Taking on board all of the continuous developments, innovations and trends within digital marketing can seem a daunting task. The differing options and emerging technologies seem endless, but so are the possibilities. It’s important to see the abundance of digital marketing progressions as an opportunity, not a burden.
If you read up on some of the key developments and lay the groundwork for your own business to put them into practice, or at least be better prepared for the changes, then you will end up with a digital marketing strategy that puts you ahead of the competition in more ways than one.
Below we have listed the top 5 digital marketing trends to look out for right now. Ignore them at your peril!
The Rise of the Machines (AI)
AI stands for artificial intelligence. There’s the easy bit out of the way, but what does it actually mean? To put it simply, artificial intelligence refers to intelligence demonstrated by machines rather than humans, or machine learning. Think ‘The Terminator’ and Skynet, only much less violent or frightening.
In a digital marketing context, AI allows programmes and systems to work, adapt and develop many features without the need for a human element. Not only does this reduce work, but it also allows for more powerful steps forward in digital marketing and the surrounding tech.
Up and coming innovations such as chatbots or voice search are increasingly relying on AI development. For example, Amazon’s Alexa is an AI. But artificial intelligence also has the ability to change the core preexisting marketing services too, with SEO, PPC and web development all on its pathway to digital dominance.
Chatting With Chatbots
Chatbots are becoming increasingly important in the contemporary digital world, particularly for those businesses offering in-demand goods or services.
An AI tech, chatbots see live chats take place between the user and a computerised assistant in order to answer queries or provide support. Chatbots are particularly useful for customer service and swiftly answering questions that might otherwise lead to unfavourable response times.
Besides, sending or receiving messages with a bot should be familiar to anyone who has spent 5 minutes on twitter.
Video Killed the Textual Star
This one is no secret. Video is huge and only getting bigger. Video content has become more desirable on social platforms than ever, whilst those same platforms are further jumping into the visual content sphere with new platforms such as Facebook Live and Periscope.
On top of this, social giants such as Twitter are pushing harder than ever to get into the live streaming game, with more and more live events being shown on the platform. Add to this YouTube’s standing as the web’s ‘second largest search engine’ and you have undeniable proof that video is something every business or brand should be tackling.
It’s not just a case for social either, as promotional videos remain an important tool for brands attempting to establish a tone whilst engaging with potential customers, clients or users. After all, who wants to read a wall of text, right? Hello?
Handy Visual Search
The clue is in the name. Visual search is a relatively new trend that gives people the ability to search for places, items and more through the use of a picture. Think similar to facial recognition, with less emphasis on the faces and a lot less creepy.
Perhaps the biggest proponent of this tech is Pinterest, which should come as no surprise given that it is a predominantly visual platform. Having pumped millions into visual search, Pinterest launched ‘Lens’, which enables users to take pictures of an item and find out where to buy it elsewhere online.
Similarly, Google’s Pixel phone comes with a ‘Lens’ of its own, as the visual search engine can identify places, landmarks, objects and much more. Bing Visual Search even lets you hone in on one particular element of an image.
Talking Up Voice Search
On the other side of the coin we have voice search, which people are becoming increasingly familiar with through the rise of smart assistants and speakers in the home.
Once again utilising artificial intelligence, voice search has been adopted by every large tech company you can think of. Apple has Siri, Amazon has Alexa, Google has the Assistant, Microsoft has Cortana and Samsung has Bixby. The most renowned use for these technologies thus far has been through smart speakers such as the Amazon Echo, which have seen voice search go mainstream in a big way.
However, it’s not just through home speakers that these developments are being pushed. The ultimate goal has to be for voice to take off in a similar way on mobile, such is that platform’s dominance in the everyday life of consumers. We already spend so much time on our mobile phones, it is only a matter of time before we start talking to them as well. Fear not though, as we don’t truly need to worry until they start selling clothes for phones. Dog coats seemed like witchcraft 30 years ago.
The huge upturn in voice search is a trend that could have a lasting impact across several digital marketing fields. Search is the area that could feel this impact the most, as more and more people are searching not by typing, but with their voices alone. This, of course, completely changes the very nature of search terms – making them much longer and more conversational. As this becomes more widespread, businesses will need to adapt their SEO strategies accordingly.
Whilst voice search on mobile is on the up all the time, it still has a way to go. But it is going to get there. As such, you’d be wise to prepare for the voice revolution sooner rather than later.
The Future is Now
Even with a robot uprising seeming unlikely, digital marketing trends can seem never-ending and scary for a business, especially if you worry about being left behind. But the truth is that some simple preparation and an open mind will go a long way.
If you do your research, hire the right talent, invest in the right tech and be willing to adapt, then your business will thrive in the face of change, rather than collapse. When you put it that way, the choice is a no-brainer. Apocalypse averted!