Self-driving cars and drones get the headlines, but AI and machine learning are already having a transformative effect in ways you might not expect.
It’s hard to keep up with digital marketing trends, especially when they seem to change bi-weekly. In a world of digital transformation, new trends can be exciting and attractive, but it’s important to differentiate between the latest fad versus a technology that can help build your organization’s success.
To help you navigate, we’ve narrowed in on three digital marketing trends that are worth investing in.
Content Marketing Continues to be a Top Trend
While content marketing isn’t one of the newest trends, it continues to be one of the most popular. According to data from the Digital Skills Survey, content marketing is the most widely used channel – with 79 percent of marketing professionals incorporating content into their marketing strategy. Survey respondents also listed content strategy as one of their primary focuses for 2019.
One obstacle is that developing a content strategy can be more labour intensive than other marketing efforts. Not only does it take more time to create content, it often takes anywhere from six to nine months to start seeing results. Creating a robust strategy that delivers consistent, unique content is no small feat, which is why many organizations (62 percent) look to outsource content creation.
So why, if content takes more time and effort, is it still so popular?
Well because if done right, the impact of content marketing is hard to ignore.
Research shows that 70 percent of consumers would rather learn about a company through content than from an advertisement. Great content engages customers in a way that adds value, which in turn creates relationships that are built on more than just one-way sales communication. Content can also help your metrics, as organizations that have blogs get 55 percent more site visitors and 97 percent more backlinks than those that don’t.
Perhaps the most enticing benefit of content marketing is that it’s cost-effective, in fact, it’s 62 percent less expensive and generates more leads per dollar spent than traditional marketing methods.
It’s clear content marketing is here to stay, with forecasts that the industry will be worth over $400 million in the next two years.
Personalization With The Help of AI
In this year’s Digital Skills Survey, marketing professionals cited AI as the trend that will have the most impact on marketing in the next five years. This isn’t surprising, as there seems to be non-stop talk about AI no matter what industry you’re in – but research is beginning to illustrate how AI will make a difference for the marketing world in 2019 and beyond.
The vast amount of data available to companies means that marketers have the opportunity to go beyond basic segmentation and create highly personalized campaigns. The downside is that making sense of all that data not only requires a very specific skill set, but a lot of time as well.
Despite this drawback, many organizations are on board – a recent report from IBM states that 94 percent of companies believe personalization is the key to future success. “While humans still are in the driver’s seat with respect to strategy and creative, machines can analyze, process and deliver personalized at a massive scale,” the report reads.
Consumers are typically receptive to companies using data to improve and tailor their buying experience. A study by Accenture found that 73 percent of customers prefer buying from retailers that offer a personalized experience. Additionally, 86 percent of customers say that personalization plays a part in their purchasing decisions.
From a business perspective, the benefits of personalization are plentiful. McKinsey found that, when done correctly, it can improve marketing spend ROI and increase sales.
The use of AI to drive personalization is creating stronger relationships between brands and their audience, and both parties are reaping the rewards.
Video Content Dominates Social Media
Video often gets lumped in with content marketing, and while it does fall into this category, we think it’s a standalone trend.
Youtube, a platform that is completely reliant on video content, has become the most widely used form of social media in the United States. According to Pew research, 73 percent of American adults are using Youtube, and 94 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 24.
Video is also dominant on other social media platforms, in fact, video gets shared on social 1200 percent more than text and images combined. And sharing is crucial, because consumers trust recommendations from their friends and family more than a branded message.
The types of video content brands are producing are becoming more diverse, so don’t be afraid to get creative with your organization’s video strategy. We’ve written about the rise of social media stories, which are gaining popularity 15 times faster than social posts and are primarily video-based. Instagram stories have over 400 million daily viewers, making them an enticing channel for brands to tap into.
Cisco is forecasting that video will represent 82 percent of total web traffic by 2021, re-confirming that the video trend shows no sign of slowing.
Keeping Up With Trends
As digital transformation continues to be a primary focus for many organizations, marketers need to ensure that these investments are being made in areas that can have a big impact. 63 percent of executives say that their organization’s digital investments are growing, and 56 percent of organizations are investing in content marketing.
Content, AI, and video are no longer just trends, they are becoming core elements of marketing strategy across all industries.
If your company is looking to transform their digital marketing efforts, BrainStation offers enterprise training for individuals and entire teams that can help you find digital success.