Marketing Trends for 2019

Trends are set every year and they seem to come out of nowhere, but every trend has an originator, and if you step back enough you can see a trend coming a mile away.


While numerous people are still finding success on Instagram, last week Instagram “accidentally” released a new format that exposed a new way that people experience and use their app. No shocker here…people hated it. But what’s most telling about this is that it appears that, at some level, Instagram was okay with testing a huge change to their platform for their audience, and it was approved as a possible positive experience.

Could we be seeing Instagram (owned by Facebook) looking for ways to increase their ad revenue in preparation of Facebook audience fall out?

Is it possible we’re going to see the end of Instagram in 2019?

I don’t think we’ll see an “abandon ship” wave in 2019. I think we’ll actually see more market share of Instagram than any year before. But, with more users comes more junk (i’m looking at you MLM agents) and with an aggressive algorithm this will lead to fatigue for both users and content creators.

from Mega, to Micro, now to Macro

In 2019…Everyone will be an influencer.

Because of near constant advertising and algorithm hacks, everyday social media users now have the knowledge on how to successfully tag, check-in, and promote your product. So stop looking at the “biggest” following in 2019 and just start reaching out to people who are fans of your brand that are doing things you’d like to be a part of.

Reward them and they’ll reward you.

But don’t think you’ll be able to save money because Betty only has 500 followers. Guard your ROI by looking at their engagement rate, don’t know what an engagement rate is?

Honey…it’s the only number that matters.

Excess killed the Video Star

2017-2018 was definitely the year that everyone realized how effective and starved for video content the internet was.

In typical trend nature, one year you’re in the next year you’re out.

Video content is always necessary and nice, but be purposeful with the videos you create. Doing a Facebook Live of nothing isn’t enough to drive engagement anymore.

Look back at your videos of yesteryear and take a peek at the drop-off rate (i.e. the time stamp in the video where viewers stopped watching). You’ll notice that drop-off rates can be as early as 4-6 seconds into the live stream.

Make sure you get your viewers’ attention and continue to captivate them. If there’s a drop in the energy of your video cut it! You don’t have to make five-minute long videos. In the words of Sweet Pea herself “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”


On a side note, video content that is well-produced continues to be king. If you’re thinking about producing your own small episodic series of content, 2019 should be the year for you. It’s the year everyone is looking for a new show or something of quality to consume, but standards of production have been set by Netflix and up and coming streaming sites. Our bet is on some organic, story-driven content series having some real viral power moving into 2019. Look at how the audience responded to Worm in 2013.

You've been poked by Death

I think we’ve all known that Facebook is on the decline in user growth for a while now.

They’re holding onto their market share for dear life while they’re raking in the dough and spinning their wheels trying to diversify their offerings to entice the younger generation. Despite their best intentions I think that with data scandals, politics, noisy ad-filled feeds, and falling out of what’s cool for teens, Facebook has had their best year and it was 2017.

It’s time to start looking at other places for your brand to carve out your audience. Maybe spend some of that time and energy cleaning up your website and generating meaningful connections in your community, not just digitally.

If you’re reading this and not in the U.S., you’ve got another year or so where Facebook is still a “cool” and budding space for online communities.

Pink Pink & more Pink

Every year it seems that a specific color makes its way to the top.

Well if you’re unfamiliar with Pantone, the definitive language in color, you might seem to think these colors come out of thin air. In fact every year Pantone releases their “color of the year”. Shortly after that, the color starts making its way into the world.

Don’t believe me? Check out the most popular works on Dribbble, an online community of powerhouse UX/UI designers, in 2018.


As you can see, the 2018 color Ultra Violet is predominant in the trends of what was elected most popular by the community. In 2019 expect to see Living Coral, a color that Pantone describes as “an animating and life affirming coral hue with a golden undertone that energizes and enlivens with a softer edge”.


Building pressure for startups

The novelty boom that has made way for startup after startup around the globe will continue to reign supreme.

Gone are the days where that meant you could be shoddy with your craftsmanship and be able to launch your product with a few bugs while utilizing a mostly forgiving user base. Users have seen startups get it right enough by now that they are expecting products to work and scale seamlessly at launch.

This means more capital will be needed for your launch. Best practice is to prepare with wave after wave of testing. Luckily, you will have no shortage of those wanting to BETA test, as it has become a hobby for everyone to get in on the ground floor.

Leaks Leaks & more Leaks

I’m not talking about the vegetable here.

I’m talking about our data.

After 2018’s data leaks and scandals some you may have heard of and some you may not have. Our data privacy will continue to grow as a topic of conversation as the general public starts catching on to the fact that those little boxes we’ve been using to play a song or order toilet paper have been keeping a lot of tabs on us.

Word of advice: Only collect what you need to effectively market to your audience.

And PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE stop with the “Business name + Current Year” as your company passwords!

Oh here we go, Politics

I’m sure it’s no surprise that every day seems to be a trending topic or a viral news story.

2018 proved that it’s cool to be politically WOKE, a phrase here which means being active. While your company might not have to take sides or publicly display their political affiliation, 2019 might be the year to do it. You could earn some major kudos on both sides of the aisle for “speaking volumes”, but beware because whatever you choose will have just as many “haters”.

2019 is the year to check the schedule of a certain *cough cough* investigation and make sure you’re not releasing a new product or campaign the same day as a sentencing or hearing.

Plan B? Equip and educate your social media team with how you handle political moments and speech as it’s almost guaranteed to come up, regardless of your industry.

Let’s hear it for diversity!

It’s 2019, if diversity isn’t part of your company goals you need to make some major changes.

Beep bop Beep

My fingers are crossed on this one.

The rise of bots may peak in 2019 as the collective tolerance for them and how they modify our daily lives reaches a tipping point.

Unfortunately, we’re predicting that the only way to solve a robot problem is with a human solution, not with more online solutions. We predict that we’ll finally see some early stage bot defense and offense but it will come in the form of a new level of privacy invasion for services. Maybe it will be a copy of our photo ID, DL#, facial recognition, or physically mailed security code, which helped slightly in the 2018 Facebook ads of political candidates.

Our question as a user group is what do we want to give up?

AI becomes an aggressive friend

We’re used to AI being defined as sentient robots that seem to be plotting our demise at every waking moment. Well they’re not that quite yet.

Think of AI as an Excel spreadsheet; smart and able to do things that would take us hours, but easy to break when you try to get it to do something it’s not programmed to do. That was until 2018.

In 2018 we made leaps and bounds with AI computing power that resulted in AI actually optimizing other AI programs. The specifics can be found in this long read, but the main point is that we will continue to see more and more automation in almost every industry except from those in childcare.

To counter this, invest your time in human qualities such as empathy to find success when working with professionals to remind them we’re all human.

The Virtual World

By now you must have heard of VR (virtual reality) but its sister AR is where I think we’ll start to see the biggest explosion in development moving into 2019.

Remember Google Glasses? Those clunky and hyper-controversial privacy invaders from 2014?

Well, baby it’s back!


Companies have a lot to invest if they want to use AR in a way that consumers will actually use and adopt. The biggest way people have been developing is actually through video games. And tech giants are aware.

Facebook purchased Oculus, a VR company, in 2014. This year introduced the Portal, a motion tracking video call system, and I think this means that we’re looking to introduce AR glass meetings and hologram meeting technology on a high end B2B level in late 2019.

Devices such as the new iPhone have made more AR games possible and after the success of Pokemon Go it might not be long until we all get our own little digital companions, complete with micro-transactions to keep them healthy, happy, and fashionable.

Monthly Subscriptions

In 2018 we saw a rise in the pay-as-you-go monthly subscription models such as Netflix, Adobe Creative, Cloud storage, Nintendo network, Spotify, Hulu, Stitcher Premium, social media tools, wine of the month clubs and the list goes on.

In 2019 I have a hunch consumers will say “Enough!”, and start to really evaluate if they need certain services every month for $9.99.

This is also going to effect supporter-backed models like those using Kickstarter, GoFundMe, Patreon, or Youtube’s and Twitch’s Tip Jar. We’ll continue to see every company move towards this model but we’ll hear less and less success stories like we did in 2017. Additionally, major companies like Netflix and luxury items like monthly wine subscription services should see a hit as people start to decide what they define as a need-based service in a pay-as-you-go digital format.

Smart companies will invest their internal structure in annual or one-time payments for services in 2019 and beat the rush.

A challenger awaits

Lurking in the dark, slowly gaining users and appealing to every consumer who’s fed up with social media is a challenger.

In 2019 I think we’ll finally get a shiny, new social media site that’s not a niche app for a small audience group. (Looking at you Letterboxd.)

In 2018 we saw the rearing head of Vero, however after some cosplayers brought an army of new subscriptions to their platform and viral attention to the app, their servers overloaded and they had issues when new users signed up. Not a great first impression.

It did reveal, as does the quarterly #Delete”socialmedianame” trend, that we are primed for something else.

Something nostalgic, yet novel.

Whoever has that in the works first will see a huge return. I have one request in the event the leader of a future social media site is looking at this…I do not mind paying for an ad-free experience with little to no data surveillance, even if it’s expensive.

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