The only constant is change. Now more than ever. Traditional ad agencies who don’t get digital are struggling and being replaced by large consultancies that leverage technology more effectively. Amazon is king and we’re experiencing a retail apocalypse that is rapidly forcing companies to change or go out of business. Consumers are blocking online ads and forcing marketers to explore other ways to reach consumers. And big data and video continue to dominate the conversation. But you already knew this.
With change comes fear for many and hope for those who elect to embrace it. Below are four digital marketing trends poised to continue to change an already quickly evolving space. How you embrace and approach them could define how effectively you market in the near future.
Creativity + Data Wins The Day
There’s no question, traditional, larger ad agencies are creative.
They’re also running as fast as they can to leverage big data to create campaigns that inspire audiences, engagement, better user experiences and ultimately, more sales for their clients.
The problem is they’re often not successful. The marketers winning the hearts and minds of consumers are those who can leverage data, technology and great creative in ways many traditional marketers and agencies can’t (or don’t want to). Consider the following:
“For the first time ever, four consultancies have cracked Ad Age’s ranking of the 10 largest agency companies in the world. With combined revenue of $13.2 billion, the marketing services units of Accenture, PwC, IBM and Deloitte sit just below WPP, Omnicom, Publicis Groupe, Interpublic and Dentsu.”
Today’s consumers are very different and in order to reach them, you need to understand data.
Marketers need to tie into the massive amounts of data available to them and help their customers understand what it means.
They have to know where their audiences live and consume content.
They need to know what the demand is for specific products and services alike.
Then use the right channels, technology and creative to tell stories, have conversations and drive engagement currently happening across billions of mobile devices and social networks.
Perhaps this idea is summed up best from Ivan Pollard, Senior VP-Strategic Marketing at Coca-Cola Co.
“The big consultancies are underestimating the value of creativity [and] the agencies are under- exploiting the value of business analytics. Someone’s going to crack that soon because data plus creativity is the future.”
Video Is King – Don’t Get Left Behind
You already know by now that video is huge. Consider these stats provided by Hubspot:
- By 2017, video content will represent 74% of all Internet traffic.
- Cisco projects that global Internet traffic from videos will make up 80% of all Internet traffic by 2019.
- 76.5% of marketers and small business owners in an Animoto survey who have used video marketing say it had a direct impact on their business.
- Four times as many consumers would prefer to watch a video about a product than to read about it.
Video and the progression of how video is impacting marketing is the issue marketers must understand. It’s not about simply creating video, it’s understanding the various types of videos and how best to leverage them to tell stories, explain a product and share a live event. The two most important video types for marketers to master are live streaming and six-second video ads.
Live streaming is the hottest trend with people and companies using Facebook Live, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube to record live videos – which, live on long after they’re seen live for people to continue watching.
Six-Second Video Ads
Six-second videos are really six-second ads and are becoming a popular format in digital media, pioneered by YouTube and recently embraced by Fox, to combat consumers’ ad avoidance. And according to Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook is working with some of its advertisers to develop six-second video ads.
Artificial Intelligence Is Already Here and Making Waves
Artificial intelligence (AI) for marketing isn’t some futuristic notion that is going to happen.
It’s happening and only going to become more prolific and important for marketers.
Let’s start with the why. Because humans aren’t good at certain tasks, like collating and scaling vast amounts of data.
That’s where AI comes in. Marketing automation, programmatic media buying and voice search are examples of AI. But other more interesting AI companies are disrupting the marketplace in new ways.
Take Albert and Frank, two ad platforms that use AI to buy media and deliver ads for the better results. The scale and speed these platforms function is remarkable, making them impossible to compete against for humans.
For more information of how AI is being used for marketing, see Robert Allen’s 15 Ways in Which AI Can Be Used for Marketing.
Adblockers Are Creating a Need to Leverage Influencers
I’m guilty. I use adblockers on my computer and smartphone. They work and create a better experience for me.
I often encounter publishers asking me to white label them and even some sites blocking me for using an adblocker. But I’ll continue to use them. As will more and more people.
Here are a few stats to show the growing use of adblockers from Page Fair’s 2017 Adblock Report:
- 615 million devices now use adblock
- 11% of the global internet population is blocking ads on the web
- Adblock usage grew 30% globally in 2016
- Mobile adblock usage grew by 108 million to reach 380 million devices
- Desktop adblock usage grew by 34 million to reach 236 million devices
- 74% of American adblock users say they leave sites with adblock walls
So, how to marketers reach their target with meaningful messages? Influencer Marketing. Wikipedia defines influencer marketing as “ a form of marketing in which focus is placed on influential people rather than the target market as a whole. It identifies the individuals that have influence over potential buyers, and orients marketing activities around these influencers.”
Twitter users with 10,000 plus followers, bloggers who get in front of millions and YouTubers who are becoming increasingly powerful with more and more people cord cutting their cable.
More importantly, influencer marketing is effective.
- Businesses earn approximately $6.50 for every $1 they spend on influencer marketing.
- 81% of marketers who have used influencer marketing deemed it to be effective.
- 86% of women turn to social media platforms before making a purchase.
- Influencer marketing delivers 11 times higher ROI than traditional forms of digital marketing.
Companies using influencer marketing are seeing results, with engagement being the most effective use, followed by traffic and reach, according the Linqia’s The State of Influencer Marketing 2017 Report.
Image courtesy of Linqia’s The State of Influencer Marketing 2017 Report
Digital marketing continues to evolve.
If you are not evolving and actively trying new things, you’ll be left behind.
Creativity + data are changing the way marketers need to think about marketing. Creativity + data means leveraging customer data insights and machine assistance to create personalized messages and experiences that boost performance and maximizes ROI.
Video is king and newer formats like live streaming and the six-second video ad are becoming more popular. Why? Because companies are seeing success. Don’t wait to try one of these formats out.
Artificial intelligence is here and offering digital marketers tools to jump into the game. What are you waiting for?
Adblockers are hated by publishers and loved by consumers. Guess who going to win the war? If you’re a marketer, you need to leverage other ways to reach and engage your audience. Influencer marketing is one way many companies are already seeing success.