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The Digital Marketing Landscape is Changing—What You Should Know

by | Jan 12, 2022

The phrase ‘digital marketing landscape’ refers to the vast collection of websites, social networks, sales channels, brand and user-generated content, and emerging technologies that continue to shape digital infrastructure. Over the past three decades, the digital marketing landscape has evolved immensely to match the rise of technological developments and how products and services are sold online. But what’s the latest in the line of evolution?

Between a global pandemic and an American preference to shop online, the general decline of brick-and-mortar retail is exacerbated with e-commerce leading the charge. New digital marketing trends have even changed how we can shop online, from shoppable social media feeds to augmented reality (AR) product try-ons. However, these evolutions barely scratch the surface of how the digital landscape continues to change.

Now more than ever, digital marketers must be strategic when sourcing customer data insights. Advanced privacy laws have poked massive holes in digital marketing campaigns, and the introduction of machine learning and the ‘metaverse’ has redefined the traditional marketing channel. Here’s what your marketing team needs to know about how the digital marketing landscape is changing — and how to keep up with relevant content creation. 

How the Digital Marketing Landscape is Evolving

There was once a time (a decade ago) that a digital marketing strategy was little more than social media marketing, content marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), and Google Ads. A time where earning the featured snippet for a coveted keyword was the highlight of your marketing campaign. Well, that time has long passed. While the pillars of a marketing strategy have remained the same, dozens of additional variables equate to success. 

For instance, mobile video ad spend now makes up 72% of total digital ad dollars. Over the past five years, video marketing, in general, has exploded by 41%. Even more, 81% of marketers are now integrating their social networks with commerce systems to open an additional sales channel. Another 85% of marketers leverage marketing automation and other trends to provide their consumers with a personalized experience. 

As more technology is introduced to the landscape, the more it evolves. Here’s how. 

The Rise of New Digital Channels

If there’s one thing for sure about the changes affecting digital marketing, it’s that they’re sure to shift. A fantastic example of the evolution of the digital marketing landscape is the rise of new digital channels. For instance, a massive 50% of online ad spending in the US in 2000 was for banner ads alone. In contrast, today, banner ads are just a drop in the bucket of homepage takeovers, landing pages, Google Ads, native advertising, social media marketing, and more. 

In other words, the types of digital advertising available today have opened new avenues for brands to connect to consumers. Just look at the global shift from singular television ads to CTV and OTT advertisements. In the year 2000, there were 41.6 million traditional 30-second TV ads in rotation, with just 12.7 million households with an interactive TV (ITV). Today, 119 million households own a smart TV, and CTV ad spend is valued at $9.03 billion.

Another example of traditional marketing in today’s digital age is social commerce or the integration of retail e-commerce on social media platforms. Rather than boosting your recent posts to ramp up social media marketing, marketers can now create a synergistic consumer experience where even a social newsfeed is shoppable. Where 27% of online ad spend went to sponsorships in 2000, up to 20% of the total average marketing budget is now allocated to influencer marketing.

Tracking, Targeting, and Privacy: Recent Adjustments

With the recent adjustments in tracking, targeting, and privacy, Google and Apple announced new rules that throw a wrench into some marketing efforts.

Google and Apple announced new rules that throw a wrench into some marketing efforts.

First, search engine behemoth Google will be replacing third-party cookies with an interest-based advertising model called Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) that clusters consumers with similar interests for relevant targeting. In the name of privacy, Google will no longer utilize any technology that tracks individual people as they browse the web. 

Apple has also taken privacy concerns up another notch by requiring app developers to disclose how the app uses the data it collects from users. Now, developers must ask app users for explicit permission to track them across apps and websites using Apple’s new IDFA (Identifier for Advertisers) — which users may block if they wish. Additional Mail Privacy Protection updates for Apple mean even email marketing efforts may lose a substantial amount of user data. 

So, today’s digital marketers must turn to alternative targeting options for potential customers. For example, running retargeting ads to users who visit your website or using lookalike models to target users who share characteristics with your existing consumer. Focus on building brand awareness through conversational marketing to encourage the collection of first-party data and a loyal customer base. 

The Future: AI, VR, AR, and Metaverse Marketing

It’s no longer a bold statement to claim that the future of digital marketing is rich with digital technology like automation, virtual and augmented reality, machine learning, and the metaverse. All of the above tap into consumer behavior for digital marketers to create a synergistic consumer experience maintained by artificial intelligence (AI). 

Here’s a look at how these digital universes will play into the digital marketing landscape.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning

AI and machine learning leverage consumer data to identify patterns in behavior and make adjustments using minimal human intervention. AI predictive analytics can track market intelligence data for digital marketers to predict consumer behavior for a digital marketing campaign.

Even more, AI content optimization can help construct SEO and keyword strategies, self-optimize mobile content, and even flag duplicate content. For e-commerce brands, AI hyper-personalized content can make smart recommendations based on what users previously added to the cart. 

Augmented Reality (AR)

Augmented reality (AR) aims to alter or add to what a user sees in real-life. It is frequently used for digital marketing purposes to allow a consumer to ‘try on’ or sample products from the comfort of their mobile devices, like a smartphone or tablet. This trend escalated throughout the COVID-19 pandemic when consumers could not visit physical retail stores.

Examples of AR in digital marketing campaigns include beauty brands like Lancôme and NYX Cosmetics and social media platforms like Pinterest and Instagram that use Try on, powered by Lens, to allow users to test makeup shades digitally. Like Wayfair and IKEA, furniture retailers also use AR to let users see what appliances and accessories look like in their homes. 

Virtual Reality (VR)

Virtual reality (VR) replaces a user’s line of vision with a complete simulation. Unlike AR, which is typically used with mobile devices, VR is usually used with specific headsets or goggles. VR in digital marketing campaigns allows marketing teams to create fully immersive experiences for consumers, including replicating an in-store experience while at home. 

Likewise, VR significantly expands the digital marketing landscape to allow brands to bring their products or services to anyone in the world. A great example of VR in digital marketing is the use of virtual house tours in real estate to provide 360-degree, 3D views of properties for sale. 

Metaverse Marketing 

The metaverse is an expansive, virtual environment that bridges the virtual world and reality by featuring real users represented by virtual avatars in a shared virtual world. Ever since Mark Zuckerberg announced that the Facebook parent company (now called Meta) would build the ‘metaverse,’ metaverse marketing has become a hot button topic. 

As time progresses — and more people enter the metaverse — the virtual world continues to evolve based on user interactions, much like the digital marketing landscape itself. Marketing teams can start small with metaverse marketing by ‘buying’ virtual billboards in shared virtual spaces, like the increasingly popular Fortnite or Roblox games. 

Once you’re feeling a bit bolder, take a page from the book of celebrities like Lil Nas X, who hosted a virtual concert on the Roblox platform. You can plan an entire branded installation in the metaverse that users can interact with to learn more about your company, like beer brand Stella Artois did to create a Tamagotchi-like experience crossed with the Kentucky Derby.

The Digital Marketing Landscape is Constantly Changing

The past three decades have witnessed an incredible amount of change in the digital marketing landscape. As technology became more complex, advancements like artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and even social commerce opened new doors to potential marketing channels. And as more doors opened, privacy and tracking laws have continued to become stricter.

In other words, the digital marketing landscape will continue to evolve, and our digital marketing campaigns must do the same. If you need help growing your marketing efforts to match the times, reach out to a full-service digital marketing agency like Bullseye Strategy. We’ve evolved right along with the digital marketing landscape with more than a decade in business and are here to help.
Contact us today to bring your marketing efforts into the digital age.

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