Can you dig it, can ya’ll dig-itize it?
Okay, maybe we got a little carried away with The Mock Turtles reference, but we’re bringing it full circle and sharing our curated list of digital trends to watch. These trends gained major traction in 2017 and we predict they will continue to explode this year. Our hope is that you will see great success by applying these trends to your digital marketing strategy. It’s important to get a handle on these emerging developments early in the year so you are able to properly allocate your budget to support your digital marketing strategy.
Micro-moments are the specific times a consumer reaches for their mobile device to inquire about something they saw or heard. Based on the research, we know these moments are frequent and instantaneous. According to Think with Google, 96% of users reach for their smart phones to conduct research the very instant a question arises. Think with Google breaks down micro-moments into four main categories: ‘I want to know’ (furthering your search to find out more information), ‘I want to do’ (furthering your search to find out how to do a specific task), ‘I want to go’ (furthering your search to find what is nearest and local), ‘I want to buy’ (furthering your search to consult on a purchasing decision based on price, ratings and testimonials).
These are critical points in the decision-making process where customers expect brands to cater to their needs with reliable information. It’s important for brands to map out their customer journey for each touchpoint and have an integrated strategy in place that provides consumers with creative, compelling content that helps them answer these questions.
People are attracted to visually rich, interactive content that depicts a message or story in a quick and concise manner, making it no surprise that video has grown in popularity. People attach more deeply to video than other static forms of content, which in consequence, means they are more likely to take action and engage.
‘Including video on a landing page can increase conversions by 80%, making it a powerful tool for marketers.’ EyeView
In 2018, brands need to find unique ways to tell their story visually. Marketers must include video in their content strategy and allocate a digital ad spend to promote that content. YouTube ranks as the second largest search engine in the world and people watch 8 billion videos a day on Facebook. The amount of video content online will continue to grow exponentially. Brands who don’t embrace this trend will be left behind.
A common misconception is that video content requires a large budget, and that simply isn’t true. Unlike a traditional TV ad that requires more production, online video is most successful when it is authentic and transparent. That doesn’t mean it is poorly executed, it just means online users aren’t expecting a Facebook post or YouTube video to be a studio production. This is why more organic video mediums such as Facebook Live, Snapchat and Instagram Stories have taken off. People are more interested in connecting with real people in real time than seeing a perfectly polished commercial on social media.
3) Messaging Apps
Did you know messaging apps are growing faster than social networks? This was reported by Chatbots Magazine in 2017 and will likely continue to grow this year.
‘By 2019, requests for customer support through consumer mobile messaging apps will exceed requests for customer support through traditional social media.’ Gartner
Integrating website chat and messaging channels into your marketing, sales, and customer service plans needs to be a priority in 2018. Introducing a live chat feature on your website or investing in a chatbot for Facebook Messenger can help your brand deliver faster customer service and make more sales instead of losing customers to your competitors who are offering more immediate feedback. Responding to customers’ needs in real-time is the expectation now, not the exception. People want to communicate anytime and anywhere. Those messages have to be directed to the right people and responded to instantly.
4) Native Ads
Native ads are designed to integrate with content so seamlessly that consumers may not even recognize them as ads. Advertorials (an ad in the form of an article), instant content, search advertising, recommended content or sponsored listings are all forms of native advertising. Rather than plastering ad content that disrupts the user experience, native ads put the right information in front of the viewer when they actually need it by using refined targeting strategies to place the ad next to relevant keywords and articles. The data also shows that native ads see better engagement rates on tablets and smartphones than desktop.
‘Click-through-rates for premium native ads on mobile gadgets were four times higher than non-native display ads.’ Polar & BI Intelligence
Companies have been burned by display advertising in the past by media companies who throw money at a blanket approach to targeting, and therefore, end up serving a brand’s ads on spam sites in a banner format that doesn’t serve the user well – this is NOT a strategy. Display advertising is not dead, it’s just been reinvented. There is still a need for an ad strategy that serves content in real-time, when and where a user needs it. Brands who integrate native ads in their campaign strategy will succeed.
5) Dynamic Content
In 2018, brands will need to abandon traditional, one-size-fits-all content and focus on creating a dynamic, rich experience for users. In order to deliver dynamic content successfully, brands need to understand their different buyer personas and create customer profiles. The best approach is to pair a dynamic website with a marketing automation strategy that delivers personalized content to consumers based on their unique needs.
6) Big Data
This will be the year for customer data platforms (CDP) that sync data into a hub-and-spoke model, providing customized reporting and dashboards. Google is rolling out new analytic tools for marketers, designed to help them link online and offline behavior. These tools include attribution modeling, credit card data and YouTube ‘store visits’. Brands need to utilize a predictive data platform to understand their data and make solid business decisions.
7) Artificial Intelligence
Retailers are just one example of how brands are using machine learning to create a personalized, engaging experience for consumers. Early adopters may find AI provides capabilities that save costs, accelerate growth, or just make their organization more efficient overall.
‘Multiple retailers have reported using predictive intelligence on the product detail page of their website to boost average order values and overall revenue per visitor.’ Smart Insights
In 2018, chatbots (virtual customer support) will become more prominent, voice intelligence and natural language processing will grow, and personal assistants will add new features such as travel booking, reservations, gift shopping, etc. Brands need to devise a plan to leverage AI in marketing, sales and customer support.
So, What’s Next?
At CQL, we are here to think with you – to help you grow, work smarter and envision new ideas. If you are ready to grow through an integrated digital marketing strategy in 2018, we are here to guide you. Combining the power of digital marketing experts and technology engineers, our services allow you to be the disrupter in your industry, instead of getting disrupted. Let’s build your 2018 digital roadmap today.
Source: Smart Insights