Digital marketing technologies and strategies are evolving at a dizzying pace. What worked last year may be obsolete the coming year. Anticipating trends and being ready will help digital marketers stay one step ahead in the game.
So what are the trends that set the tone for 2018-19 and beyond in digital marketing?
Artificial intelligence, big data
Customer-centricity is at the core of any digital marketing strategy and artificial intelligence will gain traction in the years to come. Coupled with big data it will help marketers not only analyze trends as they develop but, due to inherent machine learning capability, it will help them to delve deeper into habits and preferences of customers.
Historical data just provides glimpses into past behaviors but big data dips its fingers into emerging needs and these, coupled with AI, provide digital marketers with information to zero in on targets.
While on the topic it must be mentioned that the General Data Protection Regulation will impact digital marketing since it limits use of personal data. Digital marketers will need to keep this in perspective and develop context-based digital ads.
Google keeps changing
Google could well be the tyrannosaurus of digital marketing, always keeping digital marketers on their toes. SEOs dance to their tunes. Google’s Adwords program is shedding its old skin and taking on a new one with customer-centric marketing and machine learning at the core of its smart display campaigns.
This will enable digital marketers to reach out to targets at all stages of the buying cycle. Google’s evolution includes automated bidding, automated ad creation and automated targeting. As if this is not enough, Google is now veering heavily in the direction of mobiles in search rankings.
This means website owners need to pay more attention to optimizing mobile websites, their usability, and content. Google is quite active with its Ad experience and abusive experience program to root out practices such as gathering data from unsuspicious users and selling off such data to spammers.
Live video streaming is on the rise and so is video promotions. Majority of internet users and traffic is comprised of video. Social media platforms are flooded with live as well as traditional video content.
Video can have an ad preceding it or it can have in-video promotions and digital marketers must give video the importance it deserves. Video is king and not text. You can convey so much more in a one minute video than you can in a web page and it has more impact.
Internet TV will engage a greater number of users and this opens up possibilities for digital marketers. TV ads are expensive while streaming video on the internet interspersed with ads is cheaper and, perhaps, more effective.
Native and sponsored advertising
Brands and social media influencers will leverage the value of native and sponsored content across web pages. It does make a difference when well-known personalities eulogize products.
It started with Siri and now voice will play a greater role. It is easier to give out a voice command to smart devices to carry out searches or to trigger an action such as launching a music player or buying a product. Given the option of voice command or typing or clicking on an image, it is a no-brainer to see that a user will pick a voice command first.
Chatbots to the front
Chatbots are nothing new but with better technologies and integration, they could well become more commonplace in the years to come. Chatbots might even overtake apps when it comes to making an online purchase because they let you do it without downloading an app.
CEOs to emerging from their glass lairs
It is more than likely that CEOs, of their own volition or forced by ongoing trends, will emerge from their cubicles and go mainstream on social media. Customers do like to interact with a brand and it is with a CEO, the experience is even better.
CEOs will be expected to give time to social media, write blogs and tweet…..yes even when they are on a vacation. If CEOs become more interactive then it is just as likely that user-generated content will increase in the time to come. This could take the shape of reviews, testimonials, and posts that could help marketers improve conversions or branding.
Augmented reality seems to have been going around in circles but in the time to come it could pick up velocity and take off tangentially to impact digital marketing services. It becomes easier to integrate real-time experience with digital data and devices are also becoming less expensive so this is one tool marketers could leverage in the future.
Influence marketing tools like Outreach.Buzz has been considerably overused and misused and needs correction because it is still a powerful one. Influencer marketing strategies could shift a little bit but they will still help digital marketers engage target audiences.
Social media posts to third-party apps
Social media are facilitating third-party applications such as allowing users to sign in using Facebook or Twitter accounts and, in the process, share data with such third parties as well as users. Smaller websites will certainly benefit if they take advantage.
The future of digital marketing is exciting and challenging and only the best that adopt fair tactics and emerging technologies will achieve results. But then something entirely different may crop up and influence digital marketing.