2014 saw a maturation of the content marketing industry as it both grew and evolved. In addition to ever-increasing mobile usage by consumers and major search engine algorithm changes, a need for multi channel and cross-platform marketing emerged. Many of the larger digital marketing trends developed throughout 2014 will likely remain important components to modern marketing strategies, and studying these marketing facts can give a digital marketer an educated jumping off point for the new year. Here are the top five digital market trends that emerged last year.
1. Hyper-Local Content and Mobile-Location Triggered Content
Hyper-local content is to geo-targeted content what long-tail keywords are to keywords; a way to more effectively narrow down a niche audience, thereby becoming a bigger fish in a smaller pond. As geo-targeted content has become more popular and powerful, hyper-local content has become a useful tool – especially in broader, busier markets. As a consequence of both hyper-local content and mobile-driven content, mobile-location triggered content has also become an incredibly useful way to reach out to relevant consumers. Research by ClickZ showed that the localization of content improved their conversion performance by 26%.1 One core aspect of this was granular localization – the development of specific, hyper-local content. Hyper-local content can vastly increase conversion rates by targeting only the audience that will be receptive.
2. Paid, Custom-Targeted Messaging through Social Media Channels
Social advertising is becoming more expensive –- though, also more effective – as many of the major social media platforms are pushing toward their own monetization paths. A survey by Duke University found that social media advertising spending will likely increase by 13.2% over the next year and 21.4% in the next five years.2 Social media advertising is critical to digital marketing not only because of the exposure it offers, but also because of its ability to target messaging to specific demographics. A good example of this is Facebook, which allows advertising to be targeted not only toward location but also gender, age and other relevant demographic characteristics.
3. Diversified Social Media Channels, With Fewer Specific Channels Dominating
Socialbakers, a global social media analytics and optimization company, found that 92% of marketers advertised on Facebook, 35% on YouTube, 24% on LinkedIn and 23% on Twitter.3 While Facebook is still the major social media platform, other social media platforms appear to be fairly equal in their usefulness. The same study found that marketers manage, on average, 13 separate social media pages, and that the majority of advertisers still manage these channels natively rather than through third-party applications. What do these marketing facts mean for a digital marketer today? One or two social media platforms may not be enough to create a significant impact. Work will need to be done to create and streamline a cohesive brand identity and content output throughout a multitude of dissimilar platforms and services.
4. A New Emphasis on Multichannel, Cross-Platform Marketing
According to Delivra, multichannel shoppers will spend up to 30% more per year compared to single-channel shoppers.4 The value of multichannel, cross-platform marketing is in developing branding – customers that engage with a company through multiple channels are generally more loyal. Further, cross-platform marketing has become important in an increasingly mobile world. Internet Retailer reports that over half of all U.S. Internet users now use both desktops and mobile devices.5 Cross-platform marketing is now necessary for reasonable market penetration.
5. Growth Hacking and Conversion Rate Optimization
Growth hacking is the logical evolution of data mining, big data and digital marketing. Growth hacking involves a careful study and analysis of marketing statistics with the end goal of optimizing conversion rates and growing a company’s marketing exposure at an unusually fast pace. The industry is split on exactly how effective growth hacking is, and whether it can really be said to be a unique discipline of its own, but it’s nevertheless a conversion rate optimization trend that is difficult to ignore. MarketingCharts found that 90% of marketers were increasing their focus on conversion rate optimization and that 60% believed conversion rate optimization was crucial to their overall strategies.6
Digital marketing is constantly changing; it isn't always possible to anticipate what will come in the future. Marketers must be agile and constantly evolving to remain at an advantage. Truly experienced and talented digital marketers will be able to pivot their digital marketing campaigns quickly based on changes within the industry, without excessive monetary or time cost.
To maximize these best practices, we recommend you work with an experienced partner. Contact Jacobs & Clevenger to leverage decades of direct marketing and digital experience. And to enhance your communications and increase response rates, sign up for our free webinar: Improving Performance and Optimizing Your Communications.