If there’s one item marketing forecaster agree on, it’s that spending for digital marketing—anything that appears online—will continue to rise in 2017 and beyond.
Digital marketing includes mobile ads and messages that appear on smartphones and tablets, text messaging, inside apps and email. Some low-cost mobile providers like Virgin even show ads on locked screens.
Where will we see the most digital marketing activity in 2017? The short answer: on smartphones.
Google Search Analytics Point to Mobile Markets
Consumers use mobile devices far more than desktops and laptops. Google is using a separate algorithm to rank mobile searches.
This is hardly a surprise. Google’s own analytics had been pointing to the growing mobile search market for the past several years. Mobile search outranked desktop search in 2015. By then, the trend was also firmly established in the smartphone market.
“Tablets are dying,” Francine Hardaway, PhD, co-founder of Stealthmode Partners and a close observer of mobile trends, noted in a talk she gave at the Phoenix Mobile Festival in October 2016.
Sales and manufacturing data back this up, attributing tablets’ downfall to everything from lack of teenage interest in them to the fact that the danged things don’t break as often so it may be years before customers replace them!
Better Analytics Will Drive Digital Marketing Spending
Even though more dollars are devoted to digital marketing each year, keep in mind that it’s more or less flat lined between 21 – 22% of marketing budgets, a trend SmartInsights detailed in late 2016.
The reason, says Hardaway and countless articles I’ve read, is that few people understand how to collect and analyze digital marketing data. Many business executives don’t trust the data they see, according to a study by Experian Data Quality and reported in E-Marketer.
Why not fix this? Lack of funds and knowledge are the main barriers.
Luckily, new tools like Facebook’s video chat and growing use of live customer service tools can make this a bit easier
Real-Time Chat is Exploding for Brands and Sales
Visit a website, and you’ll get a popup box inviting you to chat and get your questions answered.
Customer service—long accepted as a quality indicator for any business—has steadily moved from phone headsets to keyboards and screens. Add in the talk-to-text capability on just about every smartphone sold since 2015, and you a beautiful friendship can blossom.
DigitalMarketer discussed this in its last 2016 and first 2017 podcast. Contributor Molly Pittman enthusiastically endorsed Facebook’s Messenger and Live Chat apps.
Today’s customers, Pittman says, expect immediate, or near-immediate responses. Chat capabilities deliver this right away. No more waiting for hours or even days to get answers.
At the same time, businesses get instant insight into potential customers. Skilled salespeople are given golden opportunities to convert queries into sales.
Best of all, data from live chats are immediately saved to analyze. Insights can be gained into new keywords and phrases you can use in content marketing for email, blogs and websites.
Facebook’s Stronger Search and Marketing Services Lead the Way
Facebook’s search capabilities are gaining on Google. Its algorithm has become smarter and its ability to quickly provide relevant answers (including Google search results that follow Facebook responses) is impressive.
And of course, it remains the top social media site.
Now there’s Facebook Live, a video tool marketers can use to generate conversations with current and potential customers. Facebook boosts each live stream with a Live Map feature that shows who’s currently broadcasting and from where.
Live viewers can comment and use one of Facebook’s reaction emojis. Comments stream under the video, while the emojis float around the screen. After the live feed is done, it’s saved on the marketer’s Facebook page.
And because it’s on Facebook, there are instant tools that provide:
- Immediate information on how many people watched it live, minutes viewed, comparison to competitors
- Uploading to other networks
- Opportunities to boost the video
- Post-live engagement statistics
It All Ties Back to Data
Data from tools like Live Video and observations you record immediately following live chats provide insights into what customers are thinking and asking about. In the case of chats, you even have their own words!
By carefully reviewing the data generated in different channels and comparing them, marketing can learn what channels work best with different groups and how to use them to effectively reach customers on those channels.