If anyone should know a thing or two about what’s likely to set the world alight in 2019 – it’s Google. The search engine has shared its 10 digital marketing predictions for the year ahead on its ThinkWithGoogle blog and while there is plenty you’d expect, there are one or two curveballs too.

  1. Forget multi, start thinking omni

Rather than managing multiple channels simultaneously, the more systematic approach of omni-channel marketing is expected to be key. This is tied of course to the consumer journey and the customer experience and means brands will increasingly strive to give a smooth experience to the customer, even as that customer flits between different brand channels.

  • An improved mobile web

With mobile retail only growing in popularity, it’s no surprise that there’s a big emphasis on the mobile web. Google says that mobile browsing experiences will get faster, as brands focus on improving page load speeds, adopt AMP and deploy technologies like Progressive Web Apps (PWA). 

  • Forget searching for the TV remote, online viewing will rule

In 2019, for the first time ever, Google predicts that more viewing will take place online than in front of a TV. Fast forward another 12 months and you’ll probably be spending 84 minutes on average watching TV online. For brands and retail marketers, this could represent a new way of thinking and certainly, a new way of spending. You could well expect budgets to shift from traditional TV ads to financing online video production for example. From an annual growth front, live online broadcasts supersede all other types of video content. This is good news for retailers and brands as this content format naturally lends itself to lots of variety, from blog style posts and news reports to full on features.

  • Voice searches and smart speakers will boom

This prediction is a little bit of a curve ball because Google’s prediction of a boom in voice services comes at exactly the same time as research from HigherVisibility says voice search use has dropped. Nevertheless, Google quotes NPD Group research which says the sale of smart speakers will grow in 2019 and names ASOS, H&M Home and Argos as recent voice service advocates with branded service launches.

  • Partnerships may bring retailers and platforms together

By 2025, around 60% of ecommerce revenue is expected to be enjoyed by large platforms such as Alibaba and Amazon. Noting that most retailers can’t hope to keep pace with their huge investments in technology, data and personalisation, the search engine profers that partnerships could make it easier to unlocl crucial resources like talent and technology to keep pace.