As our lives become increasingly digital, more of us move our social and administrative activities online. Businesses are also embracing this change as well.
Amid a dramatically changing landscape, six key trends indicate the way we will inevitably adapt.
1. Mobile replaces desktop
In 2015, mobile devices replaced desktop or laptop computers as the devices through which most users accessed online content. The trend is most noticeable on social media, such as Facebook, where three quarters of online advertising revenue is generated from mobile content. Likewise, half of all emails globally are opened on smart phones.
On average, we spend around two hours a day browsing content on mobile devices. Consequently, any content that is not tailored for mobile platforms, with ease of access a priority, will fall by the wayside. Alarmingly, one in six websites still has not been optimised for mobile search.
2. Businesses upgrade
In the corporate arena, social media marketing budgets are set to double in the next five years. The Chief Digital Officer (CDO) role is now an established position at management level, rather than an optional extra, as companies prepare for an environment where consumer interaction is online.
From customer acquisition and leverage to storage and remote working, modern companies must have a clearly defined digital strategy. In some cases, traditional retailers are intentionally driving their business online, in order to cultivate customer loyalty and create dialogue. Shifting promotions to online, companies can capture customer data for the future.
3. Personal touch
Expect marketing content to become relentlessly personal, especially once wearable technology becomes more commonplace.
Businesses can no longer rely on reaching customers with their marketing, but need to permeate their customers’ daily lives, obsessively pandering to their needs throughout the day.
Particularly within the so-called Millennial group, consumers expect to engage with brands in real time across multiple channels. Brands are no longer a sporadic resource, but an integral part of identity and behaviour. As a result, businesses need to generate not just imaginative marketing campaigns, but also be prepared to process, interpret and analyse big data to target the right customers at the right time.
4. New faces
Google’s lead over internet search should face some much-needed competition from Facebook, once Facebook introduces its own search engine, with significant implications for online advertising.
With the ‘buy’ button set to sit alongside the ‘like’ button, Facebook looks set to spread its influence in coming years, no longer just a platform for connecting to friends, but a forum where consumers flex their muscles with testimonials, recommendations and feedback.
Following on from Twitter, Facebook and Vine, Snapchat could also graduate to a more serious footing as a marketing tool. Particularly among the younger generation, who were the first to desert Facebook in favour of Snapchat for communication, the video-sharing app could finally realise its potential as a marketing tool.
5. Personal data and privacy
Not surprisingly, the companies that know most about their customers, including Amazon, Facebook and Google, are all online. In exchange for sacrificing privacy, we expect to be treated to an individual, tailored consumer experience.
That means recommendations on Amazon and advertising on Facebook that is targeted specifically to our needs. As our technology use gravitates towards mobile and wearable devices, the trend will consolidate.
Those eye-catching billboards at the side of the highway are not yet doomed, but they look like the inferior alternative to real-time, location-based advertising delivered straight to your mobile.
6. Increased automation
Digital technology excels at taking on automated tasks, such as Twitter and Facebook posts or email sequences. An estimated 25 percent of Tweets, in fact, are ‘bot’-generated. Companies can liberate human resources by allocating existing tasks to automated systems.
From a Facebook post advertising a new product, through closing the sale, to after-sales customer support, digital tech is remarkably adept at assuming skills formerly the preserve of humans alone.
Digital technology is by no means the only solution for business growth, but some significant changes in the way even smaller companies can store, exchange and communicate data creates levels out the playing field considerably.
Small businesses run from a laptop have as much opportunity to wield influence as giant corporations headquartered in vast glass offices.
With a passion for all things digital, Robert Birchall has spent his career helping businesses achieve goals & prosper through online advertising. He is a results driven, analytical thinker with a BA in Marketing and has over 8 years digital advertising experience managing some of Australia’s largest brands. His success comes from embracing the knowledge of others with a relentless focus on producing measurable results. When Rob is not helping clients generate new business & achieve goals, you’ll probably find him at the gym, reading a book, travelling or in a cafe.