Updates to digital platforms are rapidly changing and updating. Just this year alone, Mark Zuckerberg announced a drastic change to the Facebook algorithm that’s causing waves in the digital marketing industry. That being said, the way consumers digest advertising is always on the rise and can change in an instant. It is no longer enough to stay up to date on the latest trends; it’s time to look forward to what’s next.
Here are a few emerging trends that I expect to heavily impact the world of digital marketing and how we reach consumers.
Get Ready To Consume In Virtual And Augmented Worlds
Virtual reality will be the most transformative technological advancement of our generation. How will your agency be prepared?
Social media platforms have already started to adopt VR/AR into their algorithms. Facebook and Google Cardboard offer 360-video publishing. And most notably, Snapchat offers users the ability to project their virtual self into the real world in the form of an animated, 3-D bitmoji.
It’s only a matter of time before technology evolves and brands figure out how to take advantage of these advancements. IKEA and McDonald’s are one step ahead. IKEA came out with a virtual shopping application that lets you preview furniture in your own home before buying it. And McDonald’s was the first brand to sponsor a bitmoji. In the experience, your bitmoji projects itself onto your forward surroundings and steals your McCafe coffee. Isn’t this what advertisers have been striving for – to come up with an ad campaign that ultimately becomes a memorable experience for the consumer?
Don’t worry, it’s not about the bitmojis. Snapchat has a bigger plan for the AR world: Spectacles, which are smart glasses that boast the motto: “Capture the moment – without taking you out of it.” Although original sales didn’t hit the mark, Snapchat is currently working on the second version.
Virtual and augmented reality is slowly, or should I say quickly, seeping into people’s everyday lives. When I think about virtual reality, I imagine those conversations where people say, “In 20 years everyone will have flying cars.” Unrealistic, right? Well, the future of VR/AR is right around the corner. Flying cars? Not so much, but that’s another conversation.
Voice Search Will Change The SEO Industry
Imagine a world where you have multiple Alexa devices in your home. You’re planning your movie night in and you say, “Alexa, order me a pepperoni pizza.” Alexa directs your request to Google’s search engine and orders a pizza for you.
A question that marketers should all be prepared to answer is: How do you market to devices rather than humans? The future of search is going to be through voice and searchable devices. In other words, our devices will have the capabilities to search for information that we ask. However, we are no longer going to be at the helm of the search queries. Devices will retrieve information based on our preferences and by learning our tendencies.
The future of search for marketers will drastically change because we will need to figure out how to build applications to the devices. The importance of organic content-writing on websites will become less valuable to consumers because the in-home device will be retrieving the information and serving it to the user.
Development Will Start With A Mobile-First Approach
As mobile and tablet usage continues to increase, marketers will find ways to optimize the user experience of a brand first on mobile devices.
In our agency, our design and development team is adapting to the firsthand effects of this mobile shift. In 2013, when my company began, we were designing sites with desktop being the focus and a mobile responsive site as a byproduct. When consumer behavior shifted and the smartphone became the norm, Google announced that an uninterrupted user experience on mobile websites would yield a higher search ranking. This altered the way design and development took place.
Today we see more mobile traffic to sites than desktop, and we use this data to drive our design and development strategies. As consumer behaviors shift, so should the thought process of marketers. Pay attention to people and understand behavior. If you can understand and predict the way people are moving, you can develop strategies and make decisions that are driven by data and not by intuition.
Video Content Must Capture People’s Attention
In the past year, social media platforms have altered their algorithms to favor video content. Now, social users are seeing fewer photos first and immersing themselves in the black hole that is the endless scroll of a video playlist. With the uprise of video impressions and shares, some pages create video slideshows out of still images in hopes of beating the news feed algorithm.
If you’re going to create content for social media, there is definite value in incorporating video into your strategy. One billion hours of video are watched each day on YouTube, 100 million hours of video are being watched on Facebook every day, and Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat generate billions of video views every day.
With video continuing on the rise, you have to be creative and come up with engaging video content. One tactic that beats news feeds and provides long-term value for your business is Facebook Live events. Facebook live events not only notify all of your followers to attend the live event, but they save the video for future views.
Trends Never Trump Creativity
Despite the advancements, the one thing that happens when a market gets saturated is the need to stand out. A marketer’s ability to create unique and creative messaging that will capture attention is truly what will differentiate you from the competition.
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