TBB’s digital marketing predictions for 2019
It’s been a busy year for Google and digital marketing. As we prepare to say a fond farewell to 2018, the team considers what we can expect from emerging trends in 2019.
User experience more important than ever
Google focuses its entire service on the end user and considers lots of so-called ‘behavioural’ factors while ranking websites. Making sure the user is satisfied with your website will remain a key priority going into 2019. With Google now revealing far less about incoming updates, it has become increasingly difficult to capitalise on new features. This makes it all the more important to focus on the bigger picture: ensuring user experience is as seamless as it can be. Well-written content, great design and a well-thought-out customer journey will help drive better user engagement, which is the ultimate signal to Google that a site is delivering exactly what the visitor is searching for.
Mark Jenkins, digital marketer
A move toward single page applications
2019 will see an increase in single page applications and websites, moving away from the more standard tiered structure of websites that we have seen up until now. The trend lends itself to the recent increase in popularity of an API-first approach to content management, where more data sources are moving to the cloud and are being accessed through remote connections, and especially with the popularity of NoSQL data sources such as MongoDB that don’t abide by the relational database model. Single page apps are more fluid in how they retrieve, collect and relay information from its data source to the user, and because of this, front-end frameworks such as Vue, React and Angular are paving the way for the browser to once again be king across all devices, and mobile application development is slowly declining as a result.
John Bell, web developer
Audience first – Google sees right through content for the sake of content
As more and more businesses begin to finally pick up on the importance of creating compelling, valuable content, in 2019 there’ll be no excuse for not getting it right. In digital, content experience and management will be huge next year and traditional SEO techniques remain a secondary focus. That means engaging design, effective interactions and data-driven content that answers users’ questions and meets their needs. Longer-form content – albeit with a scannable, interactive format for ease of consumption – will remain a big player. As Google places more emphasis on expertise and authority, it’s now imperative writers demonstrate this through genuinely useful content that meets audience needs and builds trust.
Carrie Webb, senior writer
Customer experience central to marketing strategy
It was highlighted as an area that provided the ‘most exciting’ opportunity in 2018 but the buzz surrounding customer experience shouldn’t die down anytime soon. Optimising a customer’s experience should be central to every business’ marketing plans in 2019. Companies that have a cross-team approach with the customer at the heart of all initiatives are twice as likely to exceed their business goals. This is precisely why we launched our customer journey service last year – to help our clients focus on this and build marketing strategy around it.
Andy McCaul, managing director
Video continues to dominate
Generation Z (or ‘Generation Instagram’) has already drastically changed the way we market on social and will continue to do so in 2019. We‘ve already seen social platforms introduce ease of purchase or conversion through their apps (Instagram introducing tagging products and Pinterest launching sponsored posts). An Econsultancy study showed the top digital-related priority for organisations in 2018 was social media engagement – and this will carry through next year.
In terms of high-flying content for social, video comes up a clear winner every time. YouTube has more than 1.9 billion active users every month (YouTube) and video content on all platforms, not limited to social, is showing no signs of slowing down. Over 70% of current YouTube watch time is from a mobile device and this will increase next year. Content creators are have a huge platform from which to share amazing brand messages and support for written content. Aside from this, video is being favoured in the SERP which, in isolation, is a reason to invest in video marketing.
Ruby Ribbons, account manager
Design will capitalise on historic movements
Brutalist design comes with a lack of concern for appearing comfortable or easy. It’s illegible, chaotic and has a complete lack of respect for the concept of balance. Visually it links back to the early days of postmodern graphic design and brings with it vast negative spaces and jarring colours, giving us the ability to experiment as designers. This trend is a surreal collage of the digital landscape and should be harnessed in 2019. Brutalist design pairs well with the forecasted trend of abstract shapes inspired by modernism. This could have stemmed from Adobe releasing the ‘Hidden Treasures of the Bauhaus’ fonts in 2018. After nearly a century, Erik Spiekermann and an international team of students restored five historic typefaces taken from the archives of the Bauhaus. Designers now have the freedom to combine and experiment with both movements.
Kara Clifford, designer
Stories in the spotlight
‘Stories’ are set to grow rapidly. Snapchat introduced the stories feature back in 2011 – and platform after platform has followed its lead. Of course everyone wants a fully immersive experience every time they enter the online world – and to be able to see intimate detail from brands and celebrities’ lives takes this window to a whole other level. In short, stories are seen to be more interactive, authentic and tend to see a higher engagement rate than your average static post. If stories aren’t already an arm to your social strategy, now is the time to act.
Ruby Ribbons, account manager
The benefit of UI/UX design
With the digital industry rapidly evolving, brands and businesses (both start-up and established) are focusing their attention on digital presence. As important as it is for websites, mobile apps and social media to be eye-catching, it is more beneficial for the success of a business or digital product to put emphasis on the user experience. Focusing on user interface/experience design saves costs further down the line by ironing out any issues in the foetal stages in the product development cycle. User interface design ensures that a product is not only aesthetically pleasing but increases user engagement and retains their attention, giving the product a longer shelf life in a saturated market.
Improving the cost effectiveness of the development process isn’t the only benefit of investing in UI/UX. The easier an interface is, the more users will be willing to learn and keep using it. If the user can see value in the product, there’s more chance of them becoming a paying customer. In contrast, if a product is difficult to use the user becomes frustrated and disengaged and a customer is lost – hence the need to put every effort into UI/UX design in 2019.
Hannah Mableson, web designer