5 of the Most Important Online Trends for Marketing Managers Today

Last updated Mar 22, 2018

Reading time: 6 minutes

In an ever-changing digital landscape, success often comes down to what you are–and aren’t–doing online. What you do and don’t know about internet marketing can ultimately make or break your online business.

The problem for so many marketing managers is having to keep up and differentiate between what’s “need-to-know” and what’s simply a temporary fad.

Today, I’d like to touch on a few hot topics that will play key roles into the future.

Take the time to read up on the latest marketing strategies and start experimenting with them to advance your organisation and increase prospective clients.
 

Update 2018: I removed Google Tag Manager and Snapchat from the list. Not that I think either of them are less important this year but I had to make way. I’ve kept marketing automation, AMP, and video from 2017. Can they still be trending?

 

Marketing Automation

Let’s start with a line taken from a popular Forbes article published last year:

“Marketing automation is one of the most valuable tools the modern day marketer can employ and yet it’s been adopted by less than 10% of companies.”

Other figures have shown this number to be as high as 49%, but I believe there’s some disparity in those estimates–primarily around the role of automated emails.

So what is marketing automation, exactly?
Here’s how Hubspot defines marketing automation:

“Marketing automation refers to the software that exists with the goal of automating marketing actions. Many marketing departments have to automate repetitive tasks such as emails, social media, and other website actions. The technology of marketing automation makes these tasks easier.”

In short, it’s automating different steps involved in progressing leads through the lead funnel: taking users from site visitors and converting them into consumers.

How can you implement this in your business? Here are some common applications:

  1. Turn eCommerce cart abandonment into a sales opportunity. With a number of research studies identifying that approx 65% of visitors to online shopping carts do not purchase, many ecommerce businesses are missing huge opportunities to drive sales by recapturing these visitors. Marketing workflows allow you to automate an email to a user leaving the cart, encouraging them to come back by offering them a coupon code, for example. This email offer can be tailored depending on what pages they’ve viewed or specific products they’ve clicked on, supercharging the impact.
  2.  

  3. Qualify and prioritise your website leads. If you’re already collecting emails and leads via your website, then congratulations–you’re already doing what so many businesses aren’t! But with marketing automation, you can further qualify these prospects depending on what pages they’ve visited, and presenting them with related content.
  4.  

  5. Nurture your leads. When you collect email addresses from your website, some may be hot leads and some are simply researching. With marketing automation, you can nurture the “cold leads” by sending time- and action-based automated emails to progress them from cold to hot.

 

TIP: There are plenty of other ways to use marketing automation to your advantage. If you’d like to explore your opportunities, read through some software reviews on G2.

 

Voice Search

Prior to Christmas you may not have used an Amazon Echo or Google Home, in fact you may not have even heard of them. But I’d suggest you have now.

It doesn’t take a marketer long for the penny to drop and realise how big of a shift this is in the customer journey.

For example…

You: “Hey Google, can you tell me where the closest locksmith is…”

Google Home: “Lock, Smith & Barrel is in West Footscray and is 2kms away”

You then proceed to ask for their phone number.

Apart from thinking it wasn’t that long ago we were flipping through the YellowPages, it becomes apparent that you’re only getting one result. Depending on the specific query Google might give you 2-3 results.

So making sure you’re in those top selections is going to be paramount.

Just to reinforce the fact, ‘ComScore says that by 2020, 50 per cent of all searches will be voice searches‘.
 

Video

BuzzSumo summarised the 2016 Social Media Marketing World event citing keynote speaker and founder of Social Media Examiner, Michael  Stelzner, with the takeaway that the current growth in video marketing is “the biggest surge he has seen.”

YouTube started back in 2005 and was bought by Google in 2006, so online video is not a recent phenomenon–at least not in internet years.

But there is a recent surge and, while it is a result of the huge rise in smartphone use, the role of Facebook can not be underestimated.

Facebook is now surpassing YouTube in a number of video metrics including total video views and uploads. Techcrunch reported in November of 2015 that Facebook reached 8 billion video views, up from 4 billion just seven months earlier.

If you want to use Facebook as a platform to engage with your audience, then turning your attention towards publishing videos is a must.

Facebook’s organic reach has been a sore point for marketers after spending a lot of time and money to build an audience, only to see organic reach sit between 2 – 10%.

SocialBakers, a social media research company, reported that native Facebook videos will get you a 135% better organic reach than a photo. This means you can get your message in front of more of your audience and spend less money on advertising to do it.

Which brings us to live video.

It started with Meerkat and Twitter’s Periscope. These video platforms have since been met with Facebook Live and YouTube pivoting to compete. But, although this space is still incredibly raw, it comes with great opportunity.

Obviously, if your business has a natural synergy with the Facebook platform and that’s where you’ve chosen to engage your audience, then you should be looking at how you can begin utilising Facebook Live. The increase in organic reach is just too awesome to pass up!
 

Snapchat

Snapchat CEO Mark Spiegel announced in March this year that the company had reached 8 billion daily video views, right behind Facebook.

If you previously thought Snapchat was just a flash-in-the-pan platform for tweenies, think again. Snapchat is on one heck of a trajectory curve.

But If you’re still skeptical about its ability to diversify its membership base, check out these stats from ComScore, cited by MarketingDive.

In 2015, Snapchat grew its 18-24 base by 56%, while its 25-34 year old users increased 103% and, most notably, its over-35 user base grew 84%, according to comScore.

So what do you need to know and how can you get started?

Great questions. Check out ‘5 Creative Ways Brands Are Using Snapchat’ over on the Convince & Convert blog for some inspiration.

In general though, be unique, lean on some influencers that your audience cares about, and get your fans involved.

UPDATE: Edison Research released findings of their Infinite Dial Report and they too report some impressive numbers for Snapchat. They report 23% of all Americans aged 12+ use Snapchat, coming in third behind Facebook (64%) and Instagram (29%). Not bad considering the same research had Snapchat at 3% only three years earlier. But it’s when they look at 12 – 24 year olds that things get interesting. The Infinite Dial report has Snapchat knocking Facebook off its perch to be the number one social network with 72%, whilst Facebook (68%) and Instagram (66%) following close behind.

 

Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages Project (AMP)

By now, you’ve probably heard of Facebook’s Instant Articles. If you haven’t, you probably haven’t realised you have. Ever clicked on a story within your Facebook timeline and noticed the quick time in which it took for the article to load? You’ve read a Facebook Instant Article!

This development is in no doubt part of the inspiration behind AMP. That’s not to say that Google hasn’t been focusing heavily on mobile experience and in particular, browser speed and how it impacts user experience. If you’re an SEO you’re constantly looking to improve page speed to keep up with Google’s public recommendations, this is something you should definitely look into.

So what is AMP?

In simplest terms, when implemented, it strips your blog posts/pages of much of the unnecessary code to allow for super-fast page load times. Google and Facebook both know how reducing page load time improves user experience.

That’s why they’re encouraging publishers to deliver fast pages to users. If they do, then there’s no reason for users to go searching for content anywhere else.

So, what’s the takeaway?

The bottom line is, the faster your site loads, the better the user experience, the better your search performance, and the more your business grows and becomes successful.

Now, Facebook Instant Articles isn’t for everyone. Access is limited to larger publishers–at least for now. So, that’s why we’re focusing on Google’s AMP.

If you publish blog posts/articles on your website, go and implement AMP on your website right now.
 

TIP: If you’re running on WordPress, there’s an official AMP plugin by Automattic (owners of WordPress) that will automatically implement AMP pages.

 

Putting Marketing Trends to Work for Your Business

Surviving in today’s ultra-competitive online marketing world doesn’t have to be a struggle. By analysing long-term trends, implementing what works and speaking your audience’s language, you can create a powerful funnel that drives targeted leads and turns them into sales like clockwork.

Start boosting your revenue and implement at least one of the marketing strategies you learned about in this article, today .
 

Quentin Aisbett

Quentin Aisbett

Quentin Aisbett is the strategist at OnQ Marketing. He has a specific focus on local and mobile SEO, content strategy, and marketing automation. Blogging all the time, tweeting even more so. Pick his brain on Clarity.fm.