feel more confident in online purchasing decisions once they’ve watched a video
This doesn’t just relate to YouTube: Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn are all great platforms to showcase your video, depending on who your audience is – not to mention including it on your website too.
The next step in video marketing is live video – with Instagram Stories and Instagram TV leading the way here.
Whilst it can be easy to shy away from the live concept, it really is a great way to give customers a glimpse into what goes on behind the scenes of your brand; in addition to interviews and product demos.
Ultimately, whether you choose live videos or a more traditional format, is down to your goals. Live can really help to increase engagement on social media; whereas other videos can have huge SEO benefits.
With YouTube videos showing up on search engine result pages (SERPs), by optimising your videos, you are giving yourself a better chance of being seen by potential new customers, making this 2019 digital marketing trend one you can’t afford to ignore.
… and don’t forget visual search too
It seems like every digital marketer is talking about voice search (I’m sure we’ve all heard that “50% of all searches will be voice by 2020”, which honestly, isn’t going to happen); but what isn’t talked about as widely is visual search. Yet, it’s certainly one of the trends in digital marketing that we’d recommend brands look at in more detail for 2019.
Ben Silbermann, Cofounder and CEO of Pinterest once stated that “the future of search will be about pictures, rather than keywords”, so it perhaps comes as no surprise that Pinterest is leading the way with visual search, with Pinterest Lens. After just one year of launching, it had over 600 million searches.
This tool enables users to take a photo of a product (e.g. a dress in a designer boutique’s window, or an outfit of someone walking down the street), and will then show the user where they can buy the item from, in addition to similar products.
Another piece of great news for brands: 93% of active pinners have stated they use Pinterest to plan their future purchases; and 87% have revealed they’ve bought something specifically after seeing it on Pinterest.
Bing and Google are also making strides in visual search, so now it’s time for your brand to get onboard with this digital marketing trend, and see how you can benefit from visual search.
Optimise your product images in the following way:
- Upload high quality images, showing your product from multiple angles
- Optimise your metadata – make sure the name of your image (and alt text) clearly describes what your image depicts
- Use product schema markup that highlights relevant info such as colour, price, currency and availability
- Submit an image XML sitemap – it provides an extra opportunity to clarify what each of your images show
Digital marketing is an ever-evolving landscape, and with new trends emerging all of the time, it’s imperative your brand remains ahead of the game, so you can effectively compete with competitors.
We look forward to seeing how these 2019 marketing trends pan out over the year, as we monitor which brands adapt these five points, and start to see successes.
For the latest news in digital marketing, check out our our blog, or if you have any questions or would like to know how we can help you with your digital marketing, get in touch – we’d love to hear from you!