We all know that digital marketing is an ever-changing world. Techniques and strategies worked 1-2 years ago may not work anymore. Trends are constantly and rapidly changing and new technological features emerge.
In this blog post I discuss emerging digital marketing trends to keep an eye on.
Figure 1 Instagram Story Templates
Ephemeral content keeps gaining popularity. Most of the biggest social media platforms offer the opportunity for their users to share contents that disappear after a short time, typically after 24 hours.
Facebook or Instagram stories are perfect example of this. Users can share attention-grabbing videos or photos, and boost them with funny animations, hashtags, location tags, stickers and other elements.
Different types of story templates available for different messages, for example, to encourage followers to ask questions, to start a timer that counts down till a big announcement or a new product launch, poll, quotes and rankings and so on.
Figure 2 This diagram showcases how the popularity of Instagram stories have been emerging over the years. While in 2016 the number of daily active Instagram story users were 100 million, by 2019 this number reached the 500 million. This trend shows no sign of slowing down, creating huge opportunities for businesses of any size. (Statista, 2020)
“Stories feel real, immediate and intensely personal.” – says Hootsuite in their recent report on social media trends. (Hootsuite, 2019)
As a result of the ephemeral content popularity, 64% of marketers have already implemented ephemeral content into their digital marketing strategy or planning to do so. (Hootsuite, 2019)
Figure 3 This figure showcases the daily active users of social media stories. (Hootsuite, 2019)
Figure 4 @wbtourlondon created a poll on Facebook. The poll received more than 18k votes, 161 comments and more than 500 shares within one day.
As consumers are overwhelmed with contents, they are hungry for personalisation, interaction and control over the contents they are being bombarded with. (Nestor, G., 2020)
Passive contents are no longer that effective as they were a couple of years ago.
Interactive contents, such as polls, VR content, interactive maps or contests have been gaining popularity these days.
Interactive contents stand out because they satisfy consumers’ increased demand for interaction and control. Thus, interactive contents deliver better conversation rates than passive contents. (Nestor, G., 2020)
Micro and Nano Influencers
Micro and nano influencers have been top tier over the past 12 months, according to a recent report by Influencer Intelligence. (Influencer Intelligence, 2020)
Who are micro and nano influencers?
Micro influencer: 10,000-100,000 followers
Nano influencer: 10,000 followers or less
(Bella, F., 2020)
Figure 5 @UrbanAdventurerLDN is a nano influencer on Facebook with over 1,000 follower base.
Micro and nano influencers have smaller but extremely loyal and highly engaged follower base. They have relevant and, more importantly, specific audience companies can benefit from. This is because it is more likely for a company to generate leads and conversions compared to macro or mega influencers whose audience is not that specific. (Bella, F., 2020)
Influencer Intelligence Report shows that 76% of surveyed businesses have already been working with nano influencers and 43% are planning to start doing so in the next 12 months. (Influencer Intelligence, 2020)
Benefits of working with micro and nano influencers:
- Have very high engagement rate
- Lower cost of working with micro and nano influencers allows smaller businesses and start-ups to benefit from influencer marketing
- Thanks to the more intimate relationship between influencer and followers, product or service recommendations will be well received
- Higher conversion rate, thanks to the higher trust rate. Nano influencers’ recommendations are like peer-to-peer referring, thus gain more trust from followers
(Bella, F., 2020)
How to find micro and nano influencers best suit for your company’s needs?
There are several online tools out there to choose from. Many of which have free version to start with and different budget plans to suit different needs.
Find the best FREE influencer marketing tools by clicking here.
Figure 6 One of the most popular voice search device is, Alexa by Amazon. (Image source: unsplash)
SEO is constantly changing, and, as a digital marketer, we need to be updated with the hottest trends and the latest developments.
According to OC& C Strategy Consultants’ survey, by 2022 almost half of the UK households will own a smart speaker. (OC&C, 2018) This will revolutionize consumers’ shopping habits.
Voice transactions through smart speakers in the UK is expected to be around 3.5bn by 2022. (OC&C, 2018)
Features like Google, Alexa, Siri or Cortana are already useful for digital marketing, and will soon be essential.
But what is the difference in performing search on Google or using a voice-powered search device?
When using Alexa, for example, we use long phrases and sentences to search, while using Google, we use words or short sentences. For example, if we want to know the time in Los Angeles, our search will be like this: ‘What’s the time in Los Angeles?’ The same search on Google, would look like this: ‘time Los Angeles’.
As a result, when we write content for our website, we will need to be mindful of this by incorporating long-tail keywords.
Social Media Customer Service & Chat Bots
Figure 7 Chat bots provide instant help for customers and available 24/7.
Social media platforms are no longer for just sharing funny videos and holiday pics that we like and share. Customers have started using social media platforms to connect with businesses to find instant help for their problems and answers to their questions. Partly because they did not find answer to their question on the business’ website, partly because they need instant help and found customer service slow or ineffective.
Businesses have become more and more aware of the importance of providing customer service on their social media platforms. And this is where chat bots come.
Figure 8 According to Smart Insights’ survey, 37% of consumers used social media to complain about a product or service or ask question and expected to get response under 30 minutes. 57% of consumers said, falling to meet these expectations, they have stopped doing business with the brand due to poor customer service. (Smart Insights, 2018)
Chat bots are designed to hold live chat with customers and answer their queries promptly. Chat bots can deliver 24/7 cost effective customer service. (Nestor, G., 2020)
On the top of that, chat bots help gaining valuable information about customer behaviour that can be analysed to improve personalisation, and help creating more effective precisely targeted campaigns in the future.
Figure 9 Video marketing has seen growing popularity. @UrbanAdventurerLDN
Videos are the future of social media trends. Weather it is a short video on Instagram story or TiKTok or a longer video on YouTube, people love watching videos and this content type has started dominating social media. (Influencer Marketing Hub, 2020)
According to Cisco’s recent study, more than 80% of online content will be video content by 2022. (Cisco, 2020)
According to Wyzwol’s recent research, 88% of marketers plan to include YouTube in their video marketing strategy in 2020. 76% of marketers plan to include Facebook and 65% Instagram. (Wyzowl, 2020)
Before start creating video content for your website or social media, make a research on what resonate your target audience the most and study what video content have gone viral recently. If you don’t know where to start, Buzzsumo, Instagram’s ‘Explore’ tab or Facebook ‘Pages to Watch’ could help you.
Live videos have become extremely popular after pandemic outbreak as businesses needed to keep their customers somehow after the shutdown.
Live webinars, product demo, explainer, viral entertaining videos and video series were made to keep customers’ attention during lockdown.
Users can join and get engaged during the show, ask questions and get real-time answers. In addition, live videos are often prioritized by social media algorithms as they are real-time. (Financial Online, 2020)
98% of consumers say 360-degree videos are more exciting compared to traditional videos. More than 40% of consumers said, they liked when a business leveraged 360-degree videos or VR videos because these videos allowed them to “try” the product before buying it. (Covarrubias, C., 2017)
Shoppable videos accelerate the buying journey. These videos allow viewers to simply click on the product they like on the video and the link automatically redirects the viewers to the online store.
Often the video contains a ‘shop now’ button. When the viewer clicks on it, the available shapes, sizes or colours appear and then the viewer is redirected to the website to complete the purchase.
Social media platforms have recognised how powerful it can be to blend social with ecommerce. Just think about Facebook Shops or shoppable post on Instagram. They can enable customers to discover products otherwise they might not search for, through social contents. This trend particularly strengthened during pandemic, when consumers were forced to stay home and shop from home. As a result, the weekly online transactions in the UK saw a 200% increase from March to May 2020. This trend then continued in June and July. (Statista, 2020)
Figure 10 Weekly online orders have grown dramatically in the UK this year. (Statista, 2020)
AR & VR Technologies
Figure 11 Augmented Reality (AR) allows customers to try before buy experience, provide further information and assistance and create a buzz around the brand. (Smart Insight, 2020) (Photo: unsplash)
Using Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) technologies have seen increasing popularity. Google Expeditions mobile app, for example, takes customers to virtual journey to iconic landmarks such as the Mount Everest. Littlstar offers a full library of 360-degree videos. Using their own VR headsets, customers can watch content from Netflix, Hulu or YouTube. (Nicol, W. & Revilla, A., 2020)
Businesses may not be able to personalise their social media platforms or websites to all of their customer segments, but they can customise their social media ads. Social media platforms provide micro targeting with the ability to target audience so precisely like never before.
Algorithms now reached the level where they can recognise the product type a customer clicks on and show similar products with similar price range from different brands. The more you click on, the better the algorithm understands your preferences. As a result, ads will soon be personalised and tailored to your taste.
Amazon and Instagram are masters of this.
User Generated Contents
Figure 12 More and more businesses with physical shops create ‘selfie corners’ and encourage their customers to take selfies, share them on social media and tag the business. (Photo: EL&N Café St Pancras, photo taken by me)
User generated content is not new. However, more popular than ever. Why? Because it’s free.
Many businesses encourage their customers to create content with their products or services and tag them for the chance to be featured on their official social media platforms.
More and more businesses that have physical shops create ‘selfie corners’ and encourage their customers to take selfies and share them on social media. Many businesses create specific hashtags to be used.
Social Media Communities
Social media communities are groups created by brands for their customers to share their experiences, start conversations and ask questions. Brands often share special offers in these ‘secret’ groups as well as listen their customers’ pain points and provide help or forward their specific queries to the appropriate department of the business.
‘Secret’ groups provide the feeling of being privileged by the members. New products launch, giveaways and limited timed special offers are often shared with the members of the groups. In return, the businesses get customer feedback, valuable insight and strengthen brand loyalty. (Influencer Marketing Hub, 2020)
Spin the wheel, find the differences or scan the website for Easter eggs and get rewarded.
Gamification is another emerging digital marketing trend that incorporates game features into website or social media posts.
Playing games is addictive and fun. Gamification can increase loyalty, brand awareness and sales. In addition, by fun games businesses can pull customers back to their websites and get customers more engaged in the business’s products or services. (Lara, C., 2020)
Keeping abreast of the latest digital marketing trends help your business to stay ahead of your competitors. Digital marketing is ever-changing and it’s more important than ever to be on the top of the latest trends and developments.
Bella, F. (2020) Icon Square “A Guide to Social Media Influencers: Mega, Macro, Micro, and Nano” [Online] Available at: https://blog.iconosquare.com/guide-to-social-media-influencers/ [Accessed 14 August 2020]
Cisco (2020) “Cisco Annual Internet Report (2018–2023) White Paper” [Online] Available at: https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/solutions/collateral/executive-perspectives/annual-internet-report/white-paper-c11-741490.html [Accessed 14 August 2020]
Covarrubias, C. (2017) ADVRTAS “360 Ads Are Better! (Part 1)” [Online] Available at: https://advrtas.com/360-video-ads-better/ [Accessed 15 August 2020]
Financial Online (2020) “13 Video Marketing Trends for 2020/2021: Latest Forecasts You Should Be Thinking About” [Online] Available at: https://financesonline.com/video-marketing-trends/ [Accessed 15 August 2020]
Hootsuite (2019) “Social Media Trends 2019” [Online] Available at: https://hootsuite.com/pages/social-media-trends-report-2019 [Accessed 14 August 2020]
Influencer Intelligence (2020) “The State of the Influencer 2020” [Online] Available at: https://www.influencerintelligence.com/insights/TTg/The-Rise-of-Nano-Influencers [Accessed 14 August 2020]
Influencer Marketing Hub (2020) “Social Media Trends for 2020 and Beyond” [Online] available at: https://influencermarketinghub.com/social-media-trends/ [Accessed 14 August 2020]
Lara, C. (2020) Thee Digital “Top Digital Marketing Trends for 2020 and 2021” [Online] Available at: https://www.theedigital.com/blog/digital-marketing-trends [Accessed 15 August 2020]
Nestor, G. (2020) Finances Online “11 Inbound Marketing Trends for 2020/2021: Top Forecasts & A Look Into What’s Next Ahead” [Online] Available at: https://financesonline.com/inbound-marketing-trends/ [Accessed 14 August 2020]
Nicol, W. & Revilla, A. (2020) Digital Trends “The best VR apps for 2020” [Online] Available at: https://www.digitaltrends.com/virtual-reality/best-virtual-reality-apps/ [Accessed 15 August 2020]
OC&C (2018) “Voice shopping in the UK to be worth £3.5bn by 2022” [Online] Available at: https://www.occstrategy.com/pl/about-occ/news-and-media/article/id/1938/2018/02/voice-shopping-in-the-uk-to-be-worth-35bn-by-2022 [Accessed 14 August 2020]
Smart Insight (2020) “5 ways to use Augmented Reality in your marketing strategy” [Online] Available at: https://www.smartinsights.com/digital-marketing-platforms/augmented-reality/5-ways-to-use-augmented-reality-in-your-marketing-strategy/ [Accessed 15 August 2020]
Smart Insights (2018) “Customers expect brand responses on social within 30 minutes” [Online] Available at: https://www.smartinsights.com/customer-relationship-management/customer-service-and-support/customers-expect-brand-responses-social-within-30-minutes/ [Accessed 14 August]
Statista (2020) “Number of daily active Instagram Stories users from October 2016 to January 2019” [Online] Available at: https://www.statista.com/statistics/730315/instagram-stories-dau/ [Accessed 14 August 2020]
Statista (2020) “Year-on-year growth in weekly online orders in home and leisure retail during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the United Kingdom (UK) from January to June 2020” [Online] Available at: https://www.statista.com/statistics/1109425/online-orders-home-retail-y-o-y-trends-during-coronavirus-in-the-uk/ [Accessed 15 August 2020]
Wyzowl (2020) “Video Marketing Statistics 2020” [Online] Available at: https://www.wyzowl.com/video-marketing-statistics-2020/ [Accessed 15 August 2020]