Digital marketing is growing bigger and bigger. Rumor has it that by 2020, the U.S. will more than likely hit $113.18 billion! Which is double the amount from just two years ago. A lot of it has to do with all the emerging technologies. Not to mention all of the varying platforms. But what does this mean for brands? It's simple really. If they play their cards right, they'll see an increase in ways they can connect with current and future customers alike. However, when it comes to digital marketing, the trick is to know which platforms offer the best opportunity. For both your brand AND your audience.
We're almost a month into 2018, and we're already starting to notice a variety of trends that have the ability to be pretty awesome. Let's take a look at them...
Digital Marketing Trends of 2018
1. Dark Social
Unfortunately, people are sharing fewer links on their social media platform feeds. This includes links to articles, images, and videos. But, they are still sharing - just not in their feeds. People are sharing on less monitored channels, like...
- Email - privacy is key here, mainly because referrers aren't shared
- Messaging Apps - such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and WeChat
- Secure Browsing - if you click from HTTPS to HTTP, the referrer info isn't shared
- Native Mobile Apps - which are dedicated Facebook and Instagram developments
In fact, dark social is responsible for 84% of outbound sharing. Which is definitely not something to ignore this year. A lot of it is driven by mobile and messaging apps. And needless to say, it's gaining a lot of momentum. So understanding this is incredibly important. Here's the thing, if you only track social traffic with your typical web analytics, you could end up with stats that underreport the value that social media actually adds to your brand.
And it isn't just the younger generations that are using dark social as a way to share. A report from RadiumOne stated that 46% of consumers aged 55 and older ONLY share via dark social. Whereas those from 16 to 34 ranked at 19%.
Dark social offers a lot of benefits for brands this year. Which is why it's a good idea to invest in this broad range of channels. With this approach, you'll have the ability to reach a plethora of niche demographics and expand your reach significantly.
2. Video Advertising
Ah, video advertising. I've said it before and I'll say it again, it's the future of digital marketing and here's why. The demand for video marketing is growing at a crazy rate. So crazy that 52% of marketing professionals feel that video content has the best ROI (return on investment). In fact, 43% of people stated that they want to see more video content from marketers.
And social media platforms are answering the call. As a way to increase usage and up social engagement Facebook, Snapchat, and Twitter are looking to expand their video content. Last year, Facebook started using a new format of video investing in 6-second ads as a way for advertisers to reach consumers with faster messages.
This would be a great tactic for brands to stand out and make an impact. However, in order to build meaningful relationships between brand's and their customers, they need to learn how to grab the attention of their target audience on a variety of channels. Regardless if it is in six seconds or not. Now video doesn't work well on all platforms - you won't expect too much success on LinkedIn.
Did you know that 96% of users turn to their cellphones as a way to conduct research? Think about it for a second and you'll notice that you do the same thing too. This is why the most successful brands are ones that can correctly anticipate and address the impulse of informational splurges, or "micro-moments". The best way to do this is to provide the right information at exactly the right time.
These micro-moments are fueled by people making on-the-spot decisions, no matter where they are. That's why this year just might be the year of micro-moments. The best way to cater to this is to make sure that you have mobile-first websites. These websites will be crucial in order to offer consumers information on demand.
A perfect example of this is what BBC did in order to tap into small segments of all of the information it offers. Behold BBC's "greedy navigation" technique on their mobile-first website.
They have a pretty awesome navigation bar, which is divided into categories according to a level of personal importance. This navigation bar is developed to fit the user's screen perfectly. Which in turn, makes it a lot easier to locate relevant information during a "micro-moment".
A personalized online experience will more than likely be vital as consumers demand more from brands. In fact, a lot of them want to avoid the virtual "noise" whenever they purchase products or services. Companies are convinced of its value too. So much so that two-thirds of businesses expect a 6% increase in revenue just from personalization. Personalization extends to apparel, financial services, and technology.
Over the past few years, brands have used personalization with a lot of their email marketing strategies. This type of automation branches out to people based on their behavior, interests, and demographics. Just try to keep this in mind if you're considering to make the jump to personalization: 66% of consumers say they are either extremely or somewhat likely to switch brands where the feel more like a person, than a number. That's a pretty good reason, huh?
Eyewear specialist, Warby Parker has extended its personalization tactic to its website where they offer quality customer experience on both desktop and mobile devices. Interactivity and data are how they ensure that costumers find exactly what they are looking for.
When customers navigate the website they'll reach the homepage where they can choose a product they want. An 'Available for Home Try-On' option is available for 5 frames for them to try on at home. As for interactivity, a quiz helps customers find the frames that will suit them best. As a result, customers get an extremely tailored online experience. Users can also upload a picture to see which glasses look best.
These tactics go a long way to provide a seamless experience, which in turn promotes brand loyalty.
You should notice something, especially with all of these trends this year... Digital marketing is here to stay. It's getting bigger and bigger. It's also a good idea to share the fact that 70% of people said they’d rather learn about a business through an article than an ad. And since digital marketing is cheaper than many other forms of marketing it's a no-brainer why more and more brands are choosing to digital marketing over traditional tactics. From social media marketing to blog posts, videos, and infographics - it's a good idea to find what works best for your brand and expand on it this year. How will you expand your digital marketing this year? Will you use any of the trends we listed above? Let us know in the comments, so we can discuss.