Online marketing is no longer a luxury but a necessity in our internet-driven world. Online presence may be considered “trendy” by some, but the reality of it is that this style of marketing, with branding and creating audience growth, is here to stay. In fact, there are very evident trends as we move into 2014.
• Content Marketing: More Important Than Ever
Companies gain trust with consumers by creating valuable content on the internet. This trend suggests that marketing to the masses through television and radio is less and less effective. According to the Content Marketing Institute, the top B2B content marketing strategies are social media, articles on a business’s website, eNewsletters, case studies, videos and articles on other websites. The content is industry- relevant information, either educational or entertaining. Why is this important? Because this builds rapport and develops a loyal following.
• Social Media Marketing Expanding
Just a few years ago, businesses had limited options for their online marketing campaigns: Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Now new social media sites are appearing all the time: Pinterest, Google+, Tumblr and Instagram. Now businesses have a plethora of new options that allow them to produce engaging content in a variety of media forms and build their audiences across more “channels” than ever before.
• Image-Centric Content Will Rule
People are hit with an increasing number of advertisements so content needs to be quickly and readily consumed. Images are more and more important in a marketing campaign.
With social media sites on the rise, three of the four have a common characteristic…they place an emphasis on images. The rapid rise to success of Buzzfeed and Pinterest are testaments to the power and “viral potential” of image-based content. Successful blog posts that receive the most social shares have a common characteristic: they pepper in well-placed pictures to break up content and emphasise specific points. Infographics combines images with a minimal amount of text to explain a topic.
• Less Will be More
A notable trend is the shift in consumer preference regarding simplistic marketing messages instead of in-depth ones. Top brands in the world like Apple and Google clearly value simplicity. A large part of Pinterest’s appeal is its clean, uncluttered, and minimalist aesthetic. Many consumers are feeling burned out by the constant barrage of information and advertisements that scream “look at me!” Marketers are trending the opposite direction, making efforts to tone-down messages and not overwhelm consumers.
An article by Forbes said it best: “There is a sense that from the hyper-connectivity of our highly-digitised lives to the bright, flashy, complicated sensory input we’re fed every day; there is no way to continue at this pace. Most successful marketing strategies will be ones that are not only simple in nature, but promote goods and services that serve to simplify the consumer’s life, or even just their customer experience.”
• Mobile-Friendly Content A Necessity
With the widening use by consumers of smartphones and tablets, companies will need to create content that’s accessible to mobile users. According to Forbes, “… 87% of connected devices sales by 2017 will be tablets and smartphones.” It is becoming more and more important to provide mobile users the ability to access a company’s products or services. Customers expect this and will drift to those companies who are readily available to them on those mobile devices.
• Ad Retargeting Will Be More Effective
Retargeting uses browser cookies to track the websites that users visit. Once they leave a certain site, the products or services they viewed will be shown to them again in advertisements across different websites.
Retargeting is very effective. With only two per cent of web traffic converting on the first visit, ad retargeting increases that conversion rate by reminding consumers of the product or service they have viewed. This keeps the brand and the product at the top of the consumer’s mind. Psychological studies show that simple exposure to brand names and logos creates familiarity, which builds trust and thus, consumers are more likely to make a purchase.
• SEO and Social Signals Will Become More Intertwined
Social “shares” serve as a stamp of approval (trust) for visitors landing on a page. If they see that it has hundreds or thousands of shares, it’s likely that there’s something of value. That’s a big reason why so many businesses are installing social share plugins and encouraging consumers to share as much as possible. “‘Like’ Us On Facebook.”
Since the goal of Google and other search engines is to provide users with the most relevant and highest quality content possible, it makes sense that they would factor in the number of social shares a blog post, article or product page receives. Its position will increase within the search engine results pages. It’s no coincidence that the top-ranking search results tends to have lots of social shares, while those ranked lower have fewer.