Matt Bailey is a bestselling author, digital marketing expert, and global corporate trainer. The owner of Site Logic Marketing, Matt recently sat down for an interview to discuss some of the hottest trends in digital marketing.

Q: What have we learned about digital marketing trends so far in 2019, and what can we look forward to?

A: According to the media, every digital trend is hot. What I haven’t heard yet is what’s practical. For example, Facebook has rolled out new videos and ads, but no one is talking about it. Everyone is talking about how Facebook’s user base has plateaued, how time on the site is dwindling, and how Facebook is dealing with the fallout from its privacy issues. So everything it has rolled out from a marketing standpoint has taken a back seat to the bad press, which is causing people to use Facebook less. As another example, I’ve seen some good things with LinkedIn’s new advertising tools, but the consensus is that there's just too much of a learning curve. What’s interesting is that traditional TV is starting to get some play as a potential channel for advertisers, and that's mainly because of the rise in the use of smart TVs. With this type of advertising, you can do targeted ads as well as ads for broad appeal and awareness, and they both work well. Brands become what they are because they’re recognizable not only to the people who like the brand but also to the people who don’t use the brand. So let’s say I shop at Macy's, but you don’t. You still know what Macy's is, even though you don't buy there. This is what TV produces: content that is recognizable outside of your circle. That being said, YouTube is the powerhouse right now. It’s growing everywhere, but especially with long-format content on big screens. This means people in their living rooms on their big-screen TVs are watching more YouTube videos, both short-form and long-form content. I laugh at this because that’s my family. We can’t get some shows that we like, so we’ll watch them on YouTube through our smart TV.

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Q: Is content marketing still king, and how should content evolve in 2019 and beyond?

A: In the early 2000s, I said content is king, and I still do. This is not content marketing, but the content itself. Content is the stuff people want, and this content is king. As far as how it will evolve, it should answer people’s questions creatively using images, video, interactions, and better stories. It’s all about presentation. How are you connecting them to the information they want? It’s also about producing less content but higher-quality content. There’s a myth that there should be a 500-word article on every page to rank well, but the truth is that content ranks well if it performs well based on algorithms. This means content can perform well both negatively and positively. If you write clickbait that people respond to, even if they don’t like it, it will perform well because there’s no sentiment in the algorithms. If you write high-quality content that people share, it will also perform well. So content should evolve by doing less but spending more in terms of quality, presentation, and interaction. It’s about creating things that people not only need but want to see.

Q: What do you think about using remarketing or retargeting, like with Google Display Network, as a company’s only paid marketing strategy?  I’ve heard that if you want to keep a smaller budget, go straight to remarketing.

A: Remarketing or retargeting is most effective when it’s hitched to an existing campaign. If a company is doing a paid search and retargets paid visitors, it will typically remarket to everyone who clicked on its ad or visited its website. But it’s possible to retarget only to the most engaged users, like those who have watched a video or visited more than two pages of a website. This gives more of an engagement metric to retarget only those who have exhibited some behavior of interest. So it’s more about writing a stronger retargeting message with better data and better thresholds to people who have engaged at some level. One example of this is LinkedIn. The site has a reputation for not getting conversions because everything can be targeted. However, if you retarget people who came to a landing page from a LinkedIn campaign, you add a longer cycle and another touchpoint, and you increase the chances of getting a conversion from the campaign. So while I don’t love remarketing or retargeting as the only paid marketing strategy, I do love it.

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