To be competitive means you must stay ahead of your opposition and be sensitive to changes in technology and digital marketing. We have reached a point where the commercialisation of cyberspace has an almost limitless reach. Competition is fierce and predicting future trends can be daunting.
We can simplify this discussion by breaking it down into two components:
(1) The most popular platforms of 2016, and
(2) The key trends operating within and across these platforms.
In order, the 11 most popular social media platforms in Australia, 2016:
The following five trends enable marketers to build an ongoing dialogue with their customers, and in turn will redefine the way customers perceive and interact with brands.
You might have heard the phrase ‘personalised marketing at scale’ (if you haven’t, that’s OK – but you might want to familiarise yourself with it). Consumers are exposed to hundreds of regurgitated taglines and visuals everyday in the congested world of social media, and evidence suggests that consumers now demonstrate a preference for highly relevant, targeted content.
Personalised marketing at scale is the process by which brands launch multiple, personalised messages by synthesising meta-data across thousands of potential customers, producing ad-campaigns that are customised and ultra-evocative due to their consumer relevance.
Brands can tailor content based on consumer behaviour, demographics, hobbies and purchase history. In a landscape defined by sheer message quantity, this trend confirms that the best way to be heard is to change your message quality. The ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach is now obsolete.
Video watching and in-the-moment content have undergone an enormous surge in popularity, and these trends have created a perfect-storm for live-streaming. Periscope is the most popular live-streaming platform, allowing users to record and share a moment of their lives with viewers, and Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat have been quick to follow suit.
Snapchat is the third most popular social media platform for 18 – 34 year olds and brands are taking advantage of this trend. Arguably, in-the-moment content represents a shift away from the rehearsed nature of advertising as we know it, appealing to millenials’ wish for authenticity, rather than hollow white-noise.
It’s no secret that the best way to sell a product is to strike when the iron is hot. For marketers, this means adding Buy Now features directly to social media.
Facebook and Pinterest have championed the integration of the social shopping-cart, now making it easier than ever for consumers to act on impulse. Marketers who incorporate sales capability directly on to social media have enjoyed higher conversion rates. This highlights the importance of seamless sales processes whereby consumers hardly notice when they move from Point A to Point B.
Local SEO (that is, letting Google know who, what and where your business is) has become increasingly important, and with the launch of Google My Business, this trend is only going to become more vital to the visibility of local businesses.
There is mounting evidence to suggest that having your business appear in a local search listing will boost customer engagement. Research conducted by Google suggests that 50 per cent of people who engage in a mobile search will visit a store within a day, so it goes to show that if you want to get a little more ‘out’ of Google (by way of business-promotion) you have to put a little more in.
Nowadays, mobile optimisation is not optional – it’s a necessity. As of 2015, mobile overtook desktop as the primary screen for social media usage in 10 countries including Japan and the USA. Audience presence spans multiple devices and what’s more, Google recently updated their algorithm so that mobile-friendly websites are awarded priority in search lists. So if your website is not mobile-friendly, you’re already behind.
These trends go to show that while digital evolution is subtle, seemingly small developments have massive rippling effects. It’s important to remember that whatever you do, do it strategically. Scattergun, ad-hoc marketing never works. Maximise your potential by building an integrated strategy that connects online marketing, offline marketing and your business culture. In this way, customer engagement will move from a series of stilted, one-off interactions to a flowing, two-way dialogue.
Posted by Chris Garrett on 23 September 2016