What Does The Future Hold For Digital Marketing?
Digital marketing is here. It has been here for enough time that it is essential that every company must implement a strategy for it. It has grown exponentially over the past decade, and has led to many innovations in how we as marketers carry out our daily tasks. Much like traditional marketing, digital marketing is in constant change, though it is accelerated due to the constant advances in technology that influence it. We’ve seen what technology and digital marketing can offer us now, but how far can it really go in affecting how we market?
It has become increasingly more evident that consumers can find out a lot about a company from the click of a button. Through review websites, social media trends and more, companies are regularly put under the magnifying glass when it comes to their actions. How can we react to that? By being transparent. We live in an age where consumers trust what other consumers say over the marketers. This means that people are regularly checking the reviews of companies on comparison sites before they decide to buy from or deal with them.
This effectively encourages companies to focus on improving customer experience so that they can generate more positive reviews and become a more reliable seller. On the other hand, we can expect to see a continued rise in influencer marketing as people trust people more than anything else.
There is a much greater focus on Corporate Social Responsibility where customers expect them to be more open about what they do. This can relate to the details of their donation or fundraising projects being accurate all the way to ensuring that they promptly inform their customers of anything that directly affects them (i.e. breach in data protection). Company loyalty and transparency leads to user loyalty, which is essential to promote your business. Everyone in sales and marketing knows that trust is the most important thing to customers. If you can be a trustworthy, reliable company, you are more likely to receive positive reviews, recommendations and a more positive social presence from your consumers.
This also means staying ahead of the curve. With the presence of social media, marketers are realising that it is best to come clean about any unprecedented errors or mistakes that may happen so that you can provide your consumers with the correct information. For example, Monzo recently had a small breach of the system that protects their customers’ pin codes. They were very clear about this happening by announcing it to their customers urging them to update their settings and promised to do their best to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
Were they not to immediately release this information, it could have led to something viral that would be potentially very damaging to the company, so they announced this themselves for damage limitation, but also as a way of retaining customer trust, by admitting their faults and showing that they will fix the problem..
With the use of SEO and social media, digital marketers can now release regular content at little to no cost. We now live in an age where marketers can listen to their customers online and see what content they want and see what content their targeted audience reads and shares. This helps marketers continue to produce content that is original, but also targeted to their specific audience and what their users want to read.
We can now create as much content as we want at no extra cost, as we generate it ourselves. However, we need to ask ourselves - how much is too much content? Companies often worry that they are not releasing enough engaging content, meaning that their few articles or graphics that they produce get lost in the user’s social media feed. But this can go both ways.
Customers have very limited time. They can’t spend all day reading articles and infographics, so how can we make sure that they want to read what we produce? Firstly, it’s important to not release too much content. If you want them to choose between different articles, you don’t want them to be neglecting ones that you’ve written. That means you don’t want to end up competing with yourself as you try to entice your readership. So how can we do this? Focus on reducing your content. You want to keep engaging regularly with your customer base, but you want to aim for quality over quantity when it comes to original content. Rather than providing them with multiple options, give them something that they simply must read, or better yet, watch.
As many can tell with the prevalence of Youtube influencers, video content will continue to be the forefront of content marketing. With the existence of live stories, Instagram TV, Youtube and more, there are so many ways that we can produce engaging visual content of any length. A study even found that 70% of consumers admitted to sharing a brand’s video at some point. While this is growing and growing, it is definitely something that marketers need to familiarise themselves with as it proves itself to be pivotal in the future of content marketing.
You may be thinking, isn’t AI already being implemented in digital marketing? And the answer is yes. AI is being used everywhere. Whether it be for SEO purposes, content management for social media, or evaluating how effective your marketing strategies will be, chances are you’re already using marketing AI. At this point in time, we’re asking whether we should embrace the existence of AI to assist our marketing strategies, but in the future it is likely that we’ll be saying that we need to accept it.
We must remember that this isn’t a bad thing; AI is here to assist us and allow us to spend more time on the things that matter. Systems are now beginning to evaluate the performance of anything we intend to put online by using an algorithm, meaning that we can optimise our marketing strategies and create more calculated campaigns. AI may even be able to create original content itself in the near future, as this is something that is currently being tested.
Artificial intelligence can identify patterns in everything that we do, and everything that the consumer does, within reason. This means that it can constantly observe, assess and refine the way that we market. You can expect to find that efficiency levels will rise in the near future as more companies implement AI into their strategies.
AI will even be able to take a step forward in the process of creating and executing marketing campaigns, even those related to influencer marketing. AI software will be able to identify influencers that are related to your company by analysing thousands of images in mere seconds. It can then analyse each post from the influencer to evaluate the performance of their entries, and then determine the best to to offer an incentive to that influencer outlet.
With the ability to have AI to seek these out for us, marketers will have a lot more time to spend on their own, more personalised tasks, which the AI cannot yet perform to the desired standard.
As technology progresses, searching for things online with your voice becomes more and more common. Whether it be through Alexa, Siri, Google assistant or Cortana, it is clearly becoming the future. People like to be as hands free as possible, and if you are able to have a conversation with artificial intelligence to find out the information you need, it can be much easier than typing it out. As this becomes increasingly more common in everyday life, marketers need to consider implementing the ability to recognise voice search in their SEO.
This really changes the way that SEO can work, as it will need to relate to informal, colloquial language for the voice assistant technology to match it. According to research, it is expected that by 2020, 50% of online searches will be carried out by voice recognition technology. This means that we are looking at a revolutionary way of how we search the internet in our day-to-day lives, which in turn means that us marketers cannot afford to let this go by unnoticed.
So the future of digital marketing seems to show a trend that everything is becoming even more audio and visual, while looking at working towards making the traditional keyboard obsolete. This is now something that we can prepare for, as the voice command optimisation could become pivotal to gaining exposure for your website as the years go by. So as we try to include more personalised video content in our marketing, we are analysing our audience to become even more personal. Do you think there’s any other main innovations in marketing that we missed out? Let us know on social media!