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The Future Of Online Marketing Part 1 – Content Marketing

Kevin Lennon // 08th October 2015
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At Digital8 HQ, we’re super interested in emerging technology. We’ve always (and currently) got a few projects on the go in fields such as augmented reality, beacon based apps (taking location based apps to a new level of accuracy) & our Founder/Director/Resident Genius Jeff even builds drones in his spare time!

So as you can imagine, the conversations around the office can be pretty mind blowing. One such conversation that happened recently was around how future technology will affect Digital Marketing in particular, at which point we realized we should get onto this in blog form right away!

And so here you have part 1 of a 5 part blog on the future of Digital Marketing. However this is by no means our attempt to predict the future. Consider it a collection of musings and observational best guesses based on current and emerging tech trends and developments. Beginning with…

content marketing!

Most businesses tend to see content marketing as a relatively new part of the online equation, but the fact of the matter is that search engines have been talking about content since their inception. Their basic ethos is to provide end users with the best possible website (of which content is a huge element) in relation to their search query. The real shift and newest element of this has been away from static content to regularly updated and engaging content.

For a platform such as a search engine this is a no brainer, especially since social media came into the equation. As technology progresses and user behaviour changes, these more in-depth methods of engagement present an opportunity for you to further refine your own value online and interact with customers in ever deepening and more meaningful ways.

For this reason, the type of content you can deliver is changing along with the methodology for engagement. You’ve likely noticed the slowly but steadily increasing amount of video content businesses are putting out there and this is only going to continue to not only grow, but further transform. Here are a few ways in which we think your content delivery methods will need to change and why:

Video content

Mostly, the delivery methods for this will evolve before we start to hit some of the more sci-fi type predictions below, but already some relatively recent developments have started to change the way in which businesses advertise via this medium. Remember when the first video ads actually made for YouTube started to hit? It was a moment in advertising that the general populace barely noticed (which meant that the ads were doing their job), but it was a seismic shift in opportunity for early adopters to take advantage of as an understanding of the evolving world of user generated content started to take root.

This was also the beginning of online ads which attempted to grab your attention right off the bat by breaking the fourth wall. These types of advertisements proved incredibly popular as it seemed to give users the feeling that businesses were moving with them into this amazing new and seemingly endless world of content. They rewarded those businesses appropriately.

Similarly, Facebook’s recent “auto-play” feature (for videos you see while scrolling through your newsfeed) has presented an opportunity that savvy advertisers are utilizing with great success.

But you can see the seeds of the real way in which video technology will progress in the interactive “menus” available “in-video” at the end of and during these ads across YouTube, Facebook & various other video content platforms: Interactivity. This will a) Take the breaking of that fourth wall to the next level and b) Provide you access to and meaningful interactions with potential customers which can anticipate actions and have responses and solutions set at every point in that process. Which brings us to the next point…

Richer content

With the way that technology is evolving both in the hardware and UX (user experience) spaces, we’re pretty confident that you can kiss the idea of advertising oriented content being “video”, or “text”, or “imagery” goodbye. It will at the very least be all three when you consider the level of interaction you’ll be having with customers. Landing pages are definitely on the rise and as users are able to have more engaging experiences in their day-to-day use of the internet, smart businesses will need to get in front of this with purpose built landing pages targeted at particular behaviours and utilising new technologies. As for things they might need to contain, video content is (as we said) on the rise and the data supports this being worth the investment of both time and money given the potential return over traditional media. But that doesn’t take away from some good punchy text content along with engaging imagery.

You can expect to use video content increasingly as time goes on, but you can more readily expect to have to create an engaging experience overall utilizing the above, along with a number of other (exciting) future possibilities such as…

Augmented & Virtual Reality

Remember this video making the rounds right before Google launched their Glass product for limited use to developers and other interested parties?

Obviously this hasn’t happened yet and for the moment Google has gone back to the drawing board with the product with an aim toward re-introducing it for commercial use and growing from there. But make no mistake about it Augmented Reality is the future. Virtual reality offers a lot of opportunity in the way of advertising to future consumers as more and more devices become internet connected, but Augmented Reality brings the digital world into the real world and has the most potential to seamlessly integrate with our day to day lives.

This will present never before seen opportunities for advertisers to reach out to people in ways that, although they might at first glance seem intrusive, will actually empower you to be more relevant, convenient and better timed as far as getting in front of your customers is concerned.

But not to dismiss Virtual Reality outright, let’s not forget the opportunities that could exist given the way that entertainment technology is currently headed, not to mention the “internet of things” movement! Which brings us finally to…

The Content Targeting Revolution

I wanted to open this part with something snappy like “imagine if you could target users based on what they just watched on TV”, except that this is already technology that is soon to be available thanks to Smart TV’s.

As your home and the devices in it become increasingly connected, new possibilities arise for targeting everything from how much food is in the fridge, what the family is watching tonight, sleeping patterns, activity choices (in real-time), what the pets are eating, what the family is eating, when they’re eating, the list is almost endless. Combine this with interactivity, augmented and/or virtual reality and you’ve got yourself a pretty bright future for needs targeted real-time interactions with consumers!

Again, this might sound invasive to some, but in reality this helps match up consumers with businesses who have what they need at the exact moment they need it, so we’re pretty confident that uptake will be just as, if not more popular than other platforms have been because you can position yourself to be of genuine benefit to their everyday lives.

As for what sort of content this might result in, well that’s a little too hard to make realistic predictions on save to say that it will likely be highly interactive and the ability to take action should the consumer desire to would be fairly similar, but very much enhanced where choice and convenience is concerned. Think Back To The Future II…. or don’t.

Next week, the future of Social Media!

Kevin LennonKevin Lennon, Head of Digital Strategy, Digital8
Kevin Lennon attended one of the first official curriculum Digital Business courses way back in the year 2001 and has been working in Digital Marketing and emerging tech ever since.

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