To complete the picture of digital channels, we need to review advertising and PR. We finish here, since although digital media are hugely important to demand generation and branding, discerning trends on cross-industry data is difficult in this sector where there is a reporting lag, which means that reports for ad types aren’t published until the next quarter. The most recent at the time of writing is this breakdown from the IAB.
#4 Big Data (including market and customer insight and predictive analytics) - It's good to see big data in the top five since we believe in the power of data-driven marketing. Big data analysis such as predictive analytics typically requires larger budgets, so will be restricted mainly for larger organisations, but the use of market and customer insight using the tools shown in our Martech tools wheel is open to all businesses and I think is why this is a relatively popular choice.
Within Facebook, increased use of Messenger is an opportunity. The latest statistics from Facebook show the importance of Messenger: with 1.3 billion people use Messenger every month; 8 billion messages exchanged between people and businesses every month and 78% of people with smartphones using messaging every month. As well as targeted sponsored ads, use of Messenger for conversations is a major trend. Nike has one of the most advanced commercial chat applications and well used implementations I have seen that is worth checking out.
#5 CRO and improving website experiences - This is the first time that CRO has featured in the top 5, which is again a sign of increased adoption of data-driven marketing as processes improve in organizations who can now run 'always-on' improvements using structured AB testing programmes. There is also the option of new lower-cost tools including Google Optimize which is freely available.
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Since Google dominates the results that businesses get from search engine marketing our summary of the search trends here focuses on Google. Carolanne Mangles reported for us back in August on some of the biggest changes Google made in 2018, many of which will be deployed and evolve in 2019. The most obvious change is the launch of the Google Marketing Platform which saw AdWords renamed to Ads and the Doubleclick ad platform and analysis tools like Google Analytics, Data Studio, and AB testing through data studio more tightly integrated.
Customer security has always been important, but as technology advances, it’s becoming more of a determining factor for customer purchases. If consumers feel that their information isn’t safe passing through your website, they won’t bother to buy and are unlikely to revisit. It’s crucial that your website and your brand overall takes cybersecurity seriously and keeps customer information safe.
The rise of micro-moments means that marketers must rethink the linear buyer’s journey that follows a set path: awareness, consideration and decision. Today, the customer journey is becoming more of a whirling funnel wherein people think, see or talk about something and then want to learn about it, watch it or buy it, all at an instant. Expectations are high, and patience is low.
Digital marketing channels and traditional marketing channels are similar in function that the value of the product or service is passed from the original producer to the end user by a kind of supply chain. For instance, a typical digital marketing channel is email. Organization can update the activity or promotion information to the user by subscribing the newsletter mail that happened in consuming. In addition to this typical approach, the built-in control, efficiency and low cost of digital marketing channels is an essential features in the application of sharing economy.
Systems such as Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics are relatively static in terms of reports and functionality. For me, the main trend here is using softer measures to get customer feedback. For example, I’ve been taking a look at some really interesting case studies from Vision Critical (Disclosure: A Content Marketing Partner of Smart Insights) which show how savvy brands are using customer communities to feed back.
By populating its YouTube channel with user-made video content, GoPro has encouraged an entire fanbase of outdoorspeople to take amazing footage of their adventures and post it online -- often with credit back to GoPro. This ongoing digital marketing campaign has championed the use of video to spread the word about the GoPro product line -- and a lot of the content is created by the customers themselves.
Of all the channels we cover in this article, finding new innovation in email marketing techniques is the most challenging. Most email marketing techniques are well established and most recent trends related to improving relevance and interactivity on smartphone. This recent report benchmarking email experiences of retail and travel brands gives a good summary of the state of the art.
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#1 Content marketing - this has featured consistently in the top 3 for several years. I think it's number 1 since content marketing can be applied by all types of business regardless of their sector or size and if the right strategy is followed can make an impact that supports communications across all touchpoint of the customer lifecycle. It fuels all digital channels from search, email and social media marketing. This makes having a defined content marketing strategy essential to competing in many sectors.