Digital marketing is ever-changing as innovation creates new opportunities for marketers every day. Along with it, your strategy must change and grow with technology to keep ahead of your competitors. Trending digital marketing strategies keep marketers on their toes trying to innovate new and different ways to engage their audiences.
In this blog, we’ll take stock of the digital marketing landscape in 2018, discuss what’s changed and what’s new, and see where you should be investing your energy for 2019.
1. Virtual and Augmented Reality
Smart companies are leveraging mobile cameras to improve their customer experience. Through VR and AR, you can improve brand engagement and help with pre-purchase decisions by bringing your products to life. By allowing customers to engage in more profound ways through immersive experiences, they are better equipped to find what they are looking for and be delighted in doing so.
Consider Amazon, who set up Oculus Rift VR booths around Prime Day, allowing shoppers to experience a wide range of products from nerf guns to refrigerators as they would in physical reality. By empowering potential buyers to literally picture themselves owning products and simulate this potential reality, VR preemptively addresses needs and pain points, greatly enhancing the customer journey.
When getting users to a specific physical location isn’t possible, augmented reality can provide greater flexibility and reach through integration with mobile apps. StubHub executed this masterfully, introducing an AR feature that allowed fans to better understand the city and stadium ahead of this year’s Super Bowl. Potential ticket buyers could click to see a 3D map of the stadium, parking, transit lines, and more, making it easier to envision themselves at the event.
By deploying virtual or augmented reality strategically, you have a unique opportunity to supply consumers with the depth of pre-purchase information they crave, while minimizing the effort they must take to obtain it.
2. Artificial Intelligence
In the past, digital marketers have been hesitant to incorporate artificial intelligence into their strategies. But as AI continues to prove itself useful for simplifying data-based experiences and improving user experience, confidence in it has increased.
KLM has done a great job with this, creating a plug-in with Messenger that streamlines everything from booking to check-in and flight status updates. It’s a win-win for both sides: travelers can access all their travel info from anywhere, and KLM can supply it to them without tying up personnel.
Chatbots can also be valuable for facilitating pre-purchase decisions. For instance, Bing’s Business Bot, which is embedded into search results, allows interested users to have basic questions answered by the businesses around them. If their query is not on the pre-configured list, the bot refers them to a phone number. The bot also asks business owners additional questions based on what users are looking for, so that common requests can be answered faster in the future. By refining responses to fit user needs, artificial intelligence allows you to help users better and faster over time.
3. Visual and Voice Search
Search is evolving beyond its text-only origins, meaning that visual and voice search deserve serious consideration now. Think of visual search as a sort of reverse search, using images to find text-based info instead of the other way around. Google, Microsoft, and Pinterest have all jumped into the fray, and it’s only going to get bigger over time. Marketers can gain an edge here by preparing tailor-made content to await potential customers after their image searches, while also gaining even more insights into their preferences.
Voice search also continues to grow as a way for consumers to find more information without even having to lift a finger. Domino’s has done well here, teaming up with Amazon Echo to let customers order pizza hands-free. Allowing people to interact with you via voice search makes their life easier, and offers a chance to incorporate brand personality and tone in the way you respond. The dynamics of voice search also present a challenge for digital marketers, who must figure out how to optimize for both humans and devices.
4. Vertical Video
With the shift from desktop to mobile a consistent digital marketing consideration, it should come as no surprise that mobile video ads continue to be hot. Savvy marketers are using videos to both engage their audiences in-app between tasks and on social platforms.
What’s new, however, is the movement towards more vertical video. Instagram’s recent introduction of IGTV continues this trend, allowing users to create long-form vertical videos. While advertising is not available (yet) on IGTV, its great place for brands to share their longer content organically. The success of IGTV and other similar platforms is worth keeping an eye on, as it could cause a major shift in favor of vertical video. If this is the case, marketers will need to create horizontal and vertical assets to reach their audience fully.
Staying Ahead of the Competition
These emerging digital marketing strategies make it easier to both reach customers when and where they are ready to buy and improve their experience post-purchase. Competitive companies know that capitalizing on new forms of content and technology will help them capture new audiences on fresh playing fields.
So which of these hot new digital marketing strategies do you plan on implementing? Let me know in the comments below!