In the fast-paced world of digital marketing, new trends quickly overshadow proven methods of connecting and interacting with consumers. Often, users determine these trends — and it's up to digital marketers to keep pace.
As user preferences continue to evolve, tactics that didn't work in the past might be worth another look. Here are five examples of strategies that are gaining traction among digital marketers and the audiences they seek.
1. Mobile marketing.
Industry watchers have whispered about the transition to a wholly mobile marketplace for some time, but it's never come totally to fruition. Through it all, desktop has maintained its status as king of e-commerce. That worldwide reign could be very close to coming to an end.
The majority of searches performed in more than 10 countries (including the United States and Japan) take place on mobile devices. To adapt, Google introduced its mobile-first index. This rank will become more important for businesses going forward as they optimize their sites for mobile.
It's imperative that marketers understand how mobile search works, especially with regard to e-commerce. Conversion rates remain lower for smartphones versus tablets, so businesses should focus on improving those rates in 2017.
2. Facebook auto-bidding.
Facebook auto-bidding still is a relatively new concept, and like anything in its infancy, it has some kinks to work out.
Essentially, this feature allows marketers to bid on the most important asset Facebook can offer to advertisers: real estate. Marketers enter an online auction in which millions of global users bid on impressions.
Manual bids long have been the preferred method to place bids, but Facebook's optimization update means auto-bidding quickly is gaining ground. As business leaders evaluate this new opportunity, they should consider their budget, audience and means of ad delivery.
Since 2008, Magento has been the undisputed first choice for creating and maintaining online stores. Yet Shopify held a presence throughout the Magenta era, despite being one of the oldest shopping platforms. Then, in June 2016, Shopify surged. Seemingly overnight, Shopify went from scraping along the bottom of the pack to overtaking Magento as the No. 1 shopping platform in terms of search queries and consumer interest.
There are many reasons why this happened. Shopify tends to be easier to use than Magento and has a number of fantastic apps. It's also the natural choice for businesses that keep a brick-and-mortar storefont in addition to the online platform. Shopify point of sale (POS) readily can manage both.
4. Content made for SEO.
Search-engine optimization (SEO) is among the most-scrutinized facets of digital marketing. One day, it’s the face and future of the business. The next, it's under fire as the worst kind of digital marketing.
SEO has been inherently spammy in the past, with aggressive keywords stuffed into bland, unoriginal content. But the future is brighter and more inclusive. Companies are adding an increasing variety of media in their SEO campaigns, from photos and videos to full-blown fake companies. If SEO is to survive, businesses must find creative ways to get to the top of search-engine results pages (SERS) while continuing to engage their customer base.
5. YouTube ads.
YouTube ads have come a long way since their inception. To many, it seemed the company misstepped by slapping an advertisement on every-other-video regardless of the content's quality. Recently, though, YouTube has focused on contextual advertising.
For example, a company might want to run its new-car ads only on test-drive videos or automotive channels. It makes sense for advertisers (who pay good money to be featured) as much as it makes sense for YouTube (which has to answer to advertisers if viewers constantly skip their ads).
In the future, YouTube ads will get smarter and more sensitive, so digital marketers and advertisers can better pinpoint potential customers.
In digital marketing, the future always is now. If you think you've got it all figured out, wait a day. This makes the industry frustrating at times but exciting, too — and extremely satisfying once you figure out what works and what’s no longer useful.