Why is it important to keep track of trends in the world of digital marketing as a small business? The answer is that digital marketing landscape trends form reactions to consumer behaviors. Also, these trends are pounced upon before they become standard practice or obsolete.

Take, for example, mobile marketing. A few years ago, it was just a novel marketing idea. The idea is to capture the increasing number of mobile users accessing the internet through their smartphones. Nowadays, it is just something that is part of any respectable digital marketing campaign.

Any small business that wants to take advantage of recent trends should catch the “wave” and ride it at its peak.

 

1) Social Media Marketing Trend 

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This may sound like the usual practice for many digital marketing agencies and online marketers. However, offline businesses are just catching on to this trend. Businesses have not yet saturated the many marketing channels in social media as of yet.

Just how big is the social media market? Take a look below:

  • Facebook: 2 billion active users
  • YouTube: 1.5 billion active users
  • Whatsapp: 1.2 billion active users
  • Instagram: 700 million active users
  • Twitter: 328 million active users
  • Snapchat: 255 million active users

How effective is social media marketing?

  • 50% of online shoppers have bought products because of the recommendations they received on social media.
  • 60% of people claim that they think better of businesses that have a social media presence.

Ok, but is social media marketing dying down (i.e., is the trend slowing down)? The number of social media users is expected to grow from 2.1 billion (2017) to 2.5 billion (2018).

 

2) Marketing Automation Trend

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) as it pertains to online marketing automation is not just a futuristic marketing concept. Big-time marketers have only begun to test its capacity to increase customer engagement, satisfaction, and retention.

Some of the significant automation tools available today comprise of the following:

  • Customer Journey Tracking & Marketing
  • Email Automation
  • Multiple-Channel Advertising Analytics Software
  • SMS Automation

There are seven great benefits digital advertising agencies have uncovered. Marketers made this discovery by incorporating automated technology and artificial intelligence into their marketing campaigns. They are as follows:

  • Increased Ad Return On Investment (ROI)
  • Optimized Productivity
  • More Leads & Customers
  • Easier Campaign Management
  • Easier Data Tracking
  • Better Data
  • Marketing & Sales Integration

Marketing automation among B2B marketers has risen from slightly under 100,000 users in 2015 to roughly 600,000 in 2018. It is expected to continue this upward trend to about 1.5 million by 2025.

 

3) Beacons – Digital + Physical Marketing Trend

Digital marketing does not only have to be about bringing visitors to websites. Also, it is used to bring consumers to brick-and-mortar stores too. Small businesses are engaging with their customers is through the combination of physical assets and digital technology. The most popular of which are beacons.

Beacons support what is called proximity marketing. In other words, the ability to engage consumers who are near the actual store location. An example of this is sending push notifications alerting customers of any sales going. This includes sending coupons to their mobile once they are near the store.

Beacons have become increasingly popular this year. In particular, as more small businesses are seeing a rise in their customer engagement and sales because of it.

In fact, it is estimated that by next year, beacons and other similar ad-supported apps will help increase location-based services.  The increase is estimated to be over $43 billion. Some other exciting uses of beacons include:

  • Checking the stock and scanning items within a store
  • Being used as room keys in hotels
  • Receiving airline updates to one’s mobile

 

4) Interactive Content

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Interactive content is taking the crown.

Instead of just reading a blog, looking at an infographic, or watching a video, interactive content allows engagement with the message. This allows marketers to custom-tailor their advertisements to their target audiences. As a result. there is a boost in conversions and customer loyalty.

Some of the best examples of interactive content include:

  • Polls
  • Quizzes
  • Contests
  • Infographics (Animated)
  • Voting (Online)
  • Webinars
  • Events

 

5) Chatbots

As a business grows, so does its customer service requirements. Chatbots are an inexpensive way to staff your small business with a 24/7 customer service rep on your site. Chatbots answer customer’s queries in real-time using AI technology. As a result, this eliminates the necessity of hiring full-time, part-time or freelance virtual assistants.

Are they accurate though? Yes.

Chatbots perform the following tasks in an efficient and precise manner, many times even better than a live person could:

  • Answer specific questions
  • Describe products and services
  • Ask for details and information like email address and mobile phone number
  • Store & retain data to help customers start their session back up right where they left off

It is estimated that chatbots will help businesses save roughly $8 billion per year by 2022.

 

Conclusion

The best part of digital marketing trends is that they usually do not require a complete marketing overhaul. They mostly result from technological advancements and recent customer behaviors.

For the most part, it takes to keep up with the latest digital marketing. Therefore, tweaking one’s customer engagement behavior a bit and maybe adding some new cutting-edge technology shows promise in the areas of engagement, conversions, and customer service.

The above five trends are an excellent place to start for any small business looking to boost their online and offline presence through the means of digital marketing.

Director of Web Development
Amir’s diverse background includes extensive work in design and development. His tasks at Kobe Digital involve the oversight of our web team. On weekends Amir loves to go to the beach, and has a passion for volunteering.