Examine these digital marketing solutions for ways to increase leads and sales.
At the start of each year, there is still a lot of buzz about digital media trends and marketing innovation. And rightly so, because looking ahead to the year’s innovations in digital marketing, technology, and channels will help marketers find potential opportunities that agile companies and marketers can take advantage of… if they know where to look and what questions to ask.
For the past ten years, I’ve analyzed the digital marketing environment to help marketers identify the digital marketing patterns they should pay attention to in the future.
In this year’s Smart Insights blog guidance, I’ll discuss what I see as the major trends through our RACE customer lifecycle system, which identifies 25 core digital marketing practices that companies can use to drive growth through:
- Improved digital scope
- Increasing your audience’s digital interaction
- To better incorporate digital marketing into marketing operations, better manage it.
In order to expand in the coming year, improve your digital marketing strategies.
Many companies do not have a prepared strategy to take advantage of the new and evergreen digital marketing strategies, according to our Managing Digital Marketing Research 2020. Our RACE digital marketing process makes creating a digital marketing strategy easy.
What digital marketing patterns should we be looking at right now?
I believe it is important for all companies to consider how they can use the 70:20:10 rule of marketing focus to leverage the current marketing patterns and implement the latest developments. Avinash Kaushik, a Google digital marketing evangelist, explains the advantages of this mindset:
We’ll spend 70% of our time focusing on items we already know are important to our company. We’re attempting to break the mold by pushing the limits by 20%. You enter the realm of the known unknowns. And the final ten percent is pure wacky experimentation. Trying to find out how to do difficult stuff that we’re more likely to fail at than succeed at. For each win, however, you gain a competitive advantage.
As a result, testing technologies can not only help you push the boundaries, but it can also help you boost your digital marketing efforts.
To be honest, the trends in digital marketing strategies are very consistent year after year, with a lot of interest in search, social, and email marketing, as well as new web design and content marketing techniques to reach and convert our audiences. Traditionally, technological advancements have been the driving force behind digital marketing developments, such as improvements in:
- Digital platforms: Innovations by Facebook Inc. (FB), Apple Inc. (AAPL), Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), Google (GOOG), and Amazon.com Inc.’s FAMGA businesses (AMZN)
- Martech vendors: Specifically, the major marketing cloud players with the largest R&D budgets, such as Salesforce, Oracle, and HubSpot, as well as companies with a broader user base aimed at SMEs, such as Mailchimp.
- Independent standards bodies include the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), of which Tim Berners-Lee is a member and current leader; the Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group (WHATWG); and the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).
Normally, patterns are unaffected by economic factors, but this year is different. Of course, the major factor influencing improvements in marketing spending in 2021 is the global devastation caused by COVID-19. Although there have been winners in some sectors where demand has remained stable or even increased, many others have declined.
Low-cost or no-cost growth strategies are more relevant than ever before, regardless of industry. This may explain why the AI-based techniques I’ll discuss in this article are so unpopular, according to our findings.
The most recent hype cycle in digital marketing technology
Here are the key marketing concepts that I believe will be most relevant for marketers considering their adoption of digital technology in 2021 and beyond, based on an analysis of the current hype cycle and my suggestions on developments in this post:
- Conversational marketing is becoming increasingly common in modern martech. On Smart Insights, we’ve spoken a lot about conversational marketing, and it’s one of the 6 pillars of successful digital marketing that we cover in our free digital marketing strategy template.
- Consumer privacy and consent is a significant emerging technology on the marketing curve, but it’s surprising that it’s not on both curves, particularly because one of the most significant developments in advertising in 2020 will be Apple, Google, and Mozilla’s efforts to increase privacy controls for their users in their browsers, which threatens to dramatically disrupt Facebook, Google,and the ad networks and Mozilla’s advertising models.
- The use of AI and machine learning in marketing has reached a ‘trough of disillusionment.’ This is consistent with findings from our research on managing digital marketing among marketers, which indicate a lack of enthusiasm for AI and Machine Learning adoption despite the large number of vendors offering AI solutions. Our research also reveals that many companies have a low degree of digital marketing sophistication, with only c10-20% of businesses with the size and expertise to deploy AI actually doing so. More information on 15 AI marketing applications can be found in our infographic.
- Personification is a term used to describe personalization. This, too, is now in the ‘trough.’ The analysis below discusses why Gartner prefers to refer to this strategy as personification rather than the more commonly used term “personalization.”
- Marketing hubs (clouds) and email automation are on the verge of becoming mainstream. If you use a capable marketing cloud, many of the strategies mentioned in this article are already available.
- Since the innovation trigger part of the marketing curve is scarce, there are less new inventions than in previous years, implying that very few truly new technologies are emerging. Visual quest, I’m sure, has already been mentioned here. This indicates to me that tool maturity has been achieved, and that truly novel techniques will be uncommon in the future.
So, let’s get to the specific innovation guidelines, which I’ve organized by RACE customer lifecycle activities to demonstrate how new approaches can be applied to marketing activities.
Reach: Digital marketing media are being used to raise awareness.
Within media, I’ll focus on improvements to search and social media ads, which are the two most relevant platforms for advertisers – while larger brands are increasingly using programmatic display advertising.
Recommendation 1: Keep an eye on core updates and EAT.
As these four case studies on the effects of Google’s new core updates reveal, core updates had a huge impact on organic exposure for companies in certain sectors in 2020.
What webmasters should know about Google’s key updates, according to their advisory This is how Google describes it:
“Each day, Google usually releases one or more changes designed to improve our search results. Most aren’t noticeable but help us incrementally continue to improve.
We aim to confirm such updates when we feel there is actionable information that webmasters, content producers, or others might take about them”.
Expertise, Authority, and Trust signals are all influenced by content quality, according to the advisory and more recent case studies. Anyone serious about competing in search should obtain a copy of the most recent search quality guidelines and use them as a benchmark for their content.
Recommendation 2: When it comes to organic search, look for openings in structured data and the functionality of the SERPs.
Bill Slawski is someone I admire for keeping up with the new Google patents and inventions. So it’s worth paying attention when he says structured data will become more important and evolve.
Bluearray predicts how structured data will evolve in the future in this post. These predictions are already coming true, as we saw the first example of organized snippets in SERPs in September 2020, indicating a future pattern.
Recommendation 3: Organic search: Voice search is still common, but it won’t help most businesses.
Sorry, but I feel compelled to mention it because we still see the erroneous recommendation that voice search is the most important trend for businesses to focus on. If you think back far enough, you might recall the widely misquoted 2014 prediction that “by 2020, voice search would account for 50% of all searches.” Well, here we are in 2020, and while smart speaker usage has risen significantly, the fact is that voice-based searches on mobile and desktop have little effect on the realistic implementation of SEO for most businesses.
I agree with Cameo Digital’s assessment of voice search’s limited effect, stating that regardless of whether voice search adoption grows, the game for SEOs remains largely unchanged. They clarify that voice search entails using a spoken command to extract information from search engines, and that there are two types of voice search, each with a different type of performance. However, only the first of these is applicable to SEO:
- Type 1: When a user prefers to use spoken voice commands rather than typing a Google question. This is treated as a standard web search, with data collected in Google Search Console, and SEO performed as normal.
- Type 2: When a user wishes to receive a spoken response by using a spoken voice command. Many smart speakers, such as Google Home and Amazon Alexa, fall into this category. These searches aren’t tracked by Google Search Console and have nothing to do with SEO.
Businesses can take advantage of any voice-based shifts in search behavior by concentrating on SEO fundamentals like keyword analysis, on-page optimization best practices, structured data, and developing high-quality content with high Expertise-Authority-Trust to suit evolving search behaviors, such as more conversational queries.
If you’re targeting local buyers, I’d add that changes in keyword behavior triggered by rising local voice queries are critical to optimize for.
Recommendation #4: When using machine learning optimization in paid search, make sure to do your research.
Despite the fact that the vast majority of companies claim they don’t use machine learning internally, many will use it as an external service because it is an important part of organic and paid search, with choices in Google Ads in particular.
You may have noticed that the SMART prefix is being applied to an increasing number of Google Services. The aim is to assist companies in navigating the complexities of ad targeting in order to improve ROI while also preserving Google’s ad revenue. Any of them need to be approached with caution. Smart Goals in Analytics, for example, assesses what constitutes a good marketing result rather than the company defining it, which is preferable.
Google Ads has launched smart promotions to make the complicated task of managing Google Ads for small businesses easier. However, the lack of input and control over campaigns are significant drawbacks, and small businesses can outgrow this solution.
Some see AI as a loss of power, and they are correct in questioning the ROI. However, in my opinion, companies should accept Machine Learning and build the skills necessary to comprehend it. Google’s Smart Bidding, for example, will help handle bidding through vast product inventories on Google Shopping, but we have to wonder how smart it really is. This article from Precis introduces some of the processes behind Google Shopping’s Smart Bidding and proposes a realistic approach to increasing inventory performance. This White Shark Media article provides further examples of machine learning research approaches that marketers can master rather than treating Machine Learning as a black box.
Recommendation 5: As ad networks evolve, ad optimization research becomes more advanced.
With Facebook and Google accounting for more than two-thirds of all digital ad spend, optimizing for these platforms is becoming increasingly relevant. Despite this, according to Boston Consulting Group study, only 9% of marketers can reliably predict the effects of a 10% increase in marketing spend.
Understanding diverse consumer journeys through mobile and desktop devices, as well as various ad placements, requires the use of attribution and creative optimization. For instance, on Facebook alone, an ad might appear in a number of places, including the News Feed, Instagram Stories, Reels, and Instant Articles.
Recommendation #6: Examine how social media adoption is evolving, especially for video social platforms like TikTok and Reels.
Social network use has inevitably increased since the pandemic, changing the relative relevance of social networks as a means of raising awareness. According to this recent study from Global Web Index, TikTok is a prominent social video network that has continued to rise in popularity around the world.
TikTok will be a site to watch in 2021 as its service is reshaped since its acquisition, with the company widening its promotional options and publishing stories on how its platform will improve purchasing intent. Facebook has responded by releasing Instagram Reels, and it will be fascinating to see how marketers use these short-form video platforms.
Recommendation #7: Create a strategy to help with digital marketing transformation.
Many companies are now implementing a digital transformation initiative to address these issues and to take advantage of the opportunities for business growth offered by digital marketing.
The aim of digital transformation is to create a roadmap for improving digital technologies and skills while also combining ‘always-on’ digital marketing activities with brand and product marketing.
In 2021 and beyond, digital marketing will be a big deal.
Best of luck in seizing the Dubai digital marketing opportunities in 2021 and beyond! I’ll continue to cover the developments on my LinkedIn profile during the year, so interact with me if you’d like these tips or to ask me some questions.
Call Prism Digital Marketing Solutions to help you with your Digital Marketing Solutions in 2021 and beyond!