As we enter into the New Year, it’s really worthwhile taking time to consider the digital and social trends that are changing the way in which your customers consume content. In an increasingly digital world where the average person spends nearly 9 hours per day on digital devices, it’s essential for small businesses to not only have an effective digital strategy, but to also regularly review and update how they market themselves to their audience.
Changes in technology are constantly forcing businesses to find more innovative, impactful and exciting ways in which to talk to their audiences. So when you are reviewing your marketing strategy for 2018, consider the following trends:
By 2019 80% of all Internet traffic will be videos. With this trend in mind it’s easy to understand why many small businesses are putting increased emphasis on branded video content. Branded videos can range from interviews, behind-the-scenes footage, product promos or brand adverts.
Results indicate that a customer can recall 90% of a message from a video, compared to just 10% when reading the exact same message in text. It’s therefore no surprise that Facebook video ads are becoming the key to an effective campaign, with companies vying for the attention of millions of users. The key is to make your video powerful, different and relevant to your audience.
As an extension of this, Facebook Live gives anyone with a phone the power to broadcast to anyone in the world and feel connected in a more personal way. This is a massive shift in how we communicate and it’s only going to create more exciting opportunities for people to interact with potential customers anywhere in the world. Latest figures suggest that people spend 3 times longer watching live video compared to video that is pre-recorded. With this in mind it’s no wonder that lots of companies and brands have quickly adopted Facebook Live, delivering sneak peaks, big announcements, celebrity takeovers, Q&A sessions and much more. Social live streaming is where the future industry is heading and the possibilities it creates for the digital marketeer are exciting.
Capitalise on the Micro-moments
Micro-moments occur when people reflexively turn to a device (increasingly a smartphone) to act on a need to learn something, do something, discover something, watch something, or buy something. They are intent-rich moments when decisions are made and preferences shaped.
The average smart phone consumer completes 221 tasks per day on their smart phone, ranging from logging into social media, ordering their weekly groceries to checking the news headlines. It’s important for marketeers to understand the interests and activities that their audience might engage in in order to capitalise on this. The successful brands of tomorrow will be those that have a strategy for understanding and meeting consumers’ needs in these micro-moments. The key is to understand your audience and deliver the right message at the right time in order to satisfy their needs in just a few seconds.
The rise of Augmented Reality
Augmented reality (AR) has been more commonly associated with gaming. However, more and more brands are using it to offer their audiences a unique and emotional user experience. For example, Ikea have recently launched their AR app which allows customers to view IKEA furniture in their own home.
Apple have also recently announced the iPhone 8 and the iPhone X, which both incorporate a new chip that allows the phones to provide users with extraordinary augmented reality experiences. It is likely that social media platforms will find ways to incorporate the new technology as well. For example, it’s conceivable that Snapchat or Instagram will soon support filters that allow users to take a selfie with a friend or celebrity projected via augmented reality. Similarly, brands could soon project their products into the homes of social media users through special filters, allowing customers to visualise their interaction with the product before they commit to the purchase.
Good content is personalised, meaning it’s a close fit to the (almost) individual needs of the people reading it. This can range from a carefully curated email list, to changing web pages dynamically to suit the visitor.
To personalise content, you first need to create a solid set of personas to mould your marketing efforts around. Persona creation is an in-depth process, but the Buyer Persona Institute centers theirs on 5 key questions:
- What causes your clients to invest in products or services like yours?
- What do they expect to get out of their investment?
- What concerns or barriers would prevent them from using your product or services?
- What does their journey look like?
- Which aspects of your product or service does your client perceive as the most important?
With answers for these questions for every type of customer, you will be able to craft content that demonstrates the benefits of your products and services for every persona.
Facebook advertising will be prominent
The success of Facebook has sustained momentum and this looks set to continue well into 2018. Advertising will become more prominent this year with Facebook investing in new features, ad types, reporting capabilities and tools to manage ads and posts , all of which are highly automated meaning that it’s easier than ever to run ad campaigns and deliver specific results. Over 2 billion active users utilise Facebook to post about their likes, dislikes, wants and needs, offering companies an exciting opportunity to engage with new audiences in a cost effective way using Facebook lookalike and custom audiences. Video will become even more dominant, with the emphasis moving to 360 degree video and delivering virtual experiences in order to attract and engage with audiences. Influencer marketing will continue to grow with many prominent figures and celebrities endorsing branded goods and partnerships. So if you haven’t engaged in Facebook advertising before, ensure its part of your strategy for 2018.
Building it into your strategy
These are just a few of the key digital trends to keep an eye out for in 2018. Whilst some of these trends are in their infancy and may not translate to your current business model or strategy right now, it’s important to consider how they could impact your business and strategy in the future. Picking the useful trends early will give you the jump on your competitors, and seizing new opportunities is vital in the development of an effective digital strategy.