Artificial intelligence, a faster mobile web, and ad technology that knows us better than Orwell’s “Big Brother” — there’s been a lot for digital marketers to get excited about this year.
Let’s review some of the biggest digital advertising trends that are shaping the present and the future.
1. Omni-channel marketing
Today, the increasing number of tools consumers have at their fingertips to make purchase decisions has shifted the way they buy. For example, before the internet, if you wanted to buy a product, you went to the store and bought it. Even if you visited a few different stores, for the most part, it was a one, two, or three-stop-shop.
Now we have the internet, smartphones, magazines, TV, and brick-and-mortar businesses. What used to be a one-stop-shop has grown into a journey in which customers interact with your business in lots of different ways.
That shift has birthed a form of marketing known as “omni-channel,” which focuses on providing a seamless experience across all channels. If you’re a brick-and-mortar business with a website, you want the experience of transferring between that website to your storefront to be as easy as possible (to see a product on TV, research desktop, order it on mobile, and have it ready and waiting for you in the store, for example).
According to AdWeek, 62% of companies have, or plan to have, an omni-channel marketing strategy. Additionally, 70% of businesses say that omnichannel strategies are important, very important, or critical to their success:
Take Disney for example, who allows users to book trips right from their website, then plan them step-by-step with the “My Disney Experience” tool. You can find places to eat, decide where you’ll pick up fast passes, and even get info about attractions (like their location and estimated wait time) right from your mobile phone.
The seamless transition between desktop, mobile, and in-park experience is a model that many brands today try to emulate.
2. Google AMP and ALP
In the UK, internet users have the ability to browse the web 5x faster than we do in the US. In Venezuela, twice as fast. In a ranking of internet speeds around the world, America doesn’t even crack the top ten, which, statistics show, is bad news for businesses.
Most retail mobile sites take around 6.9 seconds to load, double the length of time that nearly half of all internet users will wait before they abandon a web page. Some experts estimate that ultimately translates to $500 billion in lost revenue for the e-commerce industry.
So, in an attempt to boost user experience by speeding up the mobile web, Google rolled out its AMP (accelerated mobile pages) project last year, and more recently, its AMP for ads and landing pages.
The AMP framework allows designers to build “lightweight” pages that load at lightning speeds. It includes:
- AMP HTML: A version of HTML without all the bells and whistles, like custom tags, for example.
- AMP CDN: This optional “content delivery network” allows you store a cached version of your web page on Google’s servers, which makes for even faster delivery to the internet users requesting it.
When built correctly, these pages load in a fraction of a second, and they’re easier to find, featured prominently at the top of SERPs.
The only problem with them, at the time, was that speedy experience didn’t translate to ads on AMP pages or their corresponding landing pages. But that changed when Google recently announced a new upgrade. As of a few months ago, the AMP framework is no longer focused strictly on optimizing static content. Now, you can create ads and landing pages that load just as quickly.
Google expects these new AMP ads and landing pages to please everybody for three reasons:
- Web users will be more likely to click on a result if they know they’re guaranteed a positive experience.
- That improved user experience will result in higher conversion rates for marketers and advertisers.
- Publishers boost their revenue while allowing users a way to return to their content.
So should you AMPlify your pages and ads? Find out here.