Digital Marketing 2019 | What you need to know
The digital marketing landscape is an ever-changing game with algorithm changes requiring companies to employ new tactics and be malleable in trying and testing strategies.
We share some key takeaways and advice to help you with your digital marketing planning.
Social Media currently has an estimated number of users sitting at around 3.2 billion people which equates to about 42% of the globe’s population. The average time spent on social media per day is just under 2.5 hours. During that time, 54% of browsers say they use social media to research products and 91% of all users access their social channels via mobile.
1.35 billion searches are made every day and this volume grows by roughly 10% every year. Amazingly, 16-20% of Google searches are new – they’ve never been searched before! Roughly 8% of Google search queries are questions and those organic Google results with 3-4 keywords in the title drive higher CTRs than organic results with 1-2 words in the title.
So there’s no denying, when you look at those stats, that these need to be part of any marketing strategy you implement. This is where your customers, whoever they are, engage, interact and get the information they need.
There’s a good chance you are already dabbling in a bit of paid digital marketing or at the very least are ‘present’ organically (meaning you don’t pay to play). One of the key realisations with the changes coming from both social media and Google is that paying to play is going to become a necessity if you want to leverage these digital platforms (and again, based on those numbers above, you do).
So how do you decide where to play?
It would be fair to say that Google, both SEO (optimizing your search results organically) and SEM (paid search marketing) are essential to any digital marketing strategy.
However, when it comes to social media channels, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to this as different channels generate better results than others depending on business objectives and what type of content lends itself to your business (whether blogs, images, video, etc).
Since marketing is all about reaching your audience, it’s understandable that Facebook is still where the majority of marketers will focus their efforts. This holds especially true for companies with fewer resources.
Instagram doesn’t have the same number of users as its parent company, Facebook, but it does beat out all social media channels on an important factor: the willingness of users to engage with ads. Research shows that 2.2 percent of Instagram users will interact with an ad. Facebook, which boasts the second-highest engagement rate, comes in at just .22 percent. This metric alone is enough for marketers to prioritize Instagram over any other platform.
As for the smaller players such as LinkedIn, Snapchat and Pinterest – these have smaller but somewhat, already-filtered audience due to like-minded people consuming the media as opposed to broad audiences on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.
How should these channels be used?
As mentioned above, each channel has features and content that is better suited. With the latest announcements that have come out of the latest Facebook Summit, there are some definite trends happening or predicted which we cover off below.
Facebook Messenger, already a favourite of marketing professionals, is being upgraded to be smaller and faster with plenty of new features coming such as watching Facebook videos with your Messenger friends at the same time. It will also have a stand-alone desktop app that will essentially act as one unified platform to manage all your DMs, from all of Facebook’s various apps – including Instagram and Whatsapp. Those changes aside, the functionality of Messenger (which sees 1.3 billion monthly active users on its own) is a convenient way for companies to stay in touch with customers, answer questions, and respond to feedback.
Facebook Groups is predicted to be on the up. Mark Zuckerberg claimed that Facebook would be prioritizing friends, family and active communities over businesses and other public content. So this means that anything you post from your Facebook business page will probably see a dip in visibility. Are you thinking, OH NO!? It’s not the end of the world for a couple of reasons. One, you can consider testing out a Facebook Group as an insider community for your customers. With Facebook Groups, you can continue to engage with your audience without the possible negative impact of the algorithm update. Two, you can join Facebook Groups that would be relevant to your target buyer persona for an inside look a their daily life. What do they talk about? What matters to them? and so on. The key thing to note for either option is that Facebook Groups is not about being self-promotional. This is the kind of social media marketing strategy is that it’s community first rather than sales first.
Instagram Stories help marketers ‘hack’ the Instagram algorithm. The platform is notoriously hard to break into with the algorithm favouring posts with high levels of engagement. If you are just starting out, Instagram Stories automatically appear along the top of the app’s homepage so it is easier to get seen rather than being buried within the feed. If you content is valuable, from there, users will begin to engage with your posts as well. The other cool thing about stories is it doesn’t require the same level of curation as your Instagram page as the content is only active for 24 hours. So you can show a more candid side of your business and have a bit more flexibility on what you post there so as not to disrupt your aesthetically perfect Instagram account.
Instagram Sponsored Ads are unsurprisingly popular given Instagram sees the highest ad-engagement rate (as mentioned earlier). With Instagram ads you select targeting criteria based on audience age, location and interests. The simplicity of which, makes Instagram an obvious choice for even the most inexperienced social media marketing pros.
Retargeting is most often used to describe online ad placements and display ads, served based on a user’s activity on your site. A user comes to your site, a cookie’s set and you can now target ads to them on other sites they visit, on the Google display network as well as on Facebook.
As for content...?
- Post user-generated content
This is when brands share photos taken by a user on their business profile, and is a great opportunity to acknowledge customers while spreading brand awareness. User-generated content has a 4.5% higher conversion rate on Instagram, proving its value for businesses.
- Post when your audience are active
The faster an Instagram post gets likes, comments and shares, the higher the algorithm ranks it as a piece of content, revealing it to more of your audience and giving it an organic boost. The easiest way to ensure fast engagement on your posts is to publish them when the majority of your followers are online and actively using Instagram.
- Plan Instagram campaigns around social media holidays
A tip to increase the reach of your Instagram posts is to utilise hashtags that will be getting a lot of attention in a short space of time, such as global events (#Olympics2020), social media holidays (#NationalCoffeeDay), and time-limited trends (#ThrowbackThursday). Thankfully, we live in a modern world where everything seems to have a commemorative day of some kind, and so there’s plenty of opportunities to make the most of the boost in traffic no matter your industry!
- Make the most of Instagram Stories
As touched on earlier, stories allow businesses to be a bit less regimented. Go behind the scenes, answer questions, ask polls, have guest story takeovers, tag locations, go live…
- Run an Instagram contest
An Instagram contest is a great social media marketing tactic as they bring in tonnes of likes and comments on a post. By making the requirement to enter involve ‘tagging a friend’, you also draw lots of new users to your profile, increasing your reach and spreading brand awareness!
With the platform aiming to become a true hub for video streaming and compete with the big television providers, its focus on video will only grow in 2019. Regardless of budget and resources, there are many ways to make engaging video content: whether it’s professionally filmed in a studio, intentionally informal on mobile, stop motion or animation – it can work on Facebook!
- Go Live
Use the opportunity of Live to stream an event, a product launch, run a Q&A, or share behind the scenes going ons at the business! You can also ‘Bring a friend’ to a Facebook Live video, which is a great feature to run a mini webinar or interview.
- Facebook Groups
As touched on earlier, there are two ways you can utilise Facebook groups to get to know people in your target demographic and establish yourself in the space: Make a community Facebook group related — but not exclusive — to your business and/or join already established groups and start conversations with your target market.
- Think shares, not sales
The key with Facebook content is to have ‘shareability’ at the forefront. The aim is to have people tagging their friends in the comments of your posts and sharing it on their profile. Whether this is done by being entertaining, informing or thought-provoking, the important questions to ask when planning your Facebook content are: ‘would I watch this?’ and ‘would I share this?’.
- Promote to a lookalike audience
One of the most important and tricky aspects of Facebook ads or promoted content is testing out different target audiences. Facebook offer a great feature called ‘Lookalike Audience’ to help you reach an entirely new group of people who share characteristics with your existing customers and target demographic. You can choose your source audience based on data from the pixel on your site, email addresses, or Custom Audiences you’ve used in the past on Facebook. Regardless of where these source users are from, you can choose countries to target with for the lookalike audience – and one source audience can produce up to 500 lookalike audiences!
Search Engine Marketing is a no-brainer. As the volume of search queries fielded by Google grows, the more chances you have to drive traffic to your website through the paid and organic results. It can end up feeling overwhelming and be costly if you don’t know what you are doing. So it is always recommended that you get an expert in to help you out with both getting your website optimised for SEO – and provide you insight on how to manage and maintain it yourself, ongoing – as well as get your key search and display campaigns set up.
Social media platforms are always looking to improve their value offering and engagement of users with features being introduced all the time. It can be overwhelming to continuously have to navigate these changes and know how best to leverage them for your business. So in order to try and strip back some of the overwhelm, whenever you are looking to post any type of content on any platform, just take 5 seconds before hitting post to ask yourself, does this piece of content educate, inspire or engage. If the answer is no, then step back from it and reconsider how you could turn it into one of those three things. However, if it does have one of those characteristics, then go for it.
Update: Released August 2019, Hootsuite’s ‘The Global State of Digital in 2019 Report’ provides some very interesting digital stats both globally and by country.