The digital marketing landscape is changing, again and again. Here at Defy Digital, we spend a lot of our own time and money using different platforms and methodologies to see what works and what doesn’t. As we see it, if we do not take risks and not make bold moves in our business then we are not allowing our business to grow and reach new heights. As we look forward to the new year, we invite you to make one bold move to change the tone of your marketing in 2017.
Here are some of the most exciting things in marketing at this very moment for you to consider:
Your customers are mobile. That means you need to be mobile.
Perhaps this may not seem like a bold, but rather an old move. However, not everyone has a mobile-friendly website. The shift from desktop-first to mobile-first started years ago and will continue to take place in 2017 and if you are not on the train, you need to get on it. Today, more people search on mobile phones than computers, and mobile-friendly sites now rank higher on Google. If you have not invested into a mobile friendly site, you need to make this your priority. The world’s gone mobile. Now, it’s your turn.
With an intent of giving mobile users a better experience and fresher content, the search giant will continue to put more emphasis on mobile content. To that, Google started testing its mobile-first index, which will look primarily at the mobile version of your website for its ranking signals and default back to the desktop version only when a mobile version is not available. Now is the time to get that mobile-friendly site you have always wanted, and that your customers demand. And for those who already have a mobile site, work to improve your user experience by continually investing into it. If you haven’t done so already, we recommend testing your site’s performance via the Google’s mobile Website Speed Testing Tool to see how your site fares.
Leverage Paid Social Media
Investing in social media should be part of every marketer’s toolset. However, thanks to the ever-changing algorithms, gone are the days where simply creating accounts, posting content, and engaging with followers hoping to make a big impact in social media. There is no doubt that communicating your message and promoting your brand on social media organically (for free) is still ideal and there should be emphasis towards that. However, if you want to truly engage your audience with content, especially on Facebook and LinkedIn – you’ll have to pay to optimize your reach. Engaging their audiences and customers with paid social media has been extremely successful for our clients and we encourage you to do so in 2017 if you have not already jumped into that pool.
As a PPC ad platform, Facebook is fundamentally different, and on Facebook, the effectiveness of an ad isn’t determined by how well you target a one-off keyword search, but rather how well you understand the individual’s interests. Here is the thing, demographic-based marketing is great, but it only gets you so far. Targeting consumers on an individual level allows us, marketers, to cut through the torrent of information that makes people more resistant to advertising. There is a reason why search has outperformed other channels year after year, and one of the main reasons is due to marketers not taking advantage of combining 1st, 2nd, and 3rd party data. We have been successful at applying that information and combining it with tracked consumer habits, interests and browsing histories which have been the key to creating strategies that get prospects to buy. A little bit of paid social media goes a long way. With a minimum additional media investment, you too can manage your brand’s social content, in front of a more relevant audience.
Integrating natural social media and paid social media is important to building a connected brand in 2017 because together they enhance a brand’s ability to increase visibility and develop trust with consumers that are meaningful, long-lasting and scalable.
Video is all the rage
As we look around, we see that the influence of online video is getting bigger and bigger every day. According to Cisco’s Visual Networking Index, a study that bases its findings on a mix of independent analyst forecasts and “real-world” network usage data, Internet video streaming and downloads are beginning to take a larger share of bandwidth. The study predicts that video traffic will continue to grow to be more than 79% of all consumer Internet traffic by 2020. With numbers that high it’s only logical to question whether online video could actually be a threat to TV. To that, we say jump on the bandwagon now and start creating video-based content.
Video allows for an immediate connection with viewers, that conveys emotion and a message that often is far more memorable than static words in a news feed. Don’t complicate things, it can be as simple as a video clip shot on your smartphone. Nearly all newer smartphones shoot HD video and with this level of accessibility, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be too. A tripod, microphone, and good lighting source can elevate your final product. Also, screen capture video of your computer desktop is the ultimate demonstration tool, allowing you to see exactly what you would if you were going through the process yourself.
Don’t let another year go by, start testing and make video part of your marketing mix.
Tell your story to a live audience
We are seeing a lot of changes with social channels like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Periscope, etc. as they each make big plays for video. Earlier this year, Youtube, Facebook, and Instagram got into the act in a big way launching their versions of a live casting feature. These features puts broadcasting capabilities at the fingertips of anyone with a smartphone engaging with users on the world’s biggest social media platforms. Live streaming is the natural extension of video marketing efforts, and it’s only one click away to “go live”. We don’t know how long this will be the case, at the time of the publication of this post, Facebook is even prioritizing live videos in its news feed making the live video appear at the very top. While advertisers spend millions for primetime TV access to run their infomercials, you can have an uninterrupted hour of free broadcast with your very own audience!
Sharing live video broadcasts can help you connect with your prospects and community in a whole new way, making your brand more real, more relatable, and more accessible. For those of you who have been investing into growing your YouTube channel, you can get even more mileage out of your broadcasts by reusing and repurposing your Facebook Live videos on other social media platforms like Live Video to YouTube or Vimeo. If you want to level up, applications like Wirecast opens up live streaming to multiple platforms, allowing you to live stream to Facebook and Youtube simultaneously. Whatever you do, just remember that the medium is designed for 2-way interaction, so make sure that you are focused on engaging with the viewers and earning their trust. Give your audience a chance to connect with the authentic you.
Embrace expiring social media content
If you are an avid fan of Snapchat you know that there is something addicting and even magical about sending content that disappears within a certain timeframe. Instagram Live lets you video broadcast in real-time to your followers, but the catch is that the viewers are only able to watch while you’re still streaming; in other words, Instagram Live videos disappear as soon as the stream stops. There is no replay, which is different than Facebook Live, where the video lives on and one can replay your stream. The “look now or you lose your chance forever” attitude creates an urgency as the viewers know it’s their only chance, cutting through the torrent of noise and clutter in the world of social media. This is not an easy channel to master, but worth exploring. Our ever-decreasing social media attention spans will only make expiring social media content more crucial moving forward. Going live more frequently can be just as effective as doing so on milestones and big flashy events – create opportunities to engage live with your audience.
1-to-1 Marketing through Messenger and Chatbots to increase contact points
Facebook Messenger gave us the ability to communicate not only one-to-one but also one-to-group. We are seeing many brands take advantage of this feature by offering around-the-clock social care efforts, a effective customer service, and having meaningful conversations with their customers in a closed, private environment.
Companies are sending quick order confirmation type messages via Messenger and detailed follow-ups over email allowing for persistent contact and communication. The nice thing here is that the communication can be attended and crafted by any appropriate individual on your team allowing for an improved brand experience. Making this even easier, you can now use a bot to automate these types of conversations to help the customer consider and make a purchase. To that, chatbots are in many ways one of the most important breakthrough marketing technologies and are set to really come into their own in 2017.
A chatbot is a conversational computer program that customers can interact with via a messaging interface. Siri took the trend mainstream, and chatbots are everywhere these days. Facebook Messenger also rolled out sponsored messages and other new ways for brands to strike up conversations with their audience, whether through a call-to-action to chat with the brand (rather than visiting the site or signing up for something), or making it possible to create ads that link directly to a conversation with your brand.
The continuing rise of voice search and how you can adapt to it
Although Siri has much more learning to do before she earns her keep to be part of our everyday life, this year, we saw Amazon’s Echo becoming their most popular product over the holiday period, while 2017 sees the launch of Google Home, the search giant’s voice-activated speaker powered by the Google Assistant (which, by the way, also allows for smart TV integration).
Voice search is a fast-rising trend in search, in fact, Sundar Pichai, Google’s CEO mentioned during the Google I/O keynote that 20 percent of queries on its mobile app and on Android devices are now voice searches. Google launched its algorithm update named Hummingbird in 2013, which uses latent semantic indexing to understand the underlying meaning behind search terms. This underscores that Google is taking measures to focus more on determining user intent through semantic language. Voice search is another step in this direction and it is more important than ever to think about the intent, “the why” behind what users are searching.
With voice search, how we engage with search changes, and rather than searching for simple head terms, we are entering full queries or phrases. As part of your SEO strategy to match the ever growing voice-based search, we recommend creating content that is optimized for user intent. It will be most critical to investigate what the users are searching for that brings them to your page, and ask ourselves what questions do they want your content to answer? We find that “humanizing” content and selecting keyword structures based on natural conversational tone is ideal for voice search optimization. What questions might your audience ask regarding your product and service? Start by thinking about the who, what, where, why, and how.
Let us be bold. Let us be brave. Let us be together.
Making bold moves means putting ourselves out there, many times in ways that feel uncomfortable. This feeling of uncomfortableness affords us with the opportunity learn and explore what’s working and what isn’t, not only in our business but also our personal lives.
Here’s to the very best year you have ever had! Let’s do this!Let's Chat
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