How will digital marketing change in the future?

Simon Arseneau
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Digital marketing has rapidly changed over the last decades and more change is coming. Social media platforms have changed the advertising game, and Artificial Intelligence is making the job of collecting customers’ shopping habits even easier for marketers. As these tools continue to evolve, others are emerging and shaping the future of digital marketing.

Let’s have a look at some of the ways digital marketing will change in the future.

Artificial Intelligence and automation

Artificial Intelligence or AI and automation allows marketers to quickly analyze enormous quantities of data about consumers. By analyzing consumer behavior, marketers can determine where to find audiences online, how to interact with them, and what recommendations to make at the right time.

Streaming services are using this technology to recommend what movies or TV shows to watch next once consumers are done with their weekly binge. AI can determine which products certain customers would be interested in, and automatically place an ad for those products on webpages they frequent. It increases traffic to businesses’ websites, helps them boost their sales and acquire new customers.

Having already taken over jobs in communication, product recommendations and email personalization, AI and automation are poised to only increase their presence in the digital marketing world.

Voice optimisation or voice search

Smart devices such as Siri, Alexa, and Cortana are voice assistants that allow users to say what they are looking for instead of typing it in a search engine. Whether they are looking for the nearest shoe store or the name of Christopher Nolan’s first movie, all they must do is ask.

According to market research firm Tractica, the number of people using digital assistants is projected to increase from 504 million in 2016 to 1.8 billion by 2021.

Influencer marketing and micro-influencers

Influencer marketing is a form of social media marketing that focuses on key leaders to get the word out about a particular brand. Consumers generally trust influencers and will rather hear about a product from them then from the brand itself. Some of these influencers have millions of followers and can have a huge impact on a brand’s success. According to influencer marketing agency mediakix, the influencer marketing industry global market is expected to be $5 -10 billion by the end of 2020.

However, as much success as influencers are having, they are not perfect. According to digital marketing agency Single Grain, some companies pay influencers to talk about their business and use fake followers. That is why AI is becoming a popular tool to be combined with influencer marketing.

AI can be used to determine the influence of certain influencers and predict what level of incentive works best to encourage influencers to post their content. There is also image recognition software that can help marketers identify relevant social influencers and gain a deeper understanding of when and how their audience posts images related to their brand.

If some medium-sized companies cannot afford expensive influencers, they can rely on micro-influencers. Even though they have fewer followers, they are still popular enough to be influential and can dedicate more time to their followers with relevant content.

Chatbots

Chatbots are virtual assistants for consumers that can be used to reach out to customers or answer their questions. They can answer customers’ most basic questions and even engage in human-like conversations to improve customer service experience. According to the Digital Marketing Institute, social media platforms are also working on chatbots specifically designed for businesses to integrate into their messaging service.

Visual Search

With visual search, consumers will be able to upload an image to conduct a search. Google has introduced a lens that allows users to take a picture of an item and search for information such as where to find it online or where to find similar items. Last April, Instagram also partnered with food ordering platform ChowNow to allow participating restaurants to add “Order Food” buttons to their posts and stories. This will drive users directly to a cart on ChowNow to purchase the food.

Google Gallery Ads

Speaking of visual advertising, last year Google launched the beta version of Gallery Ads, which are a swipeable, image-based ad unit that appear at the top of the of search results. According to Search Engine Journal, they are designed to help businesses showcase their brand visually with the ability to include up to 8 images. Each of these images can have a unique caption and advertisers can use a call-to-action button at the end of the gallery.

Vlogging

Vlogging, or video blogs, is another visual tool increasing in popularity. According to Cisco, by 2021, 80% of online content will be video. Businesses need to keep up with the trend to forge strong relationships with their customers and greater engagement from their customers. Material they can choose to share online can be behind-the-scenes videos, live stream special business events or a clip of a business conference.

Shoppable Posts/Social Commerce

Social commerce is when consumers buy products directly through social media posts/ads, without having to leave the app. The goal is to create fewer steps for consumers and decrease the chances that they will abandon their sales. According to research from the strategic communications agency ODM Group, over 70% of consumers consult social media before making a purchase. Now businesses are not limited to just showing their products on social media posts for consumers to browse, but they can make the sale directly to them with shoppable posts.

Based on these trends and new tools, digital marketing in the future will be easier for both marketers and consumers. AI is making it easier for marketing experts to analyze consumers’ shopping habits, and new tools are constantly making it easier for shoppers to either just ask what they are looking for or click on a picture to buy it right now. Shoppers are also expecting to easily find information about brands, whether through videos or chatbots that provide accurate information.  

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