3 Ways Technology Has Advanced Online Marketing

Oh, technology. Some of us love it, and some of us love to hate it. No matter which side of the fence you stand on, there’s no doubt that technology has changed our lives and our businesses.

Online marketing runs the gamut, and different businesses have different marketing goals. That said, all successful businesses today need to remain top-of-mind for consumers. The branding and marketing behind a business can be just as important as an actual sale.

That means today’s marketers must keep up on the latest developments. There are numerous technological advances that have altered the marketing landscape, including A.I., cross-platform tracking, and even the latest iPhone security features. Here, we explore how each of these advancements has changed the way online marketing works. 

1. A.I. Is Enhancing Personalization Efforts

The Covid-19 pandemic accelerated consumers’ adoption of e-commerce, and their expectations for personalization grew alongside this digital shift. An Epsilon study found that a whopping 80 percent of shoppers want personalization and–even more important–take it for granted. 

Personalization efforts require a deeply rooted business-consumer relationship. This is now possible because of A.I., which can help collect user data and identify what individual consumers are most likely to purchase. By hyper-segmenting users into different buckets, A.I. is able to create more relevant shopping experiences.

This is exactly how Thrive Market, an online organic grocer, is using A.I. By segmenting users into different categories and preferences (i.e., vegan, gluten-free, low-glycemic), the company’s site and app can recommend highly targeted products based on past purchases. This is all due to A.I. technology. 

Businesses that take advantage of A.I. are often able, like Thrive, to tailor results to individual consumers. And it’s certainly worth the effort, as 91 percent of consumers are more likely to shop with brands that provide relevant recommendations. 

2. Cross-Platform Tracking Is Optimizing Advertising Campaigns 

Imagine if we all had only one device. How simple the world would be–and how inconvenient. In truth, we switch devices more than 21 times every hour, and we search and buy differently based on the device we’re using. Lucky for marketers, cross-platform tracking allows businesses to vary their messaging strategies based on device. 

With cross-platform tracking, businesses can track the same user across all of their devices. With this collected data, businesses can learn what marketing campaign tactics are performing well and which ones need to be altered or reconsidered. In fact, about 90 percent of consumers regularly switch between a brand’s channels while they are in the midst of shopping, according to the small business software Anthem. 

Take, for example, pharmacy shopping. A consumer who passes by a CVS may remember they need to re-up their prescription and immediately order a refill through the mobile app. Alternatively, they could be reminded of the need for a refill when they reach the end of their prescription at home. There, they might log onto their laptop to send the refill request, adding items like hand lotion and soap to their shopping cart as they did so. 

Cross-platform tracking helps the pharmacy discover what kinds of ads the user is more likely to click on based on their device. A “remember to refill your prescription” ad may be a top performer on mobile, while a “stock up for back to school” ad may do better on a desktop. By narrowing down when and how a customer makes a purchase, cross-platform tracking helps businesses refine their marketing efforts and spend fewer marketing dollars on wasted impressions. 

3. Privacy Updates Are Changing Social Media Advertising Efforts 

Cross-platform tracking is an undeniable boon for marketers, but there are clouds on the horizon. In the past few years, we’ve seen a call for businesses and websites to refine their privacy policies. Hence the Apple iOS 14.5 update, which allows users to turn off ad tracking within apps. While a win for users who want their online life to remain private, this development is causing adjustments for marketers who rely on tracking for their advertising campaigns. 

Consumers who choose to opt out of data sharing will not be trackable by pixel events like ad views, shopping cart additions, purchases, and so on. This impacts retargeting, conversion and ad-targeting campaigns. 

So how are marketers responding? Those who primarily use Facebook are prioritizing their top eight events/activities, as the new update allows data from only eight pixel events per domain. Another tactic is utilizing value optimization–a Facebook tool brands can use to bid for their most valuable customers.

On the other hand, some marketers are turning to broad-reach marketing. It might not be as laser-focused as campaigns based on audience segmentation, but it may increase brand awareness and recognition in the long run. 

Technological changes come, go, and evolve over time. Those that stay–like A.I.–are enhancing the ways marketers engage consumers. Others, like privacy-related updates, are just a bump in the road for marketers, who will continue to figure out how to reach their desired audiences successfully. 

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