Marketing has changed. Since the beginning of this year, life within the industry has felt more like a blur than usual. Last February, the world lost a giant when David Bowie passed away at the age of 69. The following month, Netflix made its entrance into the film market with an original movie starring Charlize Theron and Jason Bateman. The year before was dominated by the Coronavirus as the pandemic shut down almost all industries and businesses across the world. Now, just as we’re beginning to piece our lives back together, the online marketing world has changed yet again. This time, it’s about the market and the structure of the industry.
The Evolution Of Online Marketing
In the beginning, there was Google Ads. Back in April 2014, Google launched its first “sponsored ads” platform to the public. For a company that began its life in a dorm room back in August 1998, Google has come a long way. In 2018, Google Ads were responsible for about 38% of the company’s $16.6 billion in annual revenue.
Google Ads are also among the oldest and most established forms of online marketing. Launched in the pre-came Google days, when Google only comprised of a few hundred servers, Google Ads allowed marketers to spend a relatively small amount of money to gain a large audience. It was an audience that could be targeted and engaged with using the company’s proprietary algorithms and machine learning.
Over the years, Google has continued to refine and evolve its Ads platform. In 2018, Google Ads had about 27.5 million ad slots available worldwide and doubled its revenue from the previous year. This is largely due to the continuing shift to digital marketing and advertising.
Last year was also the year of the content marketing revolution. In the past, someone might have spent months creating a list of DMOs (Direct Marketing Organizations) that they wanted to target, and then started cold-calling and emailing potential customers. Today, content creators can produce slickly-designed videos, load their cell phones with exciting stories, and spread the word online using platforms like Twitter and YouTube.
The Changing Landscape Of Digital Marketing
This past year has seen countless articles and blog posts analyzing the state of digital marketing. One of the most popular articles came from MarketingCharts. In January 2020, the research company conducted a massive analysis of more than 25 million marketers and found that:
- 76% of marketers say their approach will change somewhat in the next year
- 50% of marketers say their approach will change a lot
- Only 14% say their approach won’t change at all
The landscape of digital marketing is changing, but not all changes are good. Take paid ads, for example. Back in 2014, banner ads were the standard. You’d see them on blogs and social media sites. Today, they’re mostly used for porn and gaming. Who wants to click on something that looks like it’s part of a video game or goes with the content they’re already consuming? Nobody, that’s who.
The same goes for pop-ups and redirects. Back when we were all using ad blockers, pop-ups were a great way to draw in potential customers. They’d get excited about a product or service, click on a link, and be presented with an advertisement or special offer.
Pop-ups work for that, but today they’re mostly a pain. Not only do they impede users’ experience when they block out content or take up the whole screen, but they also encourage unwanted clicks. In 2019, Google cracked down on pop-ups and restricted their use on its platforms. If your business depends on advertising, rethink your approach to marketing.
The Growth Of Clickbait
In the past, articles like this one would have focused on the state of digital marketing, the challenges that face the industry, and how to navigate the changing landscape. Today, we’re breaking from tradition a little bit. Instead of focusing on the negative, we’re focusing on the positive. Google Ads has helped to shape the world of online marketing, but perhaps the greatest gift that the search giant has given to marketers is the creation of clickbait.
You no longer need an inspiring lead story to catch people’s attention. All you need is a simple, attention-grabbing headline that will get clicks.
Why is clickbait so effective? The answer lies in psychology. When your headline catches the attention of a reader, you’ve broken through the veil of skepticism and intrigue. Now, the reader is open to your offer. They’re mentally preparing to either accept or reject your proposition, depending on whether or not what they’re reading aligns with their worldview.
When someone clicks on your advert or website article, they’re essentially telling you they’re interested in your product or service. So, it only makes sense to play on their desire for the sake of marketing, right?
Content Is King
Long live the king! After years of uncertainty, the content marketing world finally embraced the idea that content is king. While SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and paid ads will continue to be important, having high-quality, engaging content online is more valuable than ever.
MarketingCharts found that 77% of marketers plan to increase the amount of content they create in the next year. Furthermore, 69% say they’ll do so to attract and retain customers. Finally, 67% plan to increase the amount of content to grow their business.
To succeed in this digital marketing world, you need to have a firm grasp of the basics. You need to know how to properly engage with audiences and how to measure the results of your efforts.
The Rise Of Video Marketing
If we had to choose one form of digital marketing that has risen above the rest, it would be video marketing. In 2018, TikTok, a platform that allows users to create short-form videos, reported earning $11.8 billion in revenue. In 2019, TikTok grew its user base by 66 million, bringing the total number of daily active users to nearly 500 million.
In 2019, TikTok also became the most downloaded app globally, with 500 million users. Furthermore, TikTok is now available in more than 200 countries.
With the explosion of TikTok and other social media platforms, video marketing is becoming more commonplace. YouTube, a Google-owned company, reports 1.9 billion average watch hours per day across all of its videos. In 2020, TikTok accounted for 58% of all social media consumption, according to HubSpot Blogs research.
If you’re reading this, it’s likely that you’re already aware of the growth of mobile marketing. Thanks to smartphones, marketers can now reach consumers when and where they want. In the United States, according to HootSuite, mobile marketing reached $43.8 billion in 2019.
The mobile marketing industry is expanding as more and more consumers rely on their phones as their primary source of information and entertainment. In 2020, mobile marketing is expected to grow 24% year from 2019.
Personalized And Measured Marketing
Thanks to automation and the data-driven approach, digital marketing is evolving into a more personalized and measured form. The idea is to create individualized marketing strategies for different types of businesses and industries.
For example, a dermatologist might want to target women in their forties for laser skin treatments, while a car company targeting Gen Z might want to try something different.
The growing popularity of podcasting has also led to an increase in the number of marketers using the platform to launch and grow their businesses. In 2020, MarketingCharts found that 44% of marketers plan to increase the usage of podcast sponsorships in their campaigns.
The Demographics Of Digital Marketing
According to MarketingCharts, the demographics of digital marketing will continue to change in the next year. While Gen Z and millennials are leading the way in terms of digital marketing, demographics like Baby Boomers and the elderly are also taking the trend into consideration.
The demand for quality content grows as audiences get more engaged and invested in the stories being told. To attract, engage, and retain a user base, marketers should tailor their content to appeal to as many people as possible.