It’s that time of the year again. We gaze into our crystal balls and foresee the future marketing trends of the online milieu (relying on the past successful ones, of course) and hope we are not wrong. If we learned anything from Einstein, it was that everything was relative, but some predictions can be made with a comfortable margin of safety.
This year, we witnessed plenty of amazing developments in marketing. While the rise of mobile-oriented strategies cannot surprise anyone endowed with a decent quantity of business wisdom, some strategies were quickly deemed astonishing.
The integration of Snapchat in your marketing campaigns just became mandatory since the “Cinco De Mayo” campaign implemented by Taco Bell. You don’t have to be a genius futurologist to see that everyone rushes over the Snap to milk its endless marketing opportunities.
But Snapchat is just the tip of the iceberg. Taking a look around, one can pinpoint at least five marketing trends that will dominate (and even change) the Internet this year.
1. Video Kills the Written Star and It Was About Time It Did
This year, video content was the Wolf of Wall Street character we all loved (and others hated). It came out with a bang, was big, flashy, loud, original, funny, snappy, reckless, mind-blowing and money-making. By this time next year, this rainmaker will turn from rock star to club owner, settle, get married with live streaming and have a fulfilling life for at least 3-5 years.
Joking aside, video marketing will continue its ascending path because of two main reasons: people love videos as they feed their (extremely) short attention span and, in all honesty, a picture is still worth a thousand words.
There were some memorable video marketing campaigns this year, and it is likely we will see even more. Of course, written content still accounts for around 80% of all content, but we now must pay attention to how we write blog posts to be read by millennials, and if this isn’t a red flag, then nothing is.
Looking at trends, let’s not forget that Facebook invests a lot in live streaming and video content, shifting the way we see marketing and advertising altogether. Add Google to the equation (and its ownership of YouTube) and you will witness game-changing in-SERP video advertising like never before.
2. Everlasting Marketing Trends: Business Storytelling
At first, this marketing strategy looked like a glorified “About us” page, but then psychology stepped in and changed the way we communicate with users. In 2014, business storytelling was deemed one of the most important marketing strategies, predicted to become huge in the next five years. The idea is that brands stop trying to sell anything, but humanize their image, voice, and personality to attract customers.
Business storytelling is the new buzzword everyone uses, but the truth is that people are sick and tired of advertising schemes (more or less smart) and the never-ending digital noise they have to live with every day. Business storytelling makes sense in the digital world as it is easier than ever before for people to genuinely engage with a company / brand they favor. A company should truly live under a rock to not understand that direct, honest, emotional and bilateral communication with real people means engagement and leads creation which ultimately translate into sales.
No matter if you choose written content, video, live streaming, pictures, the “About us” page of your website, meet & greet social events, your business story needs to play the card of emotions. There are hundreds of studies on the psychology of emotions, the psychology of business storytelling, the tricks to use, the message to tailor, and the best channels to employ – and you should do your homework vigorously because this is still uncharted territory and comes with endless possibilities.
3. Hear the Deafening Sound of App Explosion
We already hinted that mobile is all the rage right now, and it will probably make its final move on desktop navigation, dethroning it, but you need to look beyond the obvious if you want to stay ahead. If we were to follow in Google’s footsteps, we should all be smart enough to focus on mobile for the year to come, as the huge piles of money will come from this digital environment. But it’s not enough, as it is never enough in digital marketing.
Make room for apps (and in-app messaging, notifications, ads and things we haven’t invented yet), as they will dominate mobile traffic just as mobile dominates desktop traffic. We are not talking about app games but creatively tailored dedicated apps to complete and compliment the brands’ websites. Google started indexing apps, and this sets the tone for a completely new tune: apps can and will do everything a website can but in a more efficient, intuitive and accessible way. Of course, we are still far from the moment when apps will replace desktops, but if you want to stand above the digital noise, you should experiment with dedicated apps and see how your Google rankings and customer engagement behave.
4. So What Is Your Favorite Virtual Reality Playground?
It may still sound like classic science fiction, but don’t hold your breath. The $29 million Pokemon Go disruptive phenomenon again changed the game, together with Google’s Daydream project. They showed that when you mix mobility with lifestyle enhancements, people throw money at you. It will be possible to market and advertise in alternate, virtual realities and you should keep your eyes peeled to see the next big possibility for your company, even if you sell toilet paper.
You should, however, be prudent. VR and AR may prove to be just temporary fads that will fall just as fast as they have risen, but there are millions of dollars in bets placed on the success of Oculus Rift, apps, games and product placement in virtual realities.
5. Wear the Internet and Stalk People into their Homes
Do you already own a smartwatch? Well, you probably should, if not for practical reasons, at least to test its interesting marketing opportunities. Specialists agree that wearable smart devices and the Internet of Things will see a rise next year – if we are to trust the current trends. There is a present 28% users’ adoption of wearable gadgets average. Connect it with a humongous network of “connected, ” and you get the idea. According to estimates, by this time next year, the typical household will use at least five Internet-connected devices.
Now imagine that all these connected devices will give marketers unprecedented access and insights on peoples’ preferences, habits, and behaviors, generating piles of data (that arguably will be hard to manage). Is it an invasion of privacy or tailored marketing messages that specifically target people with what they want to hear, see and buy? Time will certainly tell.
Sometimes, marketing looks like casino gambling. Some strategies prove to be crazy enough to be successful, while others failed miserably and that’s why they’re called marketing trends. Nobody can offer guarantees that if you place your bets on video marketing, app development, business storytelling or VR, you will skyrocket as a business. This is where nonlinear marketing should come in, but that’s another story altogether.
So, which of these trends appeal more to you? Which of them have you already tried and which pushed your marketing efforts a step forward?
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Author: Michelle Baker
Michelle Baker is a business growth consultant and Broadband Search Contributor. Her personal experience in the tech industry have helped her write unbiased business reviews, as well as various marketing guides for high trafficked online publications, business design being one of her favorite topics. For more information and contact, reach Michelle on Twitter.