Future of Digital Marketing

Digital Marketing Forecast

What could be more fun for a digital marketing agency owner, marketing strategist, digital marketing specialist or entrepreneur than understanding their market and where the opportunities for growth are?

There’s a lot of non-sense in expert forecasts, from bitcoin to wearables to virtuality reality and the Internet of Things. These may be the shiny new things that won’t impact SMB marketers much. Yet other trends will quietly invade, leaving no indication they’ve changed the playing field or tell you how you can compete. That part is kind of frightening.

The Drum points out in its forecast that experiences will dominate marketing strategy. That points to audience engagement and the customer journey is somehow being brought alive with something new.

And while the marketing agency is in jeopardy, many agency leaders will recognize the opportunity to lead in specific new marketing technologies and be helpful in aiding clients in utilizing them.

Technology Vs Status Quo

Content marketing, mobile marketing, social media, and marketing automation were the big trends. However, will 2018 to 2023 be business as usual? My guess is likely not. Smart Insights in their forecast for 2017 focused on Big Data.

Screen Capture courtesy of Smartinsights.com

The rankings might depend on your market, industry, budget, and what management or marketing role you’re playing. A digital marketing strategist in an agency would have a different perspective than a small business owner or marketing app developer.

Big data and artificial intelligence aren’t quite yet in the common vocabulary. It takes at least 3 years for the masses to catch up. But, believe me, 3 years is long enough to find yourself out of the race. They’re already in the corporate sphere giving corporations a huge advantage over SMBs. Will SMBs survive?

Will Google and Facebook Continue their Domination?

Will digital marketing be replaced by PPC advertising and optimized landing pages? Will audience engagement be live, ongoing events hosted on Facebook?

Will all websites be hosted on Google’s AMP project?  Will AI Marketing software result in massive shifts in staffing and force companies to reassess their marketing strategy?  Will AI give give the digital marketing specialist awesome optimization power?

Like forecasting the real estate market, the realm of digital marketing is maybe too complex to forecast accurately. But then, we do need some sort of map to plan our marketing direction. We must choose the right channels and tools so this is time well spent.

Top 8 Digital Marketing Trends to Watch for the Next 5 Years

1. PPC and Digital Advertising

Sure spending on content marketing, PPC, and SEO are climbing. PPC, remarketing, and mobile advertising is a vital no brainer for millions of businesses. But is ppc advertising becoming too expensive? As it increasingly strangles your marketing budget, do you have alternatives ready to go in 2020?

By 2019, marketing leaders will spend more than $103 billion on search marketing, display advertising, social media marketing, and email marketing — more than they will on broadcast and cable television advertising combined – Forrester Research from the US Digital Marketing Forecast, 2014 To 2019

2. Bringing Digital Marketing In-House

In the past, agencies had the expertise in creative and advertising execution, but with AI marketing software, it seems experience is less important. If software can visualize customer personas, predict behavior based on clickpaths, and test content on the fly, wouldn’t it be better to bring it in-house and have one digital marketing specialist manage it? That would allow more funds for creative production and customer engagement events?

3. Cheap Social Media to Continue Reigning Supreme?

A few firms have given up on deep, technical content and instead are focusing on inexpensive social media channels. On the social media pages, Facebook for instance, they attempt to build a familiarity and emotional connection quickly through personal events, photos, and other emotional content.

Social media may have an advantage in real time immediacy, CRM, and in its ability to engage customers. With AI chat bots active, they may be able to fake real conversation and keep the prospect engaged.

Social influencers continue to grow in force with many companies buying their editorial favor in print on in video.

Without substance and emotion however, such campaigns might fall flat on their face.  This video indicates how substance is interpreted by consumers.

4. The Role of Data, Predictive Analytics and Testing

The future of digital marketing will be in data, big data and small data. We’ll use analytics to infer customer profiles, pain points and predict their future behavior. Digital marketers are already doing this.

With such insight, agencies in Toronto will grow their traffic, engagement, impact along with digital sales and revenue growth.
The question of web design and UX design is uncertain as well. Google is vying to host the Internet with its AMP project technology. Google’s pre-processing of everything online for speed is a very real possibility. Google is committed to AMP.  Bigger pipes for bandwidth hasn’t really solved the slow web.

5. Digital Advertising Goes Everywhere

Growth in digital advertising is phenomenal. According to Adage.com, digital advertising grew 22% to surpass TV advertising revenue to 72 Billion dollars. Why the change? They say its data and insights that give digital a huge, growing advantage.

Former outdoor billboards are being converted to large digital displays. Digital displays are in use in offices, subways, trains, planes, elevators and bus stops. They will find themselves increasingly on retail shelves and packaging displays, and of course integrated into television ads.

6. Integrated Cross-Channel Marketing

Digital will be integrated online and offline. Print, TV, Radio, social media, web advertising, ppc advertising, apps and more will all enter the funnel. And new digital software will be able to track all customer activity and attribute its contribution to revenue. AI marketing solutions such as Alberta.ai will actually integrate them and properly attribute which multichannel efforts succeed.

7. Fewer Jobs in Digital Marketing

Is it safe to build a career in digital marketing? The future is cloudy. New artificial intelligence marketing software is already performing the work of digital marketing staff, from ppc campaign managers, to content creators, to email specialists.

AI is the biggest forecasted change. It follows on the heels of marketing automation which many Toronto companies have already adopted.

8. Artificial Intelligence Marketing Solutions

The new AI marketing software will increasingly do everything a digital marketing agency asks of it. It will test and modify content, alter ppc ads, modify email content to optimize ROI.

Forecasts are that AI will replace millions of low level digital marketing workers. Although only 40% or so believe it is a valid technology, the truth is that it is already in use and performing well. Within the 5 years, AI will be deeply ingrained in digital marketing departments in Toronto, NYC, Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, London, Berlin, Paris, and Beijing.

9. New Marketing Networks

No one could have foreseen that Taboola would become such a powerful force in digital advertising. That tells us that when some companies monopolize a market, new solutions must be found. The cost and limited reach of Facebook and Google make additional ad and marketing networks attractive. We can expect new ones to appear.

10. Mobile Reigns Grows Relentlessly

The rising prevalence of mobile devices along with their improving screen technology and processors means they will surpass desktop computers in usage. More users will view websites, ads, and social pages via these small hi-res screens where presentation of your value proposition takes place.

More local information will be served up to these mobile users and the GPS or geo-targeting will dictate whose web presence gets viewed and what is displayed. We’re already seeing this in the retail and real estate space.

A lot of our budgets are going to mobile app development and that will continue to weigh on digital marketing performance.

11. Personalization of Content

Since geo location is known, click paths can be quickly assessed, and customers profiles are known, digital marketers are serving up content specially customized for them. Content personalization increases engagement and helps move customers closer to purchase.

12. Youtube and Video – Could it be More Than Video Galleries?

Youtube’s never stops. Google has never tried to evolve the Youtube page and turn it into a form of blog. It is capable of being much more than a video gallery. And corporations neglect Youtube terribly. Could 2018 be the year they finally take it seriously?

13. SEO Never Stops Producing

Google still handles 2 Trillion searches per year because people keep looking for info. More of the traffic will go to the top 3 rankings sites listed, so being very good at search engine optimization will create more visitors, brand visibility and revenue.

Semantics will still play a role in SEO, in fact, it will increase in importance as RankBrain tries to look well beyond the obvious to find the true high quality signals.

14. Content Marketing

The rise of content marketing seems to never end. And rightly so, customers love good content and it’s the best way to pave the customer journey and build an impressive brand.

But we’re seeing resistance to the tidal wave of content, just like we resist and ignore email spam. Although content will get better (thanks to AI), less of it will get to its intended target. PPC, email and SEO will be forced to push more of it through to audiences, making it more like push marketing.

Investigate advanced tools and SEO techniques for better rankings.