5 min read January 8, 2019 Simon Hall Six SEM Trends You Need to Know in 2019The holidays are over and 2019 is here in full swing. You’re firing up your computers, opening up the books for a new quarter and sharpening your PPC tools. It’s a New Year, and with it comes a host of innovative new SEM trends that will be integral in the direction of your digital marketing and advertising strategy. That means reaching new audiences, achieving new goals and adopting new tools to accomplish all your SEM objectives. Often the New Year can mean taking new risks, exploring new markets and targeting new customers. But whatever your direction, it’s likely that 2019 will bring a host of new opportunities — and corresponding rewards. The year promises to be unprecedented in terms of the number and sheer sophistication of tools and technologies for all your SEM endeavors. Here are six SEM trends to watch in 2019 that are expected to put the gas pedal on all of your campaigns.Voice SearchAs we’ve mentioned before, voice search is a red hot technology, and when it comes to SEM trends this year, it only promises to get hotter. Currently, more than 20 percent of mobile searches on Google are voice searches, while Comscore predicts that more than 50 percent of all search will be voice-related by 2020. It’s a trend that doesn’t show any signs of stopping in the years to come. What’s more, these personal assistants are becoming even more sophisticated in their ability to recognize human speech and formulate complex sentences.That’s not lost on digital advertisers. And as consumers become more accustomed to giving voice commands, organizations are continually retooling their advertising and marketing strategies to accommodate a new medley of spoken word patterns. Going forward, it will be critical for digital marketers to tailor their PPC strategy around the latest voice search techniques in order to stay relevant and target new groups of consumers.Interactive ContentPerhaps not surprisingly, studies have shown that consumers tend to gravitate toward interactive content — any content that requires some kind of user participation — more than traditional static content.Content like quizzes, polls, interactive interactive infographics and calculators — or anything else that requires consumer feedback — often stands out against the vast majority of static ad copy, providing a unique channel for consumers to feel stimulated and engaged. This is why interactive content will be one of the most significant SEM trends of 2019.In addition to being a much more effective way to inform users, interactive content goes a long way to cultivating brand awareness and interest, establishing and maintaining brand loyalty, capturing relevant consumer data and reaching new audiences. And while interactive content is still unique, advertisers who leverage its use strategically will likely have a leg up on competitors relying solely on passive content — at least for the time being.Live VideoWhile video still is a major part of digital marketing and advertising efforts, live video — as you might expect — will take it a step further as one of the biggest SEM trends this year. For digital marketers, this means the ability to provide customers access to live tours and demos, as well as interactive chats with experts and other professionals. At its core, live video offers digital marketers the ability to get creative while letting customers see a side of them and their products that not many get to see. And that content can also be leveraged strategically across other content platforms such as blogs, social media, case studies and reports, among other things.And video, in general, is accelerating — according to Cisco, 82% of internet traffic will be through video by 2021. That means, regardless if it’s used as an independent asset or in tandem with other content, live video will most definitely give your product or service a much-needed boost in raising brand awareness and visibility against competitors.Artificial IntelligenceAs far as SEM trends go, artificial intelligence (AI) has been firmly ensconced in the corporate vernacular for a quite a while. That said, few understand its true potential as a tool for digital marketing.Perhaps more than anything, AI possesses immense power to uncover customers insights, giving marketers a unique ability to better understand, analyze and predict patterns of behavior that gives them a competitive edge. Among other things, AI can be leveraged to discover and target new audiences and specific demographics, illuminate correlations between customer behavior and numerous sets of variables and glean new competitive insights that would otherwise be impossible to achieve manually. And that’s just scratching the surface. AI can also drive customer segmentation, retargeting, click monitoring and tracking, while helping organizations achieve granular visibility throughout their entire ecosystem.Safe to say, AI’s potential as a powerful SEM tool is on the cusp of becoming realized by digital advertisers and marketers across all industries. And its use in 2019 will indisputably accelerate as increasingly more organizations recognize its value. Those who don’t find ways to incorporate AI into their arsenal will undoubtedly risk falling behind the industry curve — and competitors.Mobile CampaignsThe rise and proliferation of smartphone technology has produced new ways to reach audiences, and consequently an increasing number of consumers are relying on their mobile devices — sometimes solely — to both search and shop. Underscoring these developments, mobile ad spend is expected to more than double that of TV by 2022, comprising $141.36 billion of the total US ad spending, according to eMarketer.With mobile advertising revenues rapidly increasing, big changes and trends in the mobile advertising landscape are imminent in 2019. And in keeping with these SEM trends, digital marketers will have to adjust their campaigns accordingly to stay competitive and profitable.2019 will see a dearth of highly sophisticated mobile campaigns, such as high-quality video aimed at mobile users by many of the large platforms, which in turn will increase demand and compel more interactive video advertising.Other sophisticated mobile campaigns will strategically leverage AI for features like personal assistants, modeling consumer behavior along the buyer journey and augmented reality (AR). Of the numerous use cases for AI, personal assistants will likely be deemed one of the most important, as tools like Siri, Google Assistant and Alexa will further connect users’ mobile devices to their personal shopping experience.AmazonAmazon now has a net worth of over $1 trillion, which will almost certainly make it a force to be reckoned with on the SEM front in 2019. The ecommerce giant recently took its place right behind Google and Facebook respectively as the third largest advertising platform on the planet. And it will continue to take share from its two major competitors, as ad revenue is expected to grow significantly for the foreseeable future.The retail giant also experienced its biggest shopping day in history on Cyber Monday, touting the most products ordered worldwide than any other day, That untapped potential will continue to be a powerful driver for growth in its ad business as merchants look to capitalize on Amazon’s copious search traffic. Thus, going forward, it stands to reason that advertisers will be rapidly buying up even more advertising space in 2019 to stay competitive, to prevent losing visibility in the search results to sponsored listings.