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Three Reasons Why Digital Marketers Can Win This Year And Beyond

In many ways, digital marketing has proven itself indispensable to today’s marketers, and it’s moving the marketing industry in a direction filled with innovative technologies, social media connectivity and endless possibilities. This year, digital advertising spending is predicted to surpass traditional advertising for the first time, according to eMarketer. Traditional advertising and marketing don’t seem to be delivering the results they once did, which appears to be due to the increased attention that consumers are giving to digital platforms.

In honor of the latest digital marketing milestone, here are three reasons why digital marketers have more opportunities to win this year and beyond:

Social Media Innovations 

We’ve watched as social media has been used to keep in touch with people, form new connections and promote brands. Innovations along the way have created a digital social world where marketers can experiment with new marketing strategies, captivate audiences and compete at high levels to reign supreme. Facebook’s introduction of augmented reality adsInstagram TV and in-app checkout, for example, have given marketers compelling new ways to connect with their audiences.

With social media maturing, there are large platforms (like Facebook) that now represent mass audiences and smaller networks that engage tight niches. Identifying the right platforms to best engage with your target audience is the key to success for earned and paid social media campaigns. For example, Strava is a social network for runners and cyclists that launched a new “streaks” feature designed to encourage users to commit to athletic challenges. It’s easy to imagine an athletic brand doing well with Strava users. Thinking more broadly, brands that use encouraging messages to connect with active adults may also find their engagement wins on Strava. Vero, an alternative to networks like Instagram and Facebook, and Steemit, a sharing platform like Reddit, are other examples of smaller networks successfully engaging tight niches.

Whether your focus is broad or narrow, the key to social media success is staying authentic and becoming part of the community. You can establish a strong presence by positively engaging with followers through comments and posts and by always remembering to keep your brand voice in mind before interacting in order to remain true to the brand’s vision and keep a healthy line of communication open.

A Strong Generational Shift In The Use Of Technology

As the digital savviness of older generations vastly improves and social media remains a key platform for news and connectivity, digital immigrants and digital natives are slowly becoming one audience. The percentage of people aged 65 and older using at least one social media site grew from 7% in 2010 to 40% this year, according to the Pew Research Center. More than three-quarters of 55- to 64-year-olds use smartphones, and 85% use the internet. What was once a clear difference in online engagement between a 60-year-old and a 26-year-old consumer is now hazy, as both can be engaged with influencers, authentic content and the right messaging.

I believe it’s still important to understand how different generations engage online. Many members of Generation Z, for example, seem to prefer personalization to privacy. One study found that while 38% of Gen Zers “prefer online ads to be related to their browsing history or entertainment preferences, the cohort is less concerned about privacy, with 32% saying they aren’t concerned that companies will use their personal online data in a way that could harm them.” Conversely, baby boomers are more restrictive when sharing personal information.

Ultimately, it’s important to identify your audience and understand that not everyone within each generation reacts the same. Both factors are key when trying to engage different generations online.

Marketing Technology Has Just Scratched The Surface

Artificial intelligence and automation continue to entice digital marketers. The development of these advanced tools has significantly enhanced marketers’ abilities to target specific audiences, personalize messages and measure the success of campaignsAnd with just 51% of marketers using artificial intelligence (AI) as of March 2018, it’s clear that marketing technology has plenty of room to grow.

Today’s marketers have the option to avoid an influx of data and instead use AI to analyze information and structure insights in a way that makes them actionable. Google has notoriously been using AI — machine learning-powered offerings include responsive search ads and bidding tools — to help marketers maximize campaigns.

Marketing automation, which can put AI-based insights into action, can be used in almost every critical point of marketing and sales funnels. Many brands are investing in this technology — one report found that “marketing automation software was a $3.3 billion market in the U.S. in 2017,” and that 67% of marketing leaders were using a marketing automation platform.

AI also helps marketers analyze performance before campaigns are launched. Predictive modeling shows advertisers what audiences, media channels and messages could come together with the most success, as the model uses data to quickly test multiple possible scenarios and give marketers a prediction of the best future outcome. But as of 2017, less than a quarter of the organizations surveyed for one study were using predictive analytics. I believe this indicates that advancement in marketers’ use of predictive modeling is still to come.

For marketers who want to take the early lead, the time for predictive analytics adoption is now. The first step is to partner with a company that’s already using AI, automation and predictive modeling, and absorb as much insight as possible before trying to deploy AI yourself. Learning from your partner’s past mistakes and successes can help prepare you for such advanced technology and determine which strategies will work best for your marketing objectives.

Digital marketing has provided businesses with stronger and more cost-effective marketing opportunities that consistently deliver results. It’s also given marketers the tools and insight needed to innovate and succeed within ever-evolving industries. The possibilities for future innovations are seemingly endless, and as marketers, that’s music to our ears.

Originally posted by Joe Marinucci

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