The key to keeping your digital marketing effective and relevant is evolving with the times. Facebook algorithms update several times each year, leaving your SEO strategies outdated. Every couple of years a brand-new platform emerges, like Snapchat, Instagram, or Facebook Messenger. If you want to stretch your mind and think back to twenty years ago, digital marketing was barely a scratch on the surface of our radar.
With this in mind, the best way to know what we should be doing right now is by looking to the future and trying to discern where we should be headed. While it’s impossible to predict the future with certainty, we have more than enough information to look ahead and take our best, educated guesses. Here are four of our best predictions for what the future of digital marketing will look like in five years and beyond:
1. Artificial Intelligence Takes Center Stage
We’ve already posted an in-depth discussion of what impact artificial intelligence is already having on digital marketing. In five years, this will be even more pronounced. It’s likely that much of our content, including social media posts and even blog articles, will be ideated and even drafted automatically by an AI program. These quick-hit items will be easy for any company to put together. The key to differentiation will be manually generating long-form, highly valuable content to supplement what your AI is churning out.
2. SEO Will No Longer Exist as We Know It
The Internet as we know it is changing. People access their information via a variety of different devices, particularly using mobile applications. Websites are still quite relevant, but they’re no longer the only way to access information digitally. Google knows this. They have been hard at work to blur the lines between websites and mobile applications. In five years, it’s quite likely that we’ll have progressed to the point that your mobile applications have a direct impact on your website’s search rank, and vice-versa. Start optimizing your SEO now by building great content and developing a mobile app that provides value. It’ll give you a step up on your competition in the not-so-distant future.
3. Even More Ways to Target
Think about how much power digital targeting already gives you. You can target by demographics and interests instantly. If you’re an author with a young adult horror series, you can target teenagers who have an interest in Stephen King. In the near future, you might have even more options. Retailers, for example, might be able to target customers who stock specific items in their freezer thanks to data stored by their smart refrigerator. They’ll even be able to send them a reminder when their milk is almost empty.
Your goal between now and then is to find out as much about your customers as you possibly can. New targeting opportunities are coming. You need to be ready for them.
4. Social Media Becomes the Key
Last year, a group of CMOs was surveyed about what marketing channels they thought would be most important in the year 2020 and beyond. By far, their most common answer was social media (nearly 63% mentioned this would be one of their key areas of focus). Web was the only other channel even mentioned by more than half of the surveyed CMOs. The best and the brightest marketers clearly agree – social media is the future. If you’re not doing everything you can to dominate and grow your social audience today, you’re going to be even further behind five years from now.