The landscape of digital marketing and social media evolves so rapidly that it becomes tricky for marketers to plan strategies ahead of time. Contrary to the industrial age of budgeting and planning, the modern age requires adaptability, spontaneity and competitive understanding.
A flowchart can be used to gauge a basic shift in the digital marketing landscape for this year. Starting with the business model of acquisitions, the two trends that will dominate the year are content marketing and search engine optimization (SEO). Followed by the two top executions of these: real time and video marketing. Several merged and tech powerhouses will follow suit with this flow, making it easier for marketers to plan their social lives!
Acquire and Rule
Nobody stands alone! Acquisitions are nothing new, and it seems that larger tech brands and apps are monetizing the value of each other in doing so. Despite Snapchat turning down being acquired, Facebook has had a plethora of acquisitions from mobile apps to technological ones, with Instagram as a pivotal test of merging strengths. Twitter, creator of the video marketing trend by Vine, acquired TweetDeck, while LinkedIn brought in several content and contact management ones, including the useful Slideshare. Marketers should be aware of social media aggregation and understand what platforms create the best value for them, both for target audience engagement and information sharing.
While marketers have already placed content marketing as a crux to several efforts, the role will be amplified by landscape changes. Google’s Hummingbird algorithm finds content based on talking style, and furthermore, paid searches through Google Adwords will now be the only ones being tracked by key words. Content development will continue to reap budget, as brands create more compelling, viral and fitted content that is customized and representative of their message. Marketers should focus on being on top of discovery apps and shares that continue to escalate exponentially!
Smarter Search Engine Optimization
Social shares now greatly impact what is being found. Search engines will now be further equipped with tools that not only select relevant and high quality content, but even that which is made popular to the points of anxiety and virality. Connecting the dots with content management is needed to ensure that search engine optimization continues to be a focus for driving traffic and shares for brands.
Real Time Marketing
Is almost as if something is memory, vintage, expired or extinct on its maiden voyage. As the antithesis to traditional advertising which worked on repeat value, real time marketing is more than just the hype of being current, but is more agile, in the moment. As social media experts have it, its not a project but a process, and is thus fluid, ongoing, instead of a one shot advertising campaign. For marketers, this obviously means that the content marketed as real-time needs to be brand relevant and not just a hype driver.
Instagram introduced videos as competition to Vine, despite both evolving into separate uses of video: one for viral marketing and the other for personal sharing. Even Snapchat enabled video, as Facebook improved its platforms. Video marketing is likely to wrinkle out any glitches it may have, since while mobile and tablet markets embrace video happily, apps have improved video platforms as an enabler. Owing to a visual medium that is a step further in than still images, video will become the biggest trend of the year, owing to its visual prowess. And watch for a photo video fusion with the likes of Flipagram catching on.
As marketers, the key pieces of interrelated advice are as follows: beware and be aware… both of evolution and change.