In a world where more than 170 million people use social media daily, every working professional must understand at least the fundamentals of digital marketing and how it promotes products via the internet or electronic media.
People consume digital content daily. As a result, traditional marketing platforms are in decline while the digital market is continuing to grow. Here is a look at how digital marketing has taken off in recent years and why it is so important.
A brief history of digital marketing
The phrase “digital marketing” first appeared in the 1990s. The internet and the creation of the Web 1.0 platform heralded the beginning of the digital age. On the Web 1.0 platform, users could find the information they were looking for, but they did not have a way to share it with others.
At the time, marketers all over the world were still unsure of the potential of the digital platform. They were uncertain whether their strategies would work because the internet had not yet been widely deployed. The first clickable banner appeared on the internet in 1993. This marked the beginning of marketing’s transition to the digital era.
The landscape evolved as the number of users increased, from email to search engines and ecommerce sites. This was a goldmine for marketing. Email became a new outbound marketing tool, joining the traditional arsenal of television, radio, print and phone sales. While search engines cataloged new websites, users could find the information, products, and services they needed from their homes. Marketers used early SEO techniques to achieve high rankings, such as keyword stuffing, excessive tagging and backlinks.
Following the early internet hype, the dot-com bubble burst in 2001, and marketing tactics shifted. Inbound marketing was prioritized through information sharing, user-centered design and collaboration. Big data has enabled tracking patterns and trends in human behavior, and its role in marketing is only expected to grow. Data-driven marketing has gained enough traction that several companies using this technology have emerged.
One of the most significant changes since 2010 has been society’s reliance on cell phones. People spend hours on their phones, whether it is to communicate with friends, take photos, pay bills or check emails. In addition, people started spending more time on their smartphones as the number of apps for every aspect of life increased. As a result, marketers started focusing more on online marketing. You can’t scroll through social media these days without seeing an ad or a promoted post. Increased online advertising also allowed marketers to target their audiences better. Businesses can now better direct their marketing dollars toward demographics that are more likely to convert into sales.
Businesses also needed to ensure that their websites were mobile-friendly. According to studies, 50% of consumers will buy from companies less frequently if their website isn’t mobile-friendly, even if the brand is one they like. Similarly, 74% of users say they are more likely to return to a mobile-friendly website.
Messenger apps, which did not exist in the previous decade, also saw a significant increase in usage. These mobile platforms enabled companies to engage in one-on-one conversations with customers. The use of content marketing also increased during this decade. From Instagram influencers to Facebook Stories, there is something for everyone. Our desire for quick-to-consume content increased as the pace of our lives quickened.
It is clear that digital marketing technologies and the internet have come a long way since 1990. Furthermore, it will continue to evolve daily with the rise of machine learning, automation, artificial intelligence and conversational marketing, to name just a few strategies.
Here is a look at how digital marketing works today and where it might go in the future.
Digital marketing today and beyond
You no longer need to leave your office or home to promote your product. Video ads on YouTube are much less expensive than TV ads these days and generate significantly more engagement. Nevertheless, the scope of internet marketing is constantly changing – it’s not the same as it was several years ago, with all digital technologies evolving and Google introducing new algorithm changes.
What has changed in the definition of online marketing? What does it mean in 2022, and what does digital marketing look like in the future? Let’s address these and other concerns to help you better understand the theory behind internet marketing.
Areas of digital marketing
Here is a closer look at some of the most important areas of digital marketing.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
The goal of SEO is to improve a company’s ranking in Google search results, which drives more search engine traffic to the company’s website. SEO marketers research the words and phrases that consumers use to search for information online to achieve this and then incorporate those terms into their content.
SEO, according to a leading SEO software company, includes many elements, such as the words on your web pages, the way other websites link to you on the web, and the structure of your website.
Pay Per Click (PPC)
Promoted search engine results are an example of pay-per-click advertising. This is a type of digital marketing that lasts only until the payment is stopped. PPC, like SEO, is a method of increasing a company’s online search traffic. Pay-per-click advertisements include those seen at the top and sides of search results pages, as well as those seen while browsing the web and in mobile app advertisements. One big difference between PPC and SEO is that you only pay for results. A typical PPC model requires you to pay only when someone clicks on your ad and visits your website.
This is one of the most popular areas for digital marketers. It seems like almost everyone is on social media these days, and there are a lot of people there who are willing to consume content for hours on end. These social media platforms already offer paid advertising options to assist brands in expanding their reach, but there are still ways to increase brand awareness and reach organically. Most brands attempt to achieve this by making their posts and contests go viral.
Email marketing is not a new concept. People have been sending invitations and solicitations via email for decades. Today, there are numerous tools for automating the email marketing process. Some tools even allow you to see if prospective leads have opened an email. Others can schedule and send your emails to your mailing list, saving you the time of writing them individually.
This marketing strategy differs from the previous ones we have discussed. It is less about directly marketing products and services to customers and more about creating enriching and valuable content that improves the customer experience.
Some of the world’s largest brands will actively post entertaining and informative blogs, images and videos related to their business. This approach establishes your company as a brand and, in turn, helps your customers identify with you more. It’s similar to promoting your brand without any intention of selling anything behind your posts; instead, the focus is on providing enriching and engaging information.
Influencer and affiliate marketing use those in positions of “power”, typically social media influencers or industry experts, to get their message across and market a product or service to their target audience. It has grown in popularity in recent years thanks to platforms such as Instagram and YouTube, where companies hire a well-known influencer to promote their products or services on their social media pages or affiliate websites. These collaborations can include giving away unique discount codes, sponsored blog posts or prize drawings, among other things, for the influencer’s audience to generate buzz about your brand and business.
Industries reliant on digital marketing
Here is a look at some of the main industries that rely on digital marketing.
Food is an essential part of our daily lives, and the food industry will never stop evolving and introducing new trends that consumers must be aware of to meet their basic needs. Furthermore, content involving food is highly appealing to those seeking something to binge on. Food channels on YouTube, for example, have seen a 280% increase in subscriptions year over year. In addition, food-related content is entertaining and highly educational; you can learn how to cook simply by subscribing to a channel.
Did you know that 89% of people Google their symptoms when they feel sick or believe they are not doing well? For many healthcare providers, it makes sense to monetize this tendency by implementing solutions through blogs, quizzes and online portals via digital marketing that allow them to interact with their future patients. The greater a person’s ability to trust healthcare providers digitally is, the more likely they are to trust them in person.
The health industry recognizes the importance of quality SEO content and invests heavily in content marketing. Likewise, medical companies create high-quality content to answer all their users’ questions to meet their needs.
The entertainment industry is benefiting greatly from the increasing use of the internet and user availability worldwide. In the past, a movie’s success did not rely heavily on promotional material on social media. After all, there was no need for it before the internet. These days, however, movie promotion primarily relies on social media to produce multiple teasers and trailers and to keep our interest piqued throughout the project.
Streaming movies and series via cinematic and over the top (OTT) platforms and websites provide many entertainment options. Advertisers can use these platforms to create visually appealing content and distribute it on social media, where it will gain traction and generate buzz for the story.
Marketers are logically expected to benefit the most from digital marketing tactic implementation. After all, digital marketing as we know it today includes all online interactions between a company and a consumer, no matter how minor or insignificant they are.
Marketers serve as intermediaries between industries and digital marketing trends as service providers with experience and resources. Their revenue in the marketing niche directly depends on implementing digital marketing strategies. Marketers must adapt and acquire new knowledge to survive as more businesses seek to stay ahead of their competitors by going digital.
One of the many skills that lawyers must have is acting as a mediator between law and the people and businesses to whom those laws apply. Law firms help to clarify the messages that the legal system conveys to citizens by simplifying the complexities of the legal system. As a result, they are a good analogy for marketers.
Given the legal industry’s complexity and competitiveness, it should come as no surprise that it is one of the top industries that benefit from digital marketing. After all, more than a quarter of U.S. law firms have a carefully planned content advertising strategy according to Digital Dot, who specializes in digital marketing. Law firms, like any other public service provider, must be able to communicate their message to potential clients.
The education and training industry is perhaps the biggest low-budget profit reaper of digital marketing. Educators, students and institutions can now interact directly through online platforms such as Facebook. This concept was unthinkable before social media.
Schools and universities have gone above and beyond using digital media for promotion. Most colleges and universities use social media to publicize campus events. They can also sell the benefits of some of their best courses, like a communications master’s. A communication degree can help you get a job in digital marketing or media, journalism or public relations. Majors in communication study advertising, mass media and technical communications, all of which are key skills required to succeed within this industry.
The digital marketing landscape is changing so quickly that it is nearly impossible to predict what opportunities may exist in the future of digital marketing. Over the last year or so, we have seen new technologies, a social media backlash, and influencer marketing mature from its early days into a viable and powerful marketing channel. What are the most critical content marketing trends for 2022 and beyond?
Artificial intelligence has been expanding what is possible in digital marketing for quite some time, but we still expect to see exponential leaps in what this technology is capable of in the coming years. As machine learning algorithms become more complex and mimic humans with almost eerie accuracy, chatbots may become a customer service standard, replacing live agents. Marketing is becoming more conversational and personalized, and chatbots may enable you to capitalize on this trend without straining your staff or resources.
Advertising is also making use of artificial intelligence. While it hasn’t yet reached human levels of creativity, Google is already using AI to optimize campaigns.
Businesses must reconsider their marketing strategies as Generation Z matures. This generation seeks memorable experiences, and digital marketing solutions must be more targeted in their approach. One good method is to leverage user-generated content to create a sense of exclusivity for your product or service. This will make it more relatable and appealing, especially to those who have a fear of missing out (FOMO).
Collective efforts in digital marketing have already become ubiquitous. However, more businesses will adopt a shared and global perspective before implementing new digital marketing tools or running ad campaigns.
To summarize, a global perspective will enable companies of all sizes to broaden their reach and streamline various processes. Furthermore, marketing messages delivered through a variety of digital channels will enable entrepreneurs and small businesses to build trust with their target audience. It can also help businesses overcome market skepticism and reestablish their market value proposition.
Tracking KPIs and other digital marketing tools will continue to play an important role in personalized targeting, which has emerged as a critical component in developing effective ad campaigns and communicating with a target audience.
Every aspect of an advertisement is important in enabling businesses to provide value through storytelling. In the new age of digital marketing, entrepreneurs and small businesses will need to be more critical and reflective. More precise language in an advertisement, for example, demonstrates a brand’s intent and confidence. Users will gravitate toward brands that aren’t afraid to share their core message.
Infographic created by Clover, a credit card processing company