If you ever needed evidence of how quickly marketing can change, just look at the emergence of social media. It’s true, social media changed everything but the evolution of this social landscape has also changed drastically during the past ten years in particular. Needless to say, social media is sure to evolve over the next five years and marketers will need to stay right on the cusp of these changes.
But that’s just part of the story…
With this in mind, let’s start with social and look at where marketing is headed in the next five years:
Where Marketing is Headed in the Next 5 Years
- Social Media will Evolve and Marketers will Follow
Think about it:
Facebook and Twitter might still be going strong but the fall of Snapchat and rise of Instagram tell a different story. As you may know, Snapchat took the world by storm in 2011 but the arrival of Instagram saw the platform become a “flash in the pan’ and distant memory for online users.
Anyway, the point is, change is fast and inevitable with social media. Marketers will need to spread their time between various channels but not so many that they spread their attention too thinly.
- First-Party Data will Remain at the Forefront of Marketing
Believe it or not, data is widely expected to be the most valuable asset to marketers over the next five years. More specifically, first-party data about your target market will prove invaluable and this goes for extracting data through social media, websites, mobile apps, email and every other channel.
In case you might be asking yourself, here are some things to consider:
How do you collect data for the purpose of marketing?
Where do you store this data?
And how will you use the data?
Either way, the importance of data driven marketing cannot be emphasized enough and this refers to both B2C marketing and B2B marketing.
- Voice and the Changing Role of SEO
When Google released the Medic Update, there was a clear preference for authority websites and long-form content. In many ways, according to the Website Magazine, this was Google trying to discourage spam and improve the process of SEO in such a way that the search results were more accurate for online users.
Although guerrilla marketing tactics can be effective, Google continues to stamp out black hat techniques. At the same time, organic and authentic content is being rewarded more and more which is something marketers have needed to respect.
On the other hand, did you know that one in three search queries via voice? It’s true, voice search is ready to make great strides and the emergence of voice technology is evidence of this trend. As for how this might change marketing, it means that marketer must adopt their strategies to voice search and watch closely as this trend becomes a major driving force of SEO.
- Augmented Reality is Likely to Impact eCommerce in a Big Way
As you may know, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are already implemented in various industries and reasons such as cinemas, gaming and even pharma marketing (good summary article here). In fact, this technology is disrupting every aspect of retail and marketing, while improving the quality of service for online users.
For instance, IKEA offers an excellent VR experience which allows customers to see how a product might look in their own home. Amazing, right? It’s just the beginning. As for AR, shoppers can try on clothing and see 3D images of their style and appearance before spending any money.
While talking about VR and AR is common in recent years, the next five should demonstrate the power of these technologies and marketers will need to pay great attention to this shift.
- Mobile Device Usage Will Continue to Dominate
You already know about “mobile-first” and this term still gets bandied about by marketers all the time. At the same time, most businesses and organizations have adopted this approach and even developed apps, wearables, notifications and devices to cater for demand.
However, we should see this mobile first terminology change to “mobile only” in next five years. For this reason, marketers will need to keep testing strategies related to mile and piloting ways that can improve the mobile experience for online users.
- Digital Money is Likely to Impact eCommerce and Transform Social Media
Forget about bitcoin, for now. Facebook recently announced Libra, a digital currency that will make sending money online cheaper and faster. While Libra is sure to meet resistance in the SEC, it’s no secret that digital money is on the horizon and certain to be implemented in the near future.
What’s more, Facebook has partnered with many large organizations for this endeavor including Visa, Paypal and Booking.com. In other words, the chances of implementation are high for Libra.
In terms of social media, this will mean that users will start transacting via digital money as opposed to traditional currency. And guess what? More than 50% of online users will follow brands on social media to see their latest products and services.
For marketers, this also means that advertisements and promotions will be managed through Libra but if online users are favoring digital money, this is surely enough reason for marketers to follow suit.
- Automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) Will Finally Deliver
Personalization is a big thing for marketers but the same can be said for every other business owner and consumer. For this reason, automation and AI might take time to deliver but these machines are improving drastically by the day. That is to say, machine learning is now coming to the point where AI can get the job done, while matching or improving the human capacity for personalization.
But what does this mean?
It means that automation and AI will finally start to deliver and become an integral part of how people react in both the real and online world that we know today.
While social media will change, the importance of data will continue to form a stable foundation for marketers over the next five years. That being said, while nothing lasts forever, marketers need to think carefully about the above and treat these factors as though they are here to stay. Not sure where to start? You can always team up with an agency in the field. Here’s a great list to start with.
Marina Turea works as content manager at Digital Authority Partners, a consulting agency out of Chicago, Il.