Just before you think you know what’s going on, let me put a spanner in the works. Have you heard of a guy named Avinash Kaushik?
He is an expert at Google who has said something rather odd.
He stated that the conversion rate for email marketing is 40 times greater than that of Facebook and Twitter.
This was a shocking statement because it brought into question what I thought I knew.
Email runs are so old school. I personally have little focus on email marketing other than monthly newsletters.
Can I afford to ignore someone so high up at Google?
Of course not. So, I need to keep researching and learning; and writing these articles is just as much of a help for me, as they are for the reader. And as it turns out, sometimes a dead trend can be reborn. If you remember anything from this article, I would like it to be my personal two rules for marketing:
If you want something to sell well, make sure it’s something that is being looked for! This is important because part of a business plan is to make sure your product or service has a demand.
So many people have wonderful ideas, but I know they won’t go further because they are either ahead of their time, or they have an idea that won’t work because of current social or economic factors. This is feedback I have to give to clients often, and I can see the sparkle in their eyes die when I say it. It is by far one of the worst parts of my job. But the fact is good ideas don’t always make good sales.
If you want to spend less on marketing, make sure the product or service is worth talking about.
This means you can get return marketing from your clients for free!
Those are my two rules.
If you have a product or service that doesn’t tick these two boxes, it might be time to go back to product development and start again. Unless of course, you have a huge marketing budget, and if that is the case, please contact me and let’s make some magic!
Now, let’s get cracking with the latest marketing trends in the digital arena in no particular order.
Marketing has shifted from persuasion into participation, and knowing who you are selling to and placing them in boxes can actually help speed up your marketing tactics and approach.
No matter which box you fit in, one thing we have in common is that we all love to spend less, or if possible pay later, which brings me onto my first trend which is all about Pay-Later Options for E-Commerce. There has been an increase in startup ecoms offering pay-later product solutions, including Affirm and Paypal Credit.
To Moral, or not to Moral?
New tools and channels used today for marketing have business owners in a tough position, leaving them asking who from their team actually still adds true value and should keep their job.
Some business owners will need to retrench their old school marketing team or spend money re-educating them.
Modern marketing specialists are technologists and data scientists, not just people with some certificate awarded to them after the completion of their franchised mainstream marketing course.
Some good advice would be to implement a policy that ensures that staff self-educate, for example, you can do this by insisting that they do things like free webinars.
Another bit of advice is to issue policy setting out some moral boundaries related to business ethics for digital space marketing, which is pushing boundaries because, in general, it is an unregulated space.
The world has gotten larger, but clients are caught in micro environments.
This concept was introduced in 2015 by Google, and it is basically when people use a device to learn, view, purchase or even experience something.
Old school marketing trained us to cast out a large net and catch as many fish as possible over a longer period of time. Now we have to use a fishing rod with a single line and go fishing at specific hours.
Marketing has to be done on a multi-platform approach. Clients bounce between apps constantly. You have probably checked your cell phone twice while reading this article, haven’t you?
Unfortunately, this means our resources have to be shared across all these platforms and annoyingly this requires extra work as we need to tweak each ad-placement. Using some AI or automation here is a good idea if you can.
Dare not to share!
If I was to have a third marketing rule, this would be it: ‘Shareable content is a must’.
If your marketing spend is being used on a platform that does not allow the information to be shared or be engaged with, you need to change tactics now.
Monopoly. The game that destroys friendships. (Sometimes families as well)
Facebook and Google have a 52% control of the digital adspace market. This makes learning tools a lot simpler because we only need to focus on two platforms and we will have access to over half of the potential clients worldwide. Unfortunately, this does mean we are not operating in a free market.
I read that any advert that can be adapted to match the viewer’s search or interest trend stands 3 times the chance of being engaged with.
Unfortunately, this practice is time-consuming, but it really does make for a better user experience. Companies like Netflix do this, for example, show you banners and artwork of other shows based on your personal viewing history. For smaller companies, some of the easier tools are on social media, and this is the reason social media platform revenue is expected to jump to $93 billion this year. This, by the way, is more than most country’s GDPs.
The next great Trek.
All marketing needs to be moved from PC to cellphone. Most marketing teams do a half-hearted attempt at this, but your advert actually needs to work on a cell phone and not cut off half of the important stuff. Failing at this? Well, my research says you could be missing out on $1 trillion in potential sales.
Test your adverts and ask your developer to focus on accelerated Mobile Pages.
Untapped market which I am still currently trying to work out myself, so more to follow.
Cisco says by 2021 over 80 % of internet traffic will be through video. That is a huge market share and the reason I have made several points on this trend.
Let’s start with streaming videos of which there has been a huge spike in platforms like the channel ‘Twitch’. Device manufacturers are following, like Sony’s PS4.
For marketing teams, know what’s potting, for example, have you heard of YouTube “Unboxing Videos” and “Haul Videos”?
A haul video is where a person discusses a product that they have purchased, while an unboxing video is a product we see physically taken out of a box during the video... and that is all there is to the trend, probably because everyone imagines the excitement of opening a gift.
I think the trend around videos reminds us all in the marketing department that anything that allows our clients to be lazy, will inevitably do well. Why read or work out what a picture is all about if someone can tell us!
Let’s also remember a video is a story and people love stories.
In addition, when you create a video for web use, it cost less than commercials for TV and has the potential for much greater reach.
Video SEO needs to be focused on - make sure you have tags, closed captions, descriptions, titles and file names added. Ask your SEO person to show you what they have done and if they can’t, it is time to get someone new.
Instagram enables users to share a quick burst of video, 15 seconds or so, and these quick little stories are so much more fun than a longer video, I don’t know why, but perhaps it is an attention span thing for us. For marketing teams, it does mean you can now sell something in the same timeframe as an elevator ride.
Instagram also went in the opposite direction in duration and added a TV section on their app allowing for longer content.
My research found that there are more than 400 million people enjoying these videos each day. That’s all of South Africa’s population by a multiple of three.
There are other short video variation options on several platforms, each with their own novelty, like Snapchats posts which disappear soon after being published, which makes people constantly want to check their phones for fear of missing out. FOMO
Everyone has a platform now, even LinkedIn!
Vertical Videos are another trend, and they are simply videos that are watched without having to use the energy it requires to rotate our phones 90 degrees, and before you shrug this off, bear in mind over 75% of millennials watch videos vertically. Not hard to believe, after all, they do most things at this angle on the couch.
While not technically a video, GIFs are an increasing trend as well. One report I read about a platform said they had over 200 million daily users sending 1 billion GIFs, per day!
For those of you who don’t know what a ChatBot is, it’s basically an App on a website that has been programmed to talk to the website visitor, and hopefully guide them through a purchasing process or helps with basic information.
This tech should not be ignored by management teams. There are 1.4 billion people interacting with ChatBots already, and by 2022 they will help corporates save over $8 billion per annum. I hope this is not through retrenchments of redundant staff.
I am busy rolling this tech out in my own company at the moment and I will have more to say about it soon, for now all we really need to know is that when online, clients prefer interacting with Chatbots because they are extremely responsive and have accurate information at hand. Here is a visual found during my research which supports demand for this technology.
Next, to the video trend, the Voice Search trend is by far the greatest game changer for marketing trends, and it might actually become bigger.
I love voice search because is easier to do and safer for people who are driving or walking through malls.
ComScore is predicting that half of all searches will be done this way within the next 12 months, and this is why I say optimising your website for Voice Search SEO must happen today!
During my research, I found a comment about voice commerce being worth $1.8 billion in the retail segment alone in the USA, and it is expected to rock to $40 billion by 2022.
If you have not heard of Alexa or Siri … you are already in serious trouble.
One concern about this trend for me is that voice-based searches often only display one result.
Another thing to bear in mind is that the majority of people using voice search are looking for a local solution, so this limits our marketing teams, and also forces the user on a single option.
Algorithms are becoming smarter. I believe the rate of engagement is going to be a primary focus on better ranking. I did find reference to Facebook supporting this point of view, which apparently started last year, so I assume Google started the year prior. In short, content that leads to genuine conversation helps content rank better.
I am yet to find this concept out there in the real world, but I do believe very soon we will all have digital profiles in the form of a consolidated block chain technology with information on our personal preferences, habits, transactions, health, movements, and more.
The types of applications for this would be endless. I would therefore categorize this as a ‘soon to be trend’ because a lot of the usable data is already there, it’s just a matter of sorting, securing and implementing some pilot apps for testing. This sort of teething problem is so common with the industry 4.0 revolution.
How we store, interpret and share data and information added with the question of ethics and good practice is the core challenge of our technical era.
Whatever solution is settled on, it must be open source and not managed by any government or corporation.
From a marketer’s point of view, we will be given access to certain types of information in exchange for specials or some sort of client benefit.
No one company will ever get the full picture on who we are, but enough to help them promote the most appropriate product or solution to us.
Picture or Visual search is simply a search feature where images can be uploaded and a filter used for accurate results. This is already in use with companies like Pinterest.
For marketers, SEO tactics have to be adopted and skipping the step of adding image text descriptions cannot be done anymore.
Images would also need alt-tags, file names that are relevant, and where possible captions to provide context.
I believe Google can understand what an image is, and pick up on text within a picture and then it tries to read it. Adding some descriptive text into the actual image might help with SEO.
Have you heard of Blueshift? The name sounds a little like something else to me. Wonder if their marketing department has picked up on that?
Anyway, they do research and their report said 28% of marketers are using AI for product recommendations and 26 % for optimising their campaigns.
For those of you who are considering it, here is another infographic which I thought I would share with you, that has a nice summary of positive factors to convince you to give it a try.
I do believe that in order to achieve most of the results suggested in the image you’d need several tools in place, and you need to be working for a larger company.
Smaller companies, such as my own tend to still manage several mundane tasks with manpower, and that would support the other data which I found that said only 14% of companies that are aware of AI solutions have implemented it.
I think the idea of AI is a trend, not the use.
58% of marketers from the report I read believe influencers will be used in their future marketing campaigns. One part of my company deals with these projects often and the trend in South Africa is to use a celebrity. While this can deliver a return, you can get an equal if not more of a return on investment with a lesser known person who has a higher engagement rate.
Influencer marketing spend is projected to be around $101 billion by 2020 in the states. In South Africa, I would say it’s around R300 million per annum. There is also evidence of international companies using South Africans to promote their products, with a payment example of R3000 per month for a post.
It is so important to choose an influencer that already has a following similar to your target market for your product and service and to ensure that they are prepared to learn about your company. They really do become an ambassador.
This is a great cost saving trend.
Just remember, the information they share is their opinion, and anyone who wants to believe it, will, regardless of whether it is right or wrong.
Bazaarvoice (another company I learnt about during my research), says positive user-generated content has as much as 84% of Millennials and 70% of baby boomers’ ears. That is not a small market share.
Part of this trend is Review Marketing, with over 50 % of consumers saying they will only become a client of a company if someone else has had something nice to say about them online.
This is more technical and is basically advertising that looks like it is part of the platform you are on. For marketers, it is a good solution to catch those viewers with adblockers as this tech sneaks pass most of their checks.
Adblockers are loaded on around 615 million devices.
Several pages, linked, with varied information. Not the most exciting trend and it basically helps with SEO and channelling a user through information.
My mom used to have a channel. I don’t believe this is a trend yet because cars don’t have internet radio, but this will soon be the case.
Still growing. Keep an eye on Bing and Pinterest as there is some movement in their platforms.
Augmented Reality, VR, and 360-degree media.
This is going to be a much bigger trend in the years to come.
We can now virtually place items that we are considering purchasing into the space in our home we would like to place it in order to see if it looks good or not. Check out Ikea and Amazon, very cool.
This is such a brilliant sales tool.
We can go one step further and put on a VR headset and walk around virtual shops, exploring all they have on sale.
Images and videos are no longer limited to 2D.
Also, take a look at the Oculus Rift and Touch, these platforms allow us to interact with friends in a virtual space. Helpful for those of us who are introverted.
Another technical trend, and for marketers it can help optimise spend by using RFID, Bluetooth and GPS technologies, geofencing gives you the ability to target in on local customers within a specific geographical area.
Really helpful for companies like gyms or hairdressers.
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Published February 2019