Last year, digital marketing was shaped by massive changes in social media, the rise in the popularity of live video streaming, and advancements in predictive analytics just to name a few examples. But as you probably already know, the landscape of digital marketing is changing at a fast pace. What was big yesterday can become quickly forgotten in a blink of an eye in today’s digital world? That’s why marketing experts are working hard on developing strategies that will help them predict future digital marketing trends with the intent of improving a company’s outcome in the highly competitive world of digital marketing. Luckily, digital marketing is unique in that it provides channels and methods for businesses to analyze their marketing campaigns. That’s exactly why most companies who’ve already taken full advantage of digital marketing have developed effective plan for the future. Here are just some of these trending strategies anyone seeking to upgrade their digital marketing game should consider.
1. Content will stay on its throneContent is still king in the world of digital marketing, especially for startup companies who find content as their primary growth channel. Content attracts leads and customers and as such is regarded as a major force behind greater ROI. According to a study by Smart Insights, around half of all marketers claim that content marketing makes for significant ROI. However, we need to keep in mind that for content marketing to work, companies need a carefully-planned strategy. The days were gone when just putting content out there was enough as a marketing strategy. Now, companies need to understand their target audience and craft consistent content that will lead to greater consumer engagement. For instance, B2B companies won’t benefit much from putting their content on social media platforms like Snapchat, because Snapchat apparently attracts mostly young users. Another important feature of content marketing that we’ll be seeing in the times to come is quality. Companies will need to focus on delivering valuable, purpose-driven content preferably of a longer length.
With the launch of Facebook Live last year, we’ve witnessed a boom in live video sharing. Brands and companies have embraced this new feature created by the world’s most popular social media platforms in their content marketing strategy. One reason why live video sharing has proven to be so successful in digital marketing is because Facebook offers brands a unique opportunity to reach a huge demographic because Facebook currently counts almost 2 Billion monthly active users. Another reason why companies are jumping on the live video sharing bandwagon is because statistics show that people spend more time watching live videos than pre-recorded videos. For a successful marketing campaign, you need to go where the people are and also where they like to spend more time. This fact is also the leading reason why Facebook decided to launch this feature in the first place. But other than Facebook, platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat also offer similar live-streaming features that B2C companies should make use of.
2. More live video sharing
3. Native ads to get you attentionBecause most internet users today simply cannot stand pop-up ads, banners, and social ads, brands have come up with new ways to gain viewers’ attention. Where native ads step in as a satisfactory solution to deliver something that appears like organic content in a way that suits consumers. Recent research predicts that total revenues from native advertising will reach 33% 2018. But despite such promising predictions, most companies seem not to know what native ads are. For those who do find out more about this effective marketing strategy, native ads are at the top of popular choices. However, native advertising is a bit of a controversial topic. Because native ads don’t look like ads at all, the issue of trust and transparency regarding their use has frequently been brought up. Being the chameleons of digital marketing, native ads look like organic content making them more appealing to the average internet user. And most of all, native ads sound like the right content created for the right kind of user.
4. Big Data put to useThe use of Big Data in digital marketing entails gaining market and customer insights, and with that – developing predictive analytics. Many companies have experienced an increase in data volume in their businesses which turns out to be a good thing. With such a vast amount of data available, companies will naturally want to use this huge volume of data to help develop a better marketing strategy. When put to use, Big Data enables companies to personalize their websites in ways that most suits their target audiences. As the latest statistics show, almost half of all businesses are using Big Data in their digital marketing strategy, and the number of firms turning to Big Data is growing at a fast pace. There are also many sources where these businesses can get Big Data such as web mining, social media, crowdsourcing, mobile data, and search information just to name a few.
5. The rise of the micro-influencerInfluencer marketing has experienced a sudden rise in popularity during the past few years with many social media influencers gaining celebrity status as a result. And while big brands rely on influencers with inflated followings to help spread their word, the same big companies are now turning to micro influencers marketing as well. The reason for this being that research such as the one conducted by Markerly found that audience engagement was greater among small-scale influencers than among those with millions worth in following. The point of influencer marketing is to reach a particular type of audience, and this made possible when an influencer engaged with their followers. These kinds of findings are good news for smaller companies who have a lower budget for their influencer marketing campaigns. It turns out, bigger isn’t always better, and internet users are more likely to trust people they feel close to than they are brands and celebrities.
6. The return of the chatbotsAccording to recent observations by marketing companies, internet users are spending a great deal of their time on messaging apps. Companies have leveraged this growing trend by using the latest advancements in AI technology to meet growing customer demands. Since most companies today have several platforms running, and since these platforms usually have a huge number of clients and followers, answering questions, collecting information, and performing transactions have become increasingly involved. Where chatbots step in as a perfect digital marketing strategy among other things. Another reason why bots are becoming so popular among companies and brands is that they’re easy and cheap to make. Businesses can purchase chatbots from stores or even use ready-made bot templates created by IT giants like Facebook. Once a company has chosen a chatbot, they just need to integrate it with a matching messenger platform, and the company is good to go. This seemingly simple feature is now in full use by firms like Taco Bell and Domino’s. Customers now get to order food quickly using their chatbots.
7. Becoming mobileLast year, mobile search has surpassed desktop usage for the first time in history. What this means is that if companies want to make a successful marketing campaign, they need to make their digital marketing strategy mobile friendly. But surprisingly, companies are still focusing on developing marketing campaigns intended for desktop use without considering if they will go unnoticed on mobile. But making a mobile-friendly marketing campaign is easier said than done. For instance, earlier in this text, we’ve said that longer content will become a thing this year. But we also know that long content does not go well with Smartphone’s. Digital marketers will advise companies to break their content down for easier mobile use which contradicts the previous suggestion. To play it safe, companies should focus on keeping their written content short and snappy and their video content longer.
8. Virtual realityVirtual reality has been a rising trend mostly because it allows for a more engaging online experience – something today’s internet users will gladly appreciate. Just considering the Pokémon Go craze currently taking place gives you a clear idea of how virtual reality easily attracts the attention of people across the globe. But other than being naturally entertaining, virtual reality is considered an advanced storytelling tool that many companies could use to create a better customer experience. However, it will probably take some time before virtual reality devices become readily available to most consumers. We don’t expect companies to use virtual reality in their digital marketing before the technology for virtual reality storytelling becomes widely accessible to the average consumer.
ConclusionThe internet has apparently changed the way marketing works. Now, customers demand a more personalized and organic experience that traditional advertising cannot provide. The extensive use of ad-blockers and general intolerance of prominent advertising means that companies need to leverage organic content, big data, real-time streaming, instant messaging, and other technological advancements in their marketing strategy. On the plus side, these marketing strategies are not just efficient but also cost much less than traditional forms of advertising and companies can use them to collect information as to what works and what not in their digital marketing campaigns. Because it’s now easy to predict what will work in the world of digital marketing, companies can quickly develop a marketing strategy that is bound to lead to greater ROI at a lower budget. Make sure that your business considers these digital marketing trends when creating your plan and expect to lead a successful campaign.
Claire John is a Technology and Internet-Marketing Adviser. Claire is passionate about utilizing her diverse skill set to develop online marketing strategies and create efficiency to enhance her client's experiences. Claire has also written for some helpful websites like RankWatch, ProvenSEO, etc. You can follow here on Twitter and Facebook.