The constant flow of change is complex, yet interwoven in the world of digital marketing.
The trends don’t work alone, rather they work together to accelerate and amplify the way we market our businesses. Faster and cheaper telecommunication, as well as wifi, made broadband as essential as electricity. Mobile phones gave rise to social networks, their in-built cameras adding unquantifiable amounts of content in an already deafening online world.
Faster change and complexity are now the norm. With all that said, which digital marketing trends are driving change, and how do we keep up?
1. Paid Digital Marketing Is No Longer An Option, It’s Vital
I don’t just say that because I run a digital marketing agency. Promise!
Honestly, digital marketing has never really been free. Social networks, however, gave us a short taste of that. Not anymore.
When most of us (myself included) discovered digital marketing, the only way to pay for attention was banner ads on websites. Yahoo was the king of that. That was the 90s.The 90s were a strange time. Then in the early 2000s, the rise of Google lead to a new digital advertising option: search advertising.
This was a way to make money that offered rivers of gold as it was relatively cheap to advertise online. Like any good business though, Google changed the rules and increased the rates, much like Facebook have in the last few years.
Now, it’s a two horse race.
The concentration of revenue and the ownership of platforms means that advertising options may be complex, but are still concentrated. Snapchat is trying to wedge their way in after going public, but it has some major work to do if it wishes to make a dent on the two massive incumbents of Facebook and Google.
Today, the way online marketing works mean you either need the skills within your company or you need a partner. And yes, I just linked back to my company SponsoredLinX. It’s kind of our speciality.
2. Automation is Essential
One thing the rise of social networks did was humanize the web.
Being online was no longer the domain of the geeks. It was sleek and easy. You published a Facebook post or a blog, you could Tweet, or upload your own videos with absolute ease. You created your own content and built an organic distribution by growing your follower count.
This is now more complex with more networks, more diverse digital advertising options, and more types of content.
So how does one keep up?
More tools…or better ones?
The choices within digital technology have also exploded, and the number of tech tools available for marketers has been estimated at over 4000. With that sheer volume, the only way to manage the rising complexity is with marketing automation. There are many options, which means choosing is difficult.
There are the platforms that aim to be “all in one” tools, like Marketo, Infusionsoft and Hubspot to name a few, that can assist in scaling your marketing. There are also tools for growing your social media followers with automation like SociallyRich for Instagram and Social Quant for Twitter. Then there are tools for moderating comments- BrandBastion.
Marketing automation is still in its early phase, and the next trend is where it’ll start to get interesting.
3. Live Video is Where it’s At
Live streaming video is, in my humble opinion, the hottest trend in digital marketing right now.
As per usual, Google was the first to innovate with the advent of Google Hangouts. However, an app called Meerkat was the first live video streaming app that caught mass attention. Then it was Blab, and then Periscope. Only the latter survives thanks to its acquisition by a small startup called Twitter. You may have heard of them.
When Facebook Live was launched in 2015 though, the game changed.
So, why live stream?
My cousin Mark Zuckerberg* has suggested that people comment ten times more and watch 300% longer on live videos over regular ones. In terms of marketing, that kind of engagement is gold. However, it can feel a bit saturated when everyone’s doing it. I know my timeline is full of random companies live streaming launches nobody but themselves care about. So, be careful when beaming yourself to the world without creating a presence first.
*Mark Zuckerberg is not my cousin
So, that’s part one. Check back here next week where I’ll be looking at the rise of algorithms, the unstoppable force of AI, and influencer marketing.