TL;DR Click traffic quality from mobile devices is better than ever. Videos ads are highly effective when done right. AI chat bots are ramping up.
Last year I discussed the challenges and trends facing online advertisers for 2017. A lot of that still applies. Social media advertising is steadily improving and in many cases much, much more effective than traditional search or display marketing. Viral news sites are still a scourge. Major search engines are still a good source of traffic if you know what you’re doing. I have noticed a few new trends taking hold though. I briefly discuss these below.
These are my opinions as of January 2018. Your mileage may vary.
A few years ago I avoided mobile advertising like the plague. The traffic rarely converted and had little to no value. I would now say that, generally speaking, mobile traffic converts just well as desktop traffic. There are few reasons for this.
Mobile devices are continuously getting faster and have larger screens. Users also have access to better, faster data plans at cheaper rates and have become more accustomed to doing more on their phones and tablets.
Google and other search engines have adapted to this changing landscape by continuously improving mobile search and encouraging publishers and advertisers to develop “mobile first” sites and cross-device campaigns.
Major brands and advertisers have also helped fuel the adoption of mobile devices as a serious commerce tool by improve our collective experience. Since most every big brand is designing their online presence with mobile devices in mind, consumers are now having more satisfying experiences with mobile devices as a tool for commerce than they did a few years ago.
The net result has been serious improvements in the mainstreaming of mobile commerce. The big takeaway here is that it’s time take mobile seriously in both your ad budgeting and your public face.
Improved technology has also moved us towards a more video-dominant internet than ever before. Video messages are easy to deliver and when crafted properly can be highly effective. Large video hosting platforms are also more frequently forcing users to watch videos before allowing access to content online which makes for something of a captive audience and more mainstream acceptance of video ads as the cost of free content.
Traditionally video has been a tool for branding, but video can also be effective where there is a specific call-to-action in mind. In addition, Advanced re-targeting used by ad networks can also help you to win conversions down the road by aiming more traditional online advertisements to users who’ve engaged with your videos online.
While effective video production is an art-form unto itself, many companies are now offering stock footage and video creation tools to help smaller advertisers create slicker video ads.
Chat Bots and AI
One of the more exciting trends starting to take hold are the “chat bots”. These are interactive chatting programs that can be integrated with websites, devices and social media platforms in order to help turn prospects into customers by answering questions, providing information and guiding the user towards a specific call-to-action. I’m not talking about the voice control chat bots like Siri, Alexa or Google Assistant – though their increasing role of voice search will certainly shape future trends. I’m talking instead about interactive text chat bots that can be connected to websites and social platforms like Facebook Messenger.
There are several free and low-cost chat bot platforms available for publishers and website owners looking to increase user engagement and help increase conversions. Some of them, like the Facebook Messenger bots, can be integrated with ads and used to send periodic communications to your list of contacts.
Personally, I find this to be one of the more exciting new trends. It’s a new way to proactively communicate with your customers without running afoul with e-mail filters. I’ll be experimenting with this over the coming months.
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I’ve been running online ad campaigns full-time for more than a decade. I’d be happy to help your business find success online in the upcoming year. E-mail me at [email protected]