Many marketers and brands find themselves in a state of flux when it comes to keeping up with changing algorithms, developments in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and emerging digital trends.
Being agile, adapting fast and planning ahead, are key factors for digital marketing success. I suggest you start with the right strategic plan and then review what marketing tactics you need to look at in 2018.
Here are the top rising digital trends that are making an impact
Traditional advertising such as static banners and pop-ups have not yet been abandoned by marketers but are often seen as annoying to many users. Native ads are a smarter way to effectively communicate a message because the information can be integrated into user content. Strategically embedding content that looks organic and is relevant has higher rates of readership.
Make your native ads stand out with engaging images and the right headings. Native ads work especially well on mobile and tablet devices. Research shows that click through rates for premium native ads on mobile gadgets have four times higher engagement compared to display ads. Native ads provide a seamless experience where users are not directly interrupted by your ad and taken to another site.
A key example of successful native advertising was Taco Bell’s sponsored Snapchat Lens Cinco de Mayo campaign. The campaign set the record with 224 million views in one day, as reported by Adweek. You don’t need a big budget like Taco Bell’s but with interesting and relevant content you will most likely receive higher engagement from users for native ads.
Social Media Marketing
More than 70 percent of adults between 18 to 65 are using social media. Facebook has two billion monthly users, making it the most influential social media channel. Instagram Stories has 250 million daily users. Social media is not just a medium to share photos and stories, users look for product reviews, business information, networking and news updates on social sites.
Social media is evolving into a more serious and mature platform that is constantly changing. There are algorithms that change, best times to promote content, targeting ads and optimisation tactics that come into play for social marketing success.
Here are few tactics for social media marketing
Captivate with visual content – When people hear information, they are likely to remember only 10 percent of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people will retain 65 percent of the information three days later. Use interesting, eye grabbing images to get your message and content across. Include GIFs when appropriate to get attention.
Be responsive – Always be ready to engage with your audience and customers on social channels. Offer the right promotion at the right moment. Respond in real-time when a potential customer asks a question. Acknowledge customer feedback whether it is positive or negative.
Increase brand presence – Use various channels such as paid, earned and owned content to target the right message to the right audience on the right platform. Use data to see what is working with your audience and understand their expectations. Build relevant ads and content that increases engagement and response rates.
Engage with live video streaming – Live video streaming will continue to see growth and momentum. Live video presents an opportunity to connect with your audience and draw them in as events are happening right at the moment. Live videos make the relationship with your customers seem more personal and builds brand awareness.
Use data analytics to measure and improve - We have seen a data revolution made possible by cloud storage and advanced algorithms. Data has become available from many different sources in smarter formats. Use data to customise, analyse and optimise your social marketing initiatives. Analyse where your target audience is spending time and create tailored engagement on those specific channels. Invest some time in researching and monitoring your social media engagement.
Influencer marketing will continue to be effective in 2018
For many marketers, measuring the success of influencer campaigns can be challenging, however it is an effective way to increase engagement and reach a niche audience. Influencer campaigns work because influencers have built credibility within their target base. Influencers tend to endorse and review products in an authentic manner because they want to maintain a credible relationship with their follower base.
Partnering with influencers means brands can increase their target reach with an already engaged audience. An example of a key influencer is DJ Khaled who cracked the platform Snapchat. DJ Khaled gained a huge follower base after his success on Snapchat, where his snaps receive an average of three million views.
Old navy engaged the comedy and lifestyle enthusiast, Meghan Rienks, who has 1.3 million Instagram followers and 2 million subscribers on YouTube. Old navy teamed up with Rienks for a campaign where she showed her audience how to dress for occasions such as date nights and parties. According to eMarketer, advertisers spent $570 million on Instagram influencers in 2016 and they intend to increase influencer budgets going forward.
Personalise content marketing - Marketing success is about standing out, increasing user engagement and staying relevant. Personalising content is an effective way to engage your audience and increase viewership. Creating informative content can set you apart as a leader in your industry and especially impress potential customers who are looking for trust. According to HubSpot, smart content is “content that is intelligently personalised to your customer’s needs.” Research shows that 61 percent of customers trust a company that creates more personalised content and this influences their decisions to buy.
Tip: Create personalised call to actions such as the example below from a retail brand.
Create interaction with Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)
AI technology has provided an opportunity for users to interact with brands in an immersive and layered context. AR and VR are offering creative experiences for users to actively engage with brands. Many industries are creating immersive experiences to engage with their audience. AR is exciting, social, engaging and personal, it integrates virtual content into the real world. Marketers and businesses are adapting AR to enhance brand engagement by finding new ways to interact with their audiences based on creating immersive experiences. Here are some AR examples: Lowe's Holoroom, IKEA's Augmented Reality Catalogue.
Marketing has become more interactive and sophisticated. Digital technology is impacting how brands communicate, innovate and engage with their target market. Marketers live in a fast-paced, ever changing world, where the right digital tactics are key for marketing success. In 2018, we can expect another exciting year with more changes to algorithms, emerging social trends, AI, big data and more.