It is hard to believe that 2017 is already almost over. It seems like just yesterday that we were discussing how to amend our digital strategies, and client services, to align with industry advancements and technological changes and challenges for the year. Now we’re assessing the year that’s gone by and started to gear up for 2018.
First, we’ll assess what 2017 promised to deliver and what we actually saw in the digital marketing space. Then we’ll explore what’s in store for 2018- which promises to be a year of progress in some areas and rapid change in others.
Highlights of 2017’s Digital Marketing Trends
Marketing departments across industries reported in a 2016 poll taken by Smart Insights that content marketing and big data were the most important and digital marketing methods in 2017. 40% of businesses have found ROI in some kind of content strategy. However, right behind content marketing as a priority, which was top rated by 20% of businesses polled by Smart Insights, was big data. Why? Personalisation is one reason. Content is king, but personalisation is queen. When individuals feel that the content they consume is relevant and important, they’ll engage more often. But your personalisation can only be as good as the data you gather and utilise.
Another highlight of 2017 was the relatively new shift to mobile marketing. As more and more consumers use mobile rather than desktop, revising every element of your marketing and communications strategy, from making your website mobile-friendly to ensuring that you run mobile advertising campaigns, has been an increasing priority.
Speaking of mobile marketing, influencers including models, actors and relatively “normal” people with huge social media followings really made a mark in 2017. Although there were a few hiccups in how to regulate influencer advertising posts (such as the Fyre Festival), influencers are clearly here to stay, particularly as outbound marketing trends down for many brands.
Finally, virtual and augmented reality content (VR and AR, respectively), including advertisements, made a splash, particularly for mobile advertising and content platforms. 71% of customers feel that brands that use virtual and augmented reality are forward-thinking. In addition, the days when “engagement” was simply on a customer’s Twitter post have long gone. Brands have been looking at VR and AR as ways to bridge the engagement gap, but in 2017, according to Hubspot, many reported that a VR strategy would be too technically difficult (not to mention expensive) to implement. Thus, ideas were left at just that, and little has been done to move things forward when it comes to using virtual and augmented reality for most brands.
What to anticipate in 2018
2018 promises some exciting continuities with 2017, as well as several developments. The biggest continuity that we see? Mobile is here to stay. Planning your marketing strategy around mobile, or at least having a standalone marketing strategy, is now a must, particularly since Google continues full steam ahead with its index.
But as you think through your mobile (and desktop!) digital strategy, here are the big trends we see on the horizon.
1) Micromoments: think about the last time you wanted information, quickly. More than likely, rather than log in to your desktop, you reached for your mobile phone, as 96% of us do. This is known as a “micromoment” and these are becoming far more common. These moments can, in fact, become critical touchpoints with customers: you can already see it with Think with Google, customers expect brands to provide reliable information regardless of the time and location.
2) Augmented/virtual reality content: as we discussed above, more and more users perceive that companies that use AR and VR are cutting edge, even as companies only see these mechanisms as cost sinks. But some brands are really thriving at the VR game, and this will continue through 2018. For example, Ikea has created an augmented reality product catalogue and augmented reality app, Ikea Place. Users can now not picture in their minds how their new furniture might look in their living spaces, but experience it first hand, taking a photo of the room they want to furnish and seeing how different pieces of furniture would look in it. What a great way to convert sales, particularly online!
3) E-wallets for e-commerce: taking a cue from the government of Singapore, there’s a big push to go cashless, with e-wallets being a big trend for 2018. Not only will you see mobile card payments accepted in more physical shops, you’ll notice security mechanisms for e-wallets expand greatly. How does this help the marketer? More customers, primed to pay, with more ways to do it.
4) Beacon and proximity marketing: if 2015 was all about geolocation and geolocated advertising, 2018 is going to be all about beacon and proximity marketing. Bluetooth beacons allow marketers to transmit targeted and relevant messages and information to nearby mobile devices. Think about UberEats, which can send push notifications about restaurant specials to customers in a certain kilometre radius, or shops that can send special, targeted offers to customers as they enter, walk through or linger in specific departments American drugstore chain Rite Aid recently rolled out beacons to provide customers with targeted discounts and other specials.
5) Chatbots: virtual assistants animated by AI help customers with their answers in real-time. Using customer data, these chatbots can offer customers and potential clients support, guidance, and can automate recurrent tasks so humans can focus on adding more value customer operations and other fields.
6) AI/Machine Learning: almost 100% of business leaders feel that the future of marketing will be forged by smart humans, but assisted by machine learning-based automation. Machine learning can help marketers who need to shift their strategy quickly to align with consumer behaviour; for instance, the healthcare industry has used machine learning software to patient medical data and provide recommendations and information in alignment with personal data. There are other AI tools available that can start to optimise when to send emails, post social media links and other marketing activities.
7) Dark Social: people no longer engage on social by posting links to articles, videos and sharing gifs and memes. Instead, they are also using less monitored channels including WhatsApp, WeChat, Facebook Messenger, email, etc. In fact, 84% of outbound sharing is done on dark social, rather than public-facing profiles, and almost 50% of consumers over the age of 55 share social material only on dark social channels. Thus, it is important to take these channels into consideration in 2018 as you plan out your social media strategy, lest you underreport how effective social really is.
8) Influencer Marketing: as we saw above, influencer marketing really is here to stay. We used to call this “word of mouth” marketing back before 2016 or so, but now if you can get people, particularly those with large social followings, to sing your company’s graces, you’ll definitely have better brand equity and more than likely have new customers.
Image courtesy of http://42works.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/influencer-marketing1.jpg
These trends are driven by market and thus could vary across regions. For example, QR codes trended in Singapore recently via WeChat. However, we believe that the basis for digital marketing trends in 2018, worldwide, will be pushed by mobile use and brand’s response to it, regardless of what the strategy details look like.
What other elements do you think we’ve missed? Please drop us a line in the comments below to let us know!
Mobile application developers are thriving in this age of digital technology, as evident in the influx of mobile apps every day. However, have you wondered why some apps are downloaded by majority while some becomes ignored and discarded? What makes an app so popular and wildly sought after, even if it doesn’t bring the same fun and entertainment like Pokemon Go? Let me tell you why:
Unique idea or feature
The app’s idea is original and unique, which will capture the interests of the crowd and prompt them to try as there are no similar apps in the market. Nothing will stop them as downloading an app now is so convenient and hassle-free nowadays. Even if there was a similar app already, a unique feature will still entice users to switch to your app.
Focus on the core
An app does not need to have too many features, which can be a major distraction to the intended purpose of the app. Instead, focus on being user-friendly and the core feature(s) of the app, then execute it perfectly. When the basics of the app is done right and the users start coming in, switch your focus to add value with more features.
Solve a problem
Your app must exist solely for one reason; to solve an existing problem. The crowd will definitely start downloading when they notice an app that will benefit them and help with their daily struggles. For example, AceConnectMe is a e-Business card mobile app that aims to completely do away with physical business cards so your wallets will not get stuffed, as well as not needing to waste precious time by keying contact details individually into your phone. It is also free to use so you can save on printing costs!
Just uploading your app to Google Play and App Store does not guarantee downloads. Marketing should be done in advance before the app is done, so you can create the hype and get the downloads as soon as your app is uploaded to various platforms. Thereafter, continue your marketing efforts by running various campaigns, such as Google Adwords or Facebook Ads, which are highly effective tactics frequently used by digital marketers to advertise a company/product/service.
Surely now you have heard about the advantages of a digital business card, although there were more emphasis on making these exchanges convenient, flexible and fun. What about the original purpose of a business card’s existence? Are these digital solutions managing to deliver the intended purpose, which is to market oneself?
Definitely, if not, better.
Let’s use AceConnectMe and as a reference on how you can fully utilise its features to maximise your personal branding.
Uploading a picture – Some paper cards do not even have a picture, which is a major no-no. A face lets the other party remember you, for example, when you see Bill Gates, you instantly think of Microsoft. A face on your card represents your brand or business which is extremely necessary and leads to higher brand recognition. Here comes the kicker, you can change your picture anytime when you feel like it!
Uploading a video – A picture is a simple visual representation. A video tops it up! Remember that trending Pen Pineapple Apple Pen video? This is what a video can do, it has the potential to go viral and etches in people’s memory for a long time, which is what you want for your business.
Updating your details – Your phone number changed, or your job position, or your office location, or maybe even your tagline. How do you go about updating your contacts? It’s a headache to even think of it. With AceConnectMe, all you have to do is press the update button and all your contacts in your network will be notified. Wow! Say goodbye to the printing costs too!
Adding more information – That paper card is only 3.5×2 inch. Some space goes to graphic and logo, how much information can you put on the remaining space? AceConnectMe utilises the dynamics of a phone screen to give you more than enough information to fill in your e-Business Card. Still not enough? How about linking your social media profiles or websites to provide more information where they can easily access with a click.
These are just some of the few ways to fully utilise a digital business card app, especially AceConnectMe. We hope these tips will help your business!
Any marketer should have heard of Google Adwords and its wonderful lead-generating capabilities. However, the advertising trends are rapidly changing and Google Adwords have already taken note of this with the plan of implementing a few changes (listed below) to its long-standing platform.
1) Change to expanded text Ads from standard Ads(Already implemented)
In May 2016, Google announced its reformatting of ads to help consumers and advertisers succeed in a mobile-first world. The new format, called Expanded Text Ads, allows for 23% more text. This new format is available on both the Google Search Network and the Google Display network. It features two headlines with 30 characters each, to replace the single headline of 25 characters. The new description also allows 80 characters and replaces the two descriptions lines of 35 characters each. The display URL has been replaced with two 15 character paths, and the characters do not include the root domain. Emojis, and other uncharacteristic characters, are not allowed and reviews can be requested.
2) Able to bid uniquely based on device
You would be able to set mobile bids, desktop bids and tablet bids individually or make them connected to each other. This would allow more control based on each device that you wish to target.
3) Responsive display Ads
Google would be able to figure out automatically what format is best for your ad depending on where it is displayed. This would save the hassle of creating multiple formats of the same ad.
4) Ads to appear in Google maps
Google maps has a huge user base and they plan to leverage on that and show ads, for example a company logo and if someone clicks on the logo, they can see the offer or promotion that company is offering. This could be a big boost for businesses as if a consumer searches the vicinity in Google maps, they would be able to see your ad if they are nearby and could come physically to your store.
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a web search engine’s unpaid results—often referred to as “natural”, “organic”, or “earned” results. In general, the earlier (or higher ranked on the search results page), and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine’s users, and these visitors can be converted into customers. SEO may target different kinds of search, including image search, local search, video search, academic search, news search and industry-specific vertical search engines.
Benefits of SEO:
1) Drive Interested Traffic To Your Website
Customers who visit your site via your SEO strategy, for example through unpaid results such as organic search are already interested because of the keywords or descriptions you have used.
2) Content On Website
With a strong SEO strategy, content on your website should match what people expect to see when they read about your product/service and click to visit. This in turn would reduce bounce rates for your site and increase your chance for a sale.
3) Brand Awareness
With SEO, if your brand appears higher in Google search than your competitors based on keywords relevant to your industry, would go a long way in placing your brand at the top of people’s minds.
Google now processes over 40,000 search queries every second on average, which translates to over 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide.
With these search volumes, businesses can’t afford to NOT have a SEO strategy and miss out on a share of the pie. Contact us here for a no obligation discussion.
With the rise of social media such as Facebook, there is an ongoing debate as to whether Email Marketing is still a viable marketing tool. Businesses now share information faster through social media with updates that customers can immediately view via their social media accounts or notifications on their mobile phone.
Email marketing is not dead, and here’s why:
1) 2.5 Billion email users around the world (Source: Lifewire)
This represents a huge opportunity for email marketers hoping to connect with these users around the world and the number of users can only grow with the advancement of technology.
2) Being able to customise messages to customers
With email marketing, businesses can send out customised messages via monthly newsletters and the such. They can send information which is relevant to their customer base and thus creating higher customer satisfaction as customers would receive only information which they are interested in reading.
3) People prefer to receive product offers via email
The chart below shows how 2,057 American adults answered the question, ”In which of the following ways, if any, would you prefer companies to communicate with you? Please select all that apply.”
Over 70% of the respondents choose email as their preferred mode of communication from companies.
4) Email beats social by 40x for customer acquisition
Based on info from Mckinsey, when you want to grow your business, offer a promotion or acquire new customers, you should chose email as it is 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than Facebook or Twitter.
Meeting new people and exchanging contacts is now an effortless thing, given how advanced and digitised our world have become in terms of communicative technology. From mobile phones to laptops, we seem to want everything to be digitised and stored into one common storage for faster and easier access. It seems however, business card is one of the few things evading this digitising trend. Despite an increase in mobile applications that seeks to revolutionise business cards towards this trend, the results have always been minuscule. There are a few reasons to this:
– Not many know that applications like this exists.
– Opening an app takes more time than handing out a business card.
– The other party does not have the app and it can be awkward to download on the spot.
– Being stuck with a standard template, which is not as customisable as a physical card.
– Some people might not be tech-savvy or hates to rely on technology for daily tasks.
These issues makes an e-Business card app less desired, but one should not discount the many benefits it can offer, especially with AceConnectMe, a mobile app developed to revolutionise and replace the tradition of physical business cards exchange. AceConnectMe is designed to be dynamic which give users convenience, flexibility and fun, and here is a preview of what it can do:
✔ Hassle-free updating of your details digitally save so much effort and costs from re-printing physical business cards.
✔ Notifying your network real-time automatically whenever your details are updated, instead of notifying individually.
✔ Don’t get left behind! Get notified of activities from your network.
✔ For your privacy, there’s the option to accept only those business cards that you really want.
✔ Instead of handling chucks of business cards, this app stores all your business contacts into one organised space where you can effortlessly search for someone, saving much needed time and manual efforts!
✔ Allows 3 ways of exchanging your cards flexibly by location within your area, username, or your existing contact lists. The more the better right?
✔ Companies can email us to order a customised and specifically designed business card template for corporate branding.
✔ Have the extra option to sign up/login with LinkedIn.
✔ Best yet, AceConnectMe is free for download, only for a limited time period!!!
Other features that will come soon!
✓ Dynamic template designs so each card will have their own unique look.
✓ Users will be able to input more personalised details.
✓ More flexible cards management and sharing options.
✓ Manage your appointments within the app.
✓ In-app chat functions.
Why go through all the hassle of handling physical business cards and/or scanning them onto other apps when you can just open this app on your smartphone anywhere and do everything there? After all, you are bound to make an even stronger impression during networking when introducing a beneficial app other than being remembered as the guy who just trades business cards.
Not forgetting to mention that AceConnectMe is also an environmentally sustaining app that avoids compromising more trees used for physical business cards while seeking to establish effective personal branding for individuals and improve their lifestyle and the way they connect with each other!
What are you waiting for?
Get AceConnectMe now!