Change is the inevitable truth of life.

Apologies for waxing philosophical right off the bat, but it seemed like an appropriate place to start.

It’s a concept that applies to everything in life, and the marketing industry is just as much a victim of change as we are.

It’s come a long way from some air time on the radio back in the 1920s to posts on social media today.

The medium and means may have evolved, but the intent behind the messages surely hasn’t.

Marketers are constantly trying to innovate and push boundaries to get their brands’ messages across to their target audiences.

This innovation has already seen them shift focus from traditional outbound techniques like print media and TV commercials.

With the world going digital, so have marketers. Online marketing has been all the buzz the past couple of years.

Which can only mean one thing - the industry is primed for a revamp as new trends look to take over.

That’s why we’ll be talking about some powerful trends that are bound to shape the future of online marketing.

1. Video Content

Marketing through video content was a dominant trend last year and will continue to be so.

No surprise really seeing as Cisco predicts video will account for 80% of overall internet traffic by 2021.

But what’s the secret behind this massive video consumption rate?

Well for starters, they’re more engaging because they appeal to our visual and auditory senses together.

You can get your point across better and improve your sales by telling more compelling stories.

Product reviews like these are a great example of how you can leverage video for your business.

leverage video for your business

Image via YouTube

In fact, 50% of internet users look for videos related to a product or service before visiting a store.

But if you really want to kick things up a notch, I’d recommend sharing live videos with your audiences.

Giving them behind-the-scenes footage or live coverage of a brand-sponsored event is a great place to start.

2. Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is another well-established trend that is only going to grow in popularity in the years to come.

According to a survey from last year, 58% of marketers feel influencers will be integrated into all marketing related activities.

Additionally, 39% of marketers expect their budgets for influencer marketing to increase in the coming months.

Consumers tend to trust opinions and recommendations about products when coming from their favorite influencers.

Roughly 40% of Twitter users claim to have made a purchase as a direct result of a tweet from an influencer.

Clearly then, if you haven’t already jumped on this bandwagon you should do so now.

Your ability to find the right influencers, especially ones who are aligned with your niche, will determine the success of your campaign.

It’s here that influencer marketing tools like Grin can help you. It can help you identify the right influencers and run your entire campaign.

Don’t restrict yourself to just brand mentions either. Experiment with social media giveaways, testimonials, and influencer product reviews too.

You can even have them provide their followers with a unique discount coupon to give consumers that extra nudge. Here’s an example.

social media giveaways, testimonials, and influencer product reviews

Image via Instagram

3. Chatbots

AI-powered live chat tools are all the rage these days, and for good reason too.

They’re a futuristic solution to all your customer service nightmares.

Chatbots can be used for engagement, answering repeated questions, and customer service issues.

As AI technology advances, we can expect more brands to rely on chatbots to provide an improved online customer service.

A great example of marketing automation, this is one trend that is yet to reach its peak. There’s massive potential here, which brands have only just begun to tap into.

Servion predicts that by 2025, 95% of all brand-consumer interactions will be powered by AI.

Brands are already starting to incorporate chatbots to do more than just answer simple customer queries.

Ecommerce brands like Sephora use chatbots to provide customers holistic customer service.

Their chatbot on Kik is capable of making product suggestions and providing makeup tips to consumers on the basis of a few simple questions.

chatbot on Kik is capable of making product suggestions

Image via Ecommerce Chatbots

4. Big Data

You shouldn’t be surprised to see Big Data on this list seeing as it’s trending in almost every industry.

From an online marketing perspective, there’s an overwhelming amount of consumer data you can collect and analyze.

Thanks to Big Data, you can gather data from customers’ social media activity, online purchases, and internet searches.

With this data, you can understand your target audience on a deeper level.

Learn about their purchase patterns, analyze buyer intent, and leverage this knowledge to better position your products.

Big Data empowers marketers to be more targeted in their approach. This way they can save a lot of money advertising only to people who are most likely to be interested in their products.

No wonder a survey by Statista found it to be the second most effective digital marketing technique. With 14% of marketers voting for it, it was narrowly behind content marketing.

5. Interactive Visual Content

88% of Americans want brands to push boundaries when it comes to customer service. They prefer brands that are setting new standards for their customers.

While blog posts and video content will forever drive site traffic, they’re not the out-of-box thinking consumers crave.

Incorporating interactive visual content like VR and AR in your marketing efforts, though, is a whole other level.

With VR and AR, you can offer prospects a completely immersive product demonstration like never before.

Digressing a bit here, but look at what the Golden State Warriors did to recruit Kevin Durant to their superteam.

They used VR to put him courtside at the Oracle Arena and immerse him in the “Warriors Experience.”

With one championship in the pocket, and a second on the way (at the moment of writing this), the approach clearly worked.

Getting back on point, you can try something like Shopify. Their app allows online customers to personalize their shirts in virtual reality.

something like Shopify

Image via YouTube

6. Storytelling

Content marketing in itself isn’t a new concept. But incorporating storytelling to get brand messages across is a relatively new trend.

After all, who doesn’t like a good story?

That’s exactly why brands are focussing on crafting compelling stories which have an emotional appeal. And they’ll continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

Social media has evolved from a channel to generate traffic into a platform for customer engagement.

And what better way is there to engage customers online than to share personal and authentic brand-related stories.

Have your customers and employees share their personal experiences with your brand and why it means something to them.

customers and employees

Image via YouTube

Maersk hits the nail on the head with their, “The Heart of Trade” video above. This is a brand that knows what good storytelling looks like.

Conclusion

While some of these trends are already well-established, others are more disruptive. Either way, they’re giving the future of online marketing a new look.

That’s exactly why you need to get ahead of the curve and consider integrating these tactics into your future campaigns.

Which trends do you think will dominate the online marketing space in the future? Let us know through your comments.

Brian Mechem

Brian Mechem

Brian Mechem is COO and Co-Founder of Grin, a software solution for companies who run influencer marketing programs. Grin's software powers some of the best influencer programs in the world, providing insights on ROI and adding efficiency to the influencer marketing process.

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