The team at Thrive continues to learn and stay on top of digital marketing trends along with important tools and channels that will help drive traffic and leads to our clients’ websites.
We asked our team: What will our industry look like in 2019? What digital marketing trends will end, and which will begin? Our predictions cover everything from rankings to reviews, web design, social media and PPC.
Before we dive into this year’s predictions, let’s review a few of our 2018 predictions that came true and will continue to be important in 2019.
Top Digital Marketing Predictions
Online reviews will Increase in importance.
Online reviews will grow as a way to build trust and credibility when making buying decisions. Services like Rize Reviews will be needed to help these businesses manage and grow their online reputation. – Matt, President
The mobile-first index will happen.
With the talk of Google’s mobile-first index being discussed more and more, it is important to look at how website speed and usability. Google has stated that when they roll out the mobile-first search index, they will begin with those sites that are already prepared for it. – Adam, SEO/SEM Team Director
Real estate on the 1st page of search results will become increasingly competitive.
Real estate on the first page or even the first couple positions in search engine results will become more competitive than ever. With so many SERP features such as knowledge graphs, rich snippets, related questions or images and video showing in first page results will give SEOs a unique challenge in 2018. – Shannon, SEO Manager
Local businesses will tighten competition for digital agencies nationwide.
With the increase in digital marketing agencies nationwide and the willingness of small- to mid-size businesses to leave their geographic market to find a digital partner, differentiators between agencies will tighten in 2018.
The agencies that provide small town trust with big city results will retain more of these “new to digital” clients and set the standard for digital marketing as a sector. Exceptional results will not make up for poor client experience, and market share for agencies will increasingly reflect that. – Samuel, Sales Coordinator
Now, let’s move onto this year’s predictions.
Predictions in Search Behavior & SEO
Hey Alexa, order Chick-fil-A. Okay Google, when will it start raining?
Voice search enabled devices will become a staple in over half of all households by the end of 2019.
In 2018, it was estimated at 25% of households.
Search queries & new app installs
Global number of search queries will increase, but click growth overall will be stagnant due to an increase of voice search and 3rd party networks (Facebook, Bark, Instagram) taking more and more user interaction and search away from standard Google searches.
New App installs will decrease due to overcrowding of attention, and more apps will be multifunctional and integrated with other services to help keep interaction concentrated within their networks.
I think that there will be an Amazon Alexa in your cars coming out soon and in hotels to follow you everywhere. All of your settings will follow you. Optimization for voice will increase.
You think there will ever be an Amazon phone, similar to the Google Pixel?
Exact match keywords
Increases in Google’s AI capabilities via RankBrain will make exact match keywords even less relevant. Entities will play a much larger role in ranking content.
Entity: “A thing or concept that is singular, unique, well-defined and distinguishable.” – Search Engine Journal
Predictions for Online Reputation Management
In 2019, user reviews are going to become crucial to consumers for purchase decisions as well as choosing service providers. Businesses with a solid review strategy will see the most gains.
Thrive and our clients use ORM services like Rize Reviews to help generate more reviews and improve average ratings on Google My Business, Yelp and more review sites.
Pay Per Click Predictions
Audience targeting & awareness
Audience targeting will have its largest increase in customer revenue to date.
Google Ads on the search and display networks will continue to become more self-aware.
Social Media Predictions
Chatbots on social will continue to grow in popularity to replace simple tasks usually done on apps and on websites.
Have you found chatbots to be more helpful than calling a 1-800 customer service number? Share your favorite social media chatbots in the comments below!
Social influencers, video, click-bait & LinkedIn
Getting noticed on social media is tougher than ever. The rise of using micro-influencers will definitely start to pick up as we move through 2019. The idea is that we are more likely to trust people who are like us, and brands will build relationships with these influencers. In turn, the engagement and conversations that these micro-influencers have with their followers will be much more authentic and trustworthy.
Social video is has always been popular, but I think you’re going to see the rise of more long-form or serialized video content. With Instagram launching the likes of IGTV, it’s more important than ever to have your brand sharing content that is not just informative, but shareable, and entertaining.
I’m sure we’re all relieved to see it might be finally the death of click-bait. With all the drama around “fake news” and increasingly manipulated data, brands are looking to move to more authentic conversations. Thus, you’ll see growth in community-building, such as formation of Facebook groups, Messenger groups, and Slack channels.
LinkedIn is growing. LinkedIn has made some SERIOUS improvements to their users experience and usability. Brands are now discovering that the once job-seeker-only platform is actually a wealth of consumers readily sharing and consuming content – with one caveat – it has to be high-quality. LinkedIn is now the place to build your brand reputation and share trustworthy content.
Web Design Predictions
GDPR, Apps & WordPress
By the end of the year, GDPR will make its way fully to the US. It is already becoming a thing in California.
More websites will be built with apps in mind.
WordPress websites will power 35% of the web.
UX design & ranking
“38 percent of people will stop engaging with a website if the content and layout is unattractive.” – Adobe
This might not be a direct ranking factor right now but i feel in 2019, UX will be a direct ranking factor in Google SERPs.
Online Shopping Predictions
Subscription-based delivery services will become more sophisticated and personalized as the space becomes increasingly popular and competitive.
Businesses wanting to succeed in this space will need to pay close attention to trends and think outside of the box with their marketing efforts.
YouTube will continue to dominate and grow bigger in purchase behavior. I expect that in 2019 85% of online shoppers will watch at least 1 video review of a product before ordering online.
Christian knows YouTube and podcasting! Learn why you should be podcasting »
Are you ready?
What do you think of the Thrive team’s predictions? Do they scare you, or are you ready for them? If you want to chat about getting ahead of these trends, give us a call!