By Arielle Mullen

The new year is almost here, and if we've learned anything it's that having a website and social media presence for your business is no longer enough. If you don't have a cohesive communication strategy to reach and engage with your target audience, you're wasting your most valuable commodity: your time. While the importance of having a marketing plan isn't a new idea (or at least it shouldn't be), in 2018 we did see quite a few marketing trends come and go. With that in mind, we thought we'd look ahead to 2019 and deliver our predictions for the digital marketing trends that shouldn't be ignored.  


Conversational UI

By now, it's common knowledge that if you don't have a responsive, mobile-friendly website, you're five steps behind the competition. Google announced earlier this year that they'd be moving a mobile-first review, which left countless companies scrambling to revamp their websites to provide an improved mobile experience for their customer base. In 2019, we predict the mobile-first trend will continue to advance, and be coupled with conversational user interfaces. One company ahead of this particular curve is Stitch Fix, an online fashion retailer that's managed to grow their active user base to 2.7M in the last year. Before the company went public, CEO Katrina Lake had this to say about improving Stitch Fix's user experience: "The engines we're focused on are improving and innovating on the client experience: how to be deeply personalized, how to use data science to get clients more of what they want. The second engine is new launches; we launched plus sizes, men's and premium, and we're excited to see these grow." 

Increased Social Media Ad Spend

From 2016 through the end of 2018, we've seen some shifts in the age and overall usage of Facebook and Instagram. We've seen a static or declining rate of Facebook usage for the majority of age groups, with 55+ being the largest population currently participating. On Instagram however, there's been a steady increase across all age groups, with 25-34 being the largest group, followed closely by 18-24. Although most reports are predicting ad spend only on Instagram to rise, we predict many companies will begin utilizing Facebook Messenger for social customer service and social selling. 

Chatbots

As businesses begin to utilize Facebook Messenger, we predict chatbots will become more prevalent. Organizations are starting to realize that their customer base would much rather interact with a chatbot over Messenger than a human over the phone. Chatbots are responsive, supplying instantaneous answers, they retain customer chat history, and are much more cost effective than maintaining a call center. There are a few options already available for companies looking to build their own chatbot, and while this trend might not be a fit for all of them, the benefits make this technology too valuable to ignore. 

Ultimately, 2019 will be about improving your overall customer experience, offering increased personalization, and making strategic choices that improve your ability to identify and communicate with your target audiences. Interested in growing your business with digital marketing? Schedule your consultation today and let's talk!



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