03 July 2017

Recent trends in Digital Marketing

The various trends in digital marketing generally of the recent times are:

  • Big Data (including market and customer insight and predictive analytics)
  • Content marketing Communities (Branded niche or vertical communities)
  • Conversion rate optimisation (CRO) / improving website experiences
  • Display (Banners on publishers, ad networks social media including retargeting and programmatic)
  • Internet of Things (IoT) marketing applications
  • Marketing Automation (incl CRM, behavioural Email marketing and web personalisation)
  • Mobile marketing (Mobile advertising, site development and apps)
  • Paid search marketing, e.g. Google AdWords Pay Per Click
  • Online PR (including influencer outreach)
  • Partnerships including affiliate and co-marketing
  • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO or organic search)
  • Social media marketing including Social CRM and Social Customer Care
  • Wearables (e.g. Apple Watch, activity trackers, augmented reality)

1. Content marketing trends- Content marketing has been in the top 3 for the last 3 years we have run this post, so we focus a lot on how to create an integrated content marketing strategy through advice in our content marketing toolkit.
Our research with HubSpot, illustrated in the Competing on Content infographic, shows that more businesses are now using a strategic approach (40%), so this is a trend we can expect to see continuing in 2017. We can also expect that there will be more focus on Measuring Content Marketing ROI as the cost and competition within content marketing increases.

2. Big Data-
As defined in our question, Big Data marketing applications include market and customer insight and predictive analytics.
The 3Vs of Big Data show why this is a key trend selected by many, who have experienced the increase in volume, real-time data and data formats in their business and want to exploit the value to increase sales through personalisation on websites and through email marketing through predictive analytics – a topic we have covered many times on our blog. It’s also closely tied into machine learning where Big Data is mined to identify propensity to convert given different customer characteristics and behaviour.

3. Marketing Automation (including CRM, behavioural email marketing and web personalisation) –
Like content marketing, marketing automation has been in the top 3 for the last 5 years we have asked this question. Many businesses still have potential for improving their automation as our research on the State of Marketing Automation shows.

4. Mobile marketing (Mobile advertising, site development and apps)-
Mobile was in the top 3 three years ago, but as more companies have adopted mobile responsive web design and email templates they have seen less need to focus on it, or at least there are fewer opportunities for growth.
Mobile also has a large impact on search marketing as Google vigorously follows its mobile first mantra. To me, it’s a somewhat misleading mantra, since the reality is that many web users are still using desktop, laptop and tablet devices and there is a danger with mobile responsive
designs that conversion on higher resolution screens may fall if mobile optimised. Instead, leading companies are looking at adaptive mobile design approaches which have the benefit of serving more relevant, contextual content and CTAs for users and reducing load times.

5. Social media marketing including Social CRM and Social Customer Care –

Trends in social media marketing are often controlled by the efforts of the social networks to monetise and this has seen Facebook and Instagram, in particular make changes such that businesses now need to ‘pay to play’ to get the reach needed to have an impact. They have continued to innovate in their targeting and remarketing options.

6. Internet of Things (IoT) marketing applications-
IoT is one of the most important marketing technology applications of the last 2-3 years, but it is of most relevance to devices makers and retailers, so it is relatively high-up in this ranking of priorities.

7. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO or organic search) –
Mobile marketing SEO techniques will be particularly important in 2017 with Google’s recent announcements about the mobile index and AMP

8. Wearables-
Wearables are one of the hottest consumer consumable commodities (e.g. Apple Watch, activity trackers, augmented reality)

9. Paid search marketing –
Google AdWords is the most important form of Pay Per Click and here Google has been pursuing their ‘Mobile-first’ strategy by building out these features.

10. Online PR (including influencer outreach) –
Online PR today is inextricably linked with Content marketing, SEO and Social media, or it should be. But this doesn’t get a top rating since the others are important.

11. Communities-
These are branded niche or vertical communities.

12. Display advertising –
This includes banners on publishers, ad networks social media including retargeting and programmatic.

13. Partnerships including affiliate and co-marketing –
A neglected aspect of digital marketing, perhaps unsurprisingly unsexy.

Other trends included are:

This is an interesting category since readers can tell us what we’re missing. Suggestions here include:

  • Account Based Marketing (ABM) – relevant for B2B marketers targeting large accounts we have a new guide in our B2B toolkit on this early in the new year.
  • Digital OOH (Out-of-home) – A surprising one for the number one technique
  • Employee advocacy and feedback – interesting to see the internal marketing perspective – again surprising to see as the main growth point
  • Machine Learning – as mentioned at the top of the article
  • Omnichannel and multichannel attribution – both good for reminding us that it is the way that these channels work together to support each other that is often most important – the reason why many members are looking for advice on an integrated marketing strategy