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Did you know that 77% of Americans are online every day, consuming content differently? It’s safe to say that digital marketing remains a crucial component of our 2019 strategies.

The digital landscape continues to shift this year as we notice the rise of artificial intelligence, chatbots, and more.  This is an exciting time to be a marketer because so many possibilities exist to mix your channels together and increase ROI.

Long gone are the days where you only get your feet wet with your digital marketing channel strategy. You better start meeting your customers where they spend the most time-the internet.

How to choose your digital channels

Digital marketing channels have three categories-brand awareness, lead generation, and direct sales. Depending on your business goals, you might need to include all three digital marketing categories into your strategy. You will also want to consider the following:

  • Target audience: Who are they? What channels do they engage on?
  • Budget: What is your budget towards each channel? What ROI do you expect?
  • Competitor benchmarking: What channels are they using? Are they successful?

Determining the above business objectives is the critical first step in creating your strategy.  You need to engage with your customers where they spend the most time, whether that is scrolling through Instagram or browsing the internet top-ten lists.

It’s important to note that analyzing your ROI will be dependent on your audience engagement and budget. In good practice, you will need to set actionable goals, measure those goals via specifics KPIs and track all expenses. By remaining consistent throughout all digital marketing channels, you will have an understanding of your ROI.

After you have these objectives squared away, you can start selecting your digital marketing channels.

2019 must-have digital marketing channels

You’re not alone if you think there’s a lot to consider.

The good news is we are here to cut through the technology and fill you in on what you need to focus on in 2019. So, without further ado, follow along as we fill you in on the digital marketing channel trends to put in place this year.

Social media stories

Stories are increasingly popular among Instagram, SnapChat, Facebook, and YouTube platforms as people continue to consume digital video content faster. Currently, over 970 million accounts are posting to their stories and 50% of businesses are taking advantage of the feature.

In 2018, Mark Zuckerburg stated that the growth of stories may exceed the popularity of actual posts:

We expect Stories are on track to overtake posts in feeds as the most common way that people share across all social apps. That’s because Stories is a better format for sharing multiple quick video clips throughout your day. The growth of Stories will have an impact on how we build products and think about our business, including WhatsApp and Instagram, which are the #1 and #2 most-used Stories products in the world.

Businesses can implement stories into their regular social media strategy as a way to engage with their audience. Show behind-the-scenes, employee interviews, or event videos to promote brand awareness and drive engagement:

J Crew's Instagram Story.

Source: J. Crew’s Instagram Story

While you shouldn’t abandon your scheduled posts. Look at stories as a way to enhance your online presence to tell the company narrative better. Experiment with different formats that work best with your audience—tutorials, testimonials, funny how-tos, interviews, GIFs, and more. Be fun with it and use a creative mix.

As social media continues to evolve, stories are a great way to connect with your followers in more engaging ways.

Chatbots

Due to AI advancements, chatbots have advanced as the most popular interface to connect businesses and consumers. It’s estimated that over 1.4 billion people a year use chatbots and by 2020 chatbots will control 85% of all customer service.

Chatbots are software programs that offer instant responses to help customers with tasks such as ordering items and personal account information. With quick response times, customers are able to retrieve information without picking up the phone:

Pizza hut's chatbot helps solve customer issues quickly.

Source: Pizza Hut’s Twitter

Businesses utilizing chatbots are seeing an increase in both leads and sales. A recent study shows that a delayed response by even 10 minutes can decrease your chances of a sale by 400%. Currently, chatbots are being used for many objectives:

  • Saving time and money
  • Generating leads and sales
  • Pushing users to better products or services
  • Providing 24-hour support
  • Personalizing experiences

While chatbots won’t be replacing customer service any time soon, they are the best way to get your customers information quickly. They allow an improved customer experience with minimal effort from the customer.

Video

Incorporating video marketing into digital strategy continues to be important and shows no signs of slowing down in 2019.

With social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram incorporating video into their platforms, businesses are gaining high engagement rates for interviews, product demos, how-tos, and more. SERPs display YouTube, so utilizing SEO in closed captioning, subtitles, titles, and descriptions create better optimization and performance.

Shifting towards live videos to show brand transparency, marketers can also expect personalized messaging shot 1:1 and 360° imagery for a more interactive experience.

You Tube videos allow a great way for customers to follow a brand.

Source: Jeep’s YouTube

Take a look at these recent video stats:

  • 70% of consumers have shared a video
  • 72% of videos have improved sales conversion rate
  • 52% of consumers watch videos to make informed purchases

Video marketing isn’t going anywhere this year. It’s important to incorporate video into your strategy and connect with your customers in a new, engaging way.

Personalized email

With brand emails piling up in your inbox every day, it can seem like the email marketing landscape is becoming overcrowded. Yet, 2019 will continue to see channel marketing that incorporates personalized and authentic emails from businesses across all industries.

Personalization is the key to every email marketing strategy because it shows customers that you care about their problems. In fact, 79% of consumers are more likely to buy a product or service if they receive promotions specific to them. Essentially, generic emails sent to a long contact list isn’t going to cut it this year.

By setting up email triggers, you can automate emails to respond when users engage with your website or content. For example, if a customer browses a certain product, send a follow-up email with a promotion code for that specific good.

Adidas sends personalized emails to increase engagement.

Using personalized emails at every stage of a sale will continue to be an important digital marketing channel.

Artificial intelligence

AI has already formed a huge impact on learning how to build effective digital marketing strategies based on consumer interaction with brands.

AI helps analyze customer behavior through data from websites, social media, blog posts and more. This data gives brands insights on how those customers are finding their products and services.

If you’re looking to increase enrollment in a webinar, AI can analyze current and past sign-ups to determine who your future prospects are. By leveraging this data, AI identifies personas, emails, or zip codes to target for the next marketing campaign-saving your team days of work.

Piecing together the customer journey ultimately leads to better leads and more sales. AI is also used to automate the sales process, create customer conversations, and build a better company culture to drive business growth.

Spotify uses artificial intelligence to personalize their customer's experience.

Source: Spotify

AI will be an essential digital marketing channel because of its versatility and effectiveness.

Voice search

We can thank Siri, Google, Alexa, and other smart devices for the continued rise in verbal communication. More than 40% of adults use voice-based search and it’s predicted that 50% of all searches will be voice-to-voice by 2020.

With voice-recognition assistants and speakers, marketers need to rethink this digital marketing channel to keep up with sophisticated systems that have a 5.1% error rate.

This creates a few challenges for marketers because voice searches display so differently than text. With a text search, you often receive a long list of options, but with a voice search, you may only hear one choice read out verbally.

Voice search is a digital marketing channel to watch in 2019.

If you’re looking for ways to counteract this, here are a few suggestions:

  • Brainstorm head and long-tail keywords
  • Rewrite meta descriptions and titles so its optimized for speech
  • Focus on only the important keywords for top search spots
  • Rethink PPC advertising strategy

While a relatively new landscape, voice search can’t be ignored because people are relying on it more than ever before.

Wrap up

Every new year brings on its own exciting marketing trends. As the digital landscape continues to grow, it’s important that marketers determine which channels will meet goals and crush ROI.

With our comprehensive list of top digital marketing channels, you are well equipped to start your 2019 strategy. Our 2019 top line-up includes:

  • Social media stories
  • Chatbots
  • Video
  • Personalized email
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Voice search

While your digital marketing channel mix will be unique to your business, it’ll be important to experiment with new techniques and to pay attention to trends that emerge throughout the year.

No matter what channels you decide to use, digital marketing is the key to making your business succeed. If you’re ready to add email marketing to your channel mix, Campaign Monitor is here for you.

This blog provides general information and discussion about email marketing and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.
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