I’m sure by now you’ve seen the many 2019 digital marketing predictions, with the loudest of them being “more live video!” Video, in general, seems to be topping the digital marketing trends charts. But is that really the big trend?
If you’re new to this blog, let me warn you now: We won’t give you 2018’s digital marketing trends repackaged for 2019. I love to bust digital marketing myths and get fairly real. Let’s take a look at what’s truly new and game-changing in digital marketing in 2019.
Let’s start with this: Video is NOT the hottest NEW thing any longer. That’s so last year… In fact, it’s expected that by 2020 video will saturate social channels. So you should absolutely get going with video if you haven’t yet, because you may have about a year before you’ll face heavy competition.
If you’re already doing video, focus on growing and keeping your audiences so you have the reach built up in 2020. And focus on engagement-type video, such as live video demos and Q&As instead of promotional video.
Here Are the Big Changes You Should Expect in Digital Marketing in 2019
Here is what to expect and what it means for your digital marketing.
Online View Parties
Facebook has been testing the Watch Party feature because they found that live videos stimulate more social interactions than pre-recorded videos. For 2018, one of our main predictions was a visual trend we called “virtuality.” It appears that in 2019, Facebook will take this trend to a whole new level.
Adding the “virtuality” strategy implies that you develop content in a way that makes your audience feel like they are immersed in an experience. Instagram photos have been inviting audiences in. Snapchat, Instagram Stories, and Facebook Stories have been doing this through AR – allowing you to merge the live image with a digital filter.
With Watch Party, Facebook wants to encourage people to tune into live viewing events as a group. Imagine the digital version of inviting friends over to watch a game together. Online watch parties aim to create that feeling but without the limitations of space.
At the time of launch, Fidji Simo, Vice President of Product at Facebook, wrote: “As we think about video on Facebook, we’re focused on creating experiences that bring people closer together and inspire human connection instead of passive consumption.”
According to Verge, this is also a move to earn good karma points for the social network, after a year in which they’ve been embroiled in scandal:
“Encouraging people to tune into live viewing events could help people enjoy the platform more, or at least encourage positive interactions. The “creating experiences” idea also comes up with the company’s goal to get people to comment more on other peoples’ posts because it’s a healthier form of social networking. The company needs to build as much positive energy as it can on the network, so maybe Watch Party is a bright spot.”
Which leads us to this next point.
Facebook Becomes Your Portal
Here I may be breaking with my promise to not give you 2018 trends for 2019, but you may forgive me for this one. So many of the trends we could see unfolding can be tied into Facebook’s new and first branded device – Portal.
As you go through this trends list, I will call out Portal again.
- You will be able to have your Facebook online view party on the Portal
- You’ll be able to have immersive AR experiences on the Portal
- You’ll be able to ask Alexa to order products while watching a live video or chatting through the Portal
- Facebook aims to make you feel like you’re being immersed in an experience… via Facebook, through the Portal…
Marketing Communication Gamechanger: SMS Will Be Replaced by RCS (the new universal texting standard)
While iPhone users had iMessenger, Android users have been stuck with high-performance phones with shitty text messaging. For businesses, that meant that one of the most-used mobile communication tools was limited to text marketing. So Google decided that instead of building their own version of iMessenger, they were going to push for carriers to implement RCS, aka Chat.
And it is promising to be a marketing game changer. Launched in early 2018, the Walgreens chatbot was one of the first mobile messaging deployments in the U.S. using RCS business messaging.
Business Messaging, Particularly Video Messaging On the Rise
Speaking of messaging, for years businesses have known that where the chats are, they need to also be. But chatting has typically been a private affair. When messaging and social networks started crossing, businesses got a little closer to being there. And 2019 will be a big year.
Chatbots, auto-responders, video messaging for customer service, and video messaging for B2B are trends that quickly picked up in 2018 and will be adopted widely in 2019.
Distrust of media and social media will continue to grow
In 2018 Axios asked 3,622 adults if social media does more to help or hurt democracy and free speech. It was the second year the poll had been conducted — and the poll found a precipitous decline in social media sentiment. Sarah Fischer and Alison Snyder report:
In the past year, there has been a 15-point spike in the number of people who fear the federal government won’t do enough to regulate big tech companies — with 55% now sharing this concern. In that same period, there was a 14-point increase in those who feel technology has hurt democracy and free speech.
This will lead to changes in how people engage within social networks. We are already seeing the shift with people having more peer-to-peer interactions in settings that feel more intimate to them, such as chat and groups.
As you can see from the other trends, there is movement by social networks to create a sense of intimacy and a two-way connection between sellers and users, with the launch of view parties and the live video shopping options described later in this article.
Instagram will launch IG Shopping:
Rumor is that Instagram is working on a stand-alone shopping app.
Currently, businesses have two options on Instagram:
- Tag products in stories
- Tag products in posts
Instagram has also been testing:
- Showing tagged products in Explore, with a separate shopping channel, which is visible to those who showed interest in browsing products.
- Giving IG-ers the option to save products to shopping collections
These appear to be just precursors to the rumored new app.
According to The Verge:
“The app – which may be called IG Shopping – would let users browse collections of goods from merchants that they follow, and purchase them directly within the app.”
This could be a direct challenge to Shopify, which was the first to offer e-commerce solutions to Instagram-focused businesses. Its app store contains dozens of plugins related to promoting and managing Instagram-based businesses.
Live Video Shopping Options
Facebook is testing shopping options during live videos, in Thailand. Just like with many other features being tested on Facebook and Instagram, Facebook has been very responsive to user-generated movements and testing features that stem out of how participating businesses and their customers are interacting and exchanging information.
Facebook observed how in Thailand a community of independent sellers use live videos to interact with their audiences and initiate transactions. The current test adds a screenshot button during live videos, which can be used to take a snapshot of a product and initiate a private message conversation with the seller. The seller would then send a payment request to complete the transaction.
Since in 2018 Facebook launched the Facebook and Instagram 2-in-1 live streaming feature, if this test is successful, it will probably be expanded to Instagram live videos as well.
This would work nicely on the Portal or Facebook Watch Party, or a Watch Party via the Portal… In case you want to watch a video, or be in a video… and buy something at the same time.
Stories Coming to LinkedIn
LinkedIn has been testing stories features for students this year. The platform has been struggling to attract students and this is seen as a move to make LinkedIn features more attractive to the Snapchat generation.
Useful, Yet Ignored, LinkedIn Features Will Get Renewed Attention (We Hope)
LinkedIn appears to have grown in popularity in 2018, with a number of fresh features that came on board. Most of the new features, however, are online available on the mobile app – such as live video, filters, voice mail and “find nearby.”
I’m willing to bet that voicemail will quickly fall out of favor, given the high volumes of cold InMails we all get and our distaste for cold calls.
“Find nearby” has the potential to grow into a useful networking feature for conferences and business events. Assuming that LinkedIn will promote it more and make it easier to find. Right now, you have to go to contacts and activate it, at the same time as turning on Bluetooth. And then hope that others at your event also have the feature turned on. While playing with it, we couldn’t figure out how to turn off the feature… So who knows what the future holds.
The Rise of the Marketing Operations Officer
Marketing has moved far past the creative days. A new function is needed to oversee the technology, processes, and the talent needed to successfully reach a company’s goals through marketing. This function will rise out of a combination of other roles – financial analysts, programmers, project managers, data scientists, and market researchers.
For too long marketers have struggled with “IT”-driven tech decisions not needs-driven tech decisions. Forward-thinking companies have figured it out and are entrusting the Marketing Operations Officer with the systems and tech decisions that impact marketing.
The Merger of Marketing, Sales and Customer Experience, Which Should Have Happened 10 Years Ago
It’s impossible to reach big revenue goals with sales, customer service, PR and marketing working in silos. So while this is not quite a prediction, it’s mostly my biggest piece of advice, especially for B2B companies – merging these departments, or finding ways for them to work collaboratively, is the big missing key to success.
And yes, I’m pointing to you, B2B companies that complain that you can’t tie sales results to digital marketing. It’s because sales and marketing are not working together. So look into changing that in 2019.
Also, digital is everything right now. So to treat digital marketing departments as an add-on is a mistake. If you’re still behind the curve, it’s time to start thinking “digital first” in 2019.
So, what are your big predictions for 2019? Drop us a comment below!