July 20, 2017 Keeping Up With The Biggest Digital Advertising Trends

The ever-changing digital advertising and technology age has created a new and improved way to effectively advertise to your market. Testing the waters to learn what works and what doesn’t work is the biggest challenge for today's advertisers. Social media itself is no longer the new and mysterious commodity it once was, but it’s essential for advertisers to stay up to date with social media’s hot new trends. To help advertisers stay on their toes, here are some key digital trends to stay up to date on: 

Social Interactive and Viral Content

Breaking through the clutter on social media can be a daunting task. Two ways to successfully grasp your audience's attention through social media is by utilizing interactive and viral content. Interactive content acts as a competitive differentiator that engages the target audience and captures their attention from the start. Interactive content is not only engaging for the audience but it’s also memorable, allowing the audience to not only recall, but also refer back to the content. Interactive content leads to 70% of conversions, so it’s an effective approach to utilize.

As effective as interactive content is to garnering awareness for a brand, it is equally if not harder to create viral content. Advertisers cannot be completely certain that their content is going to go viral, no matter how many focus groups are conducted. Look at Pepsi’s infamous commercial with Kendall Jenner for example. Yes, it went viral, but for the wrong reasons. Their focus group results were deemed effective but the outcome proved otherwise. Without expert strategic planning and loads of insights on the target audience, the whole viral process would be left to luck. However, there are some helpful guidelines to creating viral - worthy content. Firstly, content must be visually appealing because most viewers have short attention spans. Plan the message so that it’s clear, concise and addresses the needs and desires of the audience. Lastly, don’t try to force the content to go viral. It needs to be organically shared. If it’s viral- worthy then it’ll go viral, but if not, pushing it down consumers throats is going to do more harm than good. 

Video Marketing 

Speaking of viral content, most of that is in the form of video marketing. Video marketing is a great way to stay beneath the budget and make a big impact, especially with YouTube’s CPV model. Most advertisers who are new to the digital space are under the impression that advertising on YouTube is expensive, however it’s quite the contrary. In fact, with CPV, advertisers don’t pay for in-stream ads on YouTube unless the viewer watches the entire video and most viewers only watch half or less than half of the ads on YouTube. Despite this, just a few seconds is all that’s needed for the advertiser’s brand and message to stick in the audience's mind. Just because a video didn’t get any conversions doesn’t mean it wasn’t effective. 

A great example of a platform that utilizes video marketing effectively and profusely is Facebook. Where Facebook’s greatest trend used to be games like Farmville, people are now sharing videos on Facebook more than they are generating their own posts and pictures. Facebook has evolved into a video sharing platform and viral video content is thriving. Video marketing on Facebook is an essential medium to consider when looking to gain brand awareness. 

Live Video: Affordable and Underutilized

In regards to Facebook, another trending topic is Live Video Marketing. This way of marketing is fairly new and underutilized. Live video is a captivating way to gain attention from a large audience. Like Facebook, Instagram sends notifications to users that their followers are currently recording a Live Video. This is a very affordable method because there are no additional costs for companies to post live videos organically. It’s important to note, however, that Instagram's Live Video notifications can only been seen by followers and therefore it is not a good tool to use to gain a new audience. 

Snapchat’s Expiring Social Content

Expiring advertisements are a hot new trend that many companies have been taking advantage of. It’s an effective way to get audiences thinking about a brand and a brand’s message while audiences are engaged and attentive. The content becomes urgent because of its expiration in just a few seconds. People want to be in the know now, knowing that they won’t have a chance to see it again later. Rich social content increases people’s attentive behavior. Rich content that has an additional video for viewers to watch, like a movie trailer, a crossword puzzle or a maze that people can solve and send to their friends, will exponentially increase the ad’s success rate. With that being said, it’s essential that the content on expiring platforms is engaging within the first 3 seconds, or else the audience will just tap the screen and move on. Advertisers on expiring content platforms like, Snapchat and Instagram, are very happy with their results. Maybe that’s why more than 1 million advertisers are using Instagram. 

Snapchat’s Features Proving Successful For Advertisers

Snapchat’s Geofilter is a location tool that allows people, wherever they are, to scroll through filters based on their location. For example, if someone is in Times Square, NYC, a fun and colorful ‘Times Square’ filter will appear that people can choose to overlay on their Snapchat picture. For advertisers, the location tool can activate their target audience’s ability to see the advertisement. There are guidelines for a Business Geofilter that must be followed in order for your Geofilter to be implemented. This tool allows advertisers to interact and engage directly with their audience. 

Snapchat’s face recognition tool overlays an interactive image on top of a user's image or video. For example, when the new Star Wars movie came out over Christmas 2016, the franchise took to Snapchat and created an overlay that turned users into Jedi by overlaying the interactive display around the user’s face. This tool is perfect for direct interaction with consumers and increases awareness of the brand and message tenfold. 

Native Advertising: Controversy

Native advertising has a become a controversial topic for advertisers and consumers. Some consumers and advertisers agree on the benefit of native advertising, saying it makes advertisements more interesting than they’ve been in the past. Consumers are sick of banner ads and want something new. They like how native ads are displayed like an article, making it more conversational and informative. Those against native advertising say it’s blurring the line between business and editorial. Native advertising is misperceived as editorial content when in reality, it’s an article sponsored by an advertiser. Native advertising is still generally new so making sure people understand the difference between native advertising and editorial content is important, legally and morally. 

Customized Email Marketing: Narrow It Down

When it comes to email marketing, many marketers make the mistake of not customizing their email list and many of those emails are sent to people who either immediately delete them or unsubscribe from the list. Therefore, it’s important for advertisers to narrow the list by analyzing consumer behavior. Another way to make email marketing more effective is to make the subject line personable. Use their name, ask them a question and make sure there’s a clickable feature. When it comes to millennials especially, making the email visually appealing, short and sweet, while getting the message across, is imperative to obtaining a conversion. 

Staying Up To Date

With this digital age constantly changing, it’s essential to be familiar with the latest trends and technology. One way to do this is by setting up Google Alerts to stay informed on all things digital marketing and advertising. Create relevant keywords based on what you’re interested in and receive emails every time one of your keywords pops up online. Also sign up for newsletters from websites like AdAge and AdWeek to stay in-the-know. It’s also not a bad idea to consistently browse through social media to look for any trends or updates to take advantage of.