We’re nearly three quarters through the year, so we thought it would be a good time to see which digital marketing trends have been rising in popularity during the year. What’s been grabbing attention? Here are ten trends to check.
Mobile isn’t going anyway anytime soon, but it is changing. There is a lot of experimentation happening. Smartphone operating systems are experimenting with adding apps that don’t need to be downloaded. Small businesses are creating their own personal apps. Location-based services are coming into their own. All these changes will continue to push app sales, which are expected to increase to $77 billion this year.
There is so much information on the internet that it’s no surprise that a few people in each industry have become the trusted sources of information. These are influencers. The opinions of an influencer can make or break a product or even an entire business. It’s not a new trend. Advertisers have been using celebrity endorsements for years. It’s just that the ideas of celebrity and expertise have changed. Marketers have to take these influencers into account when building campaigns.
New Social Platforms
Facebook and Twitter aren’t going away soon, but they have competition. Younger people have flocked to image-based social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat. People in the coveted 18-24 demographic have moved toward these platforms. Marketers must follow if they want to tap into this high-spending demographic.
We don’t mean video or an interactive website here. That’s de rigueur these days. We’re talking about augmented reality and virtual reality. Last year, Pokemon GO showed how popular a single AR app could get and virtual reality came into the home market. While both are still new technologies for the mainstream, the use of these technologies is rising fast. As prices for headsets comes down and AR and VR app development speeds up, expect to see the use of these technologies boom.
Livestreaming used to be something that only corporations and gamers did. In case you’re not familiar with the term, livestreaming is like creating your own live television channel and showing it on the internet. Anyone can make a live recording of what they are doing and stream it to whoever wants to see it. Twitch is probably the most well-known livestreaming service due to its popularity with gamers, but now Facebook has gotten into the act with Facebook Live. YouTube also has livestreaming functionality now.
For businesses, livestreaming can be used in a number of ways. First, it’s great for product reveals. E3 and other gaming conventions have been using livestreaming to show off new products. Second, it can be used to show off achievements of the company. SpaceX regularly livestreams their launches for publicity and to boost its popularity.
Have you been seeing those simulated chat boxes where you talk with a computer posed as a customer service representative? That’s an example of a chatbot. What used to be something only used deep inside computer science labs has become functional enough to be used for business purposes.
Done well, a chatbot can do the basic work of customer service representatives. You could think of them as phone menus with much better and smarter personalities. But they’re being used for more that that. Chatbots could become salespeople, personal assistants, generate word-of-mouth advertising, or for gathering analytics information from customers. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Now that the hard work of simulating believable human conversation with a computer has been overcome enough to attract businesses to the technology, you can expect to see more chatbots online.
Big Data has moved from the darling of the internet to an expectation in business. Put simply, if you’re not leveraging the data that your visitors and customers are generating you will be left behind by your competition. This includes small businesses as well.
Fortunately, it’s easier than ever for small businesses to take advantage of big data. There are a number of SaaS companies offering applications that can collect, process, and dashboard business data that no small business owner would ever have the budget to do on their own. Even something as fundamental as Google Analytics is a form of a Big Data app that anyone with a website and a Google Account can use to improve their business.
PPC isn’t immune to trends either. The big change is programmatic advertising. Programmatic advertising is using computer programs to aid in the buying and selling of online advertising. It’s been around for a few years now but it is growing in popularity.
There are several different models of programmatic advertising available on the web right now, including things like Google’s real-time bidding PPC service. But it’s growing from simple ad purchase to full automation of the online advertising process.
However, ad companies don’t have to worry. Computers aren’t writing the ad copy or creating marketing collateral with programmatic advertising. Instead, programmatic advertising helps ad companies get maximum exposure for their ad budget. Brokers (the programmatic advertising platform) leverage the best prices and guaranteed impression rate for buyers and sellers of ads. If you’re doing PPC right now, keep an eye on this trend and start studying the players. It’s likely to revolutionize online advertising.
One-to-one ads have been the holy grail of online marketing for years. PPC companies would love to automatically create custom ads that are perfectly suited for individual customers. While we may not have one-to-one correspondence yet, we’re getting closer and closer. It’s not just happening with ads either. Content is also leaning into a personalisation trend.
How are they doing it? Data. Our internet and mobile use are giving companies much more data to work with. The more data they have, the more personal they can make their advertising and content. Location-based advertising is just one example of how personalisation is improving ad responses.
Internet of Things
The IoT is continuing to grow as more devices come onto the market. It’s not just about home automation anymore. Amazon Echo and Google Home are bringing Star Trek-like computer functionality into the house. People can buy things with just the push of a button or through a voice command, or get information without having to take out their smartphone. The IoT is on the forefront of home technology. We don’t know what the IoT killer app will be, but we can expect to see it within the next couple of years.
Do you agree or disagree with these trends? What do you think will happen in the next six months? Let us know in the comments below.
About the Author
Chris Hickman is the Founder and CEO at Adficient with 15 years of experience in search marketing and conversion optimization. Since 2006, he founded GetBackonGoogle.com, helping businesses and websites suspended in Adwords to Get Back on Google.
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