9 for ’19: Digital Marketing Trends for the New Year

9 for '19: Digital Marketing Trends for the New Year

Written by: Stephanie Bariatti, Programmatic Consultant


       We are well into December and 2018 will be gone in the blink of an eye.  By now, many companies have their marketing strategies mapped out for the coming year.  But, as you continue to refine your plans and move forward, here are 9 of the top trends that industry leaders and experts are flagging as hot topics for 2019.

·      Voice Search – This is, perhaps, the most talked about trend to focus on in the New Year.  Smart speakers and digital assistants, like Alexa, Siri, Google Home and Cortana are becoming more utilized than ever.  When thinking about SEO and keywords for voice searches, the important thing to realize is that inquiries will be more conversational than what one would type in a search bar.  Who, What, Where, When, Why and How questions will be asked more frequently; e.g. “Where should I go to eat tonight?” instead of an abbreviated text search, such as “best restaurants near me.”

·      Chatbots – Love them or hate them, chatbots are here to stay.  It’s often very frustrating to deal with a bot, as opposed to an actual customer service rep, and many worry about the jobs they are taking away from real people.  However, Daniel Newman, principal analyst of Futurum Research and CEO of Broadsuite Media Group, predicts that the tech for chatbots will improve by leaps and bounds this year.  He also doesn’t think that the workforce will be totally replaced by machines, as human skills and emotion are still necessary for quality customer service.  Yet, chatbots are great for clear-cut requests, round the clock assistance and the instant answers we have become so accustomed to receiving.  Many analysts agree that investing in a chatbot would be a beneficial asset to your website.              

·      5GDaniel Newman also believes that this will be the year that we start seeing fixed 5G in both urban and rural areas, with some providers even moving toward mobile 5G by the end of ‘19.  In fact, at Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Technology Summit in Maui on December 4, Qualcomm, AT&T and Verizon outlined their 5G rollout plans for the year, promising the launch is mere weeks away in certain cities.  Well, that’s good news for everyone if newer, faster service becomes more readily available.   

·      Privacy – 2018 saw the advent of the EU’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and with it, a similar call for greater privacy guidelines throughout the world.  Companies will need to be held accountable for the way they handle privacy and personal data and they will be expected to clearly outline their policies to the public.  Consumers will start to see who really cares about protecting their privacy, thus building brand trust and loyalty.  If your business values that kind of relationship, start adopting these policies now.

·      Website Design – Expect many companies to revamp the design of their websites in order attract more traffic.  Bluetext’s CMO Don Goldberg says top trends include bright colors, bold typography, custom illustrations, integrated animations and a mobile-first design.  In addition, e-commerce sites may be affected by Google’s new Speed Update.  This change penalizes websites with slow loading speeds.  Those concerned about page loading times may want to look into switching servers or doing more research into ways to improve to meet Google’s standards.

·      Gen Z – This generation is coming to age, reaching the coveted 18-35 demographic.  What does this mean?  Aggressive social media marketing campaigns will be among the most impactful ways to reach them.  Ivana Popovic of Newswire says to focus on Snapchat and Instagram, while online media expert, Syed Balkhi, says Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are not to be discounted either.

·      Transparency/Authenticity – There’s certainly no stopping the rise of technology and automation.  It continues to help us in so many ways.  Yet, nothing will ever be able to match the human-to-human connection in building a relationship with consumers.  Future campaigns will include “a lot more live streams, ‘behind the scenes’ marketing, fluffy mission statements, and political engagement on social media,” according to Popovic.  The focus is on showing people that you’re not some big, faceless, sterile company.  

·      Video – Visual content has been on the rise for a while now and shows no signs of slowing down.  Video, video ads and live video are all worthwhile avenues for marketers to pursue.  The stats are pretty staggering, with studies expecting video to account for a whopping 85% of total internet traffic by 2019.      

·      Influencers – The popularity of influencers online is at an all-time high.  John Hall, writing for Forbes, says “People are putting more trust in others they know and reputable content, not ads.”  Influencers are seen as experts.  Consumers who follow them on YouTube and social media have a certain level of trust already established and will be more likely to listen to what they have to say about certain products.  TapInfluence and Nielsen Catalina Solutions conducted a study in 2016 that showed marketing teams get an average ROI of 11 times more than traditional advertising methods.        


Good luck to all in 2019!  There certainly seems to be lots of potential and opportunities for growth, innovation and success.  Most of these trends can be tied together and many will continue to grow for years to come. As your business crafts its’ marketing strategies for the new year and beyond, it is important to remember that and figure out the unique formula that works best for your company.

Stephanie Bariatti works as a Consultant and Project Manager for SMB Media Consulting.  She has had extensive experience with many facets of advertising and media, having worked for and with creative agencies, production companies and research departments.  She lives in New York with her wonderful husband, two lovable little boys and two snuggly Golden Retrievers.