Digital marketing trends evolve so quickly that to only look at them on an annual basis is not often enough. Instead, it is important to keep up with how technology and strategies change over the course of the year.
The following is an overview of some of the key digital marketing trends to pay attention to throughout the fourth quarter of 2017.
Escalation of Predictive Analytics Capabilities
We recently discussed the critical role of predictive analytics in demand generation, and the technology that drives this key digital area continues to evolve.
Infusion of artificial intelligence enables businesses to more effectively leverage the predictive capabilities afforded by big data while maintaining an emphasis on human intuition.
According to Think With Google, 97% of business leaders feel the future of marketing will consist of marketers working in collaboration with machine learning-based automation entities.
More Content… Still
As predicted earlier this year, companies continue to focus on producing more content to achieve marketing objectives.
That trend shows no signs of slowing during the fourth quarter. Businesses still benefit by posting quality, relevant content that speaks to the specific interests and behaviours of targeted prospects.
Plus it is especially useful for helping with your SEO endeavours.
The Expansion of Dark Social
Another digital marketing trend relates to social media. We all know that social media offers the chance to post and disseminate messages and resources that users authentically share with others.
And to leverage this strength, a lot of companies provide incentives to encourage users to post images of their brand experiences.
However, many users are also using dark social for engaging with your content. And when you consider that 10 percent of marketing budgets are spent on social media, according to the 2016 CMO Survey, how are the successes of social media campaigns being measured?
Dark social is social sharing methods that are not immediately transparent to the marketer and are difficult to measure. They include applications such as email, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and others.
Marketers should be looking at the various ways they can track dark social via the multiple tools available.
As you can see from the graphic below, dark social shares as a percent of on-site shares jumped from 69 to 84 percent globally.
Better ROI Evaluation
In some cases, companies are discovering that strategies they have employed are not producing the return on investment desired. A lot of brands have not found value from their mobile apps, for instance.
Thus, firms that rushed into development as the emphasis on apps boomed are looking to fine-tune their app or even get rid of it if no opportunities are recognised.
Alignment with Customer Journey
Marketers continue to focus on aligning their strategies with the customer journey, most of which takes place in the digital environment.
A recent Salesforce Research study revealed that top-performing firms emphasise this alignment in their approach.
And personalisation will continue to evolve as the omnichannel customer experience becomes paramount for organisations.
Increased Mobile Relevance
Even with some firms shifting away from apps because of inadequate ROI, mobile strategies continue to captivate much of the digital marketing conversation as 2017 draws to a close.
As people read the majority of their emails on a mobile device, companies are optimising content to appeal to the interests of mobile readers.
Text messaging, WhatsApp Groups, and Facebook Messenger groups are on the rise as well, as companies look to share updates, resources and important news with prospects and customers.
Video content also remains a strong trend, partly based on the significant video consumption on mobile devices.
In many cases, these fourth-quarter digital marketing trends represent a continuation or evolution of things that have been in progress throughout the year.
However, the heightened focus on these tech tools and strategies puts your business at a greater disadvantage if you aren’t taking them into account.
Review your approach and look for ways to integrate the most effective digital marketing efforts in your demand generation strategy.