Here we take a look at the top eight digital marketing trends that are dominating content strategies and marketing discussions across the globe.
The Impact Of Visual Marketing
The popularity of visual networking sites like Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr have proven that visual marketing is a trend that brands should not miss out on.
Instagram reports that users upload close to 40 million photos every day which garner 8500 likes and 1000 comments, per second. Those numbers are reason enough to coax any brand to include more visual components into their overall content strategy. The most popular brand on Instagram, @Nike, has 18.2 million followers and 46,384,623 posts on their hashtag.
Even tweets work better when they’re accompanied with an image. As it turns out, tweets with images have an 18% higher chance of getting clicked. They also stand to receive 89% more favorites and 150% more retweets!
Focus On User Generated Content
Marketers have realised the importance of constantly creating content to stay relevant in the minds of their audience. But the problem there lies in the fact that if each and every piece of content needs to come out of a studio, it would mean huge expenses in terms of manpower and resources. Which is why UGC comes as the perfect solution for brands that aim to create content that’s not just interesting but also helps in engagement.
And this isn’t just relevant to B2C marketers. By way of customer reviews, testimonials and product reviews, B2B marketers too can harness the power of user generated content. A perfect example of this is the Salesforce Idea Exchange forum that allows users to send in their ideas and suggestions for features that they would like to see. It helps generate authentic content and also helps the company in getting real time feedback from its users.
Rise Of Influencer Marketing
Brands have relied on celebrities to promote products since decades. But the reach and power of social media has extended that power to a whole new world of influencers. Influencer marketing is swiftly becoming one of the most powerful forms of marketing. Why? Simply because people trust products and brands a lot more when they’re recommended by someone they trust. Even better if this person happens to be someone who’s a recognized name in the field.
If you’re still wondering about its merits, check out Danielle Bernstein of ‘We Wore What’. The 22 year old fashion blogger has over 1 million followers on her Instagram account and has major brands and fashion houses contacting her to feature their products on her site. With a fashion sense that’s well ahead of the curve and a good aesthetic sense, it’s easy to understand why her site is as popular as it is.
Mobile-first Marketing Strategy
There’s a reason mobile marketing is on the upswing. Mobile phones have become our lifelines and form an indispensable part of our lives. At any point of time, we’re checking texts, responding to emails and staying connected with our networks. Research shows that 80% of internet users own a smartphone.
What this allows brands to do is to get one step closer to the customer. Especially when customer engagement is one of the primary goals of marketing strategies around the world, a mobile first strategy is imperative.
Cause Related Marketing Campaigns
There’s hardly another topic in recent times, that created as much global news as the recent Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriages across America. #LoveWins was a trending hashtag and flooded social networks across the world. Facebook allowed users to customize their profile pictures with the trademark Pride colors and many brands joined in on the celebrations by posting their own messages.
Research shows that 69% of people share content online because it allows them to feel more connected and involved with the happenings of the world. Brands like Dove and Nike have extended their campaigns to include a cause or a message to their overall product marketing. When attached to the right cause, it helps in humanizing the brand and adding to the brand’s overall appeal to its target audience.
Content Fueled With Data
This quote by Dan Zarrella puts across the impact data has on marketing, in the best way possible. The explosion of availability of customer data at various stages of the buying cycle have helped marketers identify key elements that can help at every touchpoint in the customer’s decision making process. Along with this the availability of analytical tools have helped in creating content that is in line with what the audience wants to see and is interested in. Tools like Epicbeat, give marketers the ability to understand content, break down trends and analyze what’s working to create better content plans and strategies.
As a result of this, the content created is a reflection of the audiences’ areas of interest leading to higher levels of engagement and better ROI. Research done in the area by VB insight, shows that when data drives the marketing efforts, the return on investment is 224%!
The Need For Marketing Automation
As markets and needs of the target audience grow, the question that almost every business has to face is the need for marketing automation. There are a large number of companies offering solutions that help simplify aspects of the marketing process, reduce the time taken for repetitive tasks, and allow seamless integration between teams that are invariably located in different parts of the globe. One of the most widely applicable use of marketing automation could be in the area of social media, where engaging with customers in different time-zones would mean having to stay up all day and night, if not for automation tools. 43% of marketers say that marketing automation helps them touch at least 50% of the customer journey. Nearly a third of marketers feel that it allows them to touch 70%.
While the extent of its role across different stages of the customer’s purchase decision differ from business to business, the need for marketing automation to increase marketing efficiency is without doubt.
Brands As Publishers
The need for interesting and engaging content that the audience can relate to has transformed the marketing departments of many brands into publishers in their own right. The sheer quantity of content that gets shared across traditional and digital platforms has shortened attention spans and increased the demand for better quality. As a result, brands spend months conjuring up ideas, crafting beautiful stories and distributing them to their audience.
Brands like Red Bull, GE and Lego have dedicated content publications and sites that are run stories that reflect the essence of their brand while keeping the interest areas of their audience in mind. As a result they have a huge fan following and their content is almost always, spot on.
These trends are a precursor of the things to come and if we can be sure of one thing- it’s that customer engagement as a concept has given way to create something bigger. Engagement is an objective that all brands work towards, but getting noticed by the audience needs brands to facilitate Customer Delight. Short of which, you might just be passed up for the next brand that does.