9 dying marketing trends in 2018

I have to admit, I’ve never interacted with a chatbot. Using my phone, I put in a simple order and had a bot inform me that I did a great job and I thought “Technology is really catching up. I don’t have to interact with people! This is amazing!” Perhaps I’m a little behind on this, but is this something that will die out or something that will be built on for a more seamless customer service experience?

The argument about using bots and automation in general is that it’s very impersonal, and makes brands seem cold, detached. That’s just one prediction and one possible dying marketing trend. The other argument is – who is to say you can’t make your bot fun to interact with? Customers are striving for a more human touch, and it’s still possible to do with automation. Just something to think about.

Let’s talk about actual marketing (anti) trends…

How are marketing trends involved in this? I thought about the fact that most people now use their mobile phones for basically everything. Which had me thinking, are all our online marketing efforts in vain if we ignore the fact that it’s a ‘mobile first’ kind of world? From this, I searched near and far to bring up other pain points from the perspective of users, clients and consumers.

Based on research, some of the top marketing trends might be a bit of a stretch, but I always say that it’s equally beneficial to know what not to do. This becomes just as important as knowing exactly what to do. Here are all the anti-trends in marketing this year, things that definitely won’t work anymore, and alternatives to approaches that might just work in 2019.

Time to part with these 9 marketing trends

1. Annoying pop ups and banner ads

Let’s face it, if people are interested in your product and services, they’ll find their way around your website. There’s no need to remind them 50 times about your latest offers with a pop up that keeps coming back again and again.

Pop ups in 2019 are a no-no. People hated them when they first appeared, and they hate them now. It’s time to admit that it’s useless, and that people are simply annoyed by them. More than 11% of Internet users have an ad blocker, which should give you a clue.

Your pop ups might not even be seen for that reason. You should instead invest your time into a more seamless integration of your offers onto your website. Yes, we’re talking about native ads. Be subtle! Traditional pop ups and banner ads are a distraction and basically dead weight. Do we even see banner ads due to ad blindness anymore?

2. Blogging solely for SEO

You know how you carefully try to pack articles with keywords and phrases for better rankings? Yes, well people actually notice when your content is published for the sake of SEO and saturated with keyword. If you want to avoid some yawns from your audience, focus on quality content to share your expertise instead of using your company blog just to focus on SEO.

There’s hardly a company without a blog. How you use your blog is actually key in marketing. Articles on your blog should not be used as an excuse to target the same keywords. Yes, search engines might appreciate it but your users don’t!

With a positive outlook to 2019, focus on creating a place of value. That is to say – use your blog to build something valuable and give your readers a reason to think, reflect, and appreciate your business from another side. No more pointless blogging.

3. Very wordy “content to go”

If you have a lot to say, why not make a video and tap into the popular medium? Some companies continue to produce very lengthy PDF e-books. The idea itself is great, but only if it’s more visual as opposed to ‘literature class homework’ type of content.

Offering free knowledge in the format of ‘content to go’ is actually a great way to establish authority, build brand awareness and simply share useful information and findings. This will never get old, but what will is the very information heavy e-books that people won’t bother with because more often than not, users are browsing content on their phones.

By all means, share knowledge! But keep in mind that people are on their phones, and you need to give information in bite sized pieces. PDFs packed with information are simply ineffective on mobile phones. Tap into a different trend – the scrollable and shareable content.

4. Impersonal email marketing

Mass emails are easy to spot – they’re very impersonal. You can be sure that the number of customers buying into your advertised products will opt out after a very short period of time. 2019 is the year of personalization in marketing, so you really have to get more creative.

There’s also something very frustrating about getting the same emails all the time. It’s easy to hit unsubscribe or automatically mark the emails as read. This might work for some time but definitely not in the long run.

Instead of this mass email marketing strategy, send personalized emails with relevant content based on the information you have about your clients and subscribers. See their recent engagement level, analyze their online behavior and try to pitch content based on demographics. This is time consuming, but really worth your effort in 2019.

5. Autoplay videos

Yes, video is king, we’ve all heard about it and read about it. There’s nothing more annoying though than scrolling through and hearing music blasting somewhere on the page, unsure of where to noise is coming from. This anti trend is really about convenience. Think about your users first and foremost.

We call this “intrusive marketing” and it really has to stop. Google Chrome is actually working on blocking autoplay videos which should tell you something about the general attitude towards this format.

Why force users to watch your videos? Focus on the creativity part so that users will want to play your videos. Use tools to create eye catching thumbnails. This isn’t about budget and money, this is about strategy and creativity if you’re investing into video next year.

6. Generic images

“One-size-fits-all” marketing approach is phasing out. This is especially true for visual content. Next year, there will be no place for generic images and visuals. Stock photography is great when you need an abundance of visuals to choose from and use in advertising, but really, devote time to content curation to inspire some reaction.

If you want people to connect with your brand, your choice of visuals and the general aesthetics should communicate very clearly and be done with a lot of thought. Opt for images that will be more relatable to your audience and achieve an emotional response.

People are quick to ignore more generic images with smiling people. These cliches don’t inspire any emotional reaction because they’re generic, impersonal and not very creative at the end of the day. There’s so many different types of visual content you can use. By all means, don’t opt for something neutral and generic because you’re pressed for time.

7. Long video ads

Anything longer than 6 seconds as an ad is too long. Our attention spans our short, and content in 2019 really needs to be thumb-stopping. YouTube is pushing forward their own agenda, with super short video ads.

This time constraint should be interpreted as a place for creative problem solving. How can you catch someone’s attention in these mere seconds? That’s one for the team to figure out during your brainstorm sessions.

Facebook is considering these 6 second ads, so get on board before it becomes a reality. Can you tell a story in 6 seconds? You’ll come out of it a winner if you can. Give up on the idea of long ads, because likely no one will go past the first few seconds in our fast paced, mobile-first world.

8. Relying on organic traffic on social media

You can’t count on organic reach on social media next year. Marketing experts are saying that social media is an untapped source and an opportunity for marketing. Next year, you really have to start making the most of social media platforms and attach sales goals to content so that you know what type of content works for you and where to invest your efforts.

Boost your posts. Do it because it’s a chance to reach a wider audience. Facebook’s change in algorithms is really lowering organic reach for everyone, especially brands and businesses.

Be ready to spend a little to see the perks of your hard work. Boost those posts and use the opportunity to analyze what works and what doesn’t so you can adjust your social media marketing strategy in 2019.  

9. Fake reviews

Products and services with better reviews generally perform better. People like reading positive reviews because it’s reassuring when making a purchase. Some companies are still relying on fake reviews for a little boost.

Usually you can tell when a review is fake. As a result, your credibility falls. Amazon made a bit  move in fighting fake reviews. There were even lawsuits for people that write fake reviews for companies.

What’s the solution? Reach out to your happy clients and ask them to write reviews. Offer some perks for a small favor and reap the benefits of genuine reviews instead. There’s other people you can rely on and fake reviews just make you seem a little desperate. Nobody wants to be that business.

Words of wisdom before you go

First and foremost, remember that 2019 will be the year of mobile. Yet again. This means you might as well bury your projects if websites are non responsive. It’s also the year to implement a marketing strategy that is reflective of the changes in consumer behavior. It’s time to bring all your good ideas, new solutions and the right tools.

These old digital marketing trends are dragging you behind. Marketing is a beautiful combination of some tips and tricks tailored to buyer behavior. It’s time to tailor content for individuals, and edge a little closer to understanding your clients but also applying creativity to gain their attention in 2019. It all starts with bidding farewell to these dying marketing trends.


See also: The Power of Brand Archetypes in Marketing: Which One Are You?

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