Digital marketing never stands still for long. It’s one of the hardest parts of a digital marketer’s job – staying up to date in an evolving marketplace, and keeping your eyes peeled for the next big thing while making sure your fundamentals are sound, and most importantly, still staying within budget.
With that in mind, we’ve compiled this list of things that should be on every digital marketer’s to-do list -some are brand new, some have been around for a few years, but they’re all worth some attention, and all built on solid foundations that will add value to any digital marketing campaign.
Video is absolutely essential for any digital presence as viewers continue to shift from TV to online streaming, and as social media continues to be a powerful audience engager. Luckily, as traditional TV advertising becomes less important, TV advertising dollars are being converted to digital. That means more resources that can and should be put towards the many good uses of online video:
- Classic spot ads
- Case studies
- Product videos
- Company culture videos
There’s video, and then there’s personalized video, also known as dynamic video. This trend first appeared through the year-in-review videos on Facebook and Spotify, animated using pictures and playlists from the viewer's own feed, and quickly became widely-shared sensations. And why not? Who wouldn't want to see and share a customized video made just for them?
Rich Media loves personalized video - we were early adopters and have been on the forefront of personalized video technology for years, finding ways to use it not only for entertainment, but as a useful tool for consumers. Among many other things, personalized video allows you to:
- Put a user’s name into a video
- Draw and animate a real graph with a user's real data
- Explain and illustrate tool or calculator results
- Show only the portions of a video that are relevant to the viewer, preventing information overload
- Change a video over time, without having to remake it
Personalized video’s ability to share information in an exciting and dynamic way, while also providing a personal and customized connection with the viewer makes it one of the best investments for any brand that wants to be a cut above the rest.
Interactive tools & calculators
The great feature of the internet as a medium is its interactivity. Television can only be watched – the internet lets you take an active, personal hand in what you see. For example, while TV can perhaps show you how mortgage payments work, an interactive online calculator can let you experiment with different payments for yourself to see the best scenario for you.
The best digital properties know this. Interactive calculators, tools, and questionnaires are often the most popular elements on a site. This popularity translates into better SEO, strong lead generation, and increased engagement. After all, the most effective digital marketing lets people do, not just see.
Mobile is now a key component to all digital marketing, with many marketers having moved to mobile-first. As web technologies advance, and smartphone web usage continues to grow, many existing sites that have not yet adapted this approach are in danger of becoming out-of-date. Also, with previously beloved tools and content, such as Flash, recently becoming obsolete, it is vital for those sites to start taking advantage of today’s phones’ capabilities for micro moments, smooth performance, and animation. Not to mention, Google’s SEO now considers mobile first, so mobile friendliness can help increase your site’s visibility.
Being mobile-first means making your mobile experience the focal point of your digital presence – or, put another way, meeting your audience where they are. Mobile should still be your bread-and-butter, so make sure you’re putting something good on the table.
Personalized content built to support targeted campaigns
Personalization is the great challenge of marketers, and the great opportunity of the internet. Providing the perfect content for each viewer is achievable in a way it isn’t in traditional media.
There are plenty of tools at your disposal. We’ve already mentioned personalized videos and interactive tools, but there’s more. Sites and ads can be built to change based on the user – with products sorted based on the user’s predicted preferences, and videos customized to their demographic. With personalized video and other new methods, native advertisements in social media can be much more than just static images – one ad can do the audience targeting of twenty.
Another important aspect of any digital marketing campaign, and also one that is often an afterthought, is accessibility. According to the World Health Organization, 15% of the global population is living with some type of disability. That’s over one billion people. This means that making sure your site, tool, or video is accessible is not only an important investment in terms of legal responsibility, but social responsibility as well.
As technology continues to develop and create new ways for those with disabilities to access the same content as those without, so do our standards for digital media. Keeping up to date on the most recent accessibility requirements is a great way to maintain those standards. While it’s best to keep accessibility in mind from the beginning of content production, it is never too late to go back and bring older content up to snuff – and maybe do a bit of design or mobile refresh while you’re at it.
Not all the trends in this list are new, but you can bet your bottom dollar that they are tried and true! Since the arrival of mobile broke so many rules over the past decade, we’ve almost come to expect things to be obsolete within five years. However, some of these trends have proven successful well beyond this life expectancy. Others are the result of pushing boundaries to create tools and technologies that would have been unimaginable 10 years ago. So if you’re looking for the best way to tackle that digital marketing to-do list, any one of these trends would be a great place to start.