Upcoming Trends to Look for in Digital Marketing
There’s no question about it, the revolution in digital marketing is on — and it’s moving fast. However, with emerging technologies being launched and changes in digital advertising happening in real time, keeping pace is simply not enough. To stay ahead of the curve with digital marketing trends, a business must look ahead and see what the next thing in the field is and then take the necessary steps to get where it should be. Whether it’s integrating your social media into your business strategy, starting a new Facebook Livestream for product promotion, introducing customer service chatbots, or incorporating augmented and virtual realities, your business will want to be alert to these new developments.
Artificial Intelligence is taking over the world. It can now analyze search patterns, buyer behavior, utilize social media platforms and blogs to help you understand how customers and users are looking for and finding products and services. Additionally, AI offers tips and information to users through getting into conversations. Facebook messenger bots, for example, can help you in optimizing and automating your customer service. In the years ahead, businesses adopting Artificial Intelligence will not only save costs and but also accelerate growth as they will have gained an edge over their rivals.
By 2019 it can be expected that Chatbots will become the first place people go to when choosing a mobile plan, ordering a pizza, or even when booking a hotel room. Messaging applications like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are also making use of customized bots to push out services and products. By 2025, it is predicted that the Chatbot global market will see an annual 24.3% compound growth rate with a projected reach of $1.25 billion. The main reason behind the success of this emerging technology is likely to be that it accurately and quickly answers the consumers’ information needs. Chatbots are also capable of collecting user data which helps to improve interactions with them.
Social Media is Taking Over
Globally there are over 3.1 billion social media users. This equates to about 42% total market penetration globally. With such statistics, the societal significance cannot be ignored — particularly in the digital marketing world. The impact of social media is big and if your business hasn’t already given much attention to social media marketing strategy, now is the opportune time. In the coming years, social media companies are going to continue integrating their diverse services into 3rd-party applications. Facebook and LinkedIn, for example, are allowing users to easily sign up for 3rd-party services using their accounts as well as to share data with other 3rd-party services. What is important to note is that simply dominating a single social media platform may not be enough. The leads you have on Facebook may not be on YouTube, while those on YouTube may not necessarily be on Facebook or they may be different from those accessing content on your website. The key to success, therefore, is to strategically repurpose your web content across several (relevant) social platforms.
The Onslaught of Native Advertising
Consumers of today are increasingly becoming resistant to advertising, and the increasing use of ad blockers is making it more difficult for marketers in terms of sending out messages. If businesses are to reach new consumers in the years ahead, it will become necessary to work on their advertisements so that they blend more naturally with their content. This is where native advertising comes in. Native ads are providing a much-needed break from the standard techniques such as banner ads. Businesses will need to leverage native ad strategy using social media like Instagram Stories which display content in ways that users will hardly recognize as ads.
For many businesses, organic SEO traffic remains a key source of web traffic. This may be one of those things where keeping up with the digital marketing trends may not be affected. While there are many elements that come into play in terms of ranking, the volume of reviews your business has is a critical factor. Google analyses your Facebook reviews, Yelp reviews, Google reviews, and many more. Google will not prioritize your business if all you have is a 1-star rating? While reviews are vital in terms of rankings in search engines, they also could make or break a potential sale. Data indicates that 50% of adults below 50 years regularly check reviews before they buy a new product. It’s therefore important that you assemble a solid strategy on how to get more positive business reviews.
Fuelled by social media, video is increasing in popularity. On social media, nothing is as eye-catching as a good video. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, or SnapChat marketing, it would appear that social video engagement stats will be going through the roof in the years ahead. Previously, YouTube was taunted as the 2nd biggest search engine, but based on user numbers per month, new data is showing that integrating video into content is becoming more popular than even Google Search. Also on the rise are video ads. If you have not already done it, you should seriously consider adding video as part of your social media strategy. This can by running business video ads on Instagram and YouTube, creating in-house video content, or getting into partnerships with reputable influencers for product endorsement or paid product placement in their videos.
Augmented and Virtual Realities
Today’s user basically wants two things – to not only be engaged but also to be an active brand messaging participant. Both Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality (AR and VR) are capable of meeting both these needs while at the same time offering brands and businesses tremendous opportunities in the customer experience field. Already, businesses are embracing the potential offered by this new technology in terms of creating brand awareness and in selling unique products. For example, since 2016, IKEA has been using Virtual Reality gaming technology. Other big players experimenting with AR include Volkswagen, Nivea, and Starbucks. Augmented and Virtual Realities are now becoming commonplace as brand marketing tools. It is estimated that the VR and AR market is currently worth 27 billion dollars with a projected value of 209.2billion dollars in the coming four years.
Advanced Voice Search
We are in an “age of assistance” and it seems that voice is becoming the preferred mode of accessing Artificial Intelligence-driven devices. This is supported by some impressive statistics because, for example, 65% of those own Google Home or an Amazon Echo indicate that they simply can’t contemplate the days before the advent of the smart speaker. Additionally, 52% of those who own voice-activated speakers indicate are open to receiving information about promotions, sales, and deals from brands. Businesses, therefore, need to not just think about how they look but also how they sound.
Visual search is taking the user experience to a whole new level. Users can now upload an image to help in conducting a search as this gets results which are more specific. It comes as no surprise that Pinterest has joined the blossoming visual search bandwagon. They have come up with a visual search tool, Lens that is allowing users to capture an item’s photo in order to find out where it can be bought online, search for products that are similar products, or to view related items on the Pinterest pinboards. And it’s not just Pinterest that is moving into visual search. Google has also developed their Google Lens which visually recognizes landmarks, objects, and other things through a Camera App. Marketers stand to gain an edge on their competitors by joining the visual search trend to draw more customers.
In today’s social media world, people tend to naturally gravitate toward experiences that appear real and authentic. Your potential clients are likely to have more faith or believe a real person compared to an advertisement regarding how good or useful a brand/product is. And this is where the role of influencers is important. In the coming years, if marketers are to avoid the pressure coming from rival brands, they will be seeking to develop relationships with key social media influencers for the long-term. Authenticity will be a key component in influencer marketing strategy. Consumers can now easily detect brand-influencer collaborations that are not natural, that seem forced. This is the reason why savvy marketers will be focusing on building organic influencer relationships that mesh smoothly with their brands.
The Growth of Email Drip Campaigns
An email drip campaign is basically a set of scheduled emails that are automatically sent out after a specific or particular trigger. You can configure your drip campaigns to respond to user behavior triggers such as a resource download, a new subscriber, or a demo request. When the system records such an action, it triggers your email drip campaign workflow, which can dispatch follow-up messages at set intervals. You can use email drip campaigns to turn prospects into actual leads, turn those leads into active customers, and eventually turn those new customers into engaged customers. These campaigns have been shown to lead up to a 98% conversion rate.
The future of digital marketing looks bright. With increasing access to better insights, more data, and certainly new opportunities, no smart businesses will be left behind. The digital marketing scene continues to grow and it will inevitably lead to more changes. New digital marketing trends will come up, some to reshape the industry while some will come and fade as quickly. Make sure your business is capable of distinguishing them. Undertake your own research and when it’s you need to – adapt accordingly.