5+ Game-Changing Digital Marketing Trends for 2019

Sarah Berry is a Google Analytics-certified Web Marketing Consultant at WebFX. She's written over 400 articles on digital marketing, covering topics like SEO, CRO, and Amazon. When she isn't polishing her Time Magazine Person of the Year Award, she's spending time with her flock of ducks.

With consumers dedicating 52 percent of their media time to digital channels, like social media, it’s no surprise that digital marketing has become a proven strategy for driving revenue and growth. Want to maximize your digital marketing results in the new year? You’ll need to master these key strategies.

Keep reading to learn about the six biggest online marketing trends of 2019!

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1. Voice search SEO

Analysts predict voice search engine optimization (SEO) will have a massive impact on digital marketing in 2019 and beyond. As voice assistants like Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa become more common and more intelligent, consumers begin to rely on them more. That’s why voice search will account for 50 percent of all searches in 2020.

How does voice SEO work?

Voice search SEO applies many of the same principles as traditional SEO. However, you’ll want to pay attention to a few key differences.

Like traditional SEO, voice search optimizes a website for specific keywords and user intents. For example, if someone asks their voice assistant, “what are the best roofs,” they’re looking for content that answers that question, plus provides evidence for why a specific roof is the best choice. Unlike SEO, however, a voice assistant pulls an answer from the first page of search results and repeats it to the user.

It doesn’t provide a person with a list of search results, which would allow them to choose which site to visit. How does a voice assistant, like Siri, know which answer to pull, though? They reference featured snippets, which appear at the top of search results in position zero.

An example of a featured snippet, with a statistic A featured snippet is powerful. When a featured snippet appears in search results, it can reduce the click-through-rate (CTR) of the first search result by eight percent. If your business earns the featured snippet, that’s an immense benefit and one that becomes even more apparent with voice search.

Why? For one, you’re taking valuable traffic from competitors. Plus, you’re becoming the top reference for users that want to learn more about topics, services, or products in your industry.

With a featured snippet optimized for voice search, you gain direct access to your target audience. That’s why you should pay attention to voice search SEO in 2019.

How can your company get ahead of this 2019 digital marketing trend?

Get started on your voice search strategy now. More than one billion voice searches take place each month already, which means your business can start benefiting from voice SEO even now.

Plus, you can surpass competitors in the online marketplace by becoming an early adopter of voice search optimization. For your company, that means earning valuable traffic and taking high-quality leads from competitors. Keep in mind that voice search requires a different approach than traditional SEO.

While you want to optimize your content for keywords, you need to focus on conversational keywords. Conversational keywords capture how people speak, rather than how they type. A user researching roofs wouldn’t say, “best roofs,” they’d ask their assistant, “what are the best roofs?” That’s why businesses need a separate SEO strategy when it comes to voice search.

2. Machine learning and AI

Around 60 percent of organizations have begun incorporating machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) into their operations. For 45 percent of those businesses, the technology provides extensive insight into the company’s data. In digital marketing, data plays an invaluable role, which is why these technologies are essential.

Why does machine learning and AI matter in digital marketing?

No matter how complex or simple your online marketing strategy is, you have access to a massive amount of data. For example, you can measure how long a user stays on a page, how many pages they visit on your website, or even whether they’re a new or returning visitor.

  Whether you manage your Internet marketing strategy in-house or partner with a digital marketing agency, it’s a tremendous time investment to evaluate all the metrics available. However, machine learning and AI software can streamline this process. This software helps your business by analyzing and summarizing all your pieces of data.

It can also provide insight into how users find your company. Your marketing team or agency can then evaluate this data to discover areas for improvement, user trends, and additional action items.

How can my company get ahead of this 2019 digital marketing trend?

If your business wants to adapt to this online marketing trend, you have three choices:

  • Develop a machine learning and AI software in-house
  • Purchase an application from a third-party provider
  • Partner with a digital marketing agency that includes a machine learning or AI software

In most cases, it’s ineffective for a company to build software in-house. It requires a substantial amount of time and investment, plus continued upkeep. That’s why many businesses either purchase an application or partner with an agency.

Our full-service digital marketing agency, for example, uses IBM Watson, one of the most advanced AI software applications available, to power our proprietary marketing platform, MarketingCloudFX. With these tools, we can build powerful, data-driven campaigns for our clients.

3. Visual search

With the launch of Google Lens, as well as Pinterest Lens, visual search is an exciting online marketing trend for companies. While visual search isn’t new, advances in technology have improved its usability, plus increased its accuracy. Now, with Google Lens and Pinterest Lens, people can use their smartphones to take a photo of something, like a pair of shoes or a piece of furniture, and find out what the item is and where they can buy it.

A series of examples for Google Lens People can also use these apps to discover a new location via landmarks. For example, if a user uploaded a photo of the Eiffel Tower, Google Lens can determine the landmark (the Eiffel Tower) and then use that information to find where the photo was taken (Paris, France).

What businesses benefit most from visual search?

While it may seem like ecommerce stores benefit the most from visual search, other industries can take advantage of this 2019 digital marketing trend. In fact, for companies outside the ecommerce market, visual search is less saturated with competition, offering more opportunities for early adopters.

A few examples of businesses that can use visual search include:

  • A hotel
  • A museum
  • An ecommerce store
  • A bakery
  • An event venue
  • A garden center
  • And more!

If you’re not sure about this 2019 digital marketing trend, think about how users find your company. For example, shoppers may discover your luxury hotel while browsing Instagram for travel ideas. They come across pictures of your hotel’s stunning interior and sunny exterior, but the post doesn’t include the location.

With Google Lens, they can discover the location and book a stay at your hotel.

How can your company get ahead of this 2019 digital marketing trend?

Companies that want to become an early adopter of this online marketing trend will benefit from partnering with a digital marketing agency that understands how to optimize and create content for visual search. As visual search is a new area, it’s often a challenging task for in-house marketing teams.

With the expertise of an online marketing agency, your business can maximize its investment in visual search. Plus, that agency can apply all their research on visual search into your campaign.

4. Chatbots

The advantages of AI also extend to another 2019 digital marketing trend, chatbots. With predicted savings of more than $8 billion by 2022, chatbots promise not only better marketing but also cost savings to companies worldwide.

Why do chatbots matter to digital marketing?

As chatbots have a customer service role, it’s natural to wonder why they’re useful for digital marketing. Like your live customer service representatives, however, chatbots occupy a client-facing role.

They interact with current and potential customers, which can have a direct impact on your bottom line. A chatbot can provide a streamlined shopping experience for users, as well as post-purchase support. For example, if someone’s searching for a pair of shoes, your chatbot can help a user narrow their decision by shoe type and style.

They can even take that shopper’s order. Later, the shopper can connect with your chatbot to check-in on the status of their order. Your marketing team or marketing agency can also use data from your chatbot to enhance your overall marketing strategy.

For example, if users have questions about your return policy or product guarantee, you can update the content or design of your website to make this information accessible.

How can your company get ahead of this 2019 digital marketing trend?

With 80 percent of businesses planning to use chatbots by 2020, it’s worth researching chatbots for your company. If your organization decides to forgo using chatbots, it can leave you with a significant marketplace disadvantage.

Get ahead by looking into chatbots now, rather than later. If you’re ready to adopt this online marketing trend, you have two options:

  • Develop a chatbot in-house
  • Create a chatbot with a chatbot builder software
  • Partner with a third-party chatbot provider

Like machine learning and AI, most businesses partner with an outside provider when it comes to chatbots. Depending on your chatbot needs, your company may also find success with a chatbot builder software like Drift, Chatfuel, or Aivo.

5. Micro-moments

For companies that want to succeed in 2019 and beyond, micro-moments are more than a digital marketing trend. They’re the new standard for marketing to consumers. That’s why every business should make micro-moments part of their online marketing strategy.

Why do micro-moments matter to digital marketing?

Micro-moments offer immense value to digital marketing because they consider individual users. With micro-moments, you’re thinking about how a user’s sudden wants and needs influence their decision as they move through the buying funnel.

For reference, micro-moments refer to when a user wants to:

  • Know something
  • Go somewhere
  • Do something
  • Buy something

If your business prioritizes micro-moments, you can develop a digital marketing strategy that caters to those moments. For example, you can create blog content that answers common “know something” questions for your audience or optimize your Google My Business profile for “go somewhere” searches. Companies that make micro-moments a part of their online marketing strategy take a user-focused approach.

They consider what their audience wants and needs at every step, from when they’re researching something to when they’re ready to go somewhere. This digital marketing trend demonstrates the necessity to prioritize the user and their unique journey.

How can your company get ahead of this 2019 digital marketing trend?

As one of the most significant trends in digital marketing, it’s essential for your company to incorporate micro-moments into your online marketing strategy. Adopt micro-moments now, rather than later, and start earning more customers and revenue for your business.

For example, modifying your pay-per-click (PPC) campaign to better target “buy something” moments can help your business secure more sales. In comparison, revising your content marketing to capture “do something” users can result in more visits to your location, plus better brand awareness. If you manage your marketing in-house, here are a few tips for bringing micro-moments onboard:

  • Research your audience
  • Identify your audience’s micro-moments
  • Audit your digital marketing strategy and look for where it includes micro-moments
  • Develop your content to answer questions from micro-moments fast
  • Ensure your website provides a quick and intuitive experience

For companies that partner with a digital marketing agency, make time to discuss micro-moments at your next meet-up. In some cases, your agency may already focus your strategy on micro-moments. If not, however, you can chat about moving forward with micro-moments.

6. Integrated digital marketing

While users spend more than 50 percent of their media time on digital channels, they rarely dedicate all their time to a single channel. Some browse social media platforms, like Facebook or YouTube, before heading to Google to research a new product. That’s why you’ll want to integrate your online marketing efforts in 2019.

Why is integrated marketing important to digital marketing?

When it comes to digital marketing, you can use a variety of platforms to reach users, including:

  • Email
  • Social media
  • Search
  • Video
  • And more

If your company only focuses on one channel, like video, you limit your reach. In comparison, a competitor that uses search, email, and video can reach more of your target audience. With a greater reach, they can secure more sales and more revenue.

Whether your competition focuses on one or multiple channels, there is an immense benefit to developing an integrated marketing campaign, whether in-house or with a respected integrated marketing agency. It’s critical, however, to link these strategies together. Each channel should support the other, leading to a cohesive campaign that drives results.

How can your company get ahead of this 2019 digital marketing trend?

In most cases, businesses that launch integrated marketing plans partner with full-service digital marketing agencies. Agencies like WebFX provide all the services your company needs, from email marketing to website design to video marketing.

If your company decides to partner with a full-service agency, it’s vital that your team researches your options in-depth. You want to build a strategy with an agency that can serve as a long-term partner to your organization. A few things to look for in a full-service digital marketing agency include:

Choosing an online marketing agency with these features not only provides your company with better results but also offers your team a better experience. That’s an immense benefit, as it saves your team stress and your company time and money.

Get ready to market your business in 2019

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