2019 Predictions in Digital Marketing and Publishing


The beginning of a new year is a time ripe for predictions. For media and publishers, 2019 has the ability to be just as (if not more so) bumpy and action-packed as 2018. Here’s where TFD thinks the biggest moves will be this year.

SEO > Social

Traffic through search will continue to be the most viable alternative to Facebook for driving recurring, free organic traffic.

Facebook will, of course, escalate beyond just being seen as a threat to media companies and be seen more as a threat to humanity and democracy as fake news a trust issues continue to plague the platform. As a result, it won’t just be the previous algorithm changes that make it difficult to connect with audiences on the platform. Desireable audiences will continue to disengage from the platform.

Audience Developers Thinking like Content Marketers

Publishers, if they haven’t already, need to start thinking strategically about the type of content they are producing and the audiences they want to attract. If you’re looking to attract a specific demographic, make sure your content is reflective of that.

If you really want to be successful, isolate 5-10 key pieces of content for your brand and optimize the pages they live on and the experience for both the user and Google. Publisher sites are large but, publishers should have a strong grasp on the top entry points for their users. Those top entry points should be optimized to give your reader a solid first impression.

Increase your Transactional Emails - At the Right Time

Rarely does your customer buy things from you unless you ask. You ask in the form of advertising, social campaigns, and email blasts. But more important than asking is asking at the right time. We’ve seen subscription campaign responses increase by over 18% when the email was set to send at a particular time for a particular user (for example, just a few hours after they were last on the website) rather than a batch and blast, one-size-fits-all approach.

More so, taking this approach can keep your deliverability and open rates high. By only sending email offers to your most engaged folks, your almost guaranteeing a higher open rate and fewer unsubscribes. Plus, you don’t have to work around the email schedules of the rest of the company just to get your message out.

Start Shedding Outdated Technology

Are you using technology that is holding you back rather than propelling you forward? If so, 2019 is the year to think about making a change. If your database provider, ESP, CMS or fulfillment system isn’t evolving with the times, make a change.

Not having the right technology isn’t an excuse anymore to not get things done, have those tasks automated or have the ability to speak to your audience in a contextual fashion.

Start 2019 with a tech stack audit. Evaluate the tools you are currently using and what you’re getting out of them. Are there more advanced tools that can replace two or three of your current tools? In many cases, we’ve been able to save clients money by combining a few different tools into one more robust platform—don’t assume that better technology always has to equal increased costs.

The game has changed and if you’re stepping onto the field without the proper equipment, you’re going to get beat.

Pixel, Measure, Report, and Improve

You can’t improve what you can’t measure. There’s a lot of data out there and you’re going to need to have reports and measurement tools to make sure that you’ve got your eyes on the balls that you need to be watching.

At the top of that list should be ensuring that you’re using all of the proper tracking codes on your site and that they are all tied to trigger results to each of your initiatives. Get to be good friends with Google Tag Manager as a way to consolidate a lot of your pixel tracking and to track behavior across your site that you’re most interested in watching.

Most importantly, determine as an organization the metrics that are the most important to your business and will keep you on track. The amount of data you can extract from even the most basic tools like Google Analytics can be overwhelming. Develop a process for extracting the data that matters most and having it handy throughout the month.