Guest post by Clayton Wood.
Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft have been making acquisitions that could change the way digital marketing is done in the near future. What seemed to be objects of science-fiction books and shows are now being developed in the real world, and may be used for marketing. These companies have also made purchases that many people didn’t quite think were obvious, but perfectly made sense in hindsight.
But what do these purchases tell us about the direction digital marketing is going? Let’s have a look.
Digital Marketing will be about Heightened User Experiences
The giants are taking a page out of science fiction books to develop technology that will heighten and improve user experience. Virtual reality seems to be one of the hottest trends: Google has Google Glass, Facebook bought Oculus VR (which makes the virtual reality gaming headset Oculus Rift), and Yahoo! bought, absorbed, and shut down Cloud Party. These purchases forced Sony to announce Project Morpheus, their own take on virtual reality.
Though these acquisitions don’t tell us much in terms of what exactly these giants have cooking, the firms have made generic statements about what they want to achieve, and these statements focus on heightened user experience.
We also know that whatever it is they are developing won’t materialize within the year—we need to give it a couple of years. We know one thing for sure: although they purchased VR gaming companies, the technological developments we can expect won’t be limited to gaming. These purchases tell us that real-time information delivery, social interaction, immersive content and improved ecommerce experiences are in store for us in the near future.
Take Mark Zuckerberg’s statement when Facebook purchased Oculus VR earlier this year:
“Imagine enjoying a court side seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world or consulting with a doctor face-to-face — just by putting on goggles in your home.”
This is really a new communication platform. By feeling truly present, you can share unbounded spaces and experiences with the people in your life. Imagine sharing not just moments with your friends online, but entire experiences and adventures.
These are just some of the potential uses. By working with developers and partners across the industry, together we can build many more. One day, we believe this kind of immersive, augmented reality will become a part of daily life for billions of people.”
Data Tracking becomes a Strong Online Marketing Asset
We know how important data is to any marketing campaign, online or otherwise: without it, you cannot optimize the processes you have in place and improve the overall performance of your business. Google certainly knows this – their Webmaster Tools, Analytics and AdWords platforms belong to the most informative, readily available data tracking technology there is online.
It seems this year, they want to improve their platforms even further. They bought Adometry, a marketing analytics and optimization platform. Google explains that the acquisition “will build on the momentum of our existing measurement and analytics offerings, which include Google Analytics Premium as well as other products,” adding:
Attribution solutions, like Adometry’s, help businesses better understand the influence that different marketing tools — digital, offline, email, and more — have along their customers’ paths to purchase (http://goo.gl/tXTliw). This heightened understanding, in turn, enables businesses to measure marketing impact, allocate their resources more wisely, and provide people with ads and messages that they’re likely to care about.
This shows that digital marketing is likely moving to become more performance-based and accurately measurable. Data is becoming a strong online marketing asset, and marketers will likely devote a lot of effort and resources into analyzing and making the most of consumer data. Companies using performance models for growing channels, such as mobile and video, will soon be a common sight.
Human insights, combined with machine learning and real-time predictive analytics, will pave the way for easier, more data-driven marketing strategies.
Fun and Experience will be the Cornerstones of Most Marketing Strategies
In today’s ever-changing marketing world, it’s not enough to just get the attention of your consumers, you also have to give them something new—an experience. Consumers will be looking for something more than visually entertaining, they’ll want fun and experience.
Groundbreaking marketing creativity and innovation anchored on wearable technology and augmented reality can be expected. This will likely lead to digital marketing without boundaries; one that’s fueled by strategies focusing on fun, immersive experiences.
“Personal” Will Have a Whole New Meaning
Soon, it might not be enough for companies to just know what you want; they will likely also want to know when you’re most likely to want something. At the start of the year, Apple applied for a patent for a technology that would make inferences about the moods of people in real time.
“If an individual is preoccupied or unhappy, the individual may not be as receptive to certain types of content,” Apple explained.
Their solution? Figure out how a person is feeling at any given moment, and use that data to target content—or more accurately, ads—to be delivered at the right place and the right time.
Combining the technology on data tracking and analysis with the innovations in wearable technology, we can expect marketers to combine behavioral indicators—such as the rate of ‘likes’, comments, shares, the applications users open first, and the date, time, location and other specifics of their online interaction—with physical indicators tracked by a smartwatch or some other wearable gadget.
The word “personal” will have a whole new meaning, especially when it concerns digital marketing and online interactions.
Whatever updates and innovations may come, one thing is for sure: the digital marketing of today won’t certainly look the same as tomorrow’s. Companies clearly will be gearing for the future—are you?
How about you? What do you think is the future of digital marketing?
About the author: Clayton Wood is passionate about communicating the impact that technology has in online marketing. He is the Marketing Director of SEOReseller.com and managing partner of numerous successful online brands that offer white label SEO and other online marketing services. Clayton can be found on LinkedIn and Google+.