The landscape of marketing is constantly shifting and flowing with the sands of time, discarding new trends and bringing in new ones at the drop of a hat. A deep dive into the 2010s is more than enough to illustrate this point, with marketing trends coming and going with immense swiftness – sometimes surprisingly so. What used to be a perfectly viable marketing initiative just a year or two back suddenly became obsolete in every sense of the word.
As a marketer, keeping up with all these trends can be incredibly challenging and exhausting, mandating you to stay up to date with these developments at all times. A momentary lapse can have severe repercussions for your marketing strategies – an outcome that is avoidable with the right information and tools.
Our work this decade has been enlightening in figuring out the trends that have lasted for a while and the trends that have fizzled out. We’ve noticed various patterns that have fuelled the prominence of these marketing strategies, allowing us to discern certain facets of consumer and industry behaviour that govern marketing as a whole.
Content Marketing Trends
(Video Marketing | OTT Platforms | Public Relations)
1. A shift towards short & long-form video consumption
- Ease of consumption: Video content has reached immensely high levels in India, with the online consumption of this content doubling in the last two years to reach an unprecedented 3.7 billion videos per month.
- A choice between brand-owned and partnered content: Brand-owned videos allow for a more personalised marketing journey. Meanwhile, making content with third-parties allows marketers to disseminate a higher volume of video content, bolstered with a fair bit of advocacy marketing as well.
- Technology becoming an integrated part of marketing: With live videos and AR/VR coming into the foray, it goes without saying that video marketing strategies also need to harness these forms of video content into their plans to maximise results.
2. Engaging content by influencers and 3rd parties
- Massive engagement without outside influences: Engagement on influencer content is multifold and quite high when compared to that of branded content. This is accomplished without any media boost as well, making it all the more impressive.
- Quick creation of content: Influencer marketing is reaching new heights mainly because of the fact that enlisting multiple personalities for marketing purposes results in quick content generation and dissemination, leading to major dividends for brands.
- Consumers are smart: The authenticity of influencers is reflected in their content, making it a stark departure from the usual ads one perceives regularly. This kind of content helps build loyalty and increase goodwill.
3. The prominence of OTT platforms
- The Prevalence Of OTT Platforms: Over-the-top platforms have reached incredibly high levels of popularity and acceptance, achieving a growth rate of 21.8% to reach a valuation of $1.7 billion – a far cry from the relatively low valuation of $638 million in 2018.
- Ads on these platforms perform better: Advertisements on these platforms will inevitably reach a wider audience, making the integration of these platforms a must for a new-age marketing strategy.
- These Platforms Help You Target Customers With Ease: OTT platforms are a great way to practice personalised cross-marketing campaigns, which are able to target – and retarget too, for that matter – customers efficiently.
4. Blurring lines between Content Marketing & Public Relations
- PR is all about right Communication & Content: Most of the prominent PR tools including guest articles, releases, interviews, stories are all subset of content. A lot of organisations have already started merging both for best results.
- With data insights of digital content, now you can easily choose your channels wisely: Without viable channels to disseminate your content pieces, it goes without saying that all your effort will go to waste. With attributed data on website & 3rd party channel brand has started mapping the directional results.
- Narratives Quality is of utmost importance: Conversely, the content that you share with the press needs to be of high quality so that your PR efforts can generate better awareness for your brand.
Social Media Marketing Trends
(Short-Form Content, Permanent Content is Key, Instagram & Micro-Influencers)
1. Short-form content is the way forward
- Content is now consumed in seconds: There’s a reason why Vine experienced unmitigated success during the first half of its run – the platform nailed down the concept of short, fleeting content with their bite-sized 6-second video format.
- Utilising short life content for higher engagement: The rise in popularity of Snapchat and Instagram stories further cement this point – ephemeral content is a powerful social media marketing tool. With attention spans decreasing from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8.75 seconds in 2015, it’s imperative to realise that brands have a very small timeframe to make a resounding impact with their audiences.
- Using FOMO as the core of communication to drive authentic interactions: This form of content feels more authentic, especially with the large majority of ephemeral content being formed off-the-cuff. This, coupled with the fact that this content disappears over time, compels your audience to absorb this content on a regular basis.
2. Smart utilisation of permanent content
- Avoid relying solely on transitory content: However, the fact that Vine tanked further down the line is also something that one should analyse as well. Relying solely on ephemeral content isn’t recommended in the slightest.
- Excellence in permanence: Permanent content on social media was, is, and will be the prime way to absorb content. Just take a look at these successful social media campaigns, all of which utilised permanent social media content for excellent results.
- From ideation to execution: An overarching campaign thought that resonates with your audience is the first thing that must be nailed down. Utilising social media to promote this thought and distributing content on these channels will pay dividends in the long run.
3. Instagram is moving beyond the concept of “likes”
- Engagement, redefined: Mapping engagement on Instagram is mainly about checking views, comments, and – perhaps the most important metric of them all – likes. However, the latter might soon become a thing of the past.
- Likes removed in the US: Instagram is already moving forward with the idea ofremoving likesin the United States, which might become common across regions. Brands need to foresee this development and plan their strategies accordingly.
- Figuring out new ways to map engagement: Marketers will place more emphasis on genuine performance indicators as opposed to superficial metrics. The communication between brands and influencers will also change to an extent, with the former placing more emphasis on research before selecting individuals who can ensure the best and most relevant engagement with their outreach.
4. Using micro-influencers to great effect
- Micro is the new macro: Micro-influencers have taken over the realm of influencer marketing by storm, leading to higher engagement and allowing for specific targeting in a particular demographic.
- Strategic influencer marketing: Enlisting multiple micro-influencers to create content for your brand – as opposed to a few macro-influencers – can lead to excellent returns for your business.
- Targeting marketing outreach: Employing this form of marketing can help you target specific niches that engage regularly with a certain set of content on social media, allowing for excellent reach across the board.
Search Engine Optimisation Trends
(Voice Search, Why Mobile-Friendly Websites, Google Snippets)
1. Voice search is no longer secondary
- Accessibility to voice search is on the rise: More than 7 lakh smart speakers were shipped to India in 2018– a number that is bound to rise over time. Along with this, over 850 million people are expected to use a smartphone in India by 2022.
- Getting the first-mover advantage: With these developments, it goes without saying that people will be asking way more questions in 2020 – a trend that marketers must capitalise on.
- Spoken content is overwritten prose: Content must be framed around these search keywords and provide pinpoint information for a better search ranking. Writing the way people speak is perhaps the first thing that should be kept in mind.
- Localised content for a wide audience: With a significant proportion of Indians using their local language for voice searches, it’s important to create content in different languages that resonate with these audiences and negate the problem of a language barrier.
2. Make your sites more accessible and mobile-friendly
- Avoid static website designs like the plague: The statistic about smartphones mentioned above also makes it important for brands to make their sites more accessible on multiple devices. A static design that functions perfectly on a browser will still not attain significant traffic if their responsiveness is not optimal on other devices.
- Load times need to be minimised: Websites must be optimised at regular intervals to ensure that all elements load with minimum delays. A delay of even one second is enough to compel people that browsing through the page is not worth it.
- AMP is a must for mobile-friendly websites: Google’s AMP framework is a must for developers who are making mobile sites. This technology enables websites to load at a lightning-quick pace on mobile devices, allowing for a streamlined browsing experience.
3. Featured snippets will get the most clicks
- Google, the search engine king: With Google being the biggest and most prominent search engine around, it goes without saying that the majority of clicks will be redirected through this site.
- Address queries with your content: So, content on sites should be crafted in such a manner that it answers clear and common questions, allowing these content pieces to be a part of the upper echelon of Google Search results –a featured snippet.
- How to write a featured piece: To have your content piece features as a snippet, the first thing you need to do is nail down keywords that are ranking on the front page. These keywords can be integrated in an article in two ways – either a paragraph that can incorporate these keywords or a listicle that accomplishes the same.
Media Buying Trends
(Beyond Programmatic, Tribal Advertising, Cross-Device Advertising)
1. Beyond Programmatic Advertising
- AI’s role in media buying: Programmatic advertising is an evolving form of media buying, where AI utilises data in new, innovative ways to generate excellent results across the board.
- Evolution of programmatic: With the manner of data farming and management platforms evolving beyond general parameters, programmatic advertising will be more about behaviours and psychographs that will decide who sees your ad, and on what platform.
- Benefits of this form of advertising: Programmatic advertising is a cost-effective & scalable strategy, allowing for the better targeting of KPIs, improved customer insights, and – ultimately – easier media buying.
2. Advertising to Tribes/Audiences – i.e audience buying
- Demographic targeting is becoming obsolete: Advertising on the basis of demographics is quickly becoming old news. There’s no guarantee that people in a specific age group will share the same likes and interests.
- People with common interests have the strongest groups: This is where tribal advertising comes into play, with marketers finding it in their best interests to advertise to specific tribes that are formed based on common interests.
- The gaming industry is a prime example of tribal advertising: There’s a reason why gaming has managed to generate$138 billion in 2018(a figure higher than the movie and music industry) – the sheer passion that gamers have has transcended demographics, making them prime candidates for tribal advertising.
3. Cross-Device Advertising
- Consumer is king: Audience targeting has always been a key aspect of media buying, making it of prime importance to understand the consumer journey.
- Tracking the user journey is a must: With the majority of consumers utilising multiple media devices, marketers must keep a tab on the user journey across multiple platforms and advertise accordingly.
- From your laptop, to your tablet, to your phone: By implementing cross-device advertising, a person can search for earphones online, get the same ads on his tablet, and use his phone to finalise the purchase. Convenience is how marketing will progress, and cross-device advertising will propel this notion.
The onset of a new decade also signifies a new chapter in the book of marketing – a book that is constantly unfurling new information at every step of the way. It’s a manuscript that will forever be in a state of flux, which is why marketers have a tough challenge ahead of them. These insights can help these marketers follow a base on which they can develop killer advertising strategies and ensure that their efforts are a cut above the rest.