In a late 2018 survey of digital marketing trends, researchers found that most marketers were focusing more on providing an optimal customer experience, rather than data-driven marketing that targets individuals. Creating great and compelling content for digital experiences came in third place for most popular digital marketing trends.
In today’s high-tech, internet-connected, and business-now world, marketers need to refocus their marketing efforts because what worked a couple of years ago may have very little impact now and in the future. In fact, some technologies that were previously dismissed as gimmicks in science-fiction films — such as visual search and artificial intelligence — are some of the tools that will become invaluable in staying competitive in the future.
Here are some of the 2018 digital marketing trends and strategies that had the greatest impact on SEO, content marketing, PPC, social media, and more in 2018.
Optimizing the Customer Experience (CX)
The customer experience (CX) refers to the entire set of engagements and interactions that a customer has with a brand; this includes online experiences such as desktop and mobile content consumption, video views, eCommerce interactions, and chatbots and connected IoT devices, as well as offline touchpoints such as experiential, in-store, and outdoor advertising.
Improving the customer experience can have dramatic results on business performance. This is largely because customers are more likely to share a pleasant experience and recommend a specific brand over others. For instance, a 2017 Loyalty Report published by Goldsmith University found that nearly two-thirds (61%) of the 5,000 European consumers they surveyed felt loyal to brands that customized their experiences to their needs and preferences.
Creating a pleasant customer experience requires, among other things, a long-term view, a cohesive plan, and executive support. The process typically starts with a digital transformation that requires the right mix of technology, skills, and cultural environment, where the team is motivated to collaborate across all departments with the customer at the core of all initiatives.
As such, the ability to please customers transcends the marketing function. Marketers need to be able to collaborate with employees in other teams, and leverage different skills along with data and technology to deliver a well-designed, clear, and seamless consumer journey.
Data-Informed Marketing – Personalization
Marketers are creating more useful, relevant, and engaging content. Consumers are bombarded with all types of content, including photos, video, social media, infographics, and interactive content on an everyday basis. This means that your business is not only competing against similar brands’ services and products, but also for your audience’s attention. Irrespective of your industry, you need to create great content that draws attention and encourages engagement.
This approach has helped marketers spend their advertising budgets more effectively while evaluating the impact of their investment to safeguard and better allocate future marketing funds. Many businesses are better equipped in terms of technology and skills to leverage data for effective marketing, in combination with creativity and intuition.
Different kinds of data — including links clicked, consumer behaviour, the number of web pages visited, and purchase history — allows marketers to easily customize the shopping experience for each consumer, and in the process, enhance the consumer experience (CX). A recent study by Marketo revealed that personalized emails based on consumer behaviour increased response rates by 300% compared to batch-and-blast emails.
In an effort to personalize their content for visitors and reduce search time, many business websites took advantage of the power of personalization in 2018; they displayed banners, text, search, artwork, and carousels based on users previous browsing tendencies.
Marketing Automation for Increased Yield and Efficiency
The process of automation generally involves integrating artificial intelligence (AI) in the consumer’s journey to make it more efficient. In digital marketing, AI is used to analyze consumer behaviour and search patterns, using data from blog posts and social media platforms to help marketers and businesses understand how prospects and consumers find items of interest.
AI also helps to engage users and provide them with tips and information. Marketers can use AI to automate ad buying, through real-time auctions or bidding, which allow for more targeted marketing – also referred to as programmatic advertising. Based on the current success of programmatic advertising in digital display marketing, eMarketer predicts that 90% of marketers in the US will adopt it by 2020.
Chatbots — another AI-based technology that uses instant messaging to engage users in real-time 24/7 — is also gaining traction among savvy businesses. In fact, Gartner predicts that the use of chatbot technology will reach 25% in 2020, from less than 2% in 2017. Early adopters stand to enjoy the benefits of AI, including lower customer engagement costs and accelerated growth over their competitors.
Video For Increased Brand Engagement
Videos on YouTube and other video sharing sites, as well as live broadcasts on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn are usually displayed on search engine results pages (SERPs). And with the decreasing cost of producing quality videos, marketers and businesses can cost-effectively create personalized video content that is further optimized using closed captions, overlays, title, and description.
Here are some statistics showing the value of video in digital marketing:
- 72% of companies claim that video has had a positive impact on their conversion rate
- 70% of consumers claim to have shared a brand’s video
- 65% of decision makers claim to visit an advertised website while 39% call the given number after watching a video
- 52% of consumers claim that watching product videos increases their confidence in making online purchases
Social Media Stories
Social media “stories” have become increasingly popular as a digital marketing strategy. There are different platforms that allow savvy marketers to promote brand awareness and engagement through the concept of stories which was first introduced by Snapchat, and followed by Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. To make the content even more engaging, you can use live video.
These stories are only temporary content as they disappear after a specific period of time. Thus, marketers can often create a sense of FOMO (fear of missing out) to increase the number of views. Stories can be created to show the story of coming up with a product or getting people to review products.
These are just a few of the 2018 digital marketing trends that businesses can take learn from and leverage in the year ahead. Generally, marketers must be prepared to integrate data, technology, video, social media, and artificial intelligence in their marketing. This digital transformation is necessary to stay competitive.
If you’re ready to take your digital marketing efforts to the next level in 2019, speak to an expert from TechWyse Internet Marketing today. Give us a call at 888.208.3095, or contact us here.