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It is no secret: The world of digital marketing changes very fast, and just yesterday seemed like 2016. We are three months into the new year and here are the marketing trends to watch: attribution modeling, machine learning, personalization, and always-on marketing.

Attribution Modeling. Marketing efforts are no longer siloed, and digital marketing in particular must have an omni-channel approach. It is no longer an option, it is how you win.

Attribution modeling is key to gaining a precise and actionable view into your omni-channel marketing efforts. Based on a user’s click path, attribution modeling helps determine where the conversions are coming from– which channel is the most/least effective in completing the conversion. Gone are the days of last-click attribution, where the last point in the marketing funnel is given full credit for the conversion. Attribution modeling is key to getting an accurate picture of the customer journey.

Attribution models can be very sophisticated, like this one from C3 Metrics, but even if your company isn’t in the Fortune 500, attribution models can help you get a better grasp on which marketing efforts are working and which ones aren’t.

Machine Learning. It used to be that content was king. Now context is king. Using machine learning, Google’s updated hummingbird algorithm aims to understand the context of search queries.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is constantly working to improve the digital experience and connect the intent behind what the user is asking for to pages that may or may not have relevant keywords. For example, if you do a search for “cheesecake,” AI will try to understand your intended search; i.e. are you looking for a recipe, nearby bakery, or nutrition facts? The algorithm takes into account things like your search history, site engagement, etc. to serve you results most relevant to your needs.

As with all AI, the technology gets better as it interacts with users more, so we expect it to play a growing role in digital marketing in 2017.

Personalization. Personalized marketing used to be a luxury. Now it’s a necessity.

Tools such as Optimizely allow marketers to offer different experiences to different users based on location, search history, etc. So a clothing company could organize the site in a way that is dynamic. A person interested in snowboarding would have an experience tailored to them and a different person interested in hiking would have a different experience tailored to them (on the same site/page). This personalization offers users a personalized experience that is much more likely to lead to a conversion. Similarly, these tools can be used to offer customized sign-up forms, checkout forms, and even emails (not just personalized salutations, but personalized content and offers).

Always-On Marketing. In the past digital marketing has been all about campaigns and single promotion pushes. Since consumers can access information on a brand anywhere and anytime they want (social media, review sites, etc), interaction with the brand is not limited to the brand’s marketing communications. Large scattershot marketing campaigns that blanket the digital airwaves are a waste of money; instead marketers should be looking to use dynamic personalization to meet customers with the right message at the right time and on the right device. Always-On marketing means changing your digital efforts to be less focused on individual responses and more on driving engagement to meet continuous demand changes. For this to be effective there needs to be an emphasis on testing and improving the effectiveness of different channels – digital marketing optimization (DMO).  

The digital space changes so much faster than traditional marketing methods ever did. This ‘digital revolution’ is going to keep evolving and we are going to keep tabs on all things digital. Subscribe to our newsletter to get more trends and digital marketing news straight to your inbox!