It’s a month into the new year and there’s already been official updates, announcements and rollouts in many of the platforms marketers use. Nothing really blindsided the industry so far, since there’s been a gradual shift in many trends and practices, but the top of quarter 1 made many of these changes official. As usual, it’s taking brands and marketers a lot of research and adjustment to ensure that their campaigns stay competitive as the rules and regulations of this game we call marketing continues to evolve. The best way to compete, of course is to stay in touch with the current trends in digital advertising and to sniff out the changes that are still to come. In this ever-changing climate, here’s our forecast for the year ahead.
Display Ads Become Endangered
For anyone who’s been analyzing data closely, this comes as no surprise. Display ads have been on their way out for a while now. They’ve had more and more stack up against them as users have become more savvy, employing ad-blockers to keep their online experience spam free. The ad blocking apps available for all types of browsers have significantly impacted publishers and the brands that advertise, forcing them to try new measures that circumvent ad-blocker software. Some big publishers like Forbes, turn to forceful measures by blocking users who either won’t turn off their ad blockers or who won’t whitelist them in their settings. But this, of course, only really works for publishing giants like Forbes that consumers might just take the extra steps to visit. Still, many consumers stay steadfast in their right to an ad-free experience and take to social media pages and other public forums to digitally tar and feather the sites that force them to choose between not reading the content at all and being granted access, but with the price of being bombarded by all their obnoxious ads.
The result will be a move away from traditional display ads for brands who, rather than fight back against the rise and inevitable victory of ad-blockers, choose to spend their ad dollars on ad formats that won’t have so much against them.
Google Shopping Beats Out Adwords for E-commerce Retailers
The effectiveness of display ads will also drive more e-commerce brands to stop spending on that ad format and move more focus to Google Shopping. For retail brands, the importance of having a properly built out Google Merchant account will become imperative for their products to show up in Google Shopping results. Using Google Adwords for specific products will become more and more irrelevant when compared to Google Shopping. So will organic text + link results. As more consumers continue to choose mobile over desktop, the format of Google Shopping, which includes the clear image of what they’re searching for as well as the price and the link to the product page on the site, serves the mobile user in a way more convenient, seamless way. Leading Google certified marketer and Google Shopping strategist, Jonathan Privat #1 Miami Web Developer, has already advised his e-commerce clients about this shift. “For retail clients, Google Shopping is the #1 place they want to make sure their items are. No one is reading text links and meta descriptions anymore when they’re looking for a bikini or a new pair of sunglasses. A lean marketing campaign for an online retailer in 2019 doesn’t need to focus on what’s getting marginal results. That’s why I’ve already advised all my e-commerce clients to cut to the chase and invest their ad dollars where the most shoppers are.” Based in Miami, Privat works with a variety of national e-commerce brands such as Luminora.com, dama-oficial.com and Cabanadelsol.com.
To get products listed on Google Shopping, the Google Merchant Account will first need to be set up and optimized fully, with all the product attributes filled out in detail and strategically. Whether the products are housed on a Magento, Shopify or Woocommerce, they require to be uploaded into the merchant account via a feed. Bigcommerce was the only platform with an API to be integrated, however Google announced that in March they would do away with the integration due to the introduction of a generated feed link.
Facebook Advertising Gets Stricter and Smarter
In 201, Facebook advertising continues to be a crucial part of any effective social media marketing plan as it has been in years past. This year, marketers can expect the platform to develop on an even deeper level than ever before. Based on it’s powerhouse of data collected from ads, it has become extremely granular in it’s targeting options, allowing marketers to spend more wisely on audiences that actually yield conversions. On the other hand, to support its self-proclaimed integrity to the user experience, it will continue to slow down organic branded reach and funnel any company looking to get eyeballs on their content towards spending on advertising.
This year, not just any content will fly. Recently, Facebook’s changes to its algorithm pointed to more quality control in branded content and encouraging more live video content than static images. This is in line with what has already been observed: a 135% increase in reach for video content than for static images. The algorithm updates also works against any click-baiting in posts to reduce cheap attempts at racking up engagements. Lastly, Facebook also announced it wouldn’t allow publishers and creators to use its branded content tool to promote content they weren’t involved in creating.
Facebook Catalog Becomes More Prominent
Facebook’s native shopping catalog is another area that will see more growth and emphasis, likely becoming another staple in e-commerce retailers’ marketing presence checklist. The added perk when it comes to users finding products while on Facebook is the ability for the specific product to follow the user around while still on the social media site. Yes, retargeting facebook ads also do that, but the ads you create manually are stuck to showing whichever product that was chosen for that ad, which may or not be the specific product your potential customer is interested in. With Facebook Catalog, you can use the product inventory uploaded to it with multiple ad types and formats, including dynamic ads and the collection ad format. Facebook Catalog will allow the exact product the consumer was already looking at to follow them around.
Marketers put more Emphasis on Actionable Insight
In 2019, marketers will seek to continue leaning out their budgets, zeroing in on exactly what works. More informed decisions come with better data collection, so there will be even more focus than ever on quality insight and predictive analytics. This means doing business without conversion tracking in place, such as pixels and a properly built out Google Analytics account means doing business blind. The more a marketer can do on the backend of a site to ensure all these tools are in place, the more efficient the marketing campaigns and budgets will be. This means marketers who can crossover into developer mode become more valuable to brands looking for razor sharp analytics to fuel their next move.
2019 has a lot in store for marketers as trends continue to evolve, but as always, it’s all about those brands that can roll with the punches and adjust. The ones who can get ahead of the trends are always the brands who will continue to stick around for the next round of updates and developments.