Digital Marketing Is Heading This Way, According to Google and LinkedIn

4 digital marketing trends and how to use them for your business.

“Pardon the interruption! New marketing practices coming at ya!”

Marketing trends come and go, as brands strive to better leverage the latest technologies and respond to shifts in the marketplace or customer behavior.

This puts companies constantly in front of new challenges.

Especially the last two years have brought about many changes and technologies have evolved twice as quickly as before.

Working in the marketing industry, I hear many CEOs complain about new tools they don’t understand or that they struggle to reach and entertain their audiences, in a way some of us — the content creators — can.

That got me thinking: What trends and hurdles are currently lurking in digital marketing? And which opportunities?

Here’s are this year’s top four marketing trends, explained by international experts, and how you can leverage them for your business.

Responsible Brands

In the past years, consumers increasingly demanded brands rethink their business processes and take a stand on social, environmental, and political matters.

We‘ve seen companies make moves towards a more environmental-friendly production.

We’ve seen ads promoting support to LGBTQ+ communities.

But the louder the companies are, the more critical customers become.

Most brands already understood that the trend towards more responsibility among businesses is not a short one, it is here to stay. And it must be authentic.

If a company is greenwashing and customers become aware of it, their products and services will quickly fall out of the relevant set.

But what about marketing itself?

“The same is true for the media supply chain. Responsibility for conscientious advertising will be more evenly spread between all players in the future: the media agency, the creative agency and the C-level.”
– Daniel Frühberger, Commercial Director from Teads.

Companies will have to work closely with all agents of the media supply chain to prevent negative impacts on the brand’s reputation and media efficiency.

How to use it for your business

Rethink your business model, products, and practices. Where can you still add value to the environment, society, or social groups?

Adapt your business accordingly, companies should have some kind of sustainable impact in today’s world.

But, don’t stop there. Think about how you’re doing marketing as well.

  • Instead of buying printed ads or OOH all the time, go digital. You could refrain from flyers as well. Instead, use online publishers, podcasts, or Social Media to distribute your messages.
  • Physical marketing materials consume more resources than virtual ones.
  • Reuse instead of producing new TV spots or marketing messages all the time. People need to see a message more often anyway over a long period of time in order to remember and recognize the brand.
  • Consider Co2 offsetting your marketing budget or electricity use, but make sure you check the receiving organization.
  • Favor publishers or platforms that also adapt sustainable marketing practices over those that don’t.

Rise of Intent Marketing

When we look at today’s marketing, we still see a lot of interruption-based practices.

YouTube ads are placed in the middle of the videos we watch.

TV ads have always been aired throughout movies unless we pay to escape them.

Pictures in print magazines are placed between content stories in the hope they lock in our eyes.

Across all channels, most ads are still designed to interrupt our behavior and targeted based on demographics and interests.

We assume that prospective customers fall into a specific age group, live in a certain location, or have specific hobbies or interests.

And if we show ads to these people, a percentage will be willing to buy — so we hope.

But that’s not the best way to go.

First of all, we annoy customers. Second, we spend a big percentage of our advertising budget on people who are probably not interested in our products.

Already 20 years ago, Seth Godin published a book called Permission Marketing, which he summarized in the following sentence: „Finding new ways, more clever ways to interrupt people doesn’t work.”

It’s even truer today, as customers become more and more unwilling to pardon interruptions.

Instead, marketers must fundamentally shift toward creating complementary, contextually appropriate, and genuinely welcomed brand messaging.

Experts at LinkedIn explain the difference between intent-based and interest-based marketing as subtle, yet important.

Brand messages should be distributed based on audience insights, relevance, and value. They should add to a user’s online activities, rather than distract from them.

That means combining the context (what people are consuming on a platform), targeting (who the person is), and behavioral insights (why they consume it).

Only when marketers understand people on a deeper level, will they increase relevance, build better relationships and reduce scatter loss.

How to use it for your business

Step away from push marketing practices, where you think in demographic and interest target groups, and towards pull marketing.

Start analyzing intent data, if you’re not doing so already. That involves:

  • Search engine queries, especially the terms “buy”, “visit” and “purchase”
  • Online engagement and clicks on content
  • Website visits and flow

In addition, you could create different sets of content that match the specific inquiries of the audience and can be distributed depending on the characteristic of intent.

Moreover, observing people’s behavior and engagement with your content will not only generate usable data for future campaigns but also classify them into different levels of intent, which can then be retargeted accordingly.

More Sensitivity To Data Privacy

To the dismay of many advertisers, customers started to think twice when it comes to giving away their data online.

People-focused more and more on their digital footprint — with far-reaching consequences.

The big internet giants reacted promptly.

Apple launched a new setting that brings about more privacy for their clients.

Google called out a deadline for third-party cookies, which is still dreaded by many companies due to a lack of suitable tracking alternatives.

The new reality?

According to Teads: „For us, it’s clear that we need new, data-driven solutions. Sustainable data practices, quality journalism, brand safety, and social responsibility are only a few of many factors that will determine where the advertising budget is spent in the future.”

The perfect solution still has to be found — or at least optimized.

Neither Google’s Privacy Sandbox nor contextual targeting provides an ideal solution for digital advertising done right.

Nevertheless, advertisers cannot postpone taking care of the cookie apocalypse much longer.

Whether it’s collecting information about their customers on their own, searching for alternatives, or changing their approach altogether.

Simultaneously, they need to ensure that they meet the highest privacy settings for their clients.

Otherwise, they will be stuck as soon as Google turns off third-party cookies.

How to use it for your business

According to Google, the best method for balancing data-driven marketing and privacy protection is to:

  • Collect data responsibly.
  • Be resourceful with how you reach audiences
  • Hire and train for privacy.

Make sure your privacy policies and other guidelines are clearly accessible on your website and that you give users plenty of opportunities to opt-in and out of specific things, like email campaigns.

You could also give them something valuable in return for their opting in, but something that is of true value, just like their data is to you.

Another important point is that you should train the people working in your business, from the receptionist to the digital marketer. Everyone should be aware of and understand your data privacy guidelines.

When it comes to cookieless, you can start by creating more general messages that highlight the benefits not only for one specific niche but for many customers.

Or, choose a publisher that already has a system working without third-party cookies.

Social Audio

Twitter launched its Spaces Feature in 2020.

Spotify and Reddit worked on their own Social Audio functions: Spotify Greenroom und Reddit Talk, which went live last year.

Medium is too working on their audio integration in articles.

Not to mention Facebooks Live Audio Rooms or the short but prominent peak of Clubhouse.

We can see audio becoming more and more prominent in our customers’ lives, might it be through smart speakers or hundreds of podcasts being birthed each month.

It’s only a matter of time until speech advertising is a well-established discipline in the marketing mix — just as influencer marketing has developed from niche to mainstream.

Big brands are already experimenting with it, but it’s also a very powerful tool for independent content creators.

But what seems quite “normal” for content creators — namely speaking to their audience — is a bigger hurdle for brands. They have to find and develop a spokesperson who is willing to engage on social audio and also represents the company’s character.

Beyond a storytelling opportunity, social audio platforms can also serve as a way for brands to authentically reach people where they are, something today’s consumers are looking for and actively craving, while also making room for a more individualized experience.

It might only be a matter of time until brands too sell their products through audio interactions on social platforms.

But in order to do it successfully, they will have to make sure they incorporate the same characteristics individual entrepreneurs do: authenticity and relatability.

How to use it for your business

Whenever you want to use a new marketing technique, it often makes sense to focus on one new platform at a time.

Try to find the one that works best for your business and where you feel comfortable creating content.

If it’s not you that will be the voice of your brand, try to find someone that is not only skilled but also shares your values.

Then, create content around your expertise or products. If you’re an author, teaching people how to sell books online, you can start by recording your teaching material or articles.

You could also create a podcast around your niche and fill it with new content or interviews.

You could stream live Q&A sessions on Twitter where other aspiring authors can ask you questions.

The possibilities are endless and you’re invited to experiment.

These developments only scratch on the surface of future challenges for the media ecosystem.

Contentiousness is the biggest trend that can be observed across all platforms, marketers, agencies, and publishers.

Whether it’s in the media supply chain, in handling data privacy, developing a voice for social audio, or interacting with customers in general.

There is a lot of potential for growth. All those who are willing to step up their game, take on responsibility will rise to the top.

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