The digital sphere changes continuously and at great speed. That’s why we’ve launched this podcast on digital trends so you can understand what this year’s trends are and get the tools you need to put them into practice. What does 2019 have in store for us?
Digital Trends Index for 2019
- CRO – 1:30
- Acquisition Optimisation – 4:16
- Omni-channel – 6:13
- Conversion funnel – 7:25
- Chatbots – 10:15
- Voice Search – 11:01
- Content Marketing: Podcasting and Video Content – 13:20
- Exploitation of own databases – 15:10
- Data Analytics and Machine Learning – 17:41
- Emergence of more Blockchain applications – 19:00
The year 2018 is over and has left us in a situation that many of us did not imagine two years ago. In the digital ecosystem, two years is an abyss. Two years ago in Spain we were exploiting content marketing through blog posts, discovering SEO, we were beginning to bet heavily on Social Media Ads and Bitcoin was not vox populi.
What is the landscape we find ourselves in now, and has it changed a lot? Certainly, new words such as CRO, Chatbots, Podcasting and many more that we detail below will mark the most significant digital trends that in our view will stand out throughout 2019 and that will mark the agenda of those responsible for digital transformation and marketing of companies that want to maintain or position themselves as leaders in their respective sectors.
- CRO: In recent years, with the exponential growth of mobile phone usage, advertisers have seen great benefits in advertising on mobile devices. However, it is no longer a novelty for brands to gain exposure and notoriety on smartphones. It is also nothing new to advertise on social media or to fight to appear in the first position in search engines (SEO, SEM). What’s more, there is increasing competition to appear on digital channels, which drives up acquisition costs. You only need to look at the CPC of campaigns on different platforms with the same segmentation but with different locations to see that in regions where digital channels are more exploited, such as New York, the CPC can be up to 5 times more expensive than the CPC paid in Spain. (Linkedin campaign: CPC Spain 2.71€ Vs. CPC New York State 12.84€, Google Display Network campaign: CPC Spain 0.10€ Vs. CPC New York State 0.52€). This tells us where the industry is heading. The margin for improvement to obtain a better return on advertising investment through better targeting or adaptation to Google’s algorithm (SEO or SEM) is a technical and complex process. This means that in order to promote growth through digital channels, part of the resources are allocated to optimising the conversion rate per new visitor. This year, therefore, we will see Google’s Google Optimize, a tool under development, become more and more powerful and new tools will appear to optimise the conversion of different digital assets. Similarly, we will see companies shifting resources from the top of the funnel, i.e. acquisition to improving conversion rate, retention and loyalty.
- Acquisition optimisation: The era of launching campaigns and waiting to see results is coming to an end. Acquisition is going to become more and more expensive, so marketing departments will have to try to optimise each of their different acquisition channels in order to maintain traffic and awareness. The launch of campaigns with different banners for A/B testing will start to be implemented in companies that are not necessarily digital natives through Facebook Ads, GDN or programmatic. In the same way, marketers will have to improve the performance of their websites in order to improve their SEM or “Quality Score” ranking, as their budgets are limited. As an example, the first thing we do with new clients who ask us to appear at the top of the Google ranking for generic searches is to do a Google search, see the company that ranks first and enter its URL in the Page Speed Insights tool Page Speed Insights and see the score it obtains. Then we do the same with the new client’s website and we see that in many cases what is really preventing them from ranking high is not a lack of budget, but poor performance and optimisation of their websites. A word of advice: if you are building a new website and you want to attract customers through SEM, before looking at the design, enter the URL in Page Speed Insights and do not accept anything below your competitors.
- Omnichannel: : with the increasing massification of digital channels, it is becoming increasingly necessary to be on as many platforms as possible to make our products or services stand out from our competition and minimise the risks of making an investment in a platform that leads to a return on investment or ROI that is lower than expected. SEO, PPC, Content Marketing, Social Media, Banner Ads, Mailing, Growth Hacking, etc… The more channels you use the better, as most of them are overcrowded due to the increasing emergence of new digital businesses. A good strategy that promotes growth in the turnover of our company has to contemplate all these techniques in the different stages of the conversion funnel. If your digital channels live solely and exclusively on PPC, you should start looking for alternatives as a matter of urgency, as in 2019 and in the following years, whatever your sector, the price is going to increase.
- Conversion funnel: until recently the marketing department had an allocated budget and used to buy advertising space. The analysis that was done was limited to looking at the sales impact of the digital assets of the campaigns in question. This is a very limited view to evaluate the entire digital marketing strategy. There are many factors that affect conversion, many frictions that must be polished based on analysis, testing and iterations such as the CRO that we have discussed, however we must also look at other factors such as cross-selling (up sales, down sales, cross sales) or factors such as the Churn rate or the Life Time Value of the customer. All these factors help to determine whether the strategy to increase sales of our digital assets is on the right track. A recurring example we come across is that a branded SEM campaign that we had determined to protect our brand may end up being the last gateway to our website for those users who have been constantly impacted by a product campaign on Instagram. The customer has the product in his mind thanks to the constant impacts we make, however when he has free time, he searches for us on Google, clicks on the SEM ad of our brand and finally buys the product. If we only look at the customer’s last post, the success of the increase in sales will be attributed to the SEM campaign, when what really happens is that the SEM campaign assists the campaign we have launched on Instagram. The analysis of the user within the digital asset, the attribution models and the different strategies in each of the stages of the funnel make 2019 a year in which conversion funnels will end up being on everyone’s lips.
- Chatbots: We know, we have all had frustrating experiences with chatbots, but the remarkable thing is that there is clear progress in this technology. The reason for this is the heavy investment to develop it due to the tremendous potential it has. Receipt of orders, complaints of any kind, requests for information, etc… More and more companies are adopting it to receive requests from their customers through their website. This reception of requests is a list of recommendations that companies that want to improve the user experience take into account when proposing improvements to their digital assets.
- Voice search: Search is migrating to voice search. This means that in order to maintain the top position in search rankings, it will be necessary to adapt to the different peculiarities of this new search method. On a technical level it will be necessary to maintain impeccable SEO standards, this includes among many other factors having an httpS, that the website loads fast, here again Page Speed Insights de Google can help us to determine the adaptability of our website with respect to other URLs of our competitors. And finally keep in mind that voice search is different from traditional search. A clear example would be searching for the name of an actor in a film. The traditional search, to save us typing, would be brief and concise and in most cases we would include something similar to “name of the actor of the movie X” while at the voice search level and when activating the voice recognition sensor we start a dialogue as follows: “Ok Google, what is the name of the actor of the movie X?” This basic example shows that the terminology when doing a voice search varies and this must be taken into account when positioning key phrases in our content creation strategy. Similarly, the answer to the search should be short and concise. Paragraph-long answers will not rank as well as clear and concise answers.
- Content marketing: Blog posting, or the writing of blog entries to help the positioning of a website, is so exploited that it is becoming increasingly expensive to win new customers through the creation of content. Information is repeated and adapted in the first entries of a search, what we call information rehashes. Therefore, making blog posts with similar information to your competitors with a similar domain authority is not going to make your posts rank higher. Unless you generate content that no one has created before, all your efforts will be in vain. You must differentiate yourself! Podcasting: the writing of a blog post can be perfectly accompanied by a podcast, the sound quality of any smartphone is more than acceptable for this purpose. By way of example, this is a podcast recorded with a smartphone. What are the advantages of podcasting? It improves search engine positioning and also the fact of personalising blog posts makes people empathise more with the brand, product or service you are offering. Along the same lines we find video content: for the same reasons as podcasting, video content helps to empathise even more with the audience, as well as positioning wonderfully in search engines. It is no secret to say that all platforms are betting more and more on video. Facebook wants to compete with YouTube as a content platform, which is why it rewards videos over photos when it comes to carrying out paid campaigns or achieving a greater reach through organic publications.
- Exploitation of own databases: With acquisition costs increasingly higher, together with the entry into force of the new RGPD regulations and the million-dollar penalties that are to come, agencies and advertisers are focusing more and more efforts on squeezing loyalty thanks to the correct management of internal databases. The tools that stand out are undoubtedly CRMs and at the top of the industry is Salesforce as a prominent leader that opens up a range of possibilities related to email marketing and automation. Most email marketing techniques seem to have been heavily exploited, however the most recent trends are related to improving relevance and engagement. Whatever the digital channel business model, the key to successful internal database management is to integrate email with content marketing at the right point in the conversion funnel through omni-channel touchpoints. In the same vein, Facebook Messenger is set to establish itself as a source of customer data. Facebook’s latest statistics show the importance of Messenger: with 1.3 billion people using Facebook Messenger per month and 8 billion messages exchanged between people and businesses per month. In addition to targeted sponsored ads, the use of Messenger for conversations is an important trend. As an example Nike has one of the most advanced commercial chat apps and well used implementations we have seen and is worth checking out. In addition, and related to the above points, passing potential customers through Messenger means having more accurate customer data and in turn creating lists of audiences with the intention of impacting them again, looking for increasingly personalised advertising.
- Data Analytics and Machine Learning: at the heart of all these technology trends and at the heart of this list is the lynchpin of many of these trends and of digital transformation as a whole. Data is key for companies to make good decisions about products, services, strategies and so on. However, recent data has shown that 90% of the world’s data has been generated in the last three years, but we are only using 1% of the data effectively, indicating that there is a long way to go. Systems such as Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics are relatively static in terms of reporting and functionality. The main trend here is the ability to generate reports that capture business KPIs in real time and make decisions based on them. This is made possible by the adoption of reporting and analysis systems. Here again we will see how the Google Data Studio, tool provided by Google, in conjunction with the Google Sheets add-on to the Google Analytics API, is being further refined.
- Appearance of more Blockchain applications apart from cryptocurrencies: at this point we must be patient, we have been hearing for many years that blockchain technology is going to revolutionise countless industries, however it seems that developing software based on blockchain is costly and the market does not perceive the added value in the use of this technology. However, technology companies such as IBM are investing heavily to find the combination of factors that will exploit the potential of blockchain for applications beyond cryptocurrency. So in 2019 we will continue to hear of many more applications of the Blockchain, but we believe it will be a few more years before we start to see the traction we were promised.