Digital Marketing 2019 Round-Up

8 min read

Avatar Sophie Rizan

18th December, 2019


Wow, what an amazing year! With the digital marketing industry being one of the fastest-growing of all, we’ve seen the rise and fall of a number of trends, which we have summarised in this blog post.

The digital landscape is an exciting (and sometimes scary) place for brands of all shapes and sizes to be, but with support from the team at Digital Ethos, we can help you stay ahead of the curve and remain successful during 2020.

SEO in 2019

This year, Google has seen over ten major updates (in addition to thousands of mini updates) to its search algorithm that all aim to return the most relevant, useful and authentic results for your search query. The algorithm updates help us marketers understand and explain changes in organic search rankings and site traffic. The more we know, the better we can improve our clients’ SEO strategies and campaigns. A few of them include: 

BERT Update

This is the most recent update, which took place in October 2019 and focused on improving how Google understands the natural language and how we communicate our search queries on Google or through voice search. This update will transform online content due to not being able to use spammy language, making it more valuable for users and driving higher quality traffic.  

September 2019 Core Update

This update focused and saw the most ranking fluctuations on YMYL (Your Money Your Life) sites, which offer users content regarding their happiness, health, safety or financial stability. This is Google’s attempt to ensure that users are receiving the most authentic, truthful and expert content related to their search queries. Furthermore, to protect users and give them a safer online experience, Google is also improving how they detect and return websites that have SSL certificates and secure domains.

Site Diversity Update

Google announced an update back in June 2019, which was to improve site diversity and improve situations where sites had more than two organic listings.

Deindexing and Indexing Bugs

In April and May 2019, Google updated its algorithm in order to fix a bug that dropped pages from the search index as well as a bug that prevented content from being properly indexed – phew!

March 2019 Core Update

The nature of these core updates are rarely specific and occur several times per year. Google’s previous advice is that there is no fix to any pages that see a drop in rankings and for marketers to refer to their best practice guide. Over time, it may be that results and traffic see a recovery over time. 

To find out more about 2019’s Google algorithm updates, Moz has created a handy timeline, which you can read here.

Social Media in 2019

As much as we love Google and believe it’s what makes the world go round, there are other trends that have shared the spotlight in 2019.

Instagram ‘Like’ Metric Removal

November 2019 saw the ever-popular photo and video-sharing platform, Instagram, gradually remove the ‘like’ count from timelines in an effort to diminish success comparison and to improve users’ mental health whilst using social media. 

On a B2B level, brands, companies and influencers alike are encouraged to re-evaluate desired KPIs. Perhaps business’ social media goals should focus on driving quality traffic to their site as opposed to vanity engagement and following.

Capture Gen Z with TikTok

TikTok is a mobile video market app that highlights short video snippets among friends and is especially popular with Generation Z (4-24-year-olds), whose social media use is still evolving at a rapid rate. The app has received over 1.5 billion downloads since its release in 2017 and is currently the third most popular non-gaming app, following WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

If you’re a business and your target audience falls in Gen Z, but don’t currently run any social activity on TikTok, either organically or paid, then you could be missing a trick.

LinkedIn Events

With a new platform feature recently been rolled out, LinkedIn users can now create, manage and track professional events, which can be open to just a select group of attendees or to the general public and accompanied by a personalised invitation in the ‘My Network’ section on your profile.

Facebook Impressions

For a few years now, social media marketers have seen a steady decrease in the performance of organic posting with content only actually reaching 1%-3% of your page following. This has forced marketers to put budget behind social advertising if they want to see decent results, which isn’t always an option for some businesses.

Facebook has now updated its algorithm by shortening the time-frame by which it calculates organic impressions. This change will allow organic content to maintain comparable results to paid campaigns for business pages – hurrah!

There’s still so much more that’s happened in the world of social media this year. To find out more, you can read ClearVoice’s blog post.

2020 Trends You Can’t Ignore

Once upon a time, trends such as voice search, artificial intelligence and virtual reality were all concepts that seemed impossible, but just one year later, these are becoming top priorities for businesses next year. 

Artificial Intelligence

We have already seen huge advancements in AI, augmented reality and machine learning this year and there’s no sign of it slowing down for 2020. AI can already help drive businesses to achieve their goals through chatbots for customer service, content creation, email marketing and website personalisation, e-commerce transactions and product recommendations. 

Keeping up with these advancements will allow businesses to sustain a competitive edge, move into new markets, reduce costs and satisfy customer needs.

Virtual Influencers

You’re probably thinking that you’ve only just got our head around influencer marketing and how to use it to leverage your business success. Now virtual influencers are on the rise for next year on Instagram and have already quickly grown into a multi-billion dollar industry.

According to HypeAuditor, you’ll see an increase in Instagram virtual influencers as they receive almost three times more engagement rate and real influencers need to make almost four times more posts to gain the same amount of followers as a virtual influencer.

Visual Search

Ready to take your business to the next level? Introducing Google Lens, which is a visual search engine which recognises objects and landmarks through a camera app. 

You can take a photo and search a number of items, such as retail items to find similar products and where to buy them, business cards to save a number and address to a contact, books for a synopsis and reviews, plants and animals to learn more about species and breeds and tonnes more!

Voice Search and Smart Speakers

According to WordStream, the use of voice search continues to increase at an alarming rate with 50% of all searches being made by voice by 2020 and 72% of those who own voice-activated speakers say that their devices are used as part of their daily routines.

Huge brands are already incorporating voice search strategies into their marketing efforts, such as Domino’s. Their customers can now order a pizza from their sofa without having to pick up the phone to order or order online. Paypal customers can ask Siri to send money to friends, family or businesses, Nestle can provide instructions as you cook and Patrón Tequila can give you personalised cocktail recipes.

What’s important for businesses to remember here is that sometimes voice search shouldn’t be used as another channel to force sales or messaging, but to optimise and enhance existing customer experience and interactions as well as add an extra value to your business’ offering.

Instagram Checkout

With social media and e-commerce growing at astronomical rates, it’s time to combine the two. According to Instagram, out of one billion+ users, 90% of them are already following retail brands so what better way to capitalise on consumer transactions than by using shoppable posts?

E-commerce businesses can now create and post interactive contact that allows users to click, shop, checkout and purchase products and services without having to leave the app. This will also let businesses reach new audiences easily and shorten the sales funnel without compromising user experience, customer experience and shopping experience.

Google Ads Smart Bidding

We’ve spoken a lot about what 2020 has in store for organic SEO and social media, but what about PPC and Google Ads? Paid advertising is becoming increasingly popular due to organic limitations so when it comes to the smart bidding feature on Google Ads, you’d miss out if you didn’t give it a try.

Advertisers can now let Google’s AI system help them optimise their budget to maximise business return on investment, which works for any goal, such as target cost-per-acquisition (CPA), target Return On Advertising Spend (ROAS) and customer conversions, including email subscribes, downloads and sales.

This means that Smart Bidding can save marketers a lot of time and energy, meaning they can channel their focus on strategy, copywriting and analytics instead with Google taking the reins in the background.

Omnichannel Marketing

Businesses are nowadays looking for more ways to connect with prospects and customers on more regular touchpoints. Operating on an omnichannel level is when marketing efforts are present on multiple channels and platforms, such as social media, apps, email and blog content, which offers an enhanced user experience and cohesive brand message that drives customers to action.

This is another area where big data and machine learning are playing a huge role by helping brands understand customer behaviour at a more granular level in order to personalise their product and service offering in order to scale quickly and effectively.


Now there really is a type of marketing for everything and this is the most mind-blowing of all. In short, neuromarketing is when marketers analyse users’ brain activity and nervous system to determine which types of content marketing they find most engaging.

Designing and implementing various marketing strategies, content and materials, such as blog posts, websites, newsletters and ads, should fire specific neurological reactions that trigger certain emotions and responses that encourage a user to convert, purchase and fill in a contact form. Using these insights can help marketers optimise their content and campaigns accordingly.


In this blog, we’ve spoken about 2019 highlights and highlighted a few of many digital marketing trends for 2020 with a tonne more on Single Grain’s blog.

We have already established that if there is anything consistent within the digital marketing landscape, it’s change, which should be welcomed and utilised if businesses want to remain competitive and successful no matter how the market pans out. 

Our advice is to embrace all the technological developments, keep up with all the trends and strive towards bigger and better strategies in order to accelerate digital transformation and business growth. 

If you and your business ever need any assistance with your marketing strategies and campaigns, our talented team at Digital Ethos can help so please don’t hesitate to contact us by calling 0333 772 0189 or emailing us at

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