Literally in the blink of an eye, the first half of 2017 has gone by. When it comes to planning and strategising, it’s time to focus on 2018! If there is one advertising/marketing platform that changes dynamics, algorithms, directions and objectives at a very fast pace, then it definitely has to be digital marketing. And yes, it sometimes gets tough to keep abreast of the ever-changing demands and challenges it brings. Make sure to keep the following points in mind when designing your digital media strategy for 2018.
1) Micro moments
We check our phone several times a day for purposes such as emails, online shopping, social media, etc., and in doing so we are bombarded with endless ads, offers, emails, texts, tweets and push notifications. As consumers, we tend to lose interest and reach a point of ‘content saturation’. This is exactly where the concept of ‘micro-moments’ helps marketers. Micro moments are those when consumers uses their device to learn, compare or buy a service or product within the shortest time span. In those micro moments, they intend to make their decisions. For micro-moments marketing to work, marketers need to study insights and identify the micro moments of their target audience and then play around with them through contextual marketing, which means providing targeted advertising based upon user information, such as the search terms they are using or recent web-browsing activities. Once you know what your consumer wants, make use of that info. You need to be sure that in these few seconds, the interactive experience you are providing offers value, in terms of offers, discounts, insights, exclusive experiences or information.
2) Video ads
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but in the digital world a video is worth a thousand pictures! Some FMCGs have started to use highly-engaging video features on different social media platforms, although the majority still hesitate from doing so owing to reasons such as budget constraints, limited exposure, risk factors, and so on. There is a long list of local brands that have been regular and innovative when it comes to TVCs but don’t opt for digital videos. Their main argument is that rather than make a special digital video they might as well go for a TVC. Brands need to know that the objectives of a TVC and digital videos are poles apart. Digital videos are to-the-point and require their own creative strategy. The majority of social media users are the young – the instant generation. They do not want to see a two to three minute commercial of a brand on their timeline. However, if the same brand comes up with a short video with interesting content, they will not only like and share it, they will also discuss it. Engaging content plays a crucial role here. A good example of digital video is the one for Nestle Milk pack creams recipes.
The hashtag #IMADEIT was pretty popular! In an article for the Huffington Post, Scott Macfarland, who has over 29 years of experience, wrote that consumers are at least 64% more likely to purchase a product or service that has video representation. So yes, video content does increase conversion rates in sales. And by the way, did you notice, Facebook has added a new feature – your cover photo can now be a video too!
3) Choose native ads over non-native ads
The most common concern of all internet users are the highly interruptive and irrelevant ads that pop up while they are reading or buying something on a website. A friend of mine, who works at a digital agency, told me that ad-blocking technologies are becoming extremely popular. So, how to reach out to the relevant audience? Opt for native ads. Native ads are not ignored like traditional ads, because they don’t even appear to be like an ad. Messages like “Buy our products”, “Shop now”, etc., are NOT native ads. Native ads connect with the target audience. They entertain, engage or inspire consumers. According to a study by Sharethrough and IPG Media, 25% more consumers look at native ad placements than banner ads. They help brands to market their offerings in a non-invasive way that blends in with the environment a user is comfortable with.
4) Augmented reality
Gone are the days when augmented reality (AR) was linked with gaming. Globally, this cutting-edge technology that integrates the digital with the real world has made its mark as an important tool in business and digital marketing. Step into any mall public place outside of Pakistan and you will see how big brands are carrying out interesting campaigns powered by AR. Brands use this mode of advertising not only for their commerce, growth and sales, but to promote various causes. For example, Coca-Cola collaborated with WWF to raise funds for the polar bears in the Arctic. The idea was very interesting. They made a set-up in the London Science Museum, where visitors could get close to a virtual family of polar bears through a big screen – and this created an emotional connect.
Similarly, Nike used AR to create a game. They recruited 50 runners to wear "Flash" running jackets hooked up to GPS systems running around Vienna for 90 minutes. As they ran, game participants tracked them with a mobile app and tried to take a photo of the runner. Those with the most photos won a prize. There are countless other examples happening in all parts of the world which take consumer engagement level to another level.