We live in a technology-dependent world where we resort to the internet with whatever questions or needs we have. One of the major reasons why digital marketing is the most trending field and is taking over traditional marketing is that the internet has enables businesses to interact with the targeted audience in real-time. Another important reason is affordability. Digital marketing is more affordable when compared to traditional marketing channels. Today, 81% of companies are using social media to reach as many people as possible.
What is Digital Marketing?
Digital marketing is the part of marketing which is based on the internet. Many companies promote their products and services on online platforms. It is an advertisement delivered through the internet and one of the best ways to reach a huge number of people. The term ‘digital marketing’ was first used in the 1990s. The digital age took off with the coming of the internet and the development of the Web 1.0 platform. This platform allowed users to find information that they wanted but didn’t allow users to share the information over the web. Up until then, marketers were unsure of the digital platform.
In 1993, the first clickable banner went live, after which HotWired purchased a few banner ads for their advertising. This marked the beginning of the transition to the digital era of marketing. Then in 1998, Google was born. Microsoft launched the MSN search engine and Yahoo brought its web search to the market. The internet bubble burst and all smaller search engines were either left behind or wiped out leaving more space for the giants in the business.
Digital marketing saw its first steep surge in 2006 when search engine traffic was reported to have grown to about 6.4 billion in a single month. Some of the benefits of digital marketing include brand recognition, attracting potential consumers and any more. Not just this, you can also make your career in the digital marketing industry easily by getting into digital marketing companies.
It will be easier for you to understand what digital marketing is if you know what it includes. It has electronic billboards, podcasts, instant messaging, text messaging, videos, apps, digital television, radio channels etc. This platform uses various channels and technologies that allow the businesses to analyze the content, campaign and strategies to understand what works for them and what doesn’t. It is one of the best ways to promote your brand and business in real-time since it gives you a check on your performance also.
Basics of Digital Marketing
Many companies are taking the digital marketing route because it is a very effective way to target a large section of people and track performance regularly. If you are investing your time and resources on this route, it is important to know what the basics of digital marketing are. There are a variety of components in it like –
- Email marketing – it is the sending of marketing messages to prospective and current consumers via email to sell, educate or build loyally.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – it is a way of increasing the quality and quantity of traffic to a website through organic search engine results.
- Website design – it is the process of creating a website. Web designers build a webpage using HTML tags.
- Social media advertising – they are advertisements served to the audience on social media platforms.
- Social media management – it is the process of managing the social presence on different social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter etc.
- Pay-per-click advertisement – it is an advertising model where the advertiser pays a publisher when the ad is clicked.
- Content marketing – it is the creation and sharing of online material like blogs, social media posts etc.
Engaging with all or some of these components is a powerful way to grow a brand online.
To be successful in digital marketing, companies need to have digital marketing strategies. These strategies are a well-proven plan that helps the brand or business to achieve specific digital goals through carefully selected online marketing channels. Everyone who is into business and brand building needs digital marketing.
Digital marketing is also a great platform for jobs but for that you need to do its course. An industry-recognized digital marketing course is the best to have a good career in digital marketing. By completing the right course you will not only gain the essential skills and knowledge but you will also get a certification which will validate your level of knowledge and skills to employers.
If you complete the course from a non-recognized platform, you might get the knowledge but you won’t get the validation on it. And, to succeed and get a job in this field, validation plays an important role. It tells the employer about your level of knowledge. To succeed in digital marketing, you need a firm grasp of the fundamentals and a recognized course will cover all you need.
Most of the industries have begun or are already well underway as far as embracing digital either as a supplement to their existing marketing efforts or as a primary focus of new marketing campaigns. Many industries like entertainment, fitness and nutrition, healthcare, retail goods and consumer electronics, teen products etc. have seen considerable success as a result of their push into the digital marketing landscape.
After getting a brief about digital marketing, we can say that it doesn’t matter what industry it is or what product or service it is, digital marketing trends cannot be ignored. A few years back companies needed little more than a website and a Facebook page, but now, the digital landscape is evolving so quickly that it is hard to stay in the competition.
Now, there aren’t too many businesses that don’t have an online presence. In 2020, new technologies and tools have come to the fore, forcing marketers to adapt to keep their organizations at the top. Digital Darwinism is an unforgiving reality. If we don’t adapt, we will surely be left behind. Let us now talk about some of the latest trends in the digital marketing field.
Trends in 2020 about Digital Marketing
Facebook May be peaking
Facebook is no more the kingpin in the social media world. According to research, 41% of the users are over the age of 65. Facebook is losing ground with the younger demographics, who tend to prefer the more interactive and visual experience which is offered by Instagram, Snapchat and many more.
After the data breach scandal in 2018, Facebook lost significant creditability. Many people grew frustrated and resentful with the platform’s proliferation of fake news, political propaganda and cyberbullying. Facebook is continuing to drop in popularity with younger demographics. TechCrunch has speculated that Facebook may be dead to Gen Z.
Digital marketers need to look at who their target market may be because Facebook may be very unsuitable for some campaigns, especially as it continues to trends downwards with younger people. It is still massive and many people continue to check in on it.
Marketers need to be more cautious with who they are trying to connect with and make sure their target audience is still on Facebook. If not then your marketing budget will be wasted, targeting the wrong social media platform.
Instagram is a Hit with the Kids
Instagram’s rise has already seen it pass one billion users, which is an impressive achievement. It is one of the most rapidly growing social media platform and perhaps, more importantly, most of its user base is the coveted younger demographic, especially under 30. Facebook is losing much of its users due to its reputation as the social media platform for old people.
One problem that marketers should keep in mind is that Instagram recently decided to remove the likes feature from the platform. Many influencers have voiced concerns about the move, therefore, companies need to keep a close eye on the impact this move will have. It could lead to an uptick in content quality and many users may drift away from the platform in search of vanity metrics elsewhere.
Chatbots will Dominate Customer Service
Chatbots are artificial intelligence software that acts as a virtual concierge. It communicates with users and assists them in completing their goals. They naturally interact with humans, primarily through the use of text chat windows, but verbal interactions are also possible. Over time as the system collects more data insights, the AI learns more about the customers, making it possible to offer a continuously improving service.
Throughout the year 2018 and 2019, chatbots carved out a regular role on Facebook, by the tens of thousands for different tasks. It did everything from providing weather reports to automating some basic customer support functions can be easily handled by sophisticated software. Chatbots allows users to get personalized, focused interactions without pulling too much from limited human resource.
80% of the businesses claim that they want to start using Chatbots this year. The benefits are as follow –
- 24 hours service.
- Instant response to customer queries.
- No need for breaks vacations or overtime pays.
Research from January 2020 found that 43% of consumers prefer to message an online chatbot rather than phone customer service centres when communicating with a brand. With businesses and customers keen for more involvement with chatbots, this is sure to be one of the fastest-growing digital marketing trends.
A video is No Longer an Option
If a business isn’t using video marketing, it should get on board this year. Text-based content simply can’t compete with the power of videos, especially when it comes to trying to sell products and services online. In this mobile-made world, people watch more videos than ever before. They use smartphones to watch and share videos about everything, learning more about brands and what they have to offer. Here are some stats from ImpactBND –
- 70% of consumers have shared a brand’s video.
- 52% of consumers claim that watching product videos make them more confident and guide their online purchasing decisions.
- 72% of the businesses believe video content has improved their conversion rates.
Video marketing is highly engaging, especially if it is live video. Live streaming is a powerful method of digital marketing when combined with influencer marketing. Whether it is the new generation of social media influencers or traditional sourced like celebrities, athletes and musicians, having a live stream with an influencer who is interacting directly with comments is a huge draw.
Twitch has over 15 million active users, who tune in to watch live streaming videos from influencers like Ninja. Arguably the world’s most popular gaming influencer, Ninja, recently signed an exclusive deal with Mixer, which was a power play by the Microsoft Company in the reorganization of the expected value of live video streaming in the year ahead.
Good Content Still Matters (And Now Context Matter More)
Content marketing is an essential component of digital marketing, although there is an increasing emphasis on nuance in content. The quality is always going to matter, but now there is more emphasis on the context and targeting. Google has been developing a deeper, more sophisticated understanding of online content. The marketers must think carefully about their target market and how they can tailor content more precisely.
Much of these boils down to the BERT update, which was released n Google in November 2019. The new algorithm helps the search engine giant get a better understanding of the natural language in user search queries. Google advises that, ‘rather than chase the latest SEO trends, it is more important to ensure a site has fast speeds, useful links and well-written content.’ Content marketing is going nowhere.
Google is getting smarter and it gives preference to in-depth, accurate and current content that is closely related to user intent. Companies must keep this in mind while creating contents.
Email is getting more personalized
Email is still a major channel of communication with billions of people still using it. It is used for personal, commercial, industrial, legal, scientific and academic purposes. Email is here to stay and email marketing itself continues to be important. But, email marketing is evolving, and generic marketing emails aren’t as effective as they were. It is now a combination of automation and more importantly, personalization that makes email marketing important for 2020.
You can trigger your email marketing to something specific like user browsing a particular product and then follow-up with a promotional price or demo video in a personalized email. This can be very effective. Email is often the final trigger to motivate action. Especially when combined with remarketing techniques. This leads us to one of the most exciting digital marketing trends in recent times.
Interactive Content will become Mainstream
Interactive content is what people can click, swipe or interact with online. According to research, 93% of marketers rate interactive content as highly effective at educating buyers. In 2020, more companies are experimenting with interacting contents like –
- Quizzes and polls
- 360-degree videos
- Augmented reality ads
These formats leverage cutting-edge marketing technology, such as augmented reality and video content. It offers people a more immersive and engaging experience. Nowadays, consumers want this type of memorable, fun contents from brands as it helps them feel more connected to the company.
Voice Interaction Continues Upward
Siri, Google, Alexa and a host of other smart devices are continuing to raise verbal interaction with devices. The lesson for us is that people like to talk and that is a preferred way of interacting. Now, machines are finally catching up to the way people want to search, shop and discover new things. But this also presents some interesting challenges.
For example, conducting a voice search is very different from typing a query, particularly in the results. When a person performs a text-based search, the screen displays the results one page at a time. But when a person asks a device to conduct a search and the device replies verbally, it may only give a few choices and frequently supplies just one choice. Adopting a voice search strategy isn’t just about remaining relevant, it is also about creating a unique and optimized consumer experience that will foster relationships and build brand loyalty.
Marketers targeting voice search users should remember to write in a conversational tone using keywords that people will speak rather than type. Doing this will help us get the coveted position zero or featured snippets on Google.
Marketing in Messaging Apps Will Level-Up
Social messaging apps aren’t just for staying in touch with friends and family. The use has increased more considerably. Businesses in all industries have taken a significant interest in apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram in recent times. It is no surprise when you consider the opportunities –
- 13 billion monthly users are active on Facebook Messenger, sending more than 10 billion messages every month.
- WhatsApp has 16 billion active users, sending over 55 billion messages every day.
While traditional channels like email and social media are far from dead, there is no denying that people are more active on instant messaging apps. In the next 5-7 years, messenger marketing is expected to be the number one marketing channel in the world. It is a logical step for brands to start connecting with people on these platforms. Marketing through Facebook messenger generates 10 to 80 times more engagement than organic posts on the Facebook News Feed.
Messaging apps allow companies to reach a broad audience with short, personalized texts. 63% of the online consumers are more likely to return to a company website if it has a live chat option, hammering home the need for companies to take this channel seriously. In 2020, we have seen much more marketing in messaging apps and it will go no increasing.
OmniChannel marketing is now vital
Omnichannel marketing is the practice of marketing across multiple platforms, including email, social media, apps and website blogs. This approach enables businesses to connect with consumers on more digital touchpoints, effectively offering a better user experience. By delivering a seamless, consistent voice and cohesive brand message across all channels, we can generate much better results.
Omni marketing drives over three times more engagement than a single-channelled approach. There is better customer retention, average order value and purchase frequency are all higher when we have multiple channels.
As Al technology improves, companies can leverage data insights and machine learning to get a better understanding of customer behaviours and then personalize it at the highest level. Ultimately, a focus on Omni marketing is the road to an enhanced customer journey that keeps people coming back for more.
We can see things are moving fast in the digital marketing world. In 2020, Al technology, video, voice search and interactive content are among the most prominent trends. This isn’t the time for businesses to stay still, as the younger demographics and the more tech-savvy consumers of today want brands to connect with them in new and exciting ways that make the consumers’ journey easier and more enjoyable. It is time to dive in and try these latest digital marketing trends.
Now after knowing the trends in digital marketing let us talk about why digital marketing is such a trending field, what is its importance?
Why is Digital Marketing the Most Trending Field?
Reaches people where they spend their time and money
In 2019, the average internet user has at least seven social media accounts. That’s up from 3 just in 5 years. 97% of US adults under 65 are on social media at least once a month. The vast majority are on it every day. Social media is preferred as a means of customer care. Although, almost 89% of the total customer messages are ignored by businesses.
22% of the world population is on Facebook. 76% of Facebook users and 51% of Instagram users are on it every day. 30% of the people on social media mention a specific brand when referring to milestones in their lives. Gen X is more likely to interact with brands on social media than millennial.
The trend right now is the average person spends over 2 hours a day on social media. Teenagers’ average is 9 hours. Social media is integrated into everything they do from school, to work, to entertainment, to hanging out with friends.
Levels the playing field for small business
A huge company like Walmart comes to town and wipes out 100% of local speciality shops. Starbucks rolls in and mom and pop coffee and bagel shops close down. We have seen the online equivalent of Amazon. It is hard to compete with the name recognition or the million that they put into marketing and reputation management.
That is where the importance of digital marketing shines as a ray of hope for small businesses. It is same for all businesses. Digital marketing allows small businesses the ability to hold a top-ranking position. It allows you to complete with your competition by exposing you to a wider audience on a much smaller advertising budget.
One gift that digital marketing has given us is the ability to dissect huge demographics. Whittle them down too much-targeted groups to get super-focused on a specific kind of person. When we do targeting at this level, we create an ad that’s highly relevant to our target market. It connects on a level that more general advertising can’t. This connection will give the ability to influence decisions.
Now let’s talk about search advertising .in this form of digital marketing, we target people doing searches on Google. Search results now account for about 64% of website traffic across the internet. It allows you to position yourself near the top searches. With search advertising, you can target people with a very specific –
- Education level
- Buying behaviour
- And more
Social media marketing similarly allows you to narrow your target audience, use the data they have collected about their users.
Can be hyper-personalized
Another important part of digital marketing is that you can target almost down to the individual level. It is called segmentation. In some cases, you can get to the individual level. Marketers call his personalization. 72% of consumers prefer that businesses use email for communication.
This gives them a sense of control that makes them more comfortable signing up for emails. If they don’t like what you send them, they can just unsubscribe. But when you send them highly relevant content, they stay on your list and buy again and again.
With segmentation, you are collecting data about each email subscriber. Then you sub-divide your list based upon certain traits and behaviours identified through analytics. Once divided, send segment content that is most relevant to that segment. Next is automation. It allows you to send that content at the optimal time to obtain the desired result. Finally, you have personalization. You recognize a person on an individual level. You can recommend the best product for them.
When these three different things work together, they get great results.
More advanced analytics
How do you know about the performance of a TV ad? We can determine the best times of the ad to air and best frequency if we do some testing. But generally, we only know its reach according to the agency and whether it increased buzz, sales or met a similar marketing goal. Now let’s talk about the importance of digital marketing in comparison.
With digital marketing, we know the following about the ads and users –
- Whether it was seen. With TV ads we don’t know that much. People could have been in the kitchen or had the TV on mute.
- If people interacted with it.
- Or if people liked it.
- If people lingered on it.
- Or If people/users shared it with others.
- If it prompts another action.
- Or if it led to a sale down the road.
We can also learn much more about the people interacting with the ad –
- Who is most interested in the ad
- What are the people like
- What makes people more likely to take action
- Who is easiest to convert
- Who spends more
- What do the people do online
- What terms do people use to find things online
- Which websites do people visit
All of these are easy to track with free analytics software like Google Analytics. Or you can gain more insight with paid tools. Use what you learn to cut costs where toy aren’t seeing a return on investment. You may decide to shell out some money for traditional marketing. Many businesses like to have a mix marketing plan.
Easy to scale and adapt
With any type of marketing, there is an initial investment required to get traffic flowing. But the importance of digital marketing to small businesses becomes very clear when we see how easy it is to scale and adapt as the business grows. For instance, with a social media campaign, displays ads and search ads we can choose a daily budget. We know exactly how much the campaign will cost.
Then we begin to see amazing results. We don’t have to go in and renegotiate an ad spot to keep the ad running. As we continue to convert that traffic, we just increase our daily spend and revenue with it. If we get a massive order from a consumer and need to scale back to avoid getting backlogged, it is just very easy to do that. If something isn’t working in your marketing, then you have the power. Just make that change and re-launch the ad.
The importance of digital marketing lies in the fact that you can get instant results. Analyse the data make changes fast to reduce wasted ad spend. This tells us how cost-effective digital marketing is for a small business.
Best Return on Investment
Email marketing has the highest ROI of any marketing method. It can be $38 in revenue for every $1 you spend. About 20% of companies are seeing an ROI of %70 to $1 spent. Email marketing is a conversion machine. But you need to have a way to build your email list with quality subscribers. And then deliver highly relevant content to the subscribers’ inbox. This is often done with a combination of social media marketing and content marketing. These marketing methods have an impressive ROI of their own.
Content marketing can generate 3X the leads for about 62% less than traditional marketing. Social media marketing can be indirect at times. Companies using social media outsell 78% of the businesses who don’t use social media. A lead that comes through social media is 7X more likely to become a paying customer.
Cost-effectiveness is the ultimate priority if small businesses. You will have to be able to stretch those dollars as the business grows. Every dollar you spend matters. You need to know that it is going to provide you with an ROI.
Aligns with how people shop today
88% of people consider the online review as an important part of their buying decision. 23% of the people visit a business after reading a good review of it. 47% of millennial and Gen X don’t watch traditional TV. And 22 million people have cancelled their cables at the end of last year. Sale of magazines and newspapers continue to decline at a rate of 16% every year.
On the other hand, over 1 trillion online searches are performed each year. Google holds the monster share with 3.5 billion of these queries. 8 billion videos are watched Facebook every day. Most consumers now tend to look for products, services or anything they want online. So you shouldn’t stop with just having an online presence.
You need to be ahead of your competitors. This is how SEO works for your business. If your website is well optimized then it will be easily discovered by the users when they search a keyword relevant to your brand.
The more integrated your business is with the consumers’ online experience the more easily your business will grow. You need an online presence to be relevant to the vast majority of consumers. Digital marketing gives you that presence.
How to be relevant online –
- Have a user-friendly website.
- Invest in SEO so that you appear in search results from keywords.
- Have at least one active social media profile where you engage with consumers.
- Some paid advertising like AdWords, Instagram or promoted tweets. It is impossible to be found online without some paid media.
- Know what people are saying about you. Solicit more reviews. When asked to review most people write a positive review. When not asked, only unhappy people tend to write reviews.
- Integrated touchpoints. All of the places that you are online should work together. Engage your target audience both online and in your physical shop if you are a brick and mortar business.
How people prefer that businesses reach them
People are now tired of traditional advertising. They know that they have a choice. 20% of 16 to 34-year-olds use an ad blocker online. People flee websites that pop up annoying invites and ads when they first land on the page. They want a media that doesn’t force them to sit through commercials. People want respect. They want someone to provide them with information that helps them make informed decisions. They want to buy from brands which value what they value.
Digital marketing allows you to market to people in a way that shows you respect them and value them as human beings.
Integrated marketing with mobile technology
Mobile transactions are increasing at the lightning-fast speed of 35% year over year. But it is not just the buying and selling that happens on mobile. People are increasingly using their mobile phones as a kind of augmented reality layered over a business. They look for reviews and product information while in your store. People might be ordering online or communicating with consumer care en-route.
Integrate the mobile experience with the physical experience. As you do, the better your business will take advantage of the opportunities. Use physical store behaviour as tracked by their phone with permission of course. Send more relevant offers. Invite people to visit the store when geo-location shows that they are in the area.
It is clear. Businesses in the modern economy need digital marketing to compete at equal levels. Nowadays, online is where most of the consumers are. It is where people prefer that businesses and brands reach them. Online is where the modern buying process begins. If you want your business to stay on the list of the consumers, you will have to be available online. And not just that, also, you will have to be updated and now what is going on in the market.
After reading so much about digital marketing, we get the importance of it. But that doesn’t make it easy to implement strategies that will get us the ROI we are looking for. There are various digital marketing companies to help a business. Instead of trying ourselves, we can hire these digital marketing companies who have experts of the field to work for us. Selecting a digital marketing company for your business is also not an easy task.
Before going for selection, you must know your objectives, that is, what type of services do you want the hired company to perform for you. After knowing this, you need to look for companies who provide these services. Usually, all digital marketing companies provide all types of digital marketing services.
But every company has something different from the other and you will have to decide and be sure about which one will be beneficial to you or your company. You can choose by going through the company’s profile. See what services they provide, their previous works, history, their existing clients etc. and you will get an idea of the company.
Now, we know about digital marketing, what it is and what it includes. We know about the trends in the field and how digital marketing will grow over time. Businesses need to have an online presence. Business must take digital marketing seriously since more and people now prefer everything online.
Digital marketing is a great way for small businesses to show people what they have to offer. It isn’t wrong if we say, digital marketing is the ultimate future of marketing. There might come a time when there will be very low or no importance of physical stores. So if we talk about the long run all types of businesses need to build an online base and interact with consumers.