The latest digital marketing trends, Part 02

In Part 01, we provided an overview of the critical digital marketing trends of greater personalization, the paradigm shift in security, conversational marketing, and social media commerce changes. In this segment, Part II, we’ll highlight the critical importance of video, and audio search, the role of influencers, responsible consumerism, and Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion (DEI).

Video marketing is #1

Visuals of all types are also easier to remember than written content. Incorporating visualizations like images, infographics, and—especially videos–into your marketing text increases consumer retention because visuals are more engaging and memorable for users than the written word.

Among these options, video is now unquestionably the dominant marketing medium. It is the most popular venue among consumers for learning about new products. In a recent survey, “74% of marketers reported that video has a better ROI than static imagery” (source). The evidence is clear that the rising number of video ads, channels, and live streams has resulted in superior engagement across markets.

More than 80% of businesses now use videos as one of their marketing tools (source). People watch videos worldwide, with more than 80% of internet users in the US viewing videos monthly and more than 50% of consumers watching videos daily.

Cisco estimates that in “2022, online videos will make up more than 82% of all consumer internet traffic—15 times higher than in 2017. And videos are 53 times more likely to generate first-page SERP rankings than other SEO tactics. Today, 84% of consumers have been convinced to purchase a product after watching a video. It’s no surprise that nearly all digital marketers — 93% — say that video is currently a core part of their content strategy.” (source)

All this underscores the imperative of brands integrating video product demos, webinars, streaming, and other video modalities to keep consumers engaged. This trend also applies to B2B buyers—companies eager for more videos to guide them through purchasing. Related Vlogs, product demonstrations, employee spotlights, success stories, and tutorials also boost conversion rates.

So, wherever possible, attach videos to your other marketing content to expand the reach of your brand’s products and services. Social and video commerce offers a direct path for the consumer from social media platforms to direct checkout.

YouTube is the most popular video-sharing platform for marketers, with 89 percent using it in 2021. Facebook is second, with 70 percent (source). From the outset, it’s necessary to consider the strengths and weaknesses of each platform and then incorporate the full range of those that best fit your marketing objectives. Cross-referencing with video links will reinforce the effectiveness of your marketing outreach. Finally, you can transcribe and publish video dialogue or use it as a podcast.

  • There are clear indicators that social commerce will continue to grow. North American eCommerce Agency.
  • Eighty-seven percent of e-commerce shoppers believe social media helps them make shopping decisions.
  • Thirty percent of consumers say they would purchase directly through social media platforms.

Live Video

Live video is especially popular with consumers and is now valued at over $70 billion. Rob Elide, CEO of the social media agency, Social Republic, says that “people spend three times longer watching live video than they watch pre-recorded videos. This is because when the live component is added, it makes a video more engaging as it allows for interaction, much more absorbing than just passively watching (source). Livestreams gained additional overnight momentum from the pandemic by offering a safe alternative to in-store shopping.

There are many ways to broadcast interactive marketing that are engaging and successful. Some examples are questionnaires, quizzes, and polls, which help gather information while grabbing consumer attention. In addition, immersive technology like virtual reality videos and augmented reality has opened up exciting new possibilities, allowing brands to get even more creative in garnering consumer attention.

Live Streaming

Live stream shopping is another effective option, with a proven track record in the US, China, and other countries. Live Streaming allows users to broadcast live footage over the internet to a target audience. Livestream is an effective digital marketing tool that can help you reach your audience, expand your brand, and drive more sales. Social media platforms have made live streaming cheaper and more straightforward than ever. This has proved especially effective for small businesses. While the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the success of Livestream, this modality had a large community for some time. A decisive advantage of live streaming is that viewers consume content on your time and not on their time. So, you are only engaging with people who care about your brand and find your content useful.

Surprisingly, Email Is a Rising Priority

Although not as exciting as newer options, email remains one of the essential tools in digital marketing, gaining additional investment in recent years. Why the growing popularity?

Digital technology has advanced to significantly enhance email automation, personalization, privacy, and visual appeal. It is now much easier to tailor messages to the psychographic profiles of individual recipients. Automated email ensures consistent, seamless communication between a brand and consumers. This is because it’s easy to personalize the content and frequency of email communication. Plus, by its nature, email is private, and just a few clicks away.

It’s important to understand that email requires the same consideration and planning as any other marketing tool. It should be well-crafted, interactive, and engaging. Email is essential, and what is sent to customers should follow the same high standards as any other of your marketing tools.

Visual Search and Voice Search

The incredible growth of image-focused platforms like Pinterest and Instagram demonstrates the importance of visual search. Google, Pinterest, and several other companies are investing more in visual search technology. Images are already sought for 19% of searches on Google, and 62% of millennials say they are more interested in visual search than any other new venue (source).

Also, improvements in speech recognition technology have thrust voice search to the forefront of search marketing. Current statistics show that 41% of adults use voice search at least once per day and well over 70% use voice search every year to access information about local businesses. In 2020, more than half of all smartphone users used voice search technology on their devices (source).

Influencers Continue to Grow (Even for B2B)

Influencers have successfully promoted products and services for some time, an increasing impact, especially in the digital world. What is influencer marketing? Essentially, influencer marketing is when a social media influencer shares content with followers about a particular brand’s advantages or specific favorable information about its products or services, which drives more people to your site.
Some history–in 2010, only those with a ‘celebrity’ status were considered influencers. Fast forward ten years, and even though celebrities still have a role, an ‘influencer’ can now refer to anyone with an established social media following and is considered to have ‘influence’ over their followers. Influencers who share your values and embody your brand will be more beneficial to work with as it is better to reach a smaller group that is likely to buy your product or engage with your brand, as opposed to the majority of people who don’t match your target audience. This is especially relevant for small businesses. Incorporating influencer marketing into your social media strategy can be especially beneficial as it allows you to reach a niche, engaged audience, expand your brand presence, and increase credibility and trust while improving your search engine rankings.

Influencers’ recommendations are often highly valued by their followers, so partnering with them helps your brand gain traction. Consumers trust the recommendations made by their favorite influencers. Their relationship with influencer platforms like Twitch, YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok with their tight-knit followers makes for a great marketing tool, one that continues to grow. In recent years, there has been an increased focus on influencer marketing as organic opportunities for content distribution via search and social media have declined because of new privacy standards.

Influencer marketing was valued at $13.8 billion in 2021 and continues to grow. Influencer campaigns provide context and relevance since the influencer is endorsing the product. B2B brands also continue to embrace influencers — Adobe, SAP, GE, and PWC have all taken advantage of this trend (source).

Podcasts Continue to Skyrocket in Marketing Trend

You can integrate podcasts into your marketing either through allied influencers or create podcasts of your own, especially since people enjoy podcasts from individuals and companies. Be aware, however, that podcasts require a different skill set and come with challenges, such as requiring keyword optimization through keywords, blog posts, and other SEO tactics.

Sustainability & DEI (Diversity, Equality, And Inclusion)

In recent years, brand values have become increasingly important to consumers (source). These values must be embraced at all levels of a company to appear legitimate. And it’s especially damaging when it is discovered that a company contributes to organizations that promote values contrary to what they profess.

Social responsibility is becoming just as important as being green. ”With the rise of Black Lives Matter and other social justice movements, people are no longer just expecting the brands they support to avoid harmful practices” (source). It’s now anticipated that corporations will actively fight injustice and support the causes they believe in. Brands are now expected to be ethical in all of their business practices and use their resources to be an influence for social and environmental improvement. Those that don’t are being left behind as customers choose brands that support their values.

Communicating what your company is doing to make a positive difference in the world has a greater positive impact than many marketers are aware. “Designers, business leaders, and engineers will continue to embrace inclusivity and the need for brands to reflect a broad diversity of perspectives. This will lead to increased advocacy for human interests in technology; a more intentional integration of ethics, equity, and justice into design decision-making; and the dismantling of sustained bias within algorithms, products, and services.” (source)

This increasingly translates into sponsoring or even partnering with a DEI nonprofit. As one expert said, “brands can increase their customer bases and make positive impacts by teaming with a relevant nonprofit. It’s a win-win situation where you can contribute to humanitarian efforts while improving your brand and reach. However, merely expressing your support for specific NGOs will not suffice. Consider affiliate marketing, giving the organization a portion of your revenue or profit and providing corporate funding as part of your marketing strategy.” (source).

It’s OK to issue a generic statement about your commitment to diversity, but It’s much more impactful to put these commitments into practice in concrete and meaningful ways. –Deloitte research identifies four key areas where brands can demonstrate D&I commitments: talent acquisition, talent retention, brand messaging, and community investments.

Environmental Responsibility Is Good for the Bottom Line

Google’s 2021 Year in Search report, which showed interest in “how to conserve,” “impact of climate change,” and “sustainability,” reached all-time highs. “If your company or product can speak to any of these issues, 2022 is the time to own it proudly” (source).

People gravitate towards environmentally safe products, and principled brands with younger consumers are the most willing to pay extra to buy environmentally safe products. So, incorporating green ideas can give companies a competitive advantage.

Bottom line: “Research shows that “consumers are otherwise willing to vote with their wallets and switch to brands that reflect their values. What a company believes has become as important as what a company does.” (source).

Is Your Website Up To Speed?

Because Websites are getting faster, upgrading your website is vital. Website traffic is overwhelmingly mobile; however, most websites still don’t have fully mobile-optimized experiences. With the launch of Google Core Web Vitals (source), quality design and speed will become increasingly critical. So, it’s vital that you optimize your website.