Atanu is currently the VP(Marketing) of Roosterly and has worked with some of the biggest publishers in the world.
The world is changing, and technology is taking the lead. Today, everything is going digital -- entertainment, health, real estate, banking and even currencies. This is, however, understandable. In North America alone, 89% of the population is online (subscription required).
With everything turning to digital, it means companies are also jumping online to market their businesses. And to survive the challenges of digital marketing, brands need to keep up with the latest trends. Successfully reaching one’s target audience is no longer just putting out TV and print ads. These days, social media is the new arena of digital marketers, as 3.3 billion people are active social media users.
Notably, according to January 2018 data (subscription required), 24% of the 5,700 global marketers who were surveyed revealed that social media has been an important part of their marketing for the past five years.
To keep up with the ever-changing scene, digital marketing experts need to stay in step with the evolving tech trends. Social media marketing companies like ours work tirelessly to research consumers and what makes them engage with brands. We try to find the best online solutions that will cater to our clients’ end-users’ queries in the easiest and most cost-efficient way possible -- be it by developing new technology or adapting to trends.
After much research, here are the leading digital marketing trends that are paving the way in 2018.
1. Interactive Chatbots
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Chatbots have been around for some time now. The technology, which combines the use of text, voice and messaging to converse directly with consumers, has been used longer than virtual reality. But this year, it’s taking the spotlight.
According to a 2017 report by Grand View Research, the global chatbot market is estimated to see a compound annual growth rate of 24.3% and is projected to reach $1.25 billion by 2025. In 2017, LivePerson conducted a survey of 5,000 consumers based in six countries and found that 67% of those surveyed are using chatbots for customer support. Furthermore, 38% had positive feedback, and only 11% registered negative reactions to the technology.
Messaging applications such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp also make use of messenger bots that are customized to push out products and services. They do this not only by promoting the brands, but also providing the potential user a personalized customer service experience.
The main reason why this technology is so successful is likely that it answers the consumers’ need for information quickly and accurately. Chatbots can also collect data about their users, which feeds into improving interaction with them.
Of course, much like any other technology, there are a few things to note before adopting it. Marketers should consider where to use chatbots. For example, businesses with greater Facebook engagement may want to incorporate a chatbot in their Facebook Messenger; those who have more website traffic may benefit more from website chatbots.
Nonetheless, the tech not only provides a more efficient and responsive way to deal with customers; it is also more cost-effective than hiring customer relations staff.
2. Voice Search
As more and more people are on the go, the use of voice search and voice commands is increasing. Voice assistants are empowering mobile users to access information online and do certain tasks like never before. In the U.S. alone, the use of voice assistants is expected to grow by 128.9% in 2018, compared to 2017. That’s a total of 35.6 million Americans using the service at least once a month.
While the growth is positive, it is a big challenge for businesses as well. Unlike the usual online searches with pages upon pages of results, voice searches will only give the top, most related answer to a query. Businesses want to be that one result that matches a user’s voice query.
What does this mean for digital marketers? It means optimizing content to suit the requirements of voice searches. Publish content that solves or answers consumers’ queries. It’s also important to use natural conversational language, as well as longer phrases or full sentences as keywords. This not only helps the end-user but also makes the content voice-search-friendly.
3. Integrating AI And Blockchain Technologies
Blockchain technology is already disrupting the way the world views finance and financial systems. Its power is not limited to these sectors, however. In recent years, it has already expanded to digital marketing.
Technology has allowed marketers to track where their ads are placed and ensure that real consumers, rather than automated bots, are clicking on their ads. This makes customer engagement data more reliable and makes sure brands’ marketing assets are not being put to waste.
Consumers can also benefit from the transparent nature of blockchain technology, as it gives them more control over how their personal data should be used by advertisers. When consumer trust increases, the likelihood of them sharing personal information also surges. This helps marketers and companies to know them better.
There are a few game-changing services that can help marketers effectively track marketing efforts through blockchain, making sure that every penny is being put where it’s supposed to go. While this would mean additional expenses, the return on investment makes it worth the extra dollars by making sure every ad reaches the target audience.
4. Influencer Marketing
In today’s world, where social media is ubiquitous, people tend to gravitate toward experiences that are authentic and real. And potential customers are more likely to believe a real person over an advertisement about how good a certain product or brand is. This is where influencers come in.
While influencer marketing can be very effective, it may also be costly. To get the most out of a business’s marketing budget, marketers should choose their influencers carefully and make sure the ambassadors they use cater to and reach the right consumers. Using an effective hashtag that people can easily remember and adopt will further help the campaign.
For digital marketers to become more effective, regularly assessing and evaluating strategies should be commonplace. Taking note of the latest digital marketing technologies and trends will be the driving force for success.
It’s a question that drives career planning nationwide. That seemingly harmless probe is the assumption behind interest-only assessments, which have historically dominated career guidance efforts. However, these assessments are failing employers and students.
Too often, interest assessments make people believe, “If I do what I love, the money will follow” – a message that actually can make people less successful since it narrows one’s focus and suggests an easy path.
Interest assessment and “following your passion” can lead to tunnel vision and limit exploration. Asking what people do and don’t like involves subjective interpretations influenced by societal norms and exposure. For example, kids might mistakenly believe computer jobs are for nerds or think construction jobs are for men because of stereotypes on TV or in the movies.
These biases or uninformed beliefs can be reinforced by interest assessments, leading young people to ignore entire swaths of career fields and pursue jobs that may not align with their natural abilities or the demands of the workforce. This can lead to misguided education planning and higher college debt.
Following your passion is half right. The other half requires identifying performance-measured aptitudes to build the talent pipeline and stronger communities.
The truth is, we are not always good at the things we’re interested in. This may be why Gallup data from 2017shows half of adults who pursued or completed a postsecondary degree ended up changing their major or degree type or switching institutions altogether.
At a time when student debt continues to rise and 30 percent of undergraduates change majors at least once within three years of enrolling, it’s clear we need to reassess traditional thinking about college and career planning.
If students believe computer jobs are for nerds or construction jobs are dirty, they may avoid classes and work-based learning opportunities based on these subjective interpretations, which can mean they ultimately miss out on a chance to learn about and leverage their natural talents. A 2018 report from Stanford University found that a single-passion focus creates a “close-mindedness” to new areas of interests, and the notion of “fixed interests” can easily discount and underutilize natural talents.
As co-author of an interest-based assessment used by over 20 million students, I know many schools rely solely on interest-only tools as the foundation for career guidance. And I’ve seen firsthand that those interest-only assessments not only guide students away from in-demand career opportunities, but they also fail to provide meaningful insights to inform curriculum and generate talent data needed by area employers.
Fortunately, comprehensive, technology-rich aptitude-based tools, such as the YouScience program currently employed in several states and throughout the Georgia public school system, can help set young people on a more direct path to successfully pursue meaningful career opportunities.
A 2016 statewide Georgia YouScience pilot compared 11,478 students’ aptitudes with their interest-based career recommendations. The results underscore the fact that interest-only assessments steer students away from the modern economy.
When students’ interests were the basis for career guidance, 86 percent of the recommended jobs were in fields like arts and entertainment, education, social work, and life sciences. None of the top interest-based career recommendations directed students toward high-demand fields, such as manufacturing, construction, computer programming, and engineering. Yet the YouScience aptitude assessment confirmed over 56 percent of the students had the natural talent for jobs in those high-demand fields.
Unlike interest-only assessments, aptitude measures can expand students’ awareness of career opportunities and better understand how their natural abilities align with modern careers in previously unexplored fields. In turn, this can increase students’ confidence and encourage exploration, which solidifies the connection between passion, potential, and future career satisfaction and prosperity.
Mark Cuban says one of the great lies of life is “Follow your passion.” Focusing on a limited number of careers based on interest-only assessments makes people less likely to consider new areas, which is detrimental to employers seeking the best from all of those within local communities.
When aptitude performance is measured and connected to self-reported interests, employers will find a larger worker pool capable of and interested in filling the talent pipeline.