Top Digital Marketing Trends to Watch Through
At one time, artificial intelligence, data-driven marketing and voice search engine optimization (VSEO) were ambitious concepts bordering on the ridiculous. Today, these are some of the top digital marketing trends.
And why wouldn’t they be? After all, if your business intends to remain competitive in this crowded online landscape, you must adapt to the latest innovations.
In this article, we’ll go over the 38 most important digital marketing trends you can't ignore this year because they will help your business not just survive, but thrive in this age of never-ending marketing changes.
1. Digital Changes in Consumer Behavior Are Here to Stay
McKinsey found that the pandemic accelerated ecommerce adoption by 10 years in just 3 months.
In fact, 60% of companies across sectors witnessed new buying behaviors over this past year.
The time to pivot and keep up with the demand for quick and easy online ordering, curbside pickup, and contactless delivery has passed.
Now, companies are looking to build security and resilience for the future.
IBM’s most recent Institute for Business Value report finds that transitioning to more resilient infrastructure is a priority for 52% of retail brands, alongside deploying contactless mobile payments (47%) and creating more robust digital selling platforms (45%).
There’s no point in waiting for a return to “normal” and, according to research from my company, vaccine and re-opening are already driving new online search opportunities.
Plans you had put in motion (or shelved as low priority) prior to the pandemic must be re-evaluated and reprioritized.
Put it all on the table – timelines, budget, scope, and order of priority. Some initiatives may need to be accelerated and others entirely scrapped.
Plan now for where you want to be five years post-COVID – not where you thought the organization would be by now before it ever happened.
2. Tell a real story
Storytelling is always key for brand marketing. But when it comes to selling your product in the modern landscape, consumers are tired of just hearing about how you, the brand, believe your goods or services are better than the competition. They want to know how have you delivered on your promises in a way that has lived up to their needs and expectations.
This doesn’t mean brands should take a step back and let their reviews do the talking. Rather, your marketing should shift its focus to storytelling—don’t just tell the consumer the benefits of their product or why it’s better than their competitors, businesses should show through stories and customer testimonials how the product or service can help to solve a specific problem.
It might not result in direct sales, but it’s a great way to put your brand front-and-center in the minds of consumers who are considering a specific issue. That way, when they face that issue you’ll be the first one they turn to.
3. Conversational Marketing
With all that talk about chat bots, the reality of modern marketing becomes clear: it’s more conversational than ever. People want it that way, and so brands are reacting accordingly. When consumers have a question, 82% want an “immediate” response.
Conversational marketing facilitates a personal, instant connection between marketers and customers:
Unlike traditional strategies, this form of marketing is now available across multiple channels, allowing brands to meet customers on their terms: on the devices, platforms and time schedules that suit the customer best.
David Cancel, founder and CEO of Drift, explains: “Today’s buyers expect to find what they’re looking for now, not later….[And in] the way people prefer to communicate.”
In fact, Drift has found that 41.3% of consumers use conversational marketing tools for purchases.
Some methods companies use to execute a conversational marketing strategy include:
One example of a company that benefited from conversational marketing is ThoughtSpot, which, after its implementation, saw 10X more sales conversations, 70% more marketing qualified leads, and 64% more meetings booked:
4. Marketers get more strategic.
As automation, artificial intelligence and machine learning take away a lot of the grunt work of digital marketing, marketers must become more strategic. The options in digital marketing continue to grow.
Recommendation: Marketers need to think strategically to focus on what really drives their business growth.
5. Social Media Stories
Since Snapchat first pioneered the idea years ago, social media stories have been red hot.
Instagram would be the next to jump on the bandwagon, followed by other big platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and even Twitter.
At this point, it’s safe to say that stories are more than a digital marketing trend. They’re here to stay and can be expected to increase in popularity over 2022 and beyond.
Stories differ from traditional social media posts in that they’re only available for 24 hours.
That makes them a perfect avenue for individuals and businesses alike to share rawer, more genuine posts more frequently with those who’d like to see them.
Effective ways top brands have been leveraging stories to reach their audiences include:
- Experimenting with live video.
- Reaching out to specific geographic audiences by using geofilters and location tags.
- Encourage consumers to act on timely offers via powerful calls to action.
- Gathering data in a fun, casual way with polls.
In 2022, more brands will be looking for ways to drive customer relationships and cultivate authentic connections via story-like features across all the big platforms.
Make sure yours is among them, and it will be tough to go wrong.