The way we shop for products today is drastically different than it was a decade ago. We no longer have to go to the grocery store to buy shampoo and toothpaste or the department store for jeans and a T-shirt. Today, we have gone digital and can have everything delivered to us in the comfort of our homes. Efficient ordering processes and quick delivery have become necessities for brands and marketers in order to adapt to today’s culture of immediate gratification. As we become more digitally inclined, so must advertisers in the way they market to today’s consumer.
Before we go any further, let’s define digital marketing. According to Hubspot.com, “Digital marketing encompasses all marketing efforts that use an electronic device or the internet. Businesses leverage digital channels such as search engines, social media, email and other websites to connect with current and prospective customers.” It shouldn’t be a surprise that digital marketing has taken off in recent years, with banner ads framing web pages while you surf the internet, with other ads flawlessly layered into your Instagram feed. Digital ads seem to be everywhere. In fact, according to PwC’s Global Entertainment & Media Outlook, “Digital advertising is growing at a rate that is twice that of all advertising.” As digital advertising grows to adapt to consumer habits, consumer habits are then changed around digital advertising. Below we address three ways surrounding this topic and its importance in today’s age of all-consuming screen time and social media usage.
Social Media Ads and Influencer Marketing
One of the main pillars of advertising is to place your ads where your customers will see them. According to ZDNet.com, the average American spends 5.4 hours a day on their phone. With more time being spent on mobile devices and in front of a computer, it is crucial to make your brand visible online. With Instagram and Facebook being the two most popular social media platforms, having targeted ads on both increases brand awareness and expands the customer pool. Providing a link to the product and an easy check-out in the ads is also desirable, as the pace in which customers shop has increased dramatically. If the page does not load or if the check-out process is lengthy, there is a high chance of losing a sale.
Influencer marketing is another popular form of social media advertising. Influencer marketing is when brands partner with influencers in order to generate and increase awareness or conversions among a specific target audience. Social media influencers have dedicated followers who are interested and invested in what they have to say. Followers develop a deep trust and an authentic connection with influencers that isn’t seen in other forms of advertising channels. You are no longer standing in the shampoo aisle at the grocery store staring blankly at the many choices trying to decide based on the packaging, description and price which one you are going to place in your cart. Customers, in building loyalty with a brand, are far more likely to choose a product that they have seen and heard of before, research reviews and ratings, or simply go with the brand that has been recommended to them. CampaignMonitor.com states that “Our personal connections can be our biggest motivators, and we’re much more likely to choose one brand over another if a friend or family member has given us input on a decision.” At its core, influencer marketing does just that. It provides a personal recommendation from a trusted individual, on a large scale. In fact, an article on BigCommerce.com states that “89% say the ROI from influencer marketing is comparable to or better than other marketing channels.” Over the last five years, influencer marketing has developed into a $5 to $10 billion dollar industry, with no signs of slowing down.
Interactive Chatbots and Customer Service
We are living in an age of immediate gratification. With time becoming more coveted and attention spans shortening, people don’t want to wait to get what they want. A study conducted by SocialMediaExaminer.com shows that 57 percent of individuals say that they expect a response from a company within 24 hours, if they submit a complaint via social media. A poor customer service interaction can be detrimental to brand reputation. A quick turnaround time to answering questions and acknowledging comments goes a long way. To automize such customer service interactions, more individuals are utilizing the chatbot feature to interact with brands before they purchase. When the response is timely and useful, it instills confidence and trust in the customer. According to Forbes.com, the main reason why interactive chatbots are so successful is likely that it answers the consumer’s need for information quickly and accurately. These chatbots can also collect data about their users, which feeds into improving future interaction with them.
Integrating AI and Blockchain Technologies
Customers nowadays are bombarded with thousands of pieces of information every day on various digital platforms, causing attention spans to decrease. For marketers, this means that the evaluation cycle a customer goes through before purchasing is significantly shortened to a matter of seconds. If your product doesn’t grab the attention of a customer immediately, it is likely that customer will not convert, and therefore, the sale is lost. In his article on Medium.com, Bill Su, CEO of Humanlytics, refers to this customer decision journey model as the “accelerated loyalty journey.” This newer model is influenced by current trends in consumer habits and the influence digital technology has in the marketing sphere. This “accelerated loyalty journey” emphasizes the importance of delivering information in the shortest amount of time to the most targeted customer segments. This allows marketers to get these customers to take immediate action and convert. Su says that “…having the information is not enough. You need to push that information aggressively in front of the customers at the exact moment their needs are generated.” Thus, brands have started to employ technology to conduct “hyper-speed targeting” across digital platforms in the marketing and advertising efforts.
Technology has allowed marketers to track where their ads are placed and ensure that real customers are clicking on their ads. This makes customer engagement data more reliable and makes sure marketing assets are not being put to waste. With blockchain technology, customers are given more control over what types of advertisements they see and, as their levels of engagement with certain brands and products increases, so does the visibility and targeted efforts of the advertisers. The more the customer engages, the more trust and tailored information can be collected about preferences. This allows advertisers to be more targeted and focused on what the customer is viewing, which in turn yields to a higher likelihood of a sale.
We understand that making the shift into the digital sphere can seem daunting and overwhelming. With advanced technology from blockchains and artificial intelligence, to coordination between ads on various social media platforms, it may feel impossible to start. Our digital team has conducted countless digital campaigns for various clients. We will guide you through the digital space and make sure that you see your campaign results all the way through. We’re experts in SEO, paid digital and social media campaigns, as well as various other digital services. Through careful research and optimization, we’ll show you how to make your digital footprint grow and serve your brand better. Producing deeper engagement with your target audience is exactly what we’re here to do.