As we prepared to move into 2019, we identified a number of digital marketing trends that would impact our practices. Businesses have to acknowledge that times are changing and marketing is changing right along with everything else. Online is the place to be and brands that are staying on top of the latest technology and resources will find more success than those businesses intent on doing as they’ve always done. Let’s take a fresh look at some trends!
DIGITAL MARKETING TRENDS
1. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI continues to develop and its uses continue to expand. Brands are now using AI to power customer segmentation, retargeting, push notifications, content creation, and more. Blueshift found that more than a quarter of marketers are using AI for campaign optimization while a Forrester’s Global State of Artificial Intelligence Online Survey found that over half of businesses surveyed are using AI to improve customer experience. In addition, 44% of businesses surveyed are using AI to help them improve both their products and services.
In contrast to the findings of these studies, there are still relatively few businesses currently using AI. An online marketing survey by IDC, done in collaboration with Criteo, found that while 83% of marketers are aware of AI, only 14% are incorporating it into their marketing strategies.
The advances in AI have propelled the sophistication of chatbots over the years to a point that they now are able to have a basic conversation with site visitors. Instead of staffing a live chat support system, businesses are investing in chatbots that can answer frequently asked questions in the same manner a live customer support representative might.
Not only are chatbots less expensive than customer support staff, but they can also answer consumers’ questions almost immediately. No more long wait times resulting in better user experience. One business realized a 36% overall increase in its conversions after implementing chatbots. Whether set up to provide an initial greeting to site visitors, begin conversations based on the content being viewed, to answer questions, or all three, chatbots will continue to decrease costs and increase revenue, especially with the continuous gains in AI technology.
3. Omnichannel Marketing
Multichannel marketing can be compared to a tree. The brand is the trunk and each marketing channel is a branch. The brand knows what is happening on each branch but the branches do not interact nor have knowledge of what is happening on other branches.
In contrast, omnichannel marketing is a strategy the offers a seamless experience regards of the channel a customer uses to interact with a brand. Channels work in conjunction with one another to update customer data and provide relevant messages as the consumer moves through the purchase journey. Each channel responds to customer engagement with all channels and adapts accordingly.
Brands that are utilizing omnichannel marketing are providing a consistent communication process to current and potential customers across all channels. The attention to detail and retention of information exchanged during engagement, regardless of the channel, lets consumers know that the brand values their time and their businesses. One study found that brand taking advantage of omnichannel marketing strategies retain almost 90% of their customers compared to an average 33% retention rate for companies with weak or nonexistent omnichannel strategies.
4. Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) and Progressive Web Apps (PWA)
Both AMP and PWA cater to the current population of consumers who are, for all basic purposes, addicted to their mobile devices. Mobile devices account for approximately 60% of the search traffic on Google.
A website’s bounce rate increases as the load time increase. To counteract this happening, Google initiated the AMP project with AMP pages loading in fewer than 0.5 seconds. Lower bounce rates are, indeed, being realized as a result of using AMP.
PWA are somewhere in-between a native app and a responsive website. PWA eliminate app development costs and offer a faster loading time. PWA also provide better user experience as there is no download required and users can create a shortcut to PWA on their smartphones.
5. Marketing Automation
Marketing automation software continues to improve the way in which businesses implement their marketing automation strategies. The use of this software minimizes wasted time as staff no longer has to manually copy lead information. It also minimizes human error by maintaining all pertinent information and sending alerts to help staff with their part of the process. Marketing automation software also helps different segments of your brand to collaborate in your approach to existing and prospective customers. Businesses that are using marketing automation understand the power it has to eliminate silos and create a seamless approach to marketing.
6. Live Video
It has long been understood that video content is more engaging than text-based content or even stagnate images. Live, in the moment video, is the latest and greatest due to its authenticity, the relatively minor costs to create, and the fact that it engages the public’s fear of missing out (FOMO) that isn’t tapped into by a video that can be viewed later. Brands integrating live video are using it to launch products or show behind the scenes action as they host industry events. Live video
7. Voice Search
As with AI, the technology behind voice recognition has come a long way in a short time. Voice searches are gaining popularity and smart speakers and other smart devices with verbal capacity are becoming increasingly mainstream household items. Voice search is faster and easier for the multitaskers of the world, especially in conjunction with mobile devices.
Businesses leveraging voice search are finessing their SEO practices to accommodate the new concepts that come with voice technologies. Voice searches tend to be longer than typed searches so content has to be optimized for long-tail keywords. Voice searches are also more conversational in nature so content needs to be tweaked to reflect how people speak to one another. The increasing attention to user intent also requires brands to be more thorough in their alt-text and meta description practices.
8. Augmented Reality
Augmented reality inserts objects into a real-life setting, allowing consumers to place an item into an environment to understand how it will look there. Augmented reality minimizes the risk consumers take when interacting with a brand or product the first time. It allows them to test drive, if you will, your product prior to committing to a purchase.
An early adopter of augmented reality technology, IKEA has paved a solid road with their IKEA Place app. It lets customers see how a piece of furniture or an accessory will fit into the space they are buying it for – with 98% accuracy. With almost a billion in-store visits and another 2.5 billion website visits, there is a good deal of motivation to continue improving the IKEA Place app and growing the field of augmented reality.
9. Native Advertising
Consumers are overwhelmed by the constant barrage of advertisements pushed onto their computer screens and social feeds. The purpose of native ads is to present as page content instead of an advertisement. Brands are utilizing this approach to marketing to counteract the millions of people using ad blocking resources. In fact, eMarketer expects that 77% of mobile display ad dollars will be spent on native advertising and a whopping 96% on native social advertising. Businesses investing in native ads see higher engagement rates as well as higher conversion rates.
10. User Generated Content (UGC)
Bazaarvoice found that 70% of Baby Boomers and 84% of Millennials acknowledge that UGC impacts their buying decisions. Brands leveraging the power of UGC understand the social proof this type of content generates. UGC is free – you are letting your loyal customers market your products or services for you. It builds a sense of community in your online audience and shows potential customers real-life examples of how your brand can meet their needs.
1. Artificial Intelligence is being used to power customer segmentation, retargeting, push notifications, content creation, and more.
2. Chatbots will continue to decrease costs and increase revenue, especially with the continuous gains in AI technology.
3. Omnichannel Marketing offers a seamless experience regards of the channel a customer uses to interact with a brand
4. Accelerated Mobile Pages and Progressive Web Apps cater to the current population of consumers who are, for all basic purposes, addicted to their mobile devices.
5. Marketing Automation has the power to eliminate silos and create a seamless approach to marketing.
6. Live Video is increasing engagement rates, building brand loyalty, and increasing brand recognition for those businesses jumping into this trend with both feet.
7. Voice Search is gaining popularity and smart speakers and other smart devices with verbal capacity are becoming increasingly mainstream household items.
8. Augmented Reality minimizes the risk consumers take when interacting with a brand or product the first time
9. Native Advertising is resulting in higher engagement rates as well as higher conversion rates.
10. User Generated Content builds a sense of community in your online audience and shows potential customers real-life examples of how your brand can meet their needs.
The team at Strategy Driven Marketing can’t wait to see how these digital marketing trends continue to improve and reshape the world of marketing. We’d love to deep dive into your business to better understand how SDM can help you utilize the latest marketing techniques to offer a user experience your customers will love. We’ll listen, ask a lot of questions, and create a marketing plan uniquely tailored to your brand. Contact us today to get started!