TOP 6 DIGITAL MARKETING TRENDS NOW
1) The hyper-empowered consumer
Marketing strategies and marketing departments change very, very slowly. For years, we’ve been spending money on stuff that doesn’t work.
- Research shows that a disproportionate amount of money is being spent on print advertising and other channels in decline.
- Consumer behavior has changed dramatically in the past two years yet many companies are still working on digital strategies that worked in 2013.
- 80 percent can’t measure their social media effort or content marketing.
- A majority of marketers admit they don’t understand their martech stack.
However, we are starting to see evidence that companies big and small are starting to question these practices and begin to re-set in a dramatic fashion.
There are too many people in marketing using tools and tactics that worked five years ago. We will see deep cultural changes in how we approach marketing with a focus on the hyper-empowered consumer.
Here is where the power is today: user-generated content, reviews, and influencers.
Here is where the money is being spent today: advertising, agencies, campaigns.
This has to change.
The power has shifted from Madison Avenue to Main Street. It’s time to transcend our marketing arrogance, our traditional organizations and silos, our budgets built on an iteration of what we did last year, and start to market our businesses in a way that reflects reality.
The hyper-powered consumer is in control.
2) Virtual spaces
Recently Facebook gave us a glimpse of what social media will look like in a virtual reality world with Facebook Spaces. It’s still crude and clunky but the platform also opens the door to transport us into immersive new experiences. I see this as just the first of a host of new immersive social platforms in our future.
This trend is important for brands because our favorite applications like Facebook and Google lock us into a “relational bubble” based on our social connections and previous history with the platforms. So being exposed to anything new would be a filter fail and a real challenge to marketers.
Creating immersive experiences is a way to invite people out of that filter bubble, so this is will become a significant marketing opportunity. Eventually, virtual reality will be a primary driver of the social media experience so watch this development closely in 2018.
Another thing to watch for: Who will own the VR space? Will there be a “homeroom” for virtual reality experiences like YouTube owns video and Instagram owns photos?
3) Public to Private
What we see here is that social media is still growing, but conversations taking place on private messaging apps like WhatsApp, Messenger, and Snapchat are growing even faster.
Some implications for marketers:
The gold mine — Think about this: The biggest un-tapped trove of consumer data in history — private text messaging — is moving onto Messenger and WhatsApp and into the hands of Facebook. That is a WOW.
“Open rate” — The typical open rate for email is about 20 percent. Without the boost of ad support on Facebook, your organic reach for your content probably averages less than 1 percent (this can vary widely by business). The open rate for a private message? 98 percent. Smartphone users are more likely to have push notifications turned on for a messaging app than for email, a branded app, or even Facebook.
Be cool, not creepy — How does a company engage in a private channel without being creepy? Make them fun. Chatbots will become a source of delight and entertainment.
Discovery — When we figure out how to use chatbots to connect in this space, how do we get people to discover us? Aflac recently ran ads promoting their duck-based chatbot, the first promotion of this kind I have seen. I think Bot Awareness will become a big deal, a new business opportunity.
4) Chatbots, but not like you think
Most customer service people are graded by how quickly they can deal with a problem and move on to the next issue. But chatbots can stay on “the line” and have conversations forever, collecting and recording all kinds of data. I see this as a way of picking up new customer information and insight … a strategy that has not been discussed too much.
I may not want to talk online with Nike, but I might have fun talking to a Michael Jordan chatbot. Heck, I might even talk to the duck. And those companies will be collecting information about me all along the way.
5) Social Media Regulations
The social media titans have been asking for it.
- YouTube has allowed violence and pornography to seep into its YouTube Kids network.
- Facebook’s integrity as a place that “helps you connect and share” has been laid to waste. It is a clearinghouse for propaganda, hate speech, disinformation, fraud, and bullying. Facebook isn’t just vulnerable to information warfare, it is complicit in it.
- Twitter is a cesspool of fake accounts and bots spreading fake news.
- Several nations are suing Google for unfair trade practices, privacy breaches, and stealing consumer passwords and other information from home wi-fi networks (and Google has not cooperated in the investigations).
Television, advertising, and even movies are regulated but Facebook, the biggest media channel in the history of the world, is whistling in the dark, manipulating our newsfeeds to create levels of social media addiction to increase their profits.
Social media is the new world order. It determines our digital and real world opinions and behaviors in incalculable ways. But with great power comes great responsibility and these companies have shown they cannot police themselves.
Is 2018 the year our governments wake up? Let’s hope so.
6) Information density
The most profound trend impacting every aspect of marketing these days is the increasingly difficult path to standing out amid an explosion of content.
BuzzSumo research illustrated this effectively and conclusively when an analysis of millions of pieces of content showed that when content saturation occurs on a topic, engagement on that content drops precipitously.
This is Content Shock — as the amount of content in a niche increases, the cost of competing in that niche becomes prohibitive.
What is the ultimate solution to this issue? We must look at content marketing success in an entirely new way. The value of content that is not seen and shared is zero.