Three key aspects of digital marketing in 2019 were: ONE: New trends in Google TWO: Continued rise of video THREE: The persistence of influencer marketing
Every year is a "new year" for marketing. It's also a new year in general. There are three key takeaways all small business owners should know.
Platform use has shifted, some things that used to work didn't work as well and some things that never worked are all of a sudden paying off. As someone who favors the slow and steady to the quick and dirty, I appreciate that there is, well, appreciable growth for tried-and-true marketing methods. However, it would be inexcusable to not have your finger on the pulse of the industry. Valuable and vital shifts have occurred. Trajectories change. Landing points re-arrange. If you're going to succeed, you have to be agile enough to adapt.
Read on for the nit-grit. In the meantime, here's what we learned based on these three elements:
Read on for a deeper dive into the shifts that happened for digital marketing in 2019 and how you need to adjust your sales strategy to make it work for you.
Google has a 92.95% share of the search engine market. Since Google is the starting point for most of us, it's vital to have an eye to what shifted there this year. I think the number one most painful thing that grew was zero-click searches.
Zero-click. No one wins. Google has this super-helpful (thanks a lot) tool that showcases one of their most "relevant" result's synopsis that could, in theory, answer your question without you ever having to go anywhere. I almost passed out from that run-on sentence. But, like Leslie Knope talking about Eagleton, sometimes I almost pass out when I complain about something I hate. As a consumer, sweet. As a marketer, not cool.
Additionally, Google keeps adding features like carousels, local packs and knowledge graphs that give consumers easy answers without them having to go beyond the search screen.
The core update was slow to be felt but it did impact traffic and ranks.
Every six months or so when Google updates, it's a good opportunity for everyone who has an invested interest in SEO to tighten up best practice. Negative penalties will be handed out for websites that are violating white hat SEO. Link building and other exercises can fluctuate during the change. Low quality content will hurt you. Ultimately, black hats were the losers (as they should be). There's no way to be totally prepared or expect what will happen with each of these waves. The best thing to do is keep it all above board all of the time and maintain excellent SEO.
Like most marketing processes, AdWords is always getting more automated. As Google takes over the world, AdWords is also increasingly integrated with all of its other offerings. A couple of important changes that should inform your AdWords strategy include:
Since 2012, Facebook has owned IG. If you didn't know that... now, you do. (And Google owns YouTube and Disney owns Star Wars and the world is strange and a little nepotistic.) This has been a bit of a hair-pulling year for ads on FB and IG. Some of the primary changes include the ad terms, necessity for business ad manager and placing ads in stories and messenger.
Some ad terms that changed included not being able to use Personal Attributes, which can be an issue if you are targeting by age (you can't say "Car insurance for 18-24 year olds" or "Meet other Seniors"). Ads that have this kind of language won't run. For very niche or specific industries, this can be challenging. (Are you a church? Could be tricky.)
New limitations on where you get traffic to go, such as your website or a landing page, are now being more closely scrutinized. Additionally, MLM and work-from-home offerings are being rejected or at least manually reviewed by FB. Stay on top of the terms or you're going to spend a lot of time requesting reviews and waiting for that turnaround.
It may feel very recent that text was "no longer good enough" and you HAD to use images in your ads and posts. In 2019, video marketing continued to escalate in a way that makes images, memes and plain old text completely antiquated. It's the future, Marty. And the future is in video.
One report from FB says that, by 2020, over 75% of traffic on mobile devices will be viewing videos. Video ads are catchy, casual and more common than ever. Rather than a carefully edited and professionally produced videos, people are literally walking down the street shooting ads and promo videos.
I personally feel slightly too old to appreciate this. I like the news. I like prompt cards that contain information that is well-researched and mostly memorized. However, gen-xers and an increasing group of buyers respond to this kind of content. So, us old folks have no choice but to step it up. Or, down, as it were. This kind of pedestrian, any-girl/any-guy, on-the-go, live and in color marketing is delivered and performing on these platforms. Results can't be ignored.
This may feel like another one of those, "am I just too old to appreciate this?" moments, but influencer marketing is still working. Whether you are releasing a book, hosting an event or launching a product, getting someone whose YouTube page has millions of subscribers to endorse you can be like having LeBron wear your shoes. It's obvious. And it works.
"How many brands use influencer marketing?" I looked it up: this is estimated at as much as a $10 billion industry. Commonly, companies pay between $1,000 and $10,000 a year on this kind of marketing. 7% of companies will have spent over a million dollars on influencer marketing this year. Influencers can also do product reviews and usually have access to vast networks of buyers who will do what they say. So, borrowing their voice may be a good buy.
Trends are what they are: trendy. I literally messaged Kohls on FB the other day to ask about a missing order because I couldn't get a hold of them any other way. And, you know what, they messaged me right back and made it right! This is the new way.
These digital marketing changes are not here to stay but they DO impact your business, right here, right now. For that reason, they cannot be ignored. While I do think the best choice is to always pursue classic sales methods that have generations of proof-positive, delivering those methods on modern media is essential to success. If you're in it to win it, you better be learning all the time. Follow this blog, hire us if you need a hand... and good luck!