There are three particular areas of digital marketing I’m predicting we’ll hear a lot about in the year ahead: mobile-first SEO, in-message advertising, and mobile commerce.

Mobile first SEO

Over the last year, we’ve seen Google update its ranking algorithms to again reinforce the importance of good, trustworthy and relevant content displayed on desktop and mobile sites. Google has also continued to push the importance of mobile indexing since the majority of users now use Google on a mobile device.

In 2019, the mobile-first trend will continue and brands should be aware of how this will affect both their organic search rankings and paid advertising strategy. If a brand’s website is responsive or identical in mobile version to desktop then they might not need to take any action. (Rankings pending, of course!)

That said, the mobile-first push is an excellent opportunity to optimise mobile page speed load times and dynamic elements in accordance with best-practice.

It’s worth remembering that even five years ago Google were saying 77 per cent of mobile searches are made at home or at work – where there’s likely to be a desktop or laptop available. Keep that figure in mind as you consider how many more of us have a smartphone or tablet now. That’s why mobile first is an essential aspect of digital marketing strategy now and going forward.

You have to get content in front of people where they are looking for it and in the format they are looking for. If you’re not optimised for mobile-first search already, it should be on your to-do list.

 

In-message advertising

This has been a tough year for Facebook. Previously reported electoral fake news scandals were compounded by Cambridge Analytica and the bad press just continued to roll in throughout 2018.

It’s difficult now to deny some of the company’s misdeeds. However, the biggest impact we’ve seen from the scandals is consumers’ continued distrust in the social network.

More and more people are realising that companies like Facebook are collecting their data and selling it to advertisers – profiting off of consumers’ own identities. Whilst this hasn’t caused a massive drop in user numbers, it has started to change user behaviour within social platforms.

Individuals are moving away from external broadcast and instead opting for direct message-to-message contact with friends and connections. It’s a shift away from open to closed groups.

I think we’ll continue to see this happen throughout 2019 with popular peer-to-peer messaging apps such as WhatsApp (also owned by Facebook, by the way) dominating the social scene. Brands are having to find a way in.

In-message advertising is already offered across Facebook-owned platforms. However, I think we’ll see a sharp rise in popularity in 2019. This year, there have been more than eight billion interactions between brands and users on Facebook Messenger alone.

This mirrors the rise of the chatbot. Younger web users feel more confident asking an AI helper on a website for help than older people do, so perhaps messaging apps will get older generations used to the notion.

It almost goes without saying that AI and machine learning are absolutely central to the evolution of digital marketing in the years to come – it’s just that in-message advertising is at the forefront of the change.

 

Mobile commerce and Amazon

Mobile commerce (or m-commerce) has boomed over the last couple of years thanks to our APAC region friends leading the way, while popular social networks such as Instagram offer links to instant purchase of products.

Couple this with the rise in influencer advertising – or peer-to-peer sharing of products via brand ambassadors – and now most consumers want (and often expect) to be able to make instant mobile purchases.

This link-up between social and shopping is being explored by some brands already and I’m expecting more developments in this sphere in the UK and elsewhere.

The ease of shopping apps is also being more widely exploited – and no one is doing it better than Amazon.

In a recent blog on the Beattie site, I talked about the dominance of Amazon, which is another search engine and retail giant spearheading mobile commerce with its brand USP of being convenient and a time-saver for consumers.

When people are looking to buy products, not services, it’s Amazon that is their first port of call, not Google. They might only be checking prices as they hunt for bargains, but that gives Amazon a head start.

We’ll continue to see mobile commerce grow in 2019 but I predict this will come from day-to-day purchases such as groceries in addition to fashion and retail.

 

If you’re interested in talking more about upcoming digital trends that might impact your brand, give me a call on: 01698 787887 or email: jessica.mcandrew@beattiegroup.com