In 2013, Adobe conducted a comprehensive research study and found that 76% of marketers believe that marketing changed more in the past 2 years than in the previous 50. Digital technologies were changing rapidly, impacting how marketers build their strategies and market to their audiences. Today, fast digital innovation has been replaced with the strategic implementation of new technologies in marketing.
So, how will digital innovation impact marketing in 2020? Let’s find out!
Automated Digital Marketing
The implementation of artificial intelligence and automation benefits businesses on multiple levels. For example, it promises more qualified leads, better conversions and sales, and enhanced user experiences. Above all, it facilitates digital marketers’ jobs. Statistics say that businesses using automation have reduced marketing overheads by 12% and boosted sales productivity by 14%.
Automation can be implemented into almost any aspect of your digital strategy, including:
- Social media posting
- Social media listening
- Email marketing
- Lead generation
- Lead nurturing
- Content editing
- Link building prospecting
- Metrics and analytics
- Project management
However, there are many dangerous myths about digital marketing automation. For example, many believe that automated tools are a lazy way to get your job done faster. It’s not that simple. Automation and AI will do the manual and repetitive tasks for you, letting you focus on creative parts of the job.
Let’s take social media scheduling as an example. Yep, you can post your content automatically with social media management tools like Hootsuite. But, that’s just half the job done. Anything you post needs to be tracked and measured, helping you make data-backed decisions.
Artificial Intelligence and Personalization
Another great myth about artificial intelligence is that it’s dull and impersonal. On the contrary, AI lets you show the human side of your brand in multiple ways.
Let’s take the example of chatbots. In the era of wearable technologies and voice searches, your customers want brands to be available to them 24/7. They are constantly “learning” about your customers, collecting data, and providing personalized user experiences.
Many brands are reaping the benefits of chatbots. For example, Lyft lets users request a ride via their Facebook Messenger and Slack bot or Amazon Echo. The chatbot further informs a user about the location of a driver and sends the photo of a car model and its license plate. Sephora’s Messenger bot, on the other hand, asks you questions about customers’ preferences and needs and then recommends relevant products.
Big brands like Amazon or Netflix also use AI to track user behaviors and purchases and then display relevant product recommendations. UK-based fashion brand, Tread, uses AI similarly. Namely, they encourage customers to take quizzes about their style. Their AI tool uses this feedback to determine what each customer likes and provide tailored product recommendations.
Personal Digital Assistants and Voice Search
Statista says that 31% of smartphone users use voice tech at least once weekly and this number will grow in the future. By 2020, 50% of online searches will be voice, while 55% of households will have a smart speaker device by 2022.
The use of voice search has an immense impact on digital marketing, especially SEO. Digital marketers will now need to change the way they target and optimize for keywords. Voice searchers don’t need to use short phrases to conduct fast searches. They can now interact with search engines without looking at screens or typing. That’s why most of them use conversational keywords and question-based sentences. Use tools like Answer the Public or Google’s People Also Ask feature to understand search intent and optimize your content for conversational keywords.
You should also keep in mind that 22% of all voice searches are local. Earlier in November, Google started applying neural matching to local search results. The recent digital marketing review by Four Dots, a New York SEO company, discussing weekly digital marketing trends, claims that “neural matching helps Google better understand the meaning behind certain queries and match them to the most relevant local businesses. It does this successfully, even if the keywords in the query are not specifically included in the business name and description.”
That’s why you should write local content and optimize it for local keywords. Apart from adding their location to keywords, marketers should also optimize for phrases like “near me” or “open now” that are often used by voice searchers.
Finally, your content should be simplified. Use clear and short sentences. Provide valuable tips. Use questions, make lists, and include statistics. This is the kind of content Google considers relevant and displays in its answer boxes.
VR and AR Storytelling
With the rise of sophisticated technologies, customers expect brands to keep pace with new IT advances and deliver exciting user experiences. And, one of the latest trends that have a huge impact on shopping behaviors are virtual reality and augmented reality. Research says that 61% of buyers prefer brands that use AR over those that don’t, while 72% of them made an unintentional purchase just because of AR.
For digital marketers, injecting AR and VR into their storytelling strategy is an amazing opportunity to make their online presence more vivid and personal. For example, you could create a 360-degree video. Fashion brands could use this technology to demonstrate the quality, looks, and fabric of their products. Real estate agencies could, on the other hand, host virtual tours to show a property, engage customers, and save their time.
There are different degrees of engaging users with AR and VR. For example, you could gamify users’ experiences by creating games and apps. Users will solve mysteries or explore uncharted territories to find your products. On the other hand, if you want to engage them passively, focus on slower-paced activities. For example, you could create an engaging narrative, where a user just needs to sit back and relax.
To take their marketing strategy in 2020 and beyond, marketers will need to focus on building an integrated strategy and focus on immersive, omnichannel user experiences. There are many obstacles they will need to overcome, such as a siloed organizational structure or the lack of testing and reporting practices. This is the foundation for the implementation of the technologies mentioned above.
About the author
Emma Miller is a marketer and a writer from Sydney, working with Australian startups on business and marketing development. Emma writes for many relevant, industry related online publications and does a job of an Executive Editor at Bizzmark blog and a guest lecturer at Melbourne University.