3 Digital Marketing Trends You Need to Invest In Before It Is Too Late
According to the research firm eMarketer, the digital marketing industry in the world is about $187 billion now.
Well, this is a rough estimate. To be honest, if someone were to ask you how big is the digital marketing industry in the US, any other country or in the world, you probably would be lost for words. This industry is rather complex and is rapidly changing with innovations in technology.
However, we can study the data of some market metrics and come to some analysis points, like that done by eMarketer above.
For example, Alphabet (the parent company for Google) officially announced its Q2 2016 earnings at 21.5 billion – a 25% increase in constant currency revenues year over year! And in this, Google revenue from ads is worth $19.14 billion.
Another report by Nielsen says that in 2015, on an average, Facebook app and Youtube has 126 million and over 97 million unique users per month respectively. This shows the increasing popularity of social media platforms which brands can use for promoting their products and services.
In such a competitive digital marketing industry, it is important to ride the trends and succeed in your marketing efforts.
Mobile is the Way
Worldwide, the number of smartphones are forecast to cross the 2 billion mark, according to a Statista report. Look at the graphic representation below.
In terms of smartphone penetration, US leads the world with 83%, followed by UK and Germany. Check the chart below:
However, in terms of absolute numbers of smartphones used, China is way ahead by virtue of its huge population. The forecast is that by 2018, half of the Chinese population will use a smartphone, and by 2019 that number will rise to 690 million.
Now, according to Google’s Internal Data (based on 10 countries including the US and Japan, 2015) – 39% search on a smartphone only, 32% search on a computer only, and 28% search on more than one type of device.
This same information was espoused by Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai at his conference call with investors after the Q2 2016 earnings announcement of his parent company, Alphabet. He also hinted at the future that Google is working towards. “While today, mobile is the engine that drives us, the company is looking to machine learning for future growth. Through investment in AI, we are investing in our future.”
So from the perspective of consumers, one trend is obvious – the rapid growth of mobile internet and corresponding mobile marketing.
Skyrocketing Popularity of Messaging Apps
Today, messaging apps are usurping email and texts as the preferred mode of communication. The reason is that they combine the key USPs of both the platforms: searchability feature of emails and the quick, conversational style of texts.
According to a news report published in Nasdaq, 66% of consumers prefer to reach brands or be reached by them through messaging apps. Of course, what apps they prefer vary based on their locations.
Brands can use Conversational Marketing or Conversational Commerce – a term coined earlier this year, to interact with customers in a conversational manner. For example, instead of simply displaying ads, a clothing brand can interact with its customers with personalised messages like “What is your size?”, “Which color of shoes are you looking for?” or “When would you like to come over and pick your items up?” through Facebook Messenger or Whatsapp.
Recently, Google too entered the app market with the launch of Allo. The app integrates information like restaurant recommendations with features like Google Calendar and predicts your responses. This is the next level of AI and looks promising to businesses.
Is Customer Service Going the Artificial Intelligence Way?
The consumer today is complex. Her buying decision journeys through different platforms and channels as she consumes different formats of content. The real challenge is to capture her attention at the right time or at the correct points in the sales funnel. On putting this context according to business parlance, it reiterates that customer service and engagement is more important now for successful business.
Companies spend millions of dollars to improve their customer service through training their employees and setting up customer care centres. However, the trend today is to go for AI or Artificial Intelligence.
Theoretically, AI can deliver on the promise of efficient and quick customer service and engagement with minimal errors. AI is based on the ability to interact intelligently with the user. And in order to do that, we should have a robust system that understands what an input means. Like the travel portal Expedia wondered in one of their blogs: “If someone says in casual conversation, “I want to go to Paris,” we make an assumption that they mean Paris, France instead of Paris, Illinois. Similarly, “Show me a flight on Friday” likely means for the next Friday on the calendar instead of one random Friday next month…these options are nearly endless.”
We are in a stage where many companies have developed bots for the purpose of customer service – though, we dare say, they are not cent percent faultless. For example – Siri from Apple, Cortana from Microsoft, Watson from IBM, Facebook’s Bot Engine for Messenger, and Google Assistant. However, what we have achieved so far is the harbinger of the future that customer service will be across verticals and geographies.
For small businesses, it may not be possible to have their entire customer service go the artificial intelligence way, as of now. But the owners of such businesses can definitely use AI-based apps to streamline their work activities and get competitive advantage. Examples – Amy by x.ai, Quill by Narrative Science, DataRPM, Textio and SalesforceIQ.
Today, we have many technologies to help us plan our marketing strategy across a customer’s lifecycle – be they the search marketing insights tools, marketing automation tools, web personalization tools, programmatic tools, or cloud services. The challenge lies in our expertise to know what to use and how to do it.