A Decade in Digital Marketing: The Top 7 Trends of the 2010s

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The 2010s have proven to be a crazy, exciting, and technologically-advancing decade. The streaming service wars were on as we sought to binge-watch our favorites like the Stranger Things series or Beyonce’ killing it in her Coachella Homecoming performance. The box office boomed with blockbusters like the Marvel movie gold we nerds love, as well as Lady Gaga shocking audiences with her performance in A Star Is Born. Personalized algorithms ruled everything around us online. And social justice movements like #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter ruled the Twitter world.

A lot has changed in the past ten years that truly affect the way we market ourselves to consumers. We’ve put together some milestones of the past decade, as well as our predictions for how digital marketing may look in the next ten years.

A Decade in Review: How Digital Marketing Has Evolved in the Past 10 Years

We’re approaching the end of the decade, and what a decade it’s been! Over the past ten years, the way we market to our potential customers has evolved in ways we would have never imagined. Where we once had to guess about information regarding our target audience, we now have access to useful user data. Where we once had to wait to see the results of a marketing campaign, we now have access to instant ROI. 

Check out some of the ways the digital world has changed in the past few years:

The Top Digital Marketing Trends of the 2010s

What has digital marketing looked like in the 2010s? Check out some of the most popular trends in online marketing that have grown and advanced since 2009.

1. Social media becomes a must for marketers

Over the past decade, social media has become an increasingly crucial aspect of digital marketing for brands. Why? There are currently three billion active users on social media around the world, which means it’s almost guaranteed you can find a potential customer out there.

Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram makes it easy for consumers to find out about your brand. More and more customers are looking for brands to maintain a fun and engaging presence on social media that encourages people to like, comment, and share. They expect brands to showcase the value their products and services can provide. 

User-generated content (UGC) has become increasingly popular as well. People love seeing brands feature real-life people enjoying the brand’s products or services.

Social media advertising has also become more important over the last ten years. They allow us to more easily connect with people who used to be out of a company’s reach with traditional marketing techniques. Select a target audience, set a budget and a goal, then sit back and watch the leads come in!

2. The importance of big data

During the 2010s, it became easier for brands to utilize customer data to drive marketing decisions. Learning about your target customer became more accessible than it was in the past. For instance, web analytics can show you where visitors found your site, how long they stayed, and which pages they like the most. This real-time data shows you where your marketing efforts are most successful and where you may need to make some improvements.

We’re currently in an age where data, security, and how companies are using said data is more important than ever. User data has made a great impact on how we market to our target audience, but it’s even more important for brands to be safe and upfront about how they plan on using their customer’s data—hopefully for good. 

The idea is to use this data to provide value for your audience. If they’re visiting a page, viewing a certain product for a long time, send them a discount code for that item. This may increase the chances that they buy. They get a percentage off, and you made a sale! Win-win!

In just the past 10 years, we’ve been introduced to more and more ways to optimize our marketing based on the needs and interests of our potential customers.

3. Millennials rule the market

Appealing to Millennials was the goal of many marketers this decade. They are now the largest generation in the workplace, many of whom have buying power as customers and decision-makers in B2B companies. 

In the past decade, we’ve been called to improve our mobile strategy—Millennials are glued to their smartphones. 25% of Millennials spend about five hours a day looking at their devices. If your market caters to this group, you MUST be present online. 

Also, 78% of Millennials prefer to spend money on an experience over a desirable product. This also changed the way we market to our audience. We marketers have to portray the benefits of a product and service by the pleasant experience, memory, or feelings it can create.

4. Influencers make a big difference

With the growth of social media and the importance of follower count, influencer marketing grew in the past ten years. While deciding on a purchase, many people rely on the recommendation of a friend (or reliable source). Now, we’ve turned to the Internet for these recommendations via online reviews and social media influencers.

82% of customers said they’d likely follow the recommendations of a micro-influencer, a person with under 1,000 followers. Marketers can and should work with these influencers to leverage this data. When working with influencers, make sure to hire one whose audience is relevant to your brand. They should share interests with your potential customer.

5. Advanced SEO marketing efforts

Google is currently the most visited website on the Internet. It’s the starting point for everyone’s web journey. If your site isn’t optimized for those searches coming into the new decade, you’re going to be out of luck—and out of customers!

Search engines have greatly advanced in the past decade. Platforms like Google are using advanced ranking algorithms to create a more personalized and smart browsing experience. These bots can now detect search intent. Instead of looking at and searching for individual words, these bots can now determine the meaning of a whole phrase and deliver results that are more relevant to a search query.

Long gone are the days when SEOs got away with keyword stuffing. Now, the Google algorithm is so advanced, it continues to improve to build a more human search engine designed to pick up on search intent and more. We must be careful with the content we create and keep our focus on answer user questions and providing value through our content.

6. Photos, and videos, and gifs! Oh my!

92% of Internet users watch videos online. That just shows us that people love all things visual. Over the past ten years, we’ve had to grow the variety of media we use in marketing like photos, gifs, infographics, ebooks, brochures, and video being the most impactful. 

Right now, you only have a few seconds of your potential customer’s attention before they move on to other things. That’s what makes videos and other visual media important to include in your marketing. They are easier and a lot quicker to consume than a 2,000-word article. (No offense, content writers!)

That’s also why site speed has become a more and more important ranking factor for websites. People don’t want to spend their time waiting, so give ‘em what they want, and deliver it quickly!

7. Growing your marketing channels

In a world where consumers bounce from three to five devices in a day, brands must increase the ways they present themselves to an audience. In the past ten years, marketing has grown to be more than just something that pops up in your social media feed. We’ve continued to grow the platforms and channels where we engage with our audience.

Email marketing automation allows marketers to deliver personalized messages to our audience at the right time. With it, we’re able to automate repetitive digital marketing tasks in a set-it-and-forget-it way to keep up with our audience. Follow up when they take actions like viewing a product page, leaving an item in their shopping cart, visiting a certain page, or filling out a specific form on your site.

Don’t forget to reach them on their smartphones! We’re also able to text our customers with SMS marketing and show them an ad inside their favorite mobile app.

What’s in the Future of Online Marketing?

Digital marketing has grown a lot in the past ten years. And we’re certain our marketing possibilities will continue to grow. Here are our predictions for the next ten years of online marketing.

AI and voice assistants will continue to become more popular.

Since 2009, artificial intelligence has been introduced to much of the technology we use every day. You probably used tools like Facebook Messenger AI for businesses and smart assistants like Google Assistant, Siri, and Alexa every week. 72% of people with a voice-activated speaker say they use their device as a part of their daily routine. Because of this, marketers must optimize the way our content supports voice searches.

Our content needs to be clear, concise, and valuable to users. We need to focus on a problem or search query our content will solve, and directly answer those questions within our content.

Data will continue to play a part in creating personalized marketing.

We marketers can learn a lot from data that comes in through Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, ads data, and more. In the past few years, we’ve already started using that to our advantage. We’ll continue to grow what we can do with consumer data in the coming years. 

This data will help us continue to create a more personalized experience for the consumer. We’ll be able to showcase products and services that are catered especially to the interests and needs of a user. Smart, predictive algorithms will continue to advance to create customized user feeds to deliver a personal experience.

Quality will trump quantity.

With the growth of the Internet and new ways to publish, create, and consume content online, some would say the market is getting saturated. There’s almost too much content online—videos, blog posts, photos, infographics, gifs, and more! 

Brands and marketers will have to work hard to create only important, valuable, relevant pieces of content to remain visible online. Gone are the days when we created content just for the sake of it. To show up and make an impact, focus on delivering high quality content rather than more pieces.

Cheers to a Great Decade!

We’ve had tons of fun creating great content online during the last decade. We’re excited to keep learning and implementing new techniques as the online world continues to change. Stay up to date on all things digital with us! Visit our blog regularly to learn what’s going on in the digital industry in 2020. 

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