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If you’re looking to engage audiences, convert customers, and boost sales in the upcoming year and beyond, it’s important to keep an eye and ear out for the latest in digital marketing trends in order to stay in line with your competition.
And if you feel like you’re always slightly behind, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Freshening your knowledge with courses is a great way to get acquainted with some of the newer innovations in digital marketing.
Here are a few things that are definitely about to make a huge impact in the way that both B2B and B2C businesses relate to the world.
1. Apps that Support Micro-Moment Marketing
Micro-moment marketing is all about the changing nature of consumer behavior in the context of their own digital (especially mobile-based) behavior as well as the fact that they are facing information overload as they spend so much time online.
It’s based on the idea that consumers today can basically access the “best” of anything in the space of a few seconds--and some 96% of consumers will be doing this with their smartphones in the space of a few seconds.
According to Think with Google, much of consumer behavior today can be broken down into 3 key points. First, consumers are “well-advised,” meaning that they are essentially researching any type of service or product, in any category, immediately, via their mobiles. Second, they are “right here,” not offering much information to marketers but wanting to access information from any locale. Third, they are “right now,” meaning that their decision-making process, even with major purchases, is much faster due to the abundance of information they have at their fingertips.
The challenge that this poses to brands and marketers is that now they must be able to essentially “find” their customer in the space of these few moments without having any relevant information about them ahead of time. Thus, businesses must be able to offer more in the way of “one-touch” offerings to accommodate this behavior, build brand loyalty, and stay ahead of their competition.
Traditional marketing is an interruption – if you come “at” them, they’re going to be annoyed. But they can choose to come and find you when they need something. So, in the sense that consumers have so many choices available “in the moment,” the marketing game has changed. Highly personalized “smart content” that’s focused on relationship-building is one response to this, essentially finding a way to address very specific buyer personas. This can be tailored towards a specific characteristic of a demographic, including age, location or even what point in the buyer’s journey a person is.
2. Highly Integrated, Innovative Content
We all know that dynamic content like video has reigned for a while, and it’s going to keep expanding and growing in new ways. Not only is it becoming more and more interactive, it’s also being used in different ways more frequently.
According to statistics from Wordstream:
- Almost half of all Facebook users watch at least an hour of video per week
- 85% of Americans watch videos online
- Over 90% of people who watch videos regularly share them
- Landing page videos have the potential to boost conversations by 80%
Ephemeral content (think Instagram stories) will continue to tickle people’s fancies as it engages in such a direct, emotional way, just like real life. And the fact that it is only a moment makes it more meaningful. It’s also a great way for influencers to offer exclusive “behind the scenes,” intimate moments that are only available to select audiences, or for a limited amount of time. Thus, the scarcity element of social marketing is highlighted here.
Integrated content has the potential to be extremely personal and memorable, especially as we move forward with more AI-based platforms, which have the capacity to essentially get to know your customers. This means that they have the potential to help us create extremely memorable and personalized content.
Machine learning is one element of AI technology which refers to the fact that machines are getting more and more adept at problem-solving. What makes this technology so fascinating for digital marketers is the fact that it’s capable of gathering and analyzing huge datasets from across various platforms quickly, and then making good marketing decisions that can inform the rest of your strategy.
This means that AI can be integrated into a number of marketing applications, including:
- Digital personal assistants
- Insight integration between platforms
- Increasingly authentic user interactions, for instance, via chatbots
- Predictive analytics. Examples of this would be predicting how likely a certain price point might convert or a certain customer is to return for another product
- Analyzing UX patterns for targeting marketing strategy
3. Getting Up-Close and Personal
We already commented above on the importance of creating highly customized, personal content. The point here is to essentially break down the barrier that (literally) is the screen to offer a more tactical experience that gets beyond just “reading” text, if not for any other reason than because people who spend all day online have tired eyes. There are many ways to effectively remove (or lessen) this barrier that is the screen and encourage your audience to be more engaged.
Here are some innovative examples and ideas of how to make your digital marketing tactics more personal, customized and interactive.
Augmented Reality: Augmented reality is currently making leaps and bounds, and whether you realize it or not, it’s already front and center in big business advertising. While it may still be something that’s mostly only affordable for big business, it’s worth keeping an eye on for content marketers who want to go the extra mile. When we think about it in the context of video games, it’s already absolutely here (think of the Pokemon Go trend a couple of years ago). IKEA Place is another innovative idea that essentially lets people design their own home with IKEA furniture. Virtual reality is already in our hands as consumers, and it’s about to become an extremely valuable tool for marketers as well.
Better personalization is also a way that content marketers can transform a businesses’ digital strategy into something that conforms to unique users. This may take place via segmentation and targeting of content to meet user preferences, or through AI-based individualized experiences such as chatbots.
Professional Video, Graphics and Photos: Most of us are aware of the popularity of Facebook Live, and part of its appeal is that it’s interactive, which offers a highly personal experience. Video is going to become more and more interactive, innovative, and professional. It may be worth investing in a high-end camera for both video and film or contracting an artist to create unique, original illustrations for blogs and social media.
There’s a definitive trend towards more personalized graphics, more authentic photos (think less stock photography), and more image customization even within the field of personal mobile devices. Apple’s i Phone 8 portrait feature, which allows users to adjust lighting as if they were actually “in” a professional photo studio, is a perfect example of the way that consumers are immersed in new levels of photography on their personal mobiles.
Interactivity: There’s going to be more opportunities for real conversation in social media as well as other gadgets like digital personal assistants. This type of back-and-forth engagement will hopefully be mimicked in social media and entertainment streams as well, so that there’s more opportunity for two-way connection, instead of it feeling like there’s a screen between two people. AR on mobile is another way that we’ll be seeing more interactivity in our day-to-day lives, and it’s going to go well beyond video games.
What does the Future Hold?
The list above is just a few of the many features that digital marketers need to bear in mind as we move forward quickly into the future. Anything that will allow people to have an enriched experience in media, be it VR, new ways of using photos, AI-based technology like digital personal assistants, or even new ways of shopping on the web, has the potential to make or break a business’s brand image.
This is why anyone involved in the digital marketing sphere needs to keep an eye out for any tool or app that can make their content more integrated, more focused on “micro-moments,” and offer the user a more personalized experience. They need to be on-the-ball and always thinking about user experience now more than ever.
Whether you’re in love with digital media or are still stepping carefully into the waters, it’s important to develop a strategy to incorporate the most appropriate technological innovations into your business if you have not yet done so.