As Internet penetration has grown worldwide, the place of digital marketing has continued to take on ever greater importance. Today’s brand can no longer limit their advertising campaigns to television, radio, print, billboards and other traditional media.
Rather, they have to marry their offline marketing with a robust digital marketing strategy. But even that alone isn’t enough. Successful digital marketers recognize the importance of staying competitive and always being ahead of the curve. We look at a number of trends that are radically transforming the world of digital marketing.
1. Smartphone Penetration and Sophistication
Smartphone use is on the rise. The number of smartphones sold per year surpassed that of PCs in 2011 for the first time and that gap will only continue to grow. Little wonder that mobile internet traffic overtook PC traffic in 2016.
On average, smartphones cost much less than PCs which means a much larger proportion can afford them. Second, smartphones have grown in sophistication and are now de facto mini computers.
What does this relentless drive toward mobile computing mean for digital marketers? A prioritization of the mobile interface. As opposed to making suitability for mobile interfaces an afterthought, successful online marketers are those who develop a strategy that primarily revolves around mobile devices.
2. User Consent
The coming into effect of GDPR regulations in May 2018 marked perhaps the most significant development for ecommerce over the past decade. The regulations are meant to govern how organizations handle and use the personal data of EU citizens, whether customers on their ecommerce portal or employee data on applications such as Humanity schedule maker.
Given the size of the EU market though, businesses have found it more practical and efficient to apply these rules to all their users irrespective of where in the world they are based. Most relevant for internet marketers, GDPR requires that consumers give direct unequivocal consent to all forms of direct marketing.
This means a careful examination at the legal ways to engage customers and prospects. The penalties that come with violating these new regulations can be costly and the EU has proved to be pretty aggressive in enforcing compliance to its laws (for example, the EU slapped Google with a staggering $5 billion fine for non-compliance with antitrust regulations).
3. Video Consumption
Thanks to increased computing capacity of electronic gadgets as well as rising internet bandwidth, video content is more accessible than it’s ever been. YouTube, the undisputed leader of online video, is the second most visited website in the world. Facebook, the third most visited site and boasting a monthly active user base of more than 2 billion is also seeing an explosion of video content and has become a formidable challenger to YouTube in this regard.
If you thought internet video marketing wasn’t worth the effort, it’s perhaps time to reconsider your position. Creating a marketing video may require more time and resources compared to text or image content. However, it is more engaging, communicates faster and the message lasts longer in the viewer’s memory.
4. Live Streaming on Social Media
We’ve mentioned how social networking behemoth Facebook has had great success in the video space. Part of the reason for that is the ability of users to stream themselves live. And, Facebook isn’t the only one. Instagram and Periscope allow anyone with an internet-enabled device fitted with a camera to create and broadcast videos to their followers or the general public.
Live streaming is so powerful because it’s more direct, raw and authentic than a recorded video. Users can ask questions during the broadcast and share their views in real time. You can even use live stream to gauge market reactions to a new product and make the necessary changes to response to market demands.
5. Loathing of Paid Ads
Today’s online consumer is sophisticated, impatient and has a clear understanding of what they want. With this has come a growing rejection of paid ads. Think about the last time you waited for a YouTube ad to run its course before the video you wanted to watch begins to play. If you are like the overwhelming majority of YouTube users, you probably skip the ad as soon as those first 5 seconds of mandatory viewing are up.
This is a fairly accurate reflection of the average internet user’s view of paid ads. The popularity of ad blocking software is a clear pointer. Paid ads are seen as an intrusive and irritating distraction. Internet marketers must explore new and more subtle ways of getting the message across.
Digital marketers who recognize and adapt to these trends can expect to be more successful than their peers.