Where is digital marketing going in 2019?

SUMMARY: Digital marketing is going to evolve in 2019 and with it some of the things “experts” told us to focus on are going to fade away. At the heart of all these changes is that consumers are integrating digital into their daily routines and see digital as a tool to help them become smarter and better manage their lives.

Right now there is 1 website for every 4 people in the world, but somehow digital marketing gurus are telling us that we need more content. Everyone with something to sell or a story to tell is using the web and for some reason brand marketers feel they need to ramp up their digital marketing?

Google continues to rake in the money for paid search but some people feel that paid search is going to fade away replaced with, instead, voice search. That’s a pure canard. While the penetration rate of home smart devices has increased consumers seem to be using them as tools to get basic information like weather and traffic. The increase in home smart devices to turn on lights and coffee makers will also increase, but when it comes to looking for online information people are still going to go online.

Neil Patel believes that, in 2019, “blogging won’t work too well because there are too many blogs. I believe he is mistaken. The fact is seventy-seven percent of internet users read blogs and Internet users in the U.S. spend triple the amount of time on blogs as on email. The problem is that there are a lot of really bad blogs out there with people who rarely put in the time to talk to their audience.

With everything that has happened in the last two years in this country people’s trust in advertising has declined. The advertising industry cannot bury their heads in the sand and think it’s business as usual – public attitudes have changed dramatically, and brands need to recognize this or risk being left behind.

Internet users seem to be more and more influenced by “earned media”, such as recommendations from friends and family. According to the latest Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising Report, conducted in 56 countries, 92% of consumers say they trust earned media above all other forms of advertising. This is one reason why blogs are read so often.

It may take longer to establish a blog and earn a following but if you work at it and find a niche audience you will succeed. The problem is that people today are used to “instant gratification taking too long”. They don’t want to “work” at it to be successful.

I also expect that brands will finally take deeper dives into website analytics. The days of looking at website visitors without looking at bounce rate, time on site and path through the site are over. The bad news is that too many brands still believe that they have to increase digital marketing budgets because people want to go to a website for an orange juice brand.

What about social media?

Facebook is nothing more than a media site now and as long as people continue to let Facebook slide with selling their personal information brands are still going to advertise on the site. In our research last summer we discovered that people use social media as a media rich RSS feed. Why go to 4 or 5 sites in the morning when you can see their posts on your Facebook feed. However, we also heard that users don’t like how Facebook determines what’s in their news feed. Even tech savvy Millennials didn’t know how to get a better news feed on Facebook.

Instagram seems to be hot right now with some marketers who are introducing new products. In my feed I have seen some great ads for new travel products as well as some products that are brand new. I find them interesting, but for Instagram to really take off they need a “one click” purchase option without users having to enter all their information.

Finally, the smartphone market is going to cool off big time. Prices have gone through the roof and marketers haven’t given people enough reason to spend $800 for a new phone. Apple, for example, still has learned their lesson and is introducing 3 new iPhones this year without a bevel at the top. Do they really think people are going to lay down $1000 for a new iPhone without a bevel and 3 camera lenses?

In the end, brands and people have finally integrated digital into their lives. Why sit at a traffic light and waste time when you can check your email? Why go to the doctor when you can find what’s wrong via an online diagnostic checker?

Evolution will also discard websites and people that still believe the web is a forum to sell consumers. Today, people don’t want to be sold; they want to know what’s in it for them and by the way brand loyalty is disappearing as more private label brands show up.

Where is digital marketing going in 2019?