Digital marketing is an ever-changing landscape, thanks to the strides in digital technology. The prevalence of smartphones and tablets, along with internet penetration, have added more power to digital marketing. Going digital means using the entire gamut of technologies - from the use of artificial intelligence to wearables. It’s no longer just about having a website or email marketing.
As a brand, making an impact on every customer (internal or external), and opening up multiple channels of communication for customers is no more a luxury, but a necessity.
Businesses know that the present and future of marketing is undoubtedly digital. Millennials and Gen Z-ers are living in a digital age — using smart devices to work, party, commute, and play. In fact, the boundaries between what constitutes marketing and smart devices and technology are a blur, and the medium has become the message.
What trends should marketers be eyeing right now to get their message across? Artificial Intelligence (AI) has already become an intrinsic part of our lives without us paying too much attention to it. Google’s machine learning algorithms are at work when you search and get a satisfactory answer. Similarly, Facebook uses algorithms that learn from what we read or watch. There are intelligent tools that generate and curate content or provide an enhanced user experience on websites.
The biggest of AI applications is the chatbot, which is set to have a huge impact on digital marketing. For the uninitiated, a chatbot is a computer programme that can have a conversation via voice or text in an intuitive manner. The next time you open a website, observe a chat window popping up, offering help! Chatbots save time, are always on, enhance brand value and even gather data, which is a treasure in the digital age. The market for chatbots is set to exceed $1.34 billion by 2024, according to a new research report by Global Market Insights. The report attributes the growth figures to the rising use of chatbots in the fields of advertising and digital marketing.
Another area of significance for digital marketing is programmatic advertising. Programmatic advertising is essentially serving advertisements to targeted and specific users by using data. When AI is integrated into the process, programmatic ad placement can only get better. Natural language processing (NLP) has the potential to understand the message and real meaning of a specific piece of content and see how an ad can be an ideal match for that content.
The potential of AI extends to other areas as well. Think voice assistants. Voice search is everywhere — ask Alexa, Siri, Google Home or Cortana! Buying decisions are taken instantaneously than ever before. Whether it is to book a movie, rent a car or order pizza — everything happens via voice. Media analytics firm ComScore says that by 2020, 50 percent of all search will be driven by voice. Marketers need to ensure that the content is optimised for voice search — keep content conversational and human and use long-tail keywords.
Observe how every trend is geared towards addressing the customer as if they are the only ones the brand is talking to. Personalised messaging is the biggest trend the digital marketing world is seeing and will see in the near future. This could be in the form of personalised notifications on apps, personalised emails, content, banners, etc. Just log into your groceries app or a video streaming service, and you will know all about personalisation. Your Netflix recommendations or follow suggestions on social media are also based on your own history and use patterns.
Influencer marketing is a big trend that is here to stay because it banks on basic human qualities of trust, being social and wanting to relate to something. The presence of potential customers on various channels means brands have an opportunity. They use influencers (celebrities) or social media personalities who have used and liked a product or service telling others to try it too.
Talking about social media, brands that using Facebook, Instagram (and IGTV), and Twitter for marketing will continue to do so. All these platforms are also focusing on video. Live video, in particular, is the rising star on social media channels. A 2018 report by media agency Zenith forecasts that across the globe, consumers watching online video will see 25 percent growth by 2020. This presents another opportunity for brands to seize the initiative and delight consumers with the content they love. Which, by the way, is the whole point of digital marketing.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)