In recent years, digital marketing, compared to traditional promotion channels, has been taking a more and more important place in the structure of companies’ marketing budgets. And due to global digitalization and technology advancement, the trend will remain. Let’s talk about digital marketing trends, platforms, and their benefits.
Why digital marketing is gaining momentum
Digital marketing is the promotion of products and services by using digital technologies. Its main task is to convey brand information to consumers with the help of digital tools: search engines, social networks, applications, e-mail, and websites.
Compared to such channels as radio, television, print and outdoor advertising, etc. that are considered traditional, digital marketing emerged and became popular later – in the early 1990s. This is when the first CRM systems began to be used.
With the proliferation of personal computers, marketers have gained the opportunity to manage customer information and run online advertising campaigns. In 1994, the world saw the first interactive digital banner ad. The conversion was high – 44% of users who had seen the ad went to the manufacturer’s website.
The emergence of smartphones has changed consumer behavior patterns. Clients now seek advice from shop assistants increasingly rarely and look for information about a product on the web increasingly often. Digital tools have become the main selling channel of manufacturers, rather than sales-trained employees.
Since the early 2000s, the development of marketing automation has begun. This allows companies to segment their audiences, run personalized ads, and launch advertising campaigns in parallel across multiple channels.
Today, thanks to social media, manufacturers have more information about clients for planning their marketing campaigns.
Main trends in digital marketing
According to Gartner, the following digital marketing areas will evolve in the coming years:
1. User data security
Marketing involves the use of large amounts of information, including users’ personal data. The ethics of user data is becoming increasingly important – a firm’s actions must comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Companies that fully embrace modern ethical regulations and can guarantee the security of their clients’ data will gain an edge over competitors and ensure user loyalty.
2. Real-time marketing
Marketing messages need to meet consumer expectations, adjusting to their behavior in real-time. This will allow companies to offer relevant information and increase conversions, while marketers will be able to collect, analyze, and use the data of website visitors.
3. Artificial Intelligence
The advancement of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technologies are opening up new opportunities for marketers. AI and ML help to quickly make decisions, change marketing tactics, switch between target audiences, and adjust communication messages during campaigns according to changes in consumer sentiments. This gives digital marketing tremendous advantages over traditional marketing channels where placement has to be planned beforehand.
Geolocation plays one of the strategic roles in marketing campaigns. Using clients’ location data allows a brand to be closer to their interests, offering relevant products and services at the right time in the right place. By combining the data on a user’s experience on the website and their visit to the offline store, a company forms a comprehensive consumer portrait of this user and works with them in a more personalized way.
Personalized marketing is a strategy where the user sees those websites, ads, and banners that match their style of interaction with the brand. Content that is more relevant to the user grabs their attention. Personalization is also used for retargeting, i.e. for reminding the client about the products that they were previously interested in and encouraging them to return to the website for purchase.
Types of digital marketing
Let’s consider various options for how a business can promote its products and services and interact with customers:
1. Social media marketing (SMM)
On average, people spend about 2 hours 22 minutes daily on social media. There are up to eight different accounts per user. Among the 5.11 billion smartphone users, 3.26 billion have social media accounts.
It is important for brands to be present on the social networks that their target audience uses. Facebook, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and Instagram provide multiple marketing tools and are full-fledged digital marketing platforms. On these platforms, companies run paid targeted advertising, expand their customer base, interact with clients, receive feedback from them, work with reviews, and conduct research and polls. Companies that effectively use this digital marketing tool remain competitive.
2. Influencer marketing
Brands can partner with celebrities, bloggers, and people who are considered experts in their fields and share similar values. This is how companies attract influencers’ followers.
3. Email marketing
About 60% of consumers claim that email plays an important role in their purchasing decisions. Email marketing allows organizations to send customers personalized offers based on purchase history or brand interactions. In addition, users who have subscribed to newsletters from a brand are more loyal, so they can be invited to participate in research – for example, when new products are launched.
4. Content marketing
Marketing teams create content – blog posts, social media posts, etc. – through which key brand messages are conveyed. Content accompanies consumers at all stages of their interaction with the brand:
- stage of knowledge or awareness – the consumer learns about the product for the first time,
- stage of interest – the consumer searches for information about the product, reads reviews, and watches videos,
- stage of decision-making – the consumer compares the product with competitors’ products and learns the terms of delivery and payment,
- stage of retention – the consumer has already made a purchase and is using the product; it is necessary to encourage them to return again.
The specifics of the content depend, among other things, on what stage the clients are at.
5. SEO marketing
SEO or search engine optimization of websites means bringing content to such a form that search engines can easily find it. SEO uses a variety of tools for improving the visibility of a website to search engines – for example, keywords.
6. Pay-per-click (PPC) marketing
A brand pays for clicks on its banners and ads posted on the Internet, and thus buys traffic for its website.
7. Affiliate marketing
A brand partners with another business – for example, places ads on another company’s radio podcast and announces promotional codes. But the values of the two companies must not contradict each other.
The above are just some of the digital marketing types. In actual practice, there are many more of them, and different tools are suitable for different tasks. If you find it difficult to orient yourself in rapidly changing technologies and choose the best strategy for your digital presence, digital marketing platforms will come to the rescue.
Benefits of digital marketing platforms
A digital marketing platform is a system that unites several online promotion channels and offers a company various marketing tools for launching and managing campaigns.
Digital marketing platforms combine multiple features in one solution, giving teams a holistic view of their advertising campaigns. Effective collaboration with a digital marketing platform provides a brand with the following benefits:
1. Cost estimation and planning
In digital marketing, determining which channel is most effective for a particular task can be difficult. A digital marketing platform has data on multiple digital channels to help you make the right choice. The platform has access to multi-placement of advertising, which can be beneficial for companies.
2. Relevant information
Digital platforms lean on the latest digital marketing data.
3. Ready-made analytics tools
Platforms like Google Analytics give users access to analytics tools for marketing campaigns.
4. Efficiency estimation
Digital marketing platforms help to work out KPIs, test them, and analyze how the figures change over time.
5. Marketing automation
Digital marketing platforms enable companies to automate their marketing processes.
Digital marketing is one of the key areas of marketing and brand promotion. Digital marketing platforms enable a business to develop and implement an effective strategy with the right set of tools and high-quality performance measurement.