As a business owner, you will know the one thing you can rely on in digital marketing is change. And the changes coming our way this year are significant for big and small businesses in Singapore as well as many other countries. It can feel overwhelming managing the changes in algorithms and shift in social media platforms – as well as deciding which digital trends to take note of. Marielle Reussink from marketing consultancy The Emms looks at how digital marketing is changing right now and three areas every business needs to understand and respond to.
#1 New Privacy and User Safety Regulations Affect Advertising
What it means: If you’re currently running digital ads, you may have already noticed that it’s getting more difficult to track conversions, target your audience and understand what’s working in your marketing.
Why? New privacy regulations and user protection updates are bringing significant changes to the ways social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram can collect data from customers and how brands can reach their audiences to market their products and services.
Some of these changes have brought market hysteria. WhatsApp recently lost millions of users when it updated its privacy terms, and some brands are starting to pivot away from Facebook as their ads and even ad accounts are getting blocked despite meeting Facebook’s safety standards.
Further, with updates to iOS 14, Apple will require platforms to ask permission from users to track their data. With 70 to 80% of users expected to opt-out over time, this will significantly reduce advertisers’ ability to personalise their digital ads, understand conversions and drive effective marketing campaigns. This may especially impact small businesses that rely on retargeting campaigns with lean budgets.
In addition, Google has just announced that it plans to stop using or investing in cookies – tracking technology which allows advertisers to retarget their audiences as they move from site to site across the internet to stay top of mind and drive conversions. This too may impact the performance of ads on this platform.
What it means for you: Before you abandon digital, remember billions of people are still using these platforms and with the right strategy and compelling content, you can still use the power of advertising to reach them. You may just need to up your game by understanding and responding to these changes or tap a specialist to ensure you’re getting a return on your investment. Plus, tech companies such as Google and Facebook are extremely innovative and it is highly likely that they are working on alternatives or new avenues to reach your target customer.
#2 Organic Reach on all Social Media Platforms is Decreasing
What it means: In digital, we talk about organic and paid reach. The latter is achieved through ads, whilst organic is garnered by simply posting on your social media platforms, with the hope that somebody will see and engage with your content.
Well, with continued updates to the algorithms curating your newsfeeds, the number of somebodies is constantly becoming less. You’ll find that even fewer people are now seeing and liking your posts across channels.
This is not new. Organic reach has been in decline for years, as platforms like Facebook have shifted to pay-to-play. However, it’s starting to affect more channels as the likes of Instagram and co are following suit in pursuit of ad dollars.
What it means for you: Whatever social media channels you use, to get the most exposure, you should take the time to understand how the latest algorithms work and adapt your strategy accordingly. Whatever you do, the golden rule is always to create good content that engages your audience and adds value!
But should you explore new ways to reach your customers?
It seems inevitable that paid and organic reach on social media will continue to become more challenging, competitive and expensive, so it’s time to start investing in your own content and platforms by building your own content machine that brings people directly to you:
- Your website
- Your blog
- Your SEO
- Your email database
The wonderful thing about investing in things like blogging and SEO is that, over time, you’ll develop a content library that can continue to bring you leads over months or even years, while social media posts slip away into oblivion (unless you’re constantly pumping ad dollars into them). Either way, creating your own great content has never been more important!
#3 The Next Big Thing: Audio & Video
What it means: Of course, this trend is not entirely new. You will have seen companies rolling out videos and podcasts. What is new is that, rather than being something experimental, for companies that really want to engage their followers, video has become a must as platforms increasingly prioritise video content. Audio will also claim its space with the rapid rise of Clubhouse and the launch of Twitter Spaces.
What it means for you: Don’t be overwhelmed by all the choices. And don’t worry if you’ve never heard of Clubhouse. What’s important to know is that no matter what platforms you’re using, this year audio and video content will be among the most powerful tools in your marketing arsenal.
Many brands are investing resources to create their own podcasts or YouTube channels. If you don’t have the budget or time for that, begin by creating video content for your existing social media channels as a start. Be a guest on a podcast or work with influencers on YouTube and other channels.
Beyond these, it may be worth experimenting with newer social media platforms where the competition is much lower.
Are you a lifestyle brand targeting young people? Maybe TikTok is right for you. Are you in B2B or tech? You may find networking and thought leadership opportunities on Clubhouse. The early bird gets the worm, as they say.
A final word
These big shifts in marketing may feel a bit daunting, but know that you don’t need to change everything you’re doing overnight, and you don’t need to do it all alone. If there’s one thing you take away from this article, it’s that digital marketing is becoming more and more complex. So get ready to shake things up if you want to succeed.
Want support in navigating these digital shifts? Call or message Marielle on 8522 1874, or follow her at the-emms.com/blog.
More about Marielle
Marielle is the founder of The Emms, a marketing company that helps entrepreneurs, start-ups and small businesses in Singapore and beyond achieve their goals. Combining her passion for marketing and communications with strategic consultancy, she has worked with major companies such as ExxonMobil, Unilever, EY, GE, Danone, OCBC and others, plus over 100 founders and start-ups across various projects of local, regional and global scale.
Marielle is also a trainer and workshop facilitator focusing on digital marketing and entrepreneurship. Since launching her own workshop series with WeWork in 2019, her courses have been picked up by Expat Living, WordPress Singapore, BLOCK71 by NUS Enterprise and various other organisations.
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