New years arrive with renewed energy to improve on the past, make good on promises, and discover new ways of doing things. 2019 is no different, especially when it comes to the top marketing trends we’re likely to see.

2019 Annual Planning in
5 Steps

We asked our experts to break down the biggest trends in their channel. Here’s what they are looking forward to in 2019. Some you’ve seen, heard, or worked with before—artificial intelligence and personalization are likely to be talked about for years to come—while others you may be considering adopting for the very first time.

Email

Communicating on a 1:1 level

In 2019, we believe the increased presence of technologies that connect data from multiple sources—such as DMPs and CDPs—will allow for more personalized, one-to-one email communications at every touchpoint.

Email has always been a key part of one-to-one consumer communications, driving high ROI as a core communication channel for many of our clients. In 2019, we believe the increased presence of technologies that connect data from multiple sources—such as data management platforms (DMPs) and customer data platforms (CDPs)—will allow for more personalized, one-to-one communications at every touchpoint.

Whether it’s leveraging email data to inform retargeting efforts in paid media or using email communications as the starting point for personalizing the consumer experience on websites and display ads, these platforms will open doors for coordinated, cross-channel marketing efforts like never before.

The DEG email team is especially excited about these emerging technologies because they will allow us to fully step into our roles as true relationship marketing strategists, managing one-to-one communications for our clients across all channels, not just email.

— Laura Madden, senior relationship marketing strategist

Social Media

An evolving landscape and lack of trust

2018 was full of changes within the social sphere that caused new opportunities and challenges for brands throughout every channel. Looking forward to 2019, brands have an opportunity to engage their audiences in a more personal and authentic way using social media.

Because of the lost trust, hyper-personalized ad strategies may be less successful as they have been in the past. Consumers are beginning to find these campaigns or posts as “creepy.”

Social media platforms are losing trust from users, with 60% of users no longer trusting social media companies, according to Edelman. Because of this lost trust, hyper-personalized ad strategies may be less successful as they have been in the past. Consumers are beginning to find these campaigns or posts off-putting or “creepy” in today’s climate.

However, consumers are displaying a shift away from highly scripted, highly polished content to content that’s more authentic and spontaneous. This authentic content trend allows brands to interact and relate with their consumers on a more personal level—a more one-to-one experience—which can in turn foster more brand loyalty and regain trust in the social sphere.

— Abby Eckel, social media strategist

It’s all about how you tell the Stories

As Facebook and Instagram Stories saw a surge in 2018, that uptick will likely continue into 2019 and beyond. Tying into the shift toward spontaneous, in-the-moment content, Stories allow brands to display content in a more real-time fashion, allowing them to interact with consumers more authentically in the moment.

As well, Instagram rolled out even more ways for consumers to shop within the platform by allowing tags in Instagram Stories, as well as in the feed. Easier ways to shop continue to be top of mind for social platforms as they trend toward becoming more ecommerce focused. In 2019, platforms are expected to continue to roll out new ways to support online purchases.

What’s becoming increasingly important across the board is being able to track the ROI of your social efforts, which can mean a variety of different things and depends on the objectives you have set in your channels.

With a shift toward greater authenticity, companies are uniquely positioned in 2019 to merge the personalized content with a more in-the-moment approach, which will help consumers feel more at ease with brands and their ad strategies, impeding any potential for mistrust or concern.

— Abby Eckel, social media strategist

Pay to play is more important than ever

If you don’t have a paid social strategy and budget in 2019, you’re quickly going to become irrelevant. For years the industry has been saying “organic is dead” and that it’s a “pay-to-play” scene, and more than ever we see this on the rise.

New ad formats are constantly being launched and it’s important to get the most bang for your buck. Even having an ongoing budget to boost your organic content so it’s actually seen by your audience ties back to the ROI of the channel, even when it doesn’t’ result in a direct response such as revenue.

— Chelsea McDonald, senior social media strategist

Video is “king”

Video is more important than ever, but we have to think more about the type of video that will resonate best with customers. Depending on the message that’s being delivered, this can range from experiential video—such as VR or AR—to live video, video storytelling, and creating video specifically for the vertical format of our smartphones. It’s not a question of whether or not video is still important, it’s what types of video are most important and what’s next? I’m sure we’ll soon find out.

Video is more important than ever, but we have to think more about the type of video that will resonate best with customers.

— Chelsea McDonald, senior social media strategist

New post, what platform?

Instagram and Facebook continue to separate themselves from the pack as the ringleaders of social platforms. However, it’s entirely possible that the most popular social media platform of 2019 doesn’t yet exist.

Paid Media

Marketing technology (AI) is driving the customer experience

Change is happening faster than ever across advertising, media, and entertainment. This pace is only expected to accelerate in 2019 as technology improves and the struggle for capturing the attention of consumers grows more intense. This evolution is being propelled by marketing technology, which is enabling brands and advertisers to make productive use of artificial intelligence and automation.

As we plan for next year, there are three key trends that should be top of mind for all marketers as they seek to evolve their own company or brand in this rapidly changing landscape. These trends include:

  1. The growing use of availability of artificial intelligence and tools that support automation across all forms of digital advertising.
  2. The customer’s expectation for a helpful, personalized experience.
  3. The need for brands to promote authenticity to successfully break through the clutter in an increasingly complex digital landscape.

Brand marketers can adapt to these new trends by making use of the AI that exists within platforms you are activating in and experimenting with new forms of AI.

Brand marketers can adapt to these new trends by making use of the AI that exists within platforms you are activating in—Facebook Ads Manager uses a form of AI to help you customize your ads—and experimenting with new forms of AI. Doing so will help you save time and improve the efficiency of your current media budget.

In addition, brands can use their customer data to adapt ads and in-app experiences to fit the customer journey on a more personalized level. Enriching all forms of the customer journey with personalized content—like that of the welcome screens of Netflix and Amazon—will help you win in 2019 by showing customers that you understand what they want and need.

As stated previously, authenticity is a big topic right now. Many brands are turning to influencer to help create authentic content, but it’s important to use the right type of influencers and remember to deliver a good customer experience. Reviews are also a big part of driving consumer trust and are said to impact 93 percent of purchasing decisions online, according to a Podium survey.

— Quinn Sheek, director of demand generation

Cross-Channel Strategy

Through the lens of your customer

In 2019, it’s going to be more important than ever to approach your marketing plan through the lens of your customer and communicate with them in the right way. While they may start in one channel, customers will move to another, and it’s our job as marketers to make these transitions as intuitive as possible. Understanding how to connect data across channels is the key to creating this seamless experience.

2019 is going to be the year of intuitive experiences.

We also anticipate a continued increase in the use of new technologies, such as data management platforms, that allow brands to identify their customers across all touchpoints, learning more information with every connection and evolving the conversation to meet their needs.

2019 is going to be the year of intuitive experiences. Consumers today are seeking out brands that provide personalized experiences. New technology that incorporates conversational UI, such as progressive web apps (PWAs), are allowing consumers to sit in the driver’s seat. By answering a few questions, customers can easily personalize their content (or shopping) experience to only show what is most relevant to meet their needs. This trend will continue to shape consumer expectations and drive the need for real-time personalized content.

— Jenni Schaub, strategic planning director

New year, new marketing strategy

Move Over Brands, Consumer Experiences Are the Story

Now that you’ve heard what the DEG experts think will impact 2019 digital marketing, it’s time to make some plans to adapt your strategies in the new year. Start with your annual plan, then break it down into strategies by quarter, month, channel, and/or goals. You’ll find it easier to focus on one thing at a time, while also building a comprehensive approach to 2019.

Curious about how we’re approaching the new year or how we could help you reach your goals? Let’s talk about your business.

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