As the digital landscape continues to flourish, it feels like a new trend pokes its head up every other week. From social media app updates to paid advertising do's and don'ts, new trends make headway just as soon as you have mastered the last one.
Digital trends are not industry-specific and affect almost every type of business. As a leader, you are responsible for staying up to date on these ever-changing trends so your company's marketing efforts can continue to grow.
Here are some digital trends to watch out for in 2019:
Hashtags are an integral part of social media marketing when used correctly. Though they aren't a new digital trend, the way they are utilized to benefit your social strategy has changed. When hashtags first became popular, it was common to weave 8-10 hashtags into a caption on Instagram. Now they're more often placed in the comments to expose the photo to a larger audience and raise engagement through trending hashtags related to the post. On Twitter, where an abundance of hashtags was also common, 1-2 hashtags are all you need now for maximum engagement. As the hashtag number rises, engagement and impressions begin to fall.
It is no secret that influencers have taken the social media world by storm, and they are not slowing down now. Brands of all sizes have seen the rise of this trend and use it to their advantage, paying influencers to spread the word or promote a product or service on their social networks. Most influencers are either paid directly for an "ad" or "sponsored post" through a written contract or agreement. Some are given an access code and receive a percentage of the sale when their link or access code is used.
Consumers trust the opinion of those influencers who they relate to and admire, and are therefore more enthusiastic about the products they promote. That's why companies see a major benefit to using popular bloggers or YouTubers to promote a product or service to a niche of the company's target audience.
Social Media Stories
Since Snapchat began the trend of users having a "story" only able to be viewed for 24 hours, social media stories have become an essential element of social media marketing strategies. Instagram and Facebook have hopped on the bandwagon, and now YouTube has their own rendition of stories.
Digital marketers have embraced this growing trend by using stories as brand awareness and engagement tools for their businesses. The new "highlight" feature on Instagram also allows users to archive stories into a highlights reel on their Instagram page to be viewed at any time. Brands have taken advantage of highlights by categorizing their highlights into different groups such as: discounts, product launches, restocks, company culture etc.
Another benefit of brands keeping up with social media trends is that companies with a certain amount of followers are awarded a "swipe up" feature on Instagram stories. This feature allows brands or influencers to directly promote a product or service on their Instagram story, and when a user "swipes up" it takes them directly to the site where they can purchase a product or service. This aids in user ability on the app, to shop or browse a certain product or service straight from viewing a story.
Video marketing is a major player in the digital marketing landscape. In fact, 93% of businesses reported gaining a new customer as a direct result of a video posted on social media. Video helps with brand engagement and also contributes heavily to conversion rates and SEO.
As the quality of photography and videography on smartphones and the ability to edit with the use of apps increases, film software sales have decreased and more companies use real-time video to engage with their target markets. Video is used everywhere, from companies promoting office culture on their social media channels to brands creating video tutorials on how to use a product or service effectively. Companies use live video as a way to engage with their audience in real-time, and some use live video to record events or run Q&A sessions to answer consumer's questions directly.
You don't have to be an expert in digital marketing to monitor changing digital trends, but knowing what they are and how they can help your business is essential for growth. As a leader, it is important to stay updated on these trends to keep your company or brand competitive in today's market. By keeping tabs on changing digital trends, you can better strategize their role in your current plan. Don't let the ever-changing digital landscape hinder your growth; stay educated, and utilize these tools to your company's advantage.