6 Ways Internet Marketing Is Evolving (And How To Keep Up)

Steve Olenski on Oct 29, 2018 in Marketing Strategy

Those who graduated with a degree in marketing can’t compete in today’s market unless they know how to learn and adapt as they go. The industry is simply moving too fast. What was popular in internet marketing 10 or even five years ago is now an ancient practice.

Brent Hoberman, founder of LastMinute.com, says, “Internet years are roughly comparable to dog years,” meaning that time passes faster in the realm of internet marketing than in the rest of the world. If you can’t keep up with the trends, you’ll have a difficult time competing.

Stay up-to-date on the latest internet marketing changes. If you blinked sometime this year, here are some things that have changed and how you can keep up.

1. Privacy Concerns

Companies collect and use consumer data based on your online activity. Every interaction you have online is being tracked, particularly on company websites.

For the most part, this information is used for advertising purposes. Based on your searching habits, previous purchases, and online queries, companies can automate advertisements and reach a more specialized audience.

However, this creates a number of security concerns. With the recent major security breaches surrounding companies like Equifax, Target, Ebay, and Yahoo, it’s not surprising that consumers are becoming more and more concerned about what companies do with their private information.

Data collection is a vital part of successful internet marketing, but you must have a solid plan for privately collecting consumer information and keeping it safe. First and foremost, secure your network. Prevent hackers from accessing your customer files with a virtual private network (VPN).

A VPN creates a secure tunnel between your company devices and the network. This tunnel has several layers of security, which makes hacking it extremely difficult. VPNs come in all shapes and sizes for individuals and small businesses to major corporations.

Update other security measures as well, including updating passwords frequently, using secure communications, and installing software updates. Include any changes you make in your customer privacy policy and share it with your customers. This will help to ease their worries and increase their confidence in your services.

2. Influencer Networking

It’s no secret that word-of-mouth marketing is the most powerful form of marketing there is. As a result, marketers are turning towards influencers to help spread the word of your business.

“Influencer marketing is a type of word-of-mouth marketing that focuses on using key leaders to drive your brand’s message to the larger market,” says Raghav Haran of the consulting business Single Grain. “Rather than marketing directly to a large group of consumers, you instead pay influencers to get out the word for you.”

It’s difficult to keep up in today’s market if you don’t harness this practice. It significantly broadens your audience with very little time and effort on your part.

Influencers can be celebrities, although it’s difficult to get such an endorsement. Most companies rely on well-known social media or YouTube channels with a following of several thousand or more. Let them endorse your products and engage with customers on your behalf.

3. Voice Search

The use of voice search has increased significantly in the last few years, largely thanks to the number of voice-activated assistants that have hit the market. Whether they’re searching on their smartphones or a smart voice assistant such as Amazon Echo or Google Edge, customers are relying on this service.

In fact, experts estimate that 50% of all searches will be voice activated by 2020. This information is particularly poignant to millennials since nearly 40% use voice search monthly.

If you want to keep up, Atanu Shaw of Forbes recommends focusing on getting your content in the top results. Online search produces pages of results, but voice search only brings up the top two or three most relevant results to answer a speaker’s question.

“What does this mean for digital marketers? It means optimizing content to suit the requirements of voice searches,” Shaw says. “Publish content that solves or answers consumers’ queries. It’s also important to use natural conversational language, as well as longer phrases or full sentences as keywords. This not only helps the end-user but also makes the content voice-search-friendly.”

4. Video Dominance

Images and blog posts still have a powerful place in internet marketing, but videos are now considered the most useful marketing medium.

“Video marketing is the new poster child for digital advertising,” says Toby Nwazor of Entrepreneur. “In the recent past, video content has proven to be the most effective medium when it comes to garnering traffic and engagement, gaining leads and boosting conversions…Videos, in fact, are head and shoulders above other media strategies because they don’t just provide content for your website users — they demand engagement.”

Cisco research says that in 2021, 82% of all online traffic will be connected to a video in some way as more and more companies adopt videos in their marketing campaigns.

The simple way to keep up with this trend is to create more videos. It should become your marketing tool of choice, even if it requires hiring more personnel or altering your existing marketing strategy to make it happen.

5. Native Advertising

Along with video dominance, Cisco research also showed that by 2021, 74% of all ad revenue will be location based. Their effectiveness is unparalleled in the advertising realm. They receive more engagements than traditional banner ads, plus they tend to be less annoying to customers because they’re actually relevant.

Location-based advertising is no longer a tool used by large corporations only. Small and medium sized businesses benefit from it too. Facebook advertising is among the most popular method for native advertising for small businesses.

You’ll have to change a few things about your content strategy to make it effective and capitalize on the unique preferences of those seeing the ads. You’ll need more “smart content” that deeply analyzes your target audience and uses cookies and personal data to better target those most likely to buy.

6. Chatbots

Many companies are using chatbots in their digital marketing strategies. It enables them to communicate with customers in real time, even after business hours. It also reduces labor costs. It’s estimated that chatbots will help businesses save $8 billion per year.

What’s more, many customers prefer chatbots because they’re more responsive, prompt, and accurate. Plus, they never lose patience, and it doesn’t hurt when customers yell at them.

Marketers can utilize chatbots prolifically to gain customer interest. Marketing the use of chatbot technology for communication, ease of use, and anytime access can be incredibly useful for your organization.

They can also facilitate a more personalized experience while using your website. They have a larger capacity for engagement, so you can reach a wider audience but make them feel like they’re enjoying a customized occurrence.

Internet marketing might be changing at an insane rate, but you can still keep up. As long as you know the current trends and those on the horizon and are willing to make changes as you go, you too can keep up in the crazy rat race of internet marketing.