A successful digital marketing strategy looks different today than it did 1 or 2 years ago. A global pandemic, new technologies, and regulatory changes have all affected the digital marketing world. We’re looking for new and innovative ways to engage users in this post-pandemic world by utilizing the most effective tools. From AI to website health, there are a lot of exciting developments that can impact the way we interact with our customers. In order to identify this year’s trends, we consulted the WiredViews team.
We asked the WiredViews experts: What are the must-know trends to watch this year?
Marketing Client Manager
Alternatives to third-party cookies will be brought to the forefront
Today, consumers are becoming more aware of when and how their data is being collected as they browse the web and are demanding more privacy. As you may know, third-party cookies, which are used to track users and display relevant ads, will be phased out by Google in 2022. But this is no reason to panic.
There are several options for data collection that don’t use third-party data and allow marketers to focus on data collected directly from their customers. This means we can better analyze how consumers interact with companies’ websites and provide them with personalized experiences. We are already starting to see more alternatives to third-party data being offered, such as surveys and interactive content, which will become important to a successful marketing campaign moving forward.
Director of Digital Strategy & Marketing
User intent becomes even more important to SEO
It would be a mistake to form an SEO strategy without first focusing on user behavior and the intent behind a searcher’s query.
Google has stressed content quality over everything else, and recent algorithm updates have increasingly focused on helping the search engine understand the context, sentiment, language, and intent within the terms that we’re searching. Consider this: It’s been almost a decade since Google shared the EAT principle: expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness. And yet, this principle remains a priority because we need to constantly adapt to the changing behaviors and interests of our customers.
Traditional SEO is still the starting point, but it’s not going to deliver a competitive advantage. The key to modern SEO is to develop sites and content that’s easy for users to navigate and understand. The brands that take the time to understand what their audience is searching, and create content that is relevant to their audience, are the ones that will win the day.
Vector graphics are an alternative option for design and site speed optimization
Using simple, vector graphics (points, lines, curves, and shapes based on mathematical formulas) over photography can be a great option, since they tend to be much lower in file size, which can help a site’s overall performance. With many people working remotely, website performance is going to continue to play a large role in your marketing success. Vector graphics might not be appropriate for every project, but they can be extremely effective when used in the right situation. Sometimes, the right situation is when you just can’t find a specific photograph and a simple, graphical image could work better.
For example, Chargebee uses vectors for their 2021 user conference marketing campaign. The simple graphics on the hero portion of the page contain shapes that are repeated throughout the page.
Vice President, Operations
Update your live website with no downtime using the latest in website health and maintenance tools
A website is your #1 marketing tool, which means it should be updated consistently and be in a constant state of progression.
Today’s CMS platforms have evolved to SASS solutions with the option for on-premise software. With the SASS model, all updates are applied and handled by the third-party you pay. However, most businesses today still prefer the control of an on-premise platform.
These on-premise platforms, like Kentico Xperience, are now pushing the paradigm of continuous integration. They are releasing regular feature updates that the customer can take advantage of, as soon as the code base is updated. More importantly, security patches and updates are now also rolled out on a continuous basis. In addition to the platform updates, with the focus heavily on improved user experience, most websites will now rely on numerous third-party library integrations. These libraries are regularly maintained and updated as well.
Websites need regular technical updates on a frequent basis. If these updates are delayed, or pushed down the road, a website can begin to accumulate technical debt. Kick the can down the road far enough, and eventually there is likely to be an issue that is not easily fixed.
Luckily, deployment technologies continue to improve, and almost all of these platform and third-party updates can be released to your live website with no downtime. Staying on current and supported technologies allows businesses to focus their efforts on results, rather than worrying about the stability of their platform.
Marketing Client Manager
Artificial intelligence will be used for personalization and customer service
While AI is not a new technology, we may see companies integrating AI features in their digital marketing strategies for business forecasting and predictions. AI-powered tools can be used to develop strategies to attract and retain customers. For example, using AI to predict your customer's next move allows you to target them with what they need, when they need it. This gives you the ability to target them without being invasive and also helps you to serve them relevant messages.
On the customer service front, chatbots, which provide automated responses to customer queries in real-time, have become more popular as more and more users are becoming accustomed to them. Plus, these chatbots free up resources for other tasks and allow for a more personalized customer experience.
Accessibility will remain a crucial part of your marketing strategy
In a world with increasing technical complexity, it’s common to create and use niche industry terms to describe big, complicated concepts and processes. Specialized acronyms and words can accurately communicate a lot of information within a short time or space, but they are really only useful when both the writer and reader are on the same level of contextual understanding.
When creating and refining a digital marketing presence, it’s wise to assume that your audience is not as familiar with industry terminology. It can be very tempting to leverage the same special words and phrases in media in an effort to say more with less. But an acronym that may effectively describe a common process to an expert also has the power to make a potential customer feel alienated, unconfident, or uncomfortable; especially when advertising complex technical products and services. Compelling marketing should meet viewers at their current level of understanding and then communicate the company’s patience, grace, and willingness to guide them to deeper knowledge of the industry (and how the company can help them!).
It’s challenging to strike the right balance between assertively demonstrating expertise and gently simplifying concepts, but history has proven repeatedly that:
uncomplicated messaging = accessible understanding = effective marketing.
And with that, there they are: the top digital marketing trends we’re looking out for in the new year. As technology advances, you’ll want to stay up-to-date on the latest tools and regulations in order to stay competitive, and the WiredViews team can help. Consult our marketing experts for the latest in marketing tools and forward-thinking strategies.