When someone says that digital marketing is inevitably conquering the marketing realm, people tend to interpret this as the extinction of traditional marketing channels. The real truth, however, is that “offline” marketing is alive and well, and the only reason why it is losing battle with digital marketing is due to latter ones ever-increasing volume.
Whilst traditional marketing keeps knocking at the same doors with every passing year, digital marketing constantly finds new mediums and channels through which it can appeal to customer base. It should be obvious that, in such circumstances, the future of marketing will belong to the ones who are able to stay ahead of the curve and keep up with the trends brewing on the horizon.
Let us see what this year has in store for us.
Post-Google E-Search and E-Commerce
Although Google is still the undisputed king of everything online, searches included, it is very hard to deny that various social networks (most notably Facebook) are being used not only to track the people users may know, but the products they want to buy as well. Of course, such occurrences would hardly go unnoticed by the social networks themselves, and the people from Facebook are already working on their own search engine that will provide stronger search results, and will be integrated with its immensely popular messenger app. This development may change the e-commerce conversation forever.
Facebook-Powered Instagram Ads
Advertising on Instagram is hardly a new thing. In the end, visual stimulus is one of the most important aspects of marketing – One would predict that Instagram, as the most visual-centric social network, would become a very fertile marketing ground sooner or later. What is new is that, as of recently, Instagram started showing ads based on the information on your Facebook profile, and started offering paid advertising opportunities through partnership with developers like Brand Networks, Ampush, 4C, and others. Marketing potential of this platform is expected only to grow as a result.
Identity-Based Pay-Per-Click Marketing
Of course, it would be foolish to assume that Google will give up the fight so easily, and truly, the internet giant provided an efficient answer in the form of Identity-Based Pay-Per-Click marketing that targets people with specific ads based on their phone number and email. With the expanding range of targeting parameters, marketers will be able to provide targeted content, even before customers are aware what they are looking for in the first place.
Although the exact percent varies from year to year (constantly remaining above 80%, though), the personal recommendation remains the most credible form of advertising amongst consumers. Rising technologies are finally allowing marketers to use this situation to their advantage and give a stronger push to the user-generated content. And by technologies we mean platforms like Pinterest, Instagram, Meerkat and others, where user-fueled marketing campaign (think of Microsoft’s #MakeitHappen) can make a really big bang for a buck.
Enter the BLE Beacons
All the trends we mentioned so far were focused on, and enveloping in the online realm. The BLE Beacons (transmitters that use Bluetooth technology to target the smart devices and their owners with marketing messages and offers) are envisioned as a mean to bridge the gap between online and real world and provide more direct and immediate results. With very fast acceptance rate (85% of Top 100 US retailers plan to install BLE beacons in their premises by the end of the year) coming off as a result of fairly low price and general ease-of use, beacons threaten to become marketing force to be reckoned with.
The Content is Still the King
Do not get us wrong, it is very preferable to hire a reliable digital agency to streamline the customer experience on your website, push for the omni-channel approach, try out marketing on Pinterest, or even capitalize on the popularity of Snapchat. What we are saying is that the backbone of all these efforts should be rock-solid and well-designed content. The main challenge marketers will face in this regard will be to create the content that will be truly relevant and personal, and yet seamlessly branded and reusable through the vast variety of new marketing channels.
These few trends, however, make only a fraction of what we know as digital marketing, and new changes are introduced with each passing day. Do your best to keep up with this relentless tempo because that is the only way your business will manage to remain relevant in the years to come.