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7 content & influencer marketing trends for 2019

Now that 2019 budgets are mostly presented and approved, it’s time to take action.

Here are 7 trends to keep in mind over the next year if you want to stand out and take the lead in your industry.

We share a trend for each discipline, along with explanations and supporting data. Topics include social media, media buying, content marketing, digital marketing, influencer marketing, impact and branding.


1) Media Buying: Acquiring & nurturing audiences

2018 was the year Facebook finally revealed how its algorithm truly worked. Although we know that it will continue to evolve over the next year, we can expect that the guidelines will remain the same: Facebook - Instagram included - will continue to reward pages that generate active engagement by offering them more organic reach.

That being said, we are evolving at a time when the organic reach of social platforms is virtually nil - we can assume that it will eventually be zero. Sponsoring your publications with an adequate media budget becomes necessary to reach your brand’s audience.

71% of the “most successful” content marketers have used paid distribution methods in the past year.

This media investment is used to buy audience reach, in order to present its content to consumers who are most likely to engage with it.

Beyond socio-demographic and psychographic data, did you know that Facebook makes it easy to define audiences based on the interaction history with your brand?

In other words, it is possible to present your social content to audiences that have demonstrated interest for your brand over a period of time, whether by visiting your website, conducting an online transaction or interacting with your content on Facebook and Instagram.

→ Your 2019 editorial plan should include content dedicated to the acquisition of audiences as well as content designed for the maintenance of existing audiences.

2) Content marketing: Audience centric long-form production

This year, take the time to think about what your audience’s interests really are rather than thinking about what you want to tell them.

To generate engagement, the content must be relevant to your audience.

  • Use tools like Facebook Insights, Google Analytics, Socialbakers and Buzzsumo to understand the interests of people who interact with your brand.
  • Use the stickers on Instagram Story to initiate a discussion and find out what they want to see.

Once you’ve found editorial vectors that appeal to your audience, invest in the production of long-form content, whether it’s for social media or your proprietary platforms, such as your newsletter or blog. Think videos, feature articles and white paper!

Your audience remains the primary judge of the quality of your content.

Long-form content remains the most successful because it drives more backlinks, generates more shares, improves the user experience, and most importantly, is considered more relevant by Google’s algorithm.

Knowing that the content’s SEO relevance is as, if not more, important than its ability to generate clicks, you will be rewarded in the long run.

Contact us to discuss your 2019 content strategy!

3) Social Media: engagement goes through the dark social

Buying reach is good, but you still need to make sure you measure it properly.

Engagement rate still remains the most important vanity metric to monitor but beyond data presented by social media (likes, comments and shares) and engagement rates, a new metric not in the performance reports will have to be considered in 2019: the dark social.

A phenomenon that has been around for a number of years now, the dark social represents all shares made directly between users, via private conversations. (Think about direct messages, emails and text messages.)

With the rapid growth of messaging applications such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and soon the distinct app for direct messages on Instagram, private communications are becoming more and more relevant for brands.

Do you measure the number of direct messages received monthly? Do you take the time to respond appropriately?

These privileged conversations between brands and consumers are an element of conversion and must be taken into account when evaluating the performance of your social content strategies.

4) Digital marketing: time to build your own databases

Personal data privacy issues are at the centre of the digital challenges our generation faces, and will be one of the significant buzzwords of 2019.

Beyond the scandals commonly faced by Facebook, Amazon and Google, this issue tells us that, overnight, personal data access policies can change.

Brands are at the mercy of third-party platforms because they depend on them to reach their consumers.

Facebook knows everything about our audiences. Its targeting is accurate and its media buying platform very effective. It’s easy to rely too much on it to achieve our goals.

The marketer of 2019 needs to break its dependance to third-party data and start building his proprietary audiences right away.

If it hasn’t been done already, 2019 should be the year you start developing your own databases and interest segmentations, integrating automation and investing in your proprietary distribution channels.

Email marketing is still identified as the most successful marketing channel by 59% of companies.

Whether in lead nurturing mode, customer loyalty or consumer interest analysis, a good understanding of your audience is an invaluable knowledge that will allow you to survive beyond fluctuations of third-party platforms.

And remember: creating your proprietary audiences will help to provide and optimize the external audiences targeted on social media and thus increase the quality and quantity of your own audiences.

5) Influencer marketing: The Era of Billboard influencers draws to an end

In 2019, the human factor will become more and more important in the relations between brands and creators.

  • Focus is on real people who have real affinities with the brands with which they collaborate.
  • Focus is on collaborations that generate a creative input that is measured beyond reach and engagement.
  • Focus is on co-creative partnerships that bring brands closer to their communities and customers.

Whether as part of a co-creation program, a brand storytelling initiative or affiliate programs, influencer marketing will further evolve in 2019 to real partnerships rather than paid publications relying solely on the reach they provide.

A co-creation program is a content production program that recruits and remunerates content creators, part of a brand’s existing community, to use the content for editorial purposes on social media. _

It will bring brands closer to members of their communities with fewer followers, but more representative of the brand’s values.

These creators are not necessarily used to collaborating with brands; they are just really good at social media and understand the brand’s DNA very well.

This trend echoes the many articles in 2018 reporting influencers with false followers, as well as numerous studies showing that influencers with fewer followers generate better engagement.

Influencer marketing is in a transitional period. After a few years when everything was allowed, there is a certain refinement coming from brands that require more transparency from their influencers — and vice versa! — and above all, who realize the full potential of influential collaborations with creators and customers who understand how their product is consumed and are willing to share their experience openly.

If you believe that influencer marketing was a thing of the past, be aware: it's a changing discipline that we will be hearing about for years to come.

Contact us now to explore how influencer marketing can benefit your brand.

6) Impact: Sustainable Consumption is Gaining Popularity

Consumers in 2019 are increasingly conscious of environmental and social issues. They consume in a sustainable, ecological and socially responsible way. They consume products and experiences according to their values.

57% of consumers — all age groups combined — say they are ready to stop buying products of a brand that no longer match their values.

The fit between brands and consumers values continues to raise a major concern when it comes time to make a purchase.

This means that for these consumers, a brand’s promise of social responsibility is as important as the functional properties of the products offered and their prices.

In a changing economy where 87% of consumers realize that they have the responsibility to act on their values through their power of consumption, it is essential for the sustainability of your business to question its impact and the role it plays in the society.

Is your brand ready to assert its impact?

This is where our approach to Creating Social Capital makes perfect sense. Take part in our free workshop this spring to discover how your brand can generate social capital from its business model!

7) Branding: It's time to invest in your employer branding

In a time of full employment, where all companies are in constant and active search for skilled talent, the words "employer branding" will be on everyone’s lips in 2019.

This recruitment issue, previously relegated to the human resources department, will now be shared by the marketing, communications, sponsorship and, above all, senior management departments.

65% of French managers consider that any company should have a specific mission beyond its economic objectives and 73% believe that becoming a purpose-driven company would improve their employer image.

Do not be surprised to see several employer branding campaigns take shape in the next 12 to 24 months. Companies will compete with ingenuity to put forward the benefits they offer to their employees.

  • Flexible hours and telecommuting
  • Snacks and kitchens in the office
  • Creative and inspiring workspaces
  • Team-building activities and paid trips
  • And many more…

These benefits will work in some cases, but since an employee invests one third of their time at work, it is the potential impact of everyone’s time that will have the most weight in their decision-making. Basically, each employee is wondering: how will society benefit from my 9 to 5?"

‘“Does it mean anything to ride a bike to work when you work for a company whose activities contribute to increasing climate change or draining natural resources?” - Wake up call on the environment, a student Manifesto.

An employer branding campaign for 2019? Definitely! But what message will you send to your potential employees while increasing the retention of your existing employees?

If we take this thinking further, I anticipate that we are moving towards a convergence of the consumer brand and the employment brand of the same company.

In 2 to 3 years, we will see more and more unique brands that talk to their employees and customers in the exact same way.

Creating Social Capital for a company is no longer an option. This is a real and current issue that affects both sales and recruitment.

Contact us to discuss how our approach can benefit your business.

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As the Head of strategy, Jean-Philippe has been interested in the systemic changes required for a transition to a more conscious capitalism system for over 10 years.