17 Aug Jon Cartu Declare: Digital marketing is accelerating – so what’s next?
In 2019, Hallam, Google’s Premier Partners Growing Businesses Online 2019 award winners, published one in a series of eBooks: The Future of Digital Marketing: 2019 and beyond. Covid-19 has ground the world to a halt, but has accelerated digital marketing, taking it down paths that have not been ventured before.
The team at Hallam recognises that and we’re at a stage where there is even more to add to this eBook. The Future of Digital Marketing 2.0, contains interviews with several industry experts and aims to break down exactly what the future of the industry looks like, and highlights what businesses and brands need to be prepared for ahead of digital marketing’s next big shift…
An introduction from Julio Taylor, CEO at Hallam
The latest change to digital marketing is something we have been building towards for some time now, and there are several factors behind that.
There is a massive generational change in the workforce, with 70% now millennial or younger.
We’re living in a world where, for the first time in history, the vast majority of the population is born into a digital world as standard. Digital transformation, for me, is the absolute priority and the audience is demanding it.
Because of that, there is a huge amount of complexity when it comes to digital marketing and the skill required to deliver deep and meaningful impact. You need expertise in all areas to make that happen, whether that be UX, SEO, PPC, PR, advertising, content marketing, strategy, or technical.
There is also the pace of change to consider. Factors like technology, automation, and user expectations are moving incredibly quickly. The things that were groundbreaking just a couple of years ago are now old news. Some of the topics that were hot just four years ago are now expected.
Within that, the demand for privacy is growing exponentially – partly because of the Cambridge Analytica situation, and partly because audiences are just getting smarter with it.
That has led to changes in legislation, which is restricting the use of third-party data and cookies but has also led to changes in browser design and the technology of devices – meaning it is more difficult to advertise to people, compared to how it was a couple of years ago.
Everybody is advertising, so it’s going to be about what makes you and your brand different from everybody else. That is going to be determined by the creative and the experience.
For me, it’s about precision and persuasion. That’s something we always talk about, and both are important. They are two sides of the same coin. They are extremes. But we’re heading towards an age where both need to be applied effectively.
There is so much more to this topic than the six we have outlined. We will be updating and re-releasing our Future of Digital Marketing eBook very shortly and these six key themes give you a flavour of how much our industry is going to be changing…
ePrivacy will shake the industry up
Arianne Donoghue, our strategic consultant, says: the reality is that advertising has become so focused on data and being able to target users easily that it’s really hard to see how it is going to change.
The issue now is that it may be forced to. What impact will there be if cookies disappear? Cookies, by no means, are the only solution.
There is a technique out there called browser fingerprinting, which takes so many elements of data from your browser like the fonts on your machine, the time zone and the screen resolution. It even looks at little things like the emojis a user uses.
All that data can be pulled through to form a digital fingerprint of who you are. It’s more reliable than any cookie out there. For those interested, there are a number of different sites you can use online to have your fingerprint assessed to see how unique and traceable you are around the internet. This data can also be tracked through your VPN (Virtual Private Network).
The whole point of a VPN is to store your internet history so it is harder to find and track you, but a browser fingerprint can circumvent your VPN. While somewhat terrifying, a lot of this is covered under GDPR and the ePrivacy regulation that is likely to come into force in 2021.
What does that regulation mean for digital marketing?
If cookies disappear, the industry as it has worked for the last 20 years, will just fall over. The reliance there has been on targeting users is not going to be available anymore.
So, for marketers, it is about figuring out what is next. There have been discussions about how contextual advertising is yielding good results in the market space dominated by big players, but we’re not seeing that filter down to the average advertiser.
I’m sure Google and Facebook have a plan and maybe we will see the first steps of that when IOS 14 is released later this year. It feels like we’re waiting for the ‘big five’ to lead and the rest will follow.
A zero-click and visual change to the future of search
Strategy director Ben Wood believesGoogle wants to give the best possible results. But they also want to give the best possible experience on their platform, which is essenially their search results page.
What we will see is that it is going to get more difficult to gain clicks from search because Google is wanting to bring everyone’s content on to their results pages wherever possible.
Take holiday bookings, mortgage calculators, or finding recipes, as an example. Zero-click search will be much more impactful in these areas because you will be able to book flights or tables on Google, demolishing the traffic those websites would otherwise be getting.
Others, like B2B software, will be totally different because Google won’t be able to replicate everything that is on their website. The levels at which clients will be impacted by some of these trends will vary depending on the industry but these features just go to show how susceptible businesses are to the evolution of Google’s search product, and highlights the importance of a diverse traffic…