At one time, artificial intelligence, data-driven marketing and voice search engine optimization (VSEO) were ambitious concepts bordering on the ridiculous. Today, these are some of the top digital marketing trends.
And why wouldn’t they be? After all, if your business intends to remain competitive in this crowded online landscape, you must adapt to the latest innovations.
In this article, we’ll go over the 38 most important digital marketing trends you can’t ignore this year because they will help your business not just survive, but thrive in this age of never-ending marketing changes.
1) AI-Powered Optimization
Artificial intelligence is the technology behind many services, including content creation, chatbots and search engines, which has particularly ramped up since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a PwC survey from over 1,000 U.S.-based companies, 52% have accelerated their AI adoption plans. The main benefits include:
For content creation, Jarvis is an example of AI-powered software that is “trained to generate original, creative content.” Apparently, top SEO experts taught Jarvis to write blog posts and website copy.
AI can also analyze consumer behavior and search patterns, and use data from social media platforms like Instagram and blog posts to help businesses understand how customers find their products and services.
One such company that has made AI the center of its value proposition is Google. Over the last few years, their implementation of AI has allowed their search engine to understand with higher precision what people are looking for and what kind of content best serves their search intent.
Google understands what people are looking for and what kind of content best serves their intent. For example, if you search for ‘fish oil’, Google knows that the dominant search intent is to learn about the health benefits and side effects:
Therefore it’s highly unlikely you could rank #1 for this keyword with an e-commerce product page. If you get this step wrong, all the time and effort you spend on content production, promotion and link building will go to waste.
This means that it’s become more crucial than ever to nail the search intent, and content optimization is an excellent way to do this. The easiest way to implement content optimization into your SEO and content workflows is by using a tool like ClickFlow.
ClickFlow‘s Content Editor feature pulls data from the top 20 current ranking pages, and helps your writing team put together a perfectly optimized piece of content.
Using Artificial Intelligence to serve up subtopics and related keywords will make any article ultra-comprehensive and give it the best possible chance to rank on page one. It gives you a recommended word count, feedback on readability, and an overall optimization grade based on keywords and subtopics covered:
This was one of the key strategies used in this case study, in which ElectricityRates.com was able to increase organic clicks by 327% in 30 days. Using the Content Editor helped them identify that their existing content was not nearly in-depth enough and the important keywords that were missing:
Businesses adopting AI now will be able to cut staffing costs and accelerate growth, getting an edge over their competitors.
2) Programmatic Advertising
Programmatic advertising is the process of using AI to automate ad buying. By removing humans from ad buying, companies receive a more reliable and cost-effective solution to their needs.
Global programmatic advertising spending has reached almost $130 billion, 61% of which comes from U.S. companies. According to eMarketer, U.S. programmatic display ad spending will grow 18.4% next year, a number that’s close to average what was observed in recent years:
According to SmartyAds, the power of programmatic advertising lies in its optimization scale capacity, which exceeds that of a human:
“Most search-driven manual advertising campaigns (even those performed with professional tools) take into account three or four targets: the keyword, time of day, and location.
Such tools like programmatic demand-side platforms can use hundreds of targeting signals to individualize the advertisement and even target according to lifestyle or behavior habits when integrated with customer data platforms.”
If paid media buying is a crucial customer acquisition channel, you should start paying attention to programmatic advertising.
One popular application of programmatic ad buying you should consider adopting is real-time bidding (aka. RTB), which uses real-time auctions to buy guaranteed ad impressions in advance from specific publisher sites.
3) Conversational Marketing
With all that talk about chatbots, the reality of modern marketing becomes clear: it’s more conversational than ever. People want it that way, and so brands are reacting accordingly. When consumers have a question, 82% want an “immediate” response.
Conversational marketing facilitates a personal, instant connection between marketers and customers:
Unlike traditional strategies, this form of marketing is now available across multiple channels, allowing brands to meet customers on their terms: on the devices, platforms and time schedules that suit the customer best.
David Cancel, founder and CEO of Drift, explains: “Today’s buyers expect to find what they’re looking for now, not later….[And in] the way people prefer to communicate.”
The primary goal of conversational marketing is to enhance the user experience through a feedback-driven model that fosters higher engagement, greater loyalty, and more sales.
In fact, Drift has found that 41.3% of consumers use conversational marketing tools for purchases.
Some methods companies use to execute a conversational marketing strategy include:
- Personalized videos
- Personalized emails
- Virtual selling assistants
One example of a company that benefited from conversational marketing is ThoughtSpot, which, after its implementation, saw 10X more sales conversations, 70% more marketing qualified leads, and 64% more meetings booked:
One implementation of conversational marketing is chatbots. Chatbots leverage AI technology to provide automated human-like messages to web visitors in real-time:
Surveys show that:
- The greatest benefits of chatbots for companies are 24-hour service (64%), instant responses to inquiries (55%), and answers to simple questions (55%).
- Uberall has found that 80% of consumers have positive experiences with chatbots.
- Juniper Research predicts that eCommerce transactions via chatbots will reach $112 billion by 2023.
- By 2024, Insider Intelligence predicts that consumer retail spends via chatbots worldwide will reach $142 billion — up from just $2.8 billion in 2019.
Many customers prefer interacting with chatbots because they are responsive 24/7, give answers promptly, and accurately recall their entire buying history. These virtual assistants offer outstanding customer service by meeting customers’ expectations and automating repetitive tasks, freeing your resources for more important work.
As more consumers become accustomed to chatbots, they will become increasingly crucial for a positive customer experience.
If you want to stand out in 2022, you need to personalize your marketing, which means personalizing content, products, emails, etc. It turns out that consumers like personalization:
- SmarterHQ found that 72% of shoppers act on marketing messages only when they are customized to their interests.
- A Salesforce survey found that marketers see the highest benefits of personalization on their customer experience (64%), a conversion rate increase (63%), and visitor engagement (55%):
Similarly, Kevin George from EmailMonks asserts that “personalized, triggered emails based on behavior are 3X better than batch-and-blast emails.”
When you want to study examples of the power of personalization, it’s hard to overlook Netflix and Amazon, with their incredibly successful tailored recommended products or movie titles. Here are a few other companies that are successfully using personalization today:
- EasyJet launched a data-driven email campaign that uses customers’ travel history with the airline to build personalized stories, suggesting where they might like to travel next. About 12.5 million unique emails have been sent, which had a 25% higher click-through rate than non-personalized emails.
- Cadbury’s created a personalized video campaign that matches a Dairy Milk flavor with users based on data from their Facebook profile, including age, interest and location. The campaign generated a 65% click-through rate and a 33.6% conversion rate, proving that the personal touch works.
- Starbucks uses a gamified mobile app that draws on data like purchase history and location to get as personal as possible, allows customers to customize their drinks, and encourages further use with its rewards system—which skyrocketed their revenue to $2.56 billion