Online marketing is a world that changes seemingly every day. Certainly, there are multiple notable monthly alterations to the digital landscape that is worth paying attention to.
Here are a few of the changes that we expect to roll out – or are already announced — that will change how the world uses the web.
Brands Focusing Increasingly on Engagement, Not Mass Appeal
The national promotion of products is far less common than before unless it has the potential for universal appeal. Instead, engagement is being sought with early adopters and people who follow the industry or product group to provide information about what’s coming soon.
In an age where people want the right to choose and not be mass-marketed to, brands are starting to receive the message that personalization, with permission, matters enormously.
Identity Advertising is (Mostly) Going Away
The familiar situation when visiting a website is finding that advertising is linked to products you shopped for the night before. It creates an eerie feeling. While using someone’s identity to promote related products at Amazon.com is a long-accepted practice, doing so with advertising is another matter.
The key differentiator again is permissions. Rarely have advertising networks been voluntarily granted permission to use your web surfing habits and identifying information to change the adverts shown. With an e-commerce retailer, you choose to sign up for an account. So, naturally, they keep your past purchase history, can match it to other similar customers who liked the same things, and volunteer smart recommendations.
Google & Apple’s Privacy Plays are coming into effect, where Apple now lets the users of their newer iOS version running on mobile devices decide whether to share their identity with advertisers. Similarly, Google is now also removing identifying aspects from their ad network to make it more anonymous for web users.
A.I. and Machine Learning Influence Growing Steadily
Chatbots are being used to talk to site visitors without a human being present. Sometimes, they are utilized to ‘talk’ to visitors and provide links to the knowledge base using their initial comments as a guide. Then if the query isn’t adequately resolved, they are referred to a live (human) operator.
Email mailing lists are also getting smarter. Differentiating between people who subscribed but only opened a handful of follow-on emails versus people who click on links inside the emails is valuable.
The latter group can be placed on a separate list for more active participants where high-value offers can be emailed to generate additional revenues from likely buyers.
Search is Maturing. And Diversifying
Online search is decades old now. It’s also diversifying as it ages.
Voice searches are far more common than before. Whether walking down the road and asking a question of Siri or Google Assistant or talking in our car, simple questions can be asked and answered.
But it doesn’t stop there. Search is overflowing onto home devices like Amazon Echo for audio inquiries, to set alarm reminders and a host of other requests to make our daily lives easier.
Online marketing is never boring. It’s forever shifting under our feet. For companies eager to reach out to customers, it’s necessary to adroitly navigate these difficult waters to avoid falling behind.