In the world of marketing and commerce, industry trends are constantly being influenced by new technology, evolving consumer demands, and a dynamic social media landscape. Is your current marketing strategy keeping your business relevant in 2018?
The following nine trends are playing a major role nationally in shaping the marketing landscape. The first of these is the ever-present and GROWING influence of social media platforms. Social media marketing has been a trendy addition to marketing campaigns for years, but their impact is still growing. Worldwide, there were nearly twice as many sponsored posts on Instagram in 2017 than in 2016 — about 1.5 million in all — and experts say the trend “shows no signs of slowing down.” Determining your campaign goals, identifying the right social platforms for your brand, and making sure your content delivers value to your potential customers, are all crucial to creating a successful campaign.
Another game changer recently, has been the use of online videos. Both Google Chrome and Apple’s Safari browsers recently released updates that require internet users to click to play video ads. While it used to be that videos would play automatically when a visitor arrives on a site page, consumers now have the power to manage that content and decide whether they want to watch and listen to a video or not. Blocking auto-playback means everyone will have fewer annoying ad experiences, which stands to generate a better public opinion of online advertising overall. When a consumer does choose to watch a video ad, that view will be more qualified and more likely to result in your desired marketing action. Studies have shown that consumers prefer to control their video ad experience, with the majority of users disapproving of auto-play ads and 80 percent favoring video ads that are silent. Create compelling video ads that consumers want to watch by sparking their interest with your opening frame, and try adding captions to drive more completed video views.
Staying on the subject of video, a type of video that was much maligned, has now become vogue. It’s vertical video. It wasn’t so long ago that those who posted vertical videos were mocked and criticized. TV and cinema had long dictated that horizontal was best, and the rectangular shape of most phones seemed to support that assertion. Well, vertical video is back, and it’s fast becoming the go-to choice for marketers everywhere. The rise of Snapchat and mobile video viewing has many businesses shooting video content with their devices upright rather than in a horizontal position. The Interactive Advertising Bureau reports that mobile video is the fastest-growing video format among consumers, and notes that “changing consumption patterns make vertical viewing on mobile more common rather than the exception.” To appeal to your mobile audience and capture the attention of your customers when they’re on the go, think vertical when you produce video content for your brand.
In this day of issues and causes, marketing is no longer constrained to just about promoting a company’s products. Nowadays, a business’s beliefs and stance on social issues are important too to many consumers. Recently, research from a national PR and marketing firm found that 78 percent of consumers “want companies to address important social justice issues,” while an eyebrow raising 87 percent “will purchase a product because a company advocated for an issue they cared about.” So this is the takeaway, if your business is involved with a charity, you invest in your local community, or you support a specific cause, consider letting your customers know this via your creative content. There is a potential downside to explain here as well. Brands that embrace this approach don’t always succeed. You must be able to know your audience and stay away from anything too political or divisive.
Today’s cyber customer loves to be able to interact with your brand, and interactive content is a trend we’ll be seeing a lot more of in years to come. Online quizzes, invitations to post user-generated photos on social media using branded hashtags, and interactive infographics all turn passive internet users into engaged followers. The beauty of interactive content is that it can be entertaining without sacrificing value. You can incorporate tips, advice, and interesting industry data. Look for creative ways to feature images of your products and facts about your brand within your interactive feature and promote it across your social accounts for maximum reach and impact. Incorporate bright graphics and stand-out visuals for the best results.
Everybody loves a good story, right? Well, social storytelling is another trend that is taking off. Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram all have storytelling features that can be used by you for company origin stories, customer experience stories, etc. Also, branded stories appear alongside content from consumers’ personal social media connections in their feed, making the content that’s created by marketers feel more objective and natural. Grab your audience’s attention early on by making your first image hard to ignore. You can even incorporate music.
Next up is the tactic of Location Targeting. Having the ability to show a mobile ad to a consumer based on their proximity to a specific store, neighborhood, or venue (Geofencing) has marketers excited — and with good reason. Some technology providers allow you to couple your customer’s location with demographic and behavioral information for even more precise targeting, while others let you pay for advertising based on whether or not your message directly results in a visit to your store. Reaching consumers in real time when they’re out and about can have a huge impact on foot traffic and in-store sales. Marketers will benefit from having a clear view of how to leverage this up-and-coming marketing trend.
This marketing concept almost everyone has used at one time or another Live Video Streaming. Live-streaming video is more popular than ever before. Research shows that close to half of all US internet users are watching live video between once a week and several times a day. Aside from Facebook, live video is available on platforms like YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram. Live, on-demand video is a great way to publicize business events like store openings, product launches, and brand-related photo shoots. You can use it to introduce new and existing customers to your staff and take them behind the scenes in your factory or store.
There is also the tried and true methods of cyber marketing that stand firm… Blogs. The humble blog may not have the sparkling appeal of live video or social media content, but marketers continue to invest in it and will do so for years to come. The latest research from the Content Marketing Institute reveals that 70 percent of B2C marketers still use blogs to share content with their customers, and half of them consider it to be their most successful format, second only to email (74 percent). The best blogs share industry expertise, provide useful and interesting information, and remain relevant to the businesses that publish them.
There you have it. The nine most current trends in the marketing landscape. Compare with what you are using now and think about upgrading your brand presence!
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