Digital marketing has made leaps and bounds over the years. According to an infographic created by Marketing Profs, 55% of marketers worldwide increased digital marketing budgets in 2013. It is predicted that marketing teams will spend $135 billion on new digital marketing collateral in 2014. Additionally, social media budgets will double over the next 5 years and 78% of CMOs think custom content is the future of digital marketing.
In a preview of the 2014 Social Media Marketing Industry Report (SMMIR) sponsored by Social Media Examiner, Michael Stelzner gives marketers the 411 on new digital marketing trends we should all be following.
Here are five trends we learned about from this year’s Social Media Marketing World conference.
1. Social Media Increases Content Exposure and Website Traffic
In a digital world where brand content is now competing with photos of your cousin’s baby on Facebook, it’s up to brand fans to advertise for them. Let’s take KFC for example. While I don’t normally follow KFC on Facebook, today I saw that the fried chicken brand was trending. Why? With prom season in full swing, people are talking about the KFC chicken corsage. Yes, you read that correctly. I had to know if it was legit so I clicked through to read more. When I did, I was faced with commentary and videos about the acclaimed chicken corsage.
I clicked on a video that sent me to the KFC YouTube channel. A link appeared at the end of the video which I then clicked and was taken to the KFC website. Just like that, 10 minutes passed and I had interacted with three of KFC’s channels. Although the idea of a chicken corsage is ridiculous (yet tasty), you can bet I’m tempted to drive through KFC for dinner after staring at their chicken for 10 minutes. Mission accomplished, Colonel.
2. Creating Bold Visual Assets Grabs Attention
According to Stelzner’s 2014 Social Media Marketing Industry report, 70% of the 2,850+ marketers surveyed plan to increase use of visual assets in 2014. And with good reason! Did you know 65% of audiences are visual learners? Marketers have seen that engagement is higher with content that contains images, including Twitter tweets and Facebook posts. Visual data is processed 60,000 times faster by the brain than text. The image needs to draw your audience in, but the strength of the content should captivate them to stay on the page or even explore other pages on your site.
Whole Foods Market displays the power of attractive visuals on their website with large, bold graphics that pop off the page and make you wish you were a gourmet chef. Their social channels, such as Pinterest, attract users with unique images of enticing meals or ideas that get the brain thinking about food more creatively.
3. Blog Content Focuses Your Audience
The great thing about your blog is that it’s all yours. Create and drive to your own original content. Since Facebook pushed out a “pay to play” rule for marketers at the end of 2013, it has become even more difficult for brands to get their content in front of the follower base they spent years building. So, here’s the new trend: Use social media to drive to your blog—a place where you get to choose what your fans see and your brand isn’t competing with baby pictures.
KFC caught me cruising Facebook and then took me on an excursion through their various channels. You can do the same thing and take the next step. Once I arrive, convince me to stay awhile with more content that you know I’m interested in because you’ve studied me (your audience).
4. Amp Up Your Brand’s Presence on Google+
While Google+ still isn’t the most popular kid in class, it’s certainly on the rise. Since Facebook is forcing marketers to pay for advertising and promoted content, brands and fans are starting to venture towards Google+.
Instead of going into some of the cool features that we’ve discovered on Google+, I’m going to use a word that always gets my attention: FREE! Right now on G+, all posts show up in your followers’ feeds for free, just like Twitter. Additionally, there are no ads currently on G+, which hopefully means Google is keeping its word to never have advertising on its platform. Here, the best content wins organically, so give it a try.
5. Podcast Popularity Shows ROI Potential
Podcasting will help you identify the strongest advocates for your brand and the most active users of your channels. Studies from the SMMIR showed that people who listen to your podcast are much more likely to interact with your brand and spend money with you. Stelzner says the ROI is definitely worth it.
The image above shows that NPR podcasts are generally around 45 minutes. If people are listening weekly, they invest much more time than someone solely browsing your site and supporting social channels. Additionally, the popularity of podcasts is predicted to increase as cars begin to integrate with phones and apps. The 2014 SMMIR reports that only 6% of marketers create podcasts, but 33% plan to produce original audio content in the future. Enter the market now before competition skyrockets in the podcasting world!
What Would You Add?
As social media continues to evolve, it is up to digital marketers to keep their brands at the forefront of innovation. Share your comments about this year’s trends below and let us know if you have more to add to our list.