A few digital marketing trends to consider

BY HILLARY FERRY

Wondering where to focus your digital marketing efforts? From voice search to data privacy and beyond, here are six digital marketing trends that will shape how you can reach and engage with customers.

From funnel to flywheel

Last year, HubSpot disrupted the inbound world when it introduced the flywheel, an evolution from the traditional buyer’s journey and funnel we all know and have grown to love. The flywheel approach takes the customers that, in a traditional funnel, would exit the bottom and moves your relationship with them to the center of that focus. This illustrates that they are a crucial part of your overall momentum and growth.

By creating strategies that put more emphasis on customer care and leveraging customer word of mouth, brands will begin to create an organizational shift to customer relationship management that can enable them to build and grow satisfied customers.

The age of data privacy

Data privacy made headlines once again in June 2018, when California passed a privacy law similar to the European Union’s policies that will give users more control about how companies use and share their personal data. The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 will take effect Jan. 1.

As the enforcement date approaches, many concerns have been voiced. In fact, the Association of National Advertisers recently called upon California’s attorney general to clarify several aspects of the state’s privacy law by issuing regulations that would make compliance more marketer-friendly.

As the debate heats up and the clock ticks closer to 2020, one thing remains clear: Data privacy laws in the United States are getting started, and marketers should follow the topic closely.

The future of voice search

One of the top digital marketing trends of 2019 is the continued rise of voice search. By next year, 50 percent of searches will be by voice, and 30 percent of them will be without a screen. Within three years, it’s anticipated that 55 percent of households will have a smart speaker.

As voice search continues to increase in popularity, the terms and phrases users are searching continue to get longer and more conversational. Brands need to adjust the content they’re developing to fit these queries, which they can do by keeping in mind what users are searching for, as well as the fact that mobile voice searches are three times more likely to be locally based. Writers need to create content that answers users’ questions in a conversational way using long-tail phrases that are localized when possible.

The golden age of podcasts

What’s old is new again. There are many reasons podcast listening is on the rise. Podcasts give consumers information and entertainment in bite-size chunks, while at the same time allowing for deeper dives into a variety of subjects.

As of 2018, half of American homes listen to a podcast. It’s the reason brands are turning to podcasts for high reach and engagement — from sponsoring popular podcasts to producing them.

If your brand is considering sponsoring or launching a podcast, consider your goals as a starting point. Is it to increase your brand’s authority on a subject? Grow your business? Establish brand affinity? Your goals should inform the strategy in which you leverage the “golden age” of podcasts to engage with your audience this year.

The rise of social media stories

In October 2013, Snapchat introduced Snapchat Stories. The idea was simple: Snap a photo, put it on your Story and your friends can view it as much as they’d like before it expires and disappears forever in 24 hours. Little did Snapchat know, they were starting a revolution that would become one of the hottest trends for marketers in 2019.

Fast-forward, and other platforms have now adopted a form of Stories. In August 2016, Instagram hopped on board with Instagram Stories. A year later, in March 2017, parent company Facebook introduced Facebook Stories. YouTube is testing YouTube Reels, and LinkedIn has started rolling out Campus Playlists.

Why have so many platforms added Stories, you ask? Users love it. It’s long been known that attention spans are short on social media, and Stories take advantage of just that. They’re easily snackable and visually compelling pieces of content that refresh every day.

We expect social media Story use to continue to rise in 2019, so if you haven’t done so, it might be time to consider adding Stories to your marketing strategy.

Experience-centric, personalized targeting with geofencing

Most of us continuously are connected to our online world. Whether that be in the office, picking up the kids from school or driving to watch Beyonce in concert, we have our cellphones with us. And because we’re always on the go, innovation in targeted marketing is now more popular than ever, with one rising to the top: Geofencing.

Even big brands are hopping on board. In late 2018, Burger King encouraged their customers to make a pit stop at the customer’s nearest McDonald’s location where they used geofencing capabilities to unlock a Burger King Whopper for one cent and give easy access directions to the nearest Burger King to redeem the offer. This controversial and innovative campaign leveraged their competitor to ultimately outperform them, a brilliant marketing tactic using this advanced technology.

We expect this trend to grow as consumers come to expect a targeted, relevant and more personalized experience. Luckily, there are several types of geofencing software you can use. Salesforce and Enradius are two of the popular options.

As new digital marketing trends emerge in a technology-centric, always-connected era, it will be all about the customer journey, experience and personalization.

This article has been repurposed from Telegraph Herald on 09 May 2019.

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