Andrew Langridge shares his expert advice about three key digital marketing trends to keep an eye on in 2019

2018 was a big year for digital marketing in many ways: social media platforms offered businesses more functionality than ever before, the continued rise of video marketing, the roll-out of mobile-first indexing by Google and, of course, the introduction of the four words we all love to hate: General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).

This coming year, we can expect social media interaction with customers to continue to grow and develop. Video marketing will continue to dominate and grow rapidly with user-generated content through Instagram, YouTube, Facebook Live etc. Businesses will continue to strive to create ‘positive social proof’ of someone customers can deal with and have a great experience with. With the introduction of new technologies to the marketing mix, it promises to be an interesting year.

Here are three key trends to keep an eye on in 2019:

Chatbots

There is no such thing as ‘opening hours‘ online. Customers have access to your business, its website and social media 24/7. Chatbots are becoming an increasingly important way to deal with customers’ queries. Currently frequently used on Facebook to help customers communicate with a business, chatbot usage is expected to rapidly grow. They can be integrated into a website, an app or on your business’s social media accounts, and are capable of dealing more quickly than humans with customer requests. They can also provide a more personalised service by gathering user information that can later be used to tailor your business‘s marketing campaigns.

VR/AR

Virtual reality and augmented reality are seen by many as belonging in a sci-fi-like future, but they are very much here and slowly creeping their way into businesses‘ marketing activity. They may still be at a very early stage, but it’s a great time to invest in them and explore their capabilities. VR/AR gives your customers the chance to be both engaging with your products and/or services and actively participating in your marketing activity in ‘another reality’, putting them at the heart of your business.

Voice Search

I first discussed this in Images in September last year, and 2019 promises to be an even bigger year for voice searches and queries. Almost one-third of the 3.5 billion searches performed in 2018 were carried out by voice assistant devices, with Apple Siri, Google Home and Amazon Alexa leading the way, and this is expected to grow to almost 50% of searches in 2019. You need to consider optimising your online content specifically for voice searches – start by focusing on ‘position zero’, aka the featured snippet in Google search results, local SEO and creating content around questions your customers may ask.

Andrew Langridge is from eTrader, one of the industry’s leading suppliers of websites to garment decorators across the UK.
www.etraderwebsites.co.uk