An effectively executed digital marketing campaign can serve the needs of any business and increase the demand for the product or service that they offer.
If you want to go where your customers are, you need to be active online. The influence of the digital landscape has been steadily growing since the 1990’s, and now, just a few decades later, it is a major virtual environment for the vast majority of people.
Social media, streaming content, and the ease of creating or consuming digital content have made the internet the place to be. If you want to market to your audience online, how should you do it? In this article, we explore the top trends your business should know or prepare to master.
The good news is that Facebook is still currently the #1 social media platform, with an impressive 41% of its users being over the age of 65. So, for marketing that targets a senior demographic, there simply isn’t a better platform. On the other hand, Facebook had a difficult 2018, with a data breach that affected 14 million users, gaining a reputation for being the platform of choice for weaponised, political propaganda, and a continuing drop in popularity with younger demographics. Facebook is developing a reputation as the social media platform for ‘old people’.
It’s important to really look at who your target market may be, because Facebook may be very unsuitable for some campaigns, especially as it continues to trend downwards with younger demographics. Make no mistake, Facebook is still massive, but be more aware of who you’re marketing to, and make sure they’re still on Facebook, or you’re targeting the wrong social media platform.
Fortunately for Facebook, their greatest threat is no longer a threat at all since they bought Instagram. The image and video-based social media platform is optimised to make it very easy for users to share photos and videos from their phone.
Instagram’s meteoric risehas already passed one billion users, making it one of the most rapidly growing social media platforms and, perhaps more importantly, much of its user-base is the coveted younger demographic, especially under 30.
Chatbots are just a specialised form of software that acts as a virtual ‘concierge’, communicating with users and assisting them in completing their goals. Chatbots interact with humans in a natural way, primarily through the use of text chat windows, but verbal interactions are also possible.
Chatbots are already used extensively in Facebook, by the tens of thousands for different tasks. Everything from providing weather reports to automating some basic customer support functions can be easily handled by sophisticated software. Bots allow users to get personalised and focus interactions without pulling too much from limited human resources. Their effectiveness in 2018 showed a significant increase in usage, and that use is likely to continue growing for digital marketing in 2019.
YouTube has over 1.8 billion monthly users…and that’s just the people who are logged in! People are watching over 150 million hours of YouTube videos, and a lot of those videos are created in the service of digital marketing.
Whether you’re creating videos for YouTube, Instagram, Facebook or even your own website, it is a top-tier, incredibly effective digital marketing tool. You can capture and convey a lot of information and your brand’s personality with video. As long as you stick to the fundamentals of good video production, you can make impressive gains.
While video is a valuable tool, one of the fastest rising stars in digital marketing is the use of live video. Part of this is due to the massive spike in streaming services, thanks to popular channels such as ‘Twitch’, which allows people to easily stream video game play.
Live streaming is especially big for digital marketing when combined with influencer marketing. Whether it’s the new generation of social media influencers or traditional sources, such as celebrities, athletes, and musicians, having a live stream with an influencer who is interacting directly with comments is a huge draw for an audience. An influencer live stream is an incredibly useful, high profile form of digital marketing and the spontaneity and interactivity of live streaming can undoubtedly be a big draw when done right, with a well-chosen personality.
Content marketing continues to be an essential component of digital marketing.
Quality content is always going to matter, but now there’s a renewed interested in looking more deeply into who the intended audience is. Having a deeper, more sophisticated understanding of a targeted market and being able to target that market more precisely is a rising trend in effective marketing.
So, while general audience content was, is, and always will be important, specialised material for specific industries or experts can also yield impressive results. That, combined with improving techniques in measuring content effectiveness, keep content marketing relevant and moving forward.
Email continues to be a major channel of communication, with billions still using it for personal, commercial, industrial, legal, scientific, and academic purposes. In other words, email is here to stay, and email marketing itself continues to be important.
However, email marketing is evolving, and generic marketing emails aren’t as effective as they once were. It is now a combination of automation and, more importantly, personalisation that makes email marketing important for 2019.
When you turn your email marketing to something specific, such as a user browsing a particular product, and then follow up with a promotional price or demo video in a personalised email, this can be very effective. Email is often the final ‘trigger’ to motivate an action, especially when combined with your remarketing techniques (targeting people who have visited or taken action on your website).
Thanks to Siri, Google, Alexa, and a host of other ‘smart’ devices, verbal interaction with devices is continuing to rise. Talking is simply a preferred way of interacting. And now the machines are finally catching up to the way people want to search, shop, and discover new things.
However, this presents some interesting challenges. Conducting a voice search, for example, is very different from typing a query, particularly in the results. When a person performs a text-based search, the screen displays the results one page at a time. But when someone asks a device to conduct a search and the device replies verbally, it may only give a few choices at most, and frequently, they supply just one choice.
That means that preparing for voice searches requires a different approach. For example, the meta-descriptions of websites will need to be optimised for speech so that it ‘reads better’ when being spoken, rather than the drier style used for a strictly text-based search approach.
It’s important for businesses to keep up-to-date with changes in digital marketing. It’s too easy to become irrelevant in today’s fast-paced world if you’re not keeping up with the competition and your prospects.
The good news is that most of the trends that happen in digital marketing are developments rather than all-out changes, and this means staying at the cutting edge doesn’t require a complete overhaul, but rather a strategic evolution regarding social media, content, voice, and the way businesses engage with their customers online and in the physical world.