2018 Trends & Digital Marketing Strategies to Know For 2019 

ferris wheel

As we find ourselves closer to the end of the year, it’s time to review this year’s trends in digital marketing and web.

Learning from the past and looking into the future will allow your brand to understand how you can better position yourself for business growth in 2019.

Let’s review this year’s trends in digital marketing and learn the 2019 trends to incorporate into your marketing strategy.

A Review of 2018 Trends


The year started with the Hootsuite 2018 report pointing to this as the year of the video.

This wasn’t a fallible prediction.

The focus on mobile video marketing continued in 2018. Instagram kick-started the trend of mobile-first, vertical videos with IGTV. IGTV sparked a huge debate about the importance of mobile and making videos intrinsically for phone. 

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing continued to thrive in 2018.

Consumers trust reviews of brands from people outside of the brand, and influencers proved they still had influence. The key to influencer marketing is choosing your influencers carefully; if brands choose their influencers properly, the connection made from the influencer to their audience had a huge impact.

In 2018, influencer marketing expanded past Instagram. As influencer marketing has become more mainstream in social media marketing, more rules and regulations were instilled across platforms to educate the consumer on paid posts and sponsored content.  

There was a shift in influencer marketing in 2018 from large-scale influencers to micro influencers. More locally-based, smaller influencers are micro influencers).


Larger organisations started implementing chatbots. With them, comes  24-hour customer support—helping your clients (and possible leads) to convert. The prevision points to an increase of this trend throughout small and medium businesses as we enter 2019.  

67% of those surveyed are using chatbots for customer support. Furthermore, 38% had positive feedback and only 11% had negative reactions to the technology.

The access to chatbots in social media such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp makes it easier for small and medium businesses to utilise this functionality as well.

Social Messaging Apps

2018 was a strong year for the usage of social messaging apps:

Not only did the use of social messaging apps rise tremendously, advertising in them was widely used this year as well.

Common Topics and Recurring Themes

Data was a huge overarching worry in 2018.

Data breaches, data collection and privacy policies were a common point of discussion—with policy changes affecting large corporations and small businesses.

data sign over city


One of this year’s most controversial updates was the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

GDPR implemented new data regulations and changed the way data could be collected and stored. Data privacy for EU citizens was at the heart of the change.

Though a European law, businesses who services or products are open to EU citizens also needed to implement this legislation.

GDPR saw changes to website and privacy policies as well as major changes to emails. Spam in our email inboxes is much rarer. Yay for that!

To learn more about GDPR, refer to our previous blogs:  7 Tips for a GDPR Compliant Website and  The Importance of Data Privacy Compliance Under GDPR.

Facebook and Privacy Issues

The issue of Facebook and the collection of personal data escalated to new heights this past year.

With several scandals around data harvesting and personal data acquisition, Facebook felt pressure from users and regulators for a clearer policy on the collection of data.

The data controversy and security issues saw many Facebook users deleting their accounts and stop using the platform altogether (anyone remember #DeleteFacebook?).

Facebook’s audience shifted rapidly, now its predominant audience is  older, mature groups. According to Smart Insights the 55+ group is currently the biggest group of users while the other age groups are either stagnant or declining.

Twitter Under Attack

Twitter was a victim of controversies this past 2018 as well. The social network struggled with the proliferation of bots. Because of the lack of control over bots,  millions of fake accounts had to be purged.

Instagram is also purging fake accounts. Bringing authenticity and trust back to social channels started in 2018 and will continue in 2019.

Get Ready: Top Digital Marketing Trends For 2019

Live and Vertical Video

Video will continue to be front and center and needs to be an integral part of your strategy.

Mobile is here to stay and will be. Start producing videos with the mobile experience in mind—create them in the vertical view.

Live video will also become more important. Like we mentioned above, authenticity and transparency are still front of center for social and for brands. Live video, through any platform, is a way to let your followers into your unedited world. It shows the behind the scenes and in-the-moment of people.

Chatbots and AI

Chatbots were a hit in 2018 and they’re going to be a staple in the upcoming year. Single Grain states  around 1.4 billion users have already interacted with chatbots. They foresee 80% of savvy businesses using chatbots by 2020. These estimations point to savings of $8 billion per annum, especially in the banking and healthcare industries, due to the use of chatbots.

A survey by Retail has proclaimed 58% of millennials have used a chatbot before and 71% say they would try interacting with a chatbot from a major brand. At the same time, 70% of US millennials have a positive attitude towards chatbots.

“The importance of chatbots in digital marketing will continue to impact the industry in 2019. AI-powered Chatbots on web pages, landing pages, and social media, especially Facebook will be implemented in conversational marketing. It’s all about being conversational and creating a lasting impression that a brand is here to be a buddy.”

Cio Review

According to Gartner, 25% of customer service will use chatbot technology by 2020, up from less than 2% in 2017.

Chatbots, and any form of AI, may seem like a scary undertaking for small businesses but are becoming easier and easier to implement across fractions.


Personalisation is a must in 2018. Netflix, Amazon and Spotify lead the way with their personalised services. At Netflix, personalised show recommendations, at Spotify personalised playlists based on their previous listening behaviours and Amazon based on their previous shopping. The companies take it one step further and personalise most communication with their customers. The companies take it one step further and personalise most communication with their customers. 

netflix personalised dashboard

So, how do you personalise your services?

Simple things like ensuring marketing materials have a client’s first name and are properly directed at the client’s situation.

Retarget each lead and customer according to their interests. With analytics and with user logins it’s easy to understand what client’s favourite items and services are. Retarget these preferences and create personalised landing pages for each client’s needs.

Another way you can implement personalisation is through email marketing. Email marketing is a free, easy way to uniquely target each customer!

Emails should not be generically created anymore; email marketing is another way to show how much you know each individual customer and to tailor the experience to them.  “Personalized, triggered emails based on behaviour are 3x better than batch-and-blast emails.”

Visual Search

Google Image Search & Pinterest Lens

The visual search algorithm has been developed during 2018 but its estimated to grow in use throughout 2019. With visual search, you can now use an image, or a real-life camera scan and search for something. According to MarketsandMarkets, image recognition market will grow to $25.65 billion by 2019.

Pinterest Lens is growing, learning and it’s predicted to grow in 2019. The visual search could really kick off the development of new upcoming technologies. Pinterest Lens, like visual search, allows you to take a picture of something and search for it within Pinterest. It brings up relevant ways to wear, use, and incorporate that item into your life.  

Why do we predict visual search will grow?

90% of information transmitted to the human brain is visual. The same study states that the human brain can identify images seen for as little as 13 milliseconds. Additionally, there are over 600 million visual searches on Pinterest every month.

Voice Search and Smart Speakers

According to Canalys, the global market for voice search devices grew 187% in 2018 and Xiaomi’s Mini AI speaker sales were up 228% in 2018. By 2024, the global voice-based smart speaker market could be worth $30 billion. LocationWorld adds 240% of the adults now use mobile voice search at least once daily. By 2020, 50% of all searches across the internet will be voice-based.

In 2019, you’ll start to see voice search integrated into more and more processes. For instance, Domino’s Pizza currently uses voice search technology as a way to increase its sales: it allows customers to order pizzas through Alexa.

Amazon and Gmail Ads

Amazon has been growing, and in the last couple of months, it has been rumoured that the corporation is developing some ad space in their website based on user’s search history. If this unveils in 2019 as predicted, then businesses need to jump on the wagon early on to get the best prices.

“Advertisers know the Amazon audience is huge and primed to buy, and that Amazon’s platform will allow them to target based on real shopping and will allow them to target based on real shopping and buying data—not just demographics and interests.”


A very often underrated channel for ads is Gmail space. Throughout Gmail, you can put you add through PPC ads. And people are reading through their emails on their phone, every morning so why not?

According to Neil Patel, Google’s smart targeting reach 1 billion monthly active Gmail users who routinely check their emails several times in a day.

Google Marketing Platform

Google enrolled in a bunch of significant changes throughout 2018, most of this changes will see an unfold in 2019, in particular with the newl service: The Google Marketing Platform

The Google Marketing Platform includes the following components.

While marketers are still testing the waters and trying to understand the different dimensions of each service, there’s no doubt that these updates will carry out to 2019 and help marketers and businesses make smarter marketing decisions; from ads to analytics, surveying and web optimisation.

And here we are! 2018 trends that resonated with us this year plus our predict for 2019 digital marketing trends.

For more information on the upcoming 2019 trends, we highly recommend this study that forecasts digital marketing spend for each channel through 2021. Give it a read!

Let’s see if all the previsions come true.

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