5 Rising Trends in Digital Marketing

The past year has without a doubt yielded a wide array of growth across tech that’s had a direct impact across various industries. Arguably, that impact has not been felt more by any other group than marketers and digital advertisers. Why is this? Well, the world is turning to screens more than ever. Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, the average person has spent more than 13 hours per day staring at a screen. Marketers are in the business of garnering attention, so the demand to meet the consumer digitally has become more important than ever.

So, how have trends evolved during our time in quarantine? We’ve run into a few scenarios over our 15 years of experience in the digital marketing space. Our focus is to share these ideas with the hope of helping you think critically about your existing strategies. Trends are an integral part of understanding the future, so you can prepare in the now.

We’re going to take a look at the top 5 trends on the rise in the predictive marketing space.

Video Search for Marketing

Performance marketers focus on being able to understand how their creative assets are performing and creating a measurement framework around it. However, this tends to cause resistance toward using video as a creative due to the limitations around measurement.

This trend has quickly changed in the past few years – and more so in the last couple of years. Digital video when done right and used in the most effective part of the customer journey is more effective than ever. Ultimately the goal of using video is to capitalize on the billions of opportunities on the web to engage with your audience.

With video serving as a means to connect, about 51% say that video allows them to understand others better. This is an opportunity for brands to create a better understanding of who they are by taking a look at search queries and creating video content that aligns with the necessity to learn and interact. Video will continue to serve as a tool for education, reflection and connection, so we urge you to find new opportunities to leverage it as a tool in your SEM and SEO strategies. For help understanding how to leverage this opportunity, sign up for a free consulting session. We can talk about your business and maybe even help you brainstorm some new ideas.

Generative AI

While this can often seem as a far-fetched tool for most marketing professionals, Generative AI is here to stay. But, what is it? In short, it’s a type of artificial intelligence that uses machine learning and other related technologies to create algorithms that can be used to generate artificial, but highly realistic images and video content.

Image Source Rosebud.ai
This may seem too futuristic, but it can be used by creative teams and businesses to save money and time creating campaigns that would otherwise be very costly. During COVID-19, many creative studios were unable to go on set for fear of spreading the virus. Campaigns came to a screeching halt forcing marketers to find new ways to create fresh content for their clients. Many creatives were able to use generative AI to help them create new visual content from scratch without having to involve crews of art directors, producers and all the time that goes into creating assets for a new campaign.

Generative AI doesn’t just apply to creative teams, data-driven marketers are leveraging generative AI to create personalized videos capitalizing on existing data points. By using location data and audience segmentation, this technology can help with the translation of video content to multiple languages and aid in the personalization of video using a customer’s name or other specific details relating to a conversion or transaction. Additionally, many products on the market allow you to create business and sales videos with the click of a button.

Customer Data Ethics

Ethics is always and will always be a topic of conversation when it comes to the use of personal data in marketing. However, 2020 really showed us that privacy concerns are at an all-time high, prompting marketers to consider customer data ethics.

A perfect example of this increased scrutiny on the use of data is the Apple vs. Facebook privacy wars. Just the mere phrase ‘iOS 14’ has caused many sleepless nights for marketers and their tech counterparts alike. Business models of the past chose to prioritize engagement over all other tactics and now they’re being forced to find new ways to target users without relying on their data. Ads and reporting will be affected and while we’ve yet to see the overall impact on our industry, the decline in customer trust is already here.

2019 survey showed that only 1 in 2 Americans believe that tech companies have a positive impact on their lives. While this isn’t indicative of brand perception, it should prompt marketers to take a look at how they’re using their own customer’s data and the ethics or rules they plan to enforce surrounding it. Every business manager and marketer needs to understand the power they hold and how it should be used in a way that enforces the best interest of the customer. Remember to listen to your customers so you’ll understand what’s most important to them always.

Data Clean Rooms

Speaking of data, have you heard of a data clean room yet? A data clean room is a virtual “safe” space where insights gleaned from tech giants like Google, Facebook and Amazon are shared in an “aggregated” manner rather than at a customer-level. Still lost? In short, a marketer gets to see snapshots of first-party data that can then be matched with data from the “clean rooms” to determine inconsistencies and adjust strategies to ensure they’re not over-serving ads to the same audiences. Theoretically, an advertiser should be able to see where duplicated reach is happening across each platform and help dedupe data. The caveat with all this is that none of that aggregated data can leave the clean room, so as you start adding more channels outside of the clean room, you’ll probably experience some trouble gauging effectiveness and attribution.

While these types of data arrangements aren’t new, the players in this space are quickly growing and scaling quickly resulting in surging popularity. In the EU where data privacy laws are strict, they have emerged as a solution for helping ease fear of invoking scandals and enforcing more ethical campaigns that truly serve customers first, keeping their information completely private.

Demise of Cookies

We’ve all heard the dreaded news, third-party cookies are dead – or nearly dead at least. So, how do we as marketing professionals prepare for a future without cookies? Increasing data minefields, the enforcement of regulations like GDPR and CCPA are increasingly making our jobs as marketers harder, but forcing us to be more clever and creative where it counts. In the midst of all these challenges, businesses need to learn to understand their existing data better and leverage it to help create touchpoints for their multiple types of consumers.

The status quo of how online advertising is done is at a pivotal point that can ultimately help in bridging existing data gaps causing less than ideal experiences across the web. Here are some new alternatives to third-party cookies to consider:

  • Universal ID – Launched by ID5, an independent digital advertising agency, the neutral IDs are meant to be shared with multiple advertising stakeholders to create a common framework. This solution works because it isn’t on a browser’s immediate radar and can be strictly based on user consent and publisher preferences.
  • People-based or ID-based Marketing – Media agencies are looking to these types of solutions in hopes of diminishing their existing reliance on third-party cookies. Instead of relying on cookied data, they can now use unique identifier data like name, address and email from users with consent, to drive audience understanding and create cross-device targeting strategies with more effective measurement. This approach is heavily reliant on consent and the idea that brands should own their own data and tech, which puts more responsibility on brands to manage privacy concerns.
  • Retargeting – While this isn’t new, looking at your existing customers and focusing on improving the loyalty stages will grow in importance. If you want a fool-proof method of ensuring conversions, retargeting can never go wrong. Be sure to focus on the stages and reasons to retarget. We expect brands to look more at their customer experience to truly understand why people are interested in their brands in the first place.
  • CMS Data – Yep, your CMS is about to have a moment. First-party cookies will live on allowing your CMS to track basic demographics like visits and other preferences. This data can help you create content strategies with a personalized approach that will ultimately result in better content.

While cookies won’t disappear overnight, it’s important to navigate this ‘mixed economy’ of data collection in a way that prioritizes a measurement framework. Using alternative solutions to reduce reliance on cookies is essential, but determining the ways in which publishers and agencies use that data and determine success is just as important.

Over the next year, we will see huge shifts in technology that will ultimately affect the way marketers communicate, create measurement plans and manage their tech stack to support the privacy of their customers once the last cookie crumbles. Data management platforms are sure to arise from this shift away from third-party data. We’re curious to see how this transformation impacts the perception of advertising and brands as a whole.

Worried about the impact of these changes?  Our team can help you apply an optimized agile methodology to marketing that can help you adopt new best practices, plan processes, and understand how your marketing operations fit into the larger ecosystem of tech.

Conclusion

The most important collective message in all of these trends is that marketers and advertisers need to ensure that they’re not relying on one path or technology source for data gathering. For years, we’ve ignored the elephant in the room and continue ad production without longevity in mind. The time is not to ensure you’re not just following and dismissing trends, but truly leveraging these new thoughts and ideas to devise your own business strategy and your clients too.
Without a defined strategy, any tech stack is just ones and zeroes. Whether you’re looking to simplify your tech stack, get some training or implement a custom integration. We offer technical marketing consulting solutions that can help you bring more ROI to the table. Let’s talk about starting a project this year that focuses on driving value for years to come. Contact us today to get started with a quick consultation.

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