Digital marketing never stops evolving. The rapid speed at which it’s currently developing is making it ever more difficult to imagine what digital innovation might look like five or ten years from now.
But we won’t have to wait that long to experience some incredible new opportunities in the world of digital marketing. Because the latest inventions and most inspiring new ideas are already transforming the way we deliver marketing strategies for our clients.
We’ve been discussing what we think the future of digital marketing might look like, and thinking about how mind-blowing new inventions could transform the way that our team works. And we couldn’t be more excited about what the future holds.
Take a look at some of the top predictions from our team on what’s in store for the world of digital marketing.
The impact of the metaverse
The metaverse might sound like something from science fiction, but it’s really not that far off. While it’s currently more of a hypothetical idea, the idea that a metaverse could fuse immersive experiences to create a totally new virtual world isn’t quite as wild as it might first sound.
The technology to create immersive worlds that are accessible from anywhere already exists, of course, as does most of the technology required to bring the metaverse to life. Soon, we could be creating new connections through a virtual world, and discovering brand new experiences every day.
The consequences for this, in terms of digital marketing, are enormous. The metaverse presents incredible opportunities for brands looking to share experiences with consumers. It could really help get people talking about what they’re doing.
Ad platforms are already hard at work on implementing new ways of advertising, using cutting edge technology to deliver hard-hitting advertising in new virtual formats. We need to be ready for the huge changes that this will bring.
Augmented reality becomes mainstream
Augmented reality is already being used by brands looking to stand out from their competitors, but it hasn’t yet become commonplace. This isn’t far off though, as increasing numbers of companies are now starting to recognise the opportunities that augmented reality presents.
Think about how the Pokemon Go craze transformed the way we thought about gaming on smartphones. It seemed to come out of nowhere, yet within days people could be spotted all over the country, smartphones in hand, as they tracked down virtual creatures hiding in their own environment.
Brands took advantage of the huge levels of interest in Pokemon Go, partnering with the game to hide Pokemon in their stores and bring new customers in that way. This is just one example of how augmented reality can be used to fuse reality with virtual worlds, drawing consumers’ attention to certain products or brands in the process.
We’re now seeing furniture companies use augmented reality to show customers how new pieces might look in their homes. Salons are also taking advantage of augmented reality to show clients how they might look with a fresh new style. Architects are even using the technology to enable clients to envisage how their property would look after a renovation.
Augmented reality will make a huge difference in digital marketing, because there are so many ways that it can be used. Look out for augmented reality everywhere in the not too distant future.
New reliance on voice search
Search listings will remain useful for a number of years, but voice search is set to change the way we look for things online. The impact of this will be huge.
Voice-powered gadgets and virtual assistants are nothing new, but it’s taken a while for these inventions to really catch on and start being used by serious numbers of people.
Recent years have seen a massive rise in the usage of voice-powered smart speakers and assistants, though. It seems we’ve started to lose that (understable) reluctance to talk to robots in our homes.
It has been estimated that 40% of adults now use voice search on a daily basis. Look at the data for all internet searches and you’ll find a fifth is now voice-based. And the proportion of voice-based searches is rising rapidly, with a significant increase predicted over the coming years.
The rise of voice search is something marketers need to be one step ahead of. Marketers will need to factor this change into their digital marketing strategies, paying careful attention to how the change in the way that consumers search for products will affect the results they get.
If brands want to keep appearing at the top of search listings, while also being presented to customers in the audio results of smart speakers and virtual assistants, there’s serious work to be done.
Automation on the rise
Automation is now being used by businesses to streamline all kinds of time-consuming processes. The benefits of this change are enormous, for both the brand and its customers.
But automation is changing, and the way that advertising platforms use automation could have a significant impact on companies that rely on them.
We’ve seen a marked increase in automation being used by platforms such as Google Ads, and we’re expecting other advertising platforms to start following suit before long. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does mean that brands will need a renewed focus on strategy to ensure that their advertising continues to work just as well as it always has.
It has been reported that over 85% of digital advertisements will soon be created using automation. This is something that brands definitely need to be aware of, as it could seriously impact how their ads are delivered.
The analytics options provided by advertising platforms are also likely to be transformed by the launch of new automated options. This could present some impressive new opportunities for businesses, but marketers need to be ready to take advantage of them – before a competitor does.
The omnichannel experience
Customers are starting to expect much more from their online shopping experience, and brands are having to step up to these rising expectations. While this isn’t a new trend, it’s one that we can expect to heighten in importance over the coming months and years. Because soon the omnichannel experience will be everything.
Brands are now expected to be active on a number of different platforms, including social channels and of course their own websites. This is already quite typical for B2C companies, but it remains a rarity for B2B brands.
In the near future, we can expect a rapid rise in the importance of what’s known as the omnichannel experience. This will allow customers to shop with their favourite companies on any device, seamlessly moving between social platforms and ecommerce sites.
Companies will be able to track customers as they shop, using the resulting data to provide a fully personalised and optimised experience that will make the most of every opportunity to make a sale.
Customers will soon recognise the tailored experience than an omnichannel strategy provides. The ease with which they’ll be able to move between platforms will see them return to the brand in question far more readily than they otherwise might have.
Just look at tools like Hootsuite to see how a unified omnipresence could soon become the norm. The social media management platform enables companies to update numerous networks and profiles at the touch of a button, to keep all platforms consistent.
As the importance of the omnichannel experience increases, we can expect to see far more companies prioritising the unification of their platforms as they bring together data from all channels to improve the customer experience.
Start preparing for the future of digital marketing
While some of our predictions for the future of digital marketing are already well on their way to mainstream usage, others might still seem more likely to feature in an episode of Black Mirror. But digital marketing is changing dramatically, so marketers really need to use their imaginations to get ready for the next big thing.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re selling a high-tech gadget or something much more traditional. The changes that are on their way will have an enormous impact on how products and services are marketed.
New developments in digital marketing will transform the ways in which consumers interact with their preferred brands. They’ll prove vitally important to customer retention strategies too.
None of us have a crystal ball, so it’s difficult to predict with complete certainty how well new technologies will take off. And of course we don’t know how long consumers will take to embrace the new ideas that are in the pipeline. However, there are a few things that we can all do to make sure we’re ready for the digital opportunities that will soon be coming our way.
Start by thinking about how you could optimise interactions with your customers. Narrow down the challenges that are having the biggest impact on your sales at the moment, and think about what the best possible online buying journey would look like for your brand. Once you know what you’re looking for, you’ll be in the best place to snap up the next big opportunity in digital marketing.
Get ready, it’s just around the corner.