Google+ Is Officially Gone—Now What?

The digital platforms, trends and tools to watch in 2019

Back in January, Google announced that it would be shutting down Google+ this month. The platform, which launched in 2011, was once slated to become a serious Facebook competitor. So, what happened?

The main answer is: it never really caught on in the first place. Although Google+ generated a lot of buzz in the beginning (it gained more than 10 million users just two months after its launch!), it wasn’t able to keep up the momentum. After many ill-fated attempts to boost lagging user numbers, Google was faced with two different privacy scandals where it discovered bugs that made Google+ user data available to third-party developers on the Google+ API. With this, Google announced that it would shut down the platform for good.

Google+ never became a useful tool for digital marketers because it never got popular enough to enable lead generation for brands. To attract prospects and eventually drive conversions, you need to take advantage of the many tools and platforms out there that can help you connect with members of your target audience. These marketing tools make it easier to reach your audience and increase engagement with your content.

Here’s our shortlist of the digital tools, trends and platforms to watch in 2019:

Instagram

Instagram has been around for a while, but it only last year earned the title of fastest-growing social media network in the world. Its 1 billion monthly active users make Instagram a great place for marketers looking to broadcast their message or raise awareness about their products and services.

Since launching in-app checkout for shoppable posts in March, it might also be a platform that can directly drive sales. Additionally, according to Nicolas Miachon, CMO of Upfluence, Instagram is a uniquely good platform for influencer marketing because of its mobile-first design and discoverability.

Video Content: Longform and Stories

Video has been growing in prevalence for a while now, and HubSpot suggests that the trend is set to continue this year. According to their 2019 report, digital marketers can expect to see video content spend, usage and consumption increase in the coming year. This makes sense considering that more than 80% of consumer internet traffic is spent on videos, according to the HubSpot study. It’s no wonder—video content is everywhere these days! Plus, it’s quick and super consumable.

If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to start incorporating video into your digital marketing strategy. With the majority of customers preferring to learn about products and services via video, there’s no reason not to dive into production for platforms like YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.

You can rest easy knowing that with a clear concept, good lighting and a smartphone, you can create a great video that will get eyes on your brand—no production team or professional equipment necessary. Need help getting started? Yakkety Yak offers promotional video services, so don’t hesitate to contact us!

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing isn’t going anywhere. A 2017 study by Influencer Marketing Hub revealed that most marketers viewed influencer marketing as their fastest growing customer-acquisition method. Another, more recent report from WFA revealed that 65% of multinational brands intend to spend more on influencer marketing with the goals of boosting brand awareness, reaching out to new customers and improving brand advocacy.

With millennials and Gen Zers making most of their purchasing decisions based on peer recommendations, authentic and relatable influencers are becoming a reliable bridge between brands and younger audiences. Influencers typically have more engaged audiences made up of their peers, which means that an influencer partnership can sometimes make a bigger impact than a regular paid campaign.

To learn more about incorporating influencer marketing into your digital strategy, check out our guide to partner programs or our tips for picking the right influencer.

Artificial Intelligence

According to digital marketing experts, artificial intelligence is the next big thing. Just last year, Nicole Martin, owner of NR Digital Consulting, wrote in Forbes, “With the ability to collect data, analyze it, apply it and then learn from it—AI is transforming digital strategy.” AI has various applications in digital marketing, but its ability to parse large sets of data to reveal insights about your customers is where it really shines.

By using information about a customer’s location, habits across the web, interests and more, an AI program can suggest the most suitable content on your site for individual customers or figure out the best time to contact a prospect. On the creative side, AI can help you develop content by analyzing competitor websites to identify viable blog topics for your brand and write the content for you.

If you’re looking to increase brand awareness or generate more leads, you’ll need to bolster your digital strategy this year. Developing content that people are more likely to engage with, leveraging partnerships to connect with your target audience and focusing on platforms with higher engagement and more active users are all great places to start.

To learn more about the tools and platforms you can use for lead generation and achieving your marketing goals, check out our blog or contact us!

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