Never before has digital marketing been more important. As consumers move from physical to digital channels, engaging content marketing and highly personalized real-time digital communication is the foundation for success.
1. Reach Mobile Consumers with Short-Form Video
Consumers are interacting with content on all forms of digital devices 24/7/365. As such, the dynamics of content marketing have changed. Today, content only succeeds if it delivers what each individual consumer wants, when and how they want it.
One of the most effective forms of content marketing is video marketing. In fact, video marketing is one of the few types of digital content that provides the contextuality, flexibility and entertainment value consumers want while they are on-the-go.
Consumers are consuming more visual media content and financial service customers are no exception. Video content is the ‘low-hanging fruit’ for marketers, offering an advantageous way to humanize and explain complex ideas and concepts using short-form entertainment to get these concepts across.
Video is a highly engaging and palatable medium, and incredibly convenient to consume. Two quick and compelling stats to consider. First, according to Insivia, viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video, compared to 10% when reading it in text format. Secondly, a survey by Animoto discovered three critical stats: four times as many consumers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it, 1 in 4 consumers actually lose interest in a company if it doesn’t have video, and 4 in 5 consumers say a video showing how a product or service works is important.
What is exciting about video marketing is that it combines the best qualities of digital communication, giving viewers the intimate experience of a face-to-face conversation while providing the non-disruptive, ‘on my time’ engagement style that people love about texting and email. What is more exciting is that this form of communication can now be personalized on a 1:1 level, with highly customizable content that stands out and is memorable.
2. Use Live Streaming to Bring Experts to Mass Audiences
You can move beyond traditional scripted videos by tapping into the live-streaming trend to reach targeted audiences. Live streaming allows viewers to engage with your most respected internal experts or popular influencers on a new level. The impact is multiplied when you allow for live interaction in a form of Q&A engagement.
This form of content marketing is especially impactful in the financial services sector. According to Wainhouse Research, a full 44% of corporations are planning to increase their streaming budgets in 2018. In addition, the entire streaming market is set to grow by 20% each year through 2020. It’s not surprising that financial services, in particular, is leading the charge.
Let’s face it – the nuances, advantages and disadvantages of a complex product like a Roth Ira or small business banking cannot be properly explained with a standard 300 x 250 digital banner ad. Research shows that live streamed videos on Facebook Live get viewed 3 times longer than a pre-recorded video. In addition, a study conducted by Livestream and New York Magazine found that when it comes to brand content, 82% of people prefer live video to social posts, and 80% would rather watch live video than read a blog.
As an added bonus for marketers, data can be collected to gauge individual level of engagement and help optimize and personalize future marketing efforts. Instead of hoping your customers will travel and/or spend money to hear from your key financial experts or popular influencers, why not shift to online conferences and presentations, where they can attend at a time and place that’s convenient to them?
Finally, live video streaming is, by its nature, highly transparent. Viewers can engage with your internal expert or outside influencer in open conversation handled in real time. If you’re looking for a compelling way to build trust with your audience, a live video is a great place to start.
3. Build a Library of On-Demand Webinars
Webinars are becoming the unsung hero for financial brands. They not only draw a captive, deeply engaged audience (the average amount of time spent with a webinar is 57 minutes), they also compliment topics, such as financial service products, that are complex or detailed in nature and provide the education required to convert a lead.
These virtual learning environments are, in essence, a modern, immersive educational experience that can tap vast repositories of content with custom-created elements that can be changed, updated and switched out in real time. They can also be promoted to the right customer or member at the right time, through the right channel using targeting insights built from internal data and advanced analytics.
For example, take a look at Vanguard, who built a library of webinars to engage and teach customers about retirement, investing and estate planning. This library allows customers and prospects to browse and view webinars at their own pace, delivering insights on the topics that truly interest them.
Other companies are using webinars to showcase their well-known internal (or external) experts and as a way to drive traffic to additional content and services. For example, Wells Fargo takes deep dives on personal subject matter like post-college planning, and conduct live virtual seminars on retirement planning and diversification strategies allowing robust two-way interaction – a feature not found in typical static one-way marketing communications.
4. Don’t Forget Mobile Marketing
Last, but definitely not least, in-app marketing provides the opportunity to deliver highly personalized messages and offers using a channel many customers and members access every day – their mobile banking app. Customers and members are just like everyone else … glued to their smartphones. And, they’re not just checking Facebook and texting friends – the number who are banking, making transactions and trading via mobile devices continues to grow.
According to a survey from Bank of America, the number of Americans using a mobile banking app has risen in one year from 54% to 62%, including 75% of Millennials, 66% of Gen Xers, 47%of baby boomers and 40% of seniors. So, it bears repeating, regardless of what content, messaging or offers you are delivering to your prospects, leads and clients, if it is not optimized for every mobile platform, you can guess what will happen. That prospect will simply move on, with lightning speed, guaranteed.
On the other hand, with increased use of advanced analytics to process internal and external data insights, the financial services industry is an enviable position to be able to reach their base in through either a mobile banking app and/or text. And there is virtually zero cost to do so.
With fintech set to grow by 55% through 2020, according to Technavio, and individuals flocking to digital wallets and smartphone credit card readers, all while consuming vast amounts of content on their personal devices, don’t be left in the dust while your competitors find your customers where they live – in real time.
In 2018, it is more important than ever to stand out from the overload of marketing noise, folding these four digital tools into your marketing mix. Each will allow you to better reach your targets through the mediums and channels that are already part of consumer’s busy lives. Focus on the methods that create robust engagement, open conversations and a personal touch, all while providing the scale you need.
VR has been notoriously difficult to advertise on regular video, but this playful and inspired spot from Samsung found a way in—via a flightless bird who learns to virtually soar. A wonderful idea brought to life with exquisite CGI.
Many digital marketers believe that their brand provides a positive user experience. However, in many cases, the consumer feels differently. This disconnect can damage brand reputations and hinder the success of marketing efforts.
We now live in a customer-first world. Consumers today have their choice of countless companies within nearly every conceivable niche, and it’s up to the organizations to demonstrate why they should gain more business over their competitors. Staying ahead of digital marketing trends and adapting strategies accordingly are essential to success.
The brands that succeed are the ones that build an online experience tailored to the consumer, meeting their needs every step of the way. Sixty-one percent of customers report that they would not return to a brand’s mobile site after a negative experience, and 40 percent say they would go to a competitor’s site, according to Google.
The need to have an intimate familiarity with customers, what they like and the platforms they live on, is critical. As technology and customer expectations mature, brands need to be alert to the rising trends so that they can provide the optimal user experience for consumers. These top five trends below comprise a critical component of the modern digital marketing strategy. Here is what you should know to make it a part of your organization.
Trend 1: Data and personalization
In the increasingly competitive digital ecosystem, brands need to stand out for their customers. These consumers want to know that you care about their individual needs, and thus you need to create a highly personalized experience. Personalized calls to action, for example, convert 42 percent more than ordinary CTAs. Data and personalization will be the cornerstone of marketing moving forward.
Data can help you uncover topics that matter the most to your target audiences. It also allows you to better track how different personas interact with your content, move through your buyer’s journey, and learn what material will be most helpful for them next. Thus, data informs personalization efforts.
Tips for succeeding with data and personalization
- Secure data on a broad scale by uncovering trends within your industry and important topics that matter the most to your customers. Rising topics can help you get material published before competitors, building a strong presence in those areas as well.
Look at personal data to see how particular personas use your website.
- Look at the content they enter your site on, how they move about the site after reading it, and how they go from visitor to lead to customer. This will help you create personalized experiences, because you will know which content to display next to visitors.
- Gather statistics about how data and personalization impact the traffic and revenue of your site.
- Examine your site statistics before beginning these campaigns, including bounce rates, traffic rates and revenue rates, and then compare them to the statistics once the efforts have been enacted. Successes will help you build a case to budget more for data and personalization, driving your site strategy forward.
Trend 2: AI and intelligent agents
The demands of technology and customers are quickly outpacing the capabilities of human marketers. Although the amount of data is expected to reach 40,000 exabytes by 2020 (up from just 130 in 2005), the human brain is only capable of holding about 1 million gigabytes, according to Northwestern University professor Paul Reber. The technology available today can collect information about user behavior and help marketers better understand personas, points in the buyer’s journey and what that particular customer likely wants to read next.
The key to using that information, however, will be artificial intelligence. AI could double the rate of economic growth by 2035, according the Accenture.
AI will never replace quality marketers, because it cannot replace human creativity. What it can do, however, is help optimize content throughout the creation process, make it easier for brands to select topics and assist with the creation of digital strategies. It will allow for the automation of all the steps that can be completed simply by analyzing data and spitting back answers, freeing marketers to focus on how to best utilize this information.
What’s interesting is how digital marketers view and implement AI. There is a clear disconnect between importance and adoption, and brands must come to grips with implementation of AI in 2018.
Tips for using AI for your brand
- Find areas in your marketing strategy where AI can help, such as the optimization of content or triggering email campaigns. This means taking a closer look at steps that can be automated.
- Avoid excessively using AI to the point where customers are turned off or feel uneasy interacting with the brand.
- Incorporate AI into the broader strategy. The same way marketers in different departments, such as PPC and SEO, need to learn to work together, brands need to make sure their AI technology seamlessly integrates with the rest of the team.
- Have a defined role in the workflow, such as uncovering popular topics and guiding them through the optimization process, to ensure that everything runs smoothly.
Trend 3: Mobile and connected devices — the Internet of Things
We already know that mobile has begun to dominate search: The number of searches performed on mobile devices in the US, and several other countries, outpaced desktop back in 2015. Google has also announced an imminent mobile-first algorithm that we should see by 2018. Optimizing content for users should be second nature for website owners now.
Moving forward, we also need to consider the rise of alternate mobile devices, such as fitness trackers and smart watches, as well as the growing importance of voice search, both with personal assistant devices and on these mobile devices.
Customers use this technology to gain rapid answers to their questions, often while on the go. Brands that want to thrive need to make sure that they have prepared their content and digital strategies for these trends as well.
Tips for succeeding with mobile and connected devices
- Optimize for more verticals than before. Technologies such as personal assistant devices, often use alternate search verticals to find the information for their users. As an example, Kayak.com is used by some devices to pull flight and hotel information, or Yelp supplies information on local businesses.
- Use schema and high-quality content to move into top spaces whenever possible. With the smaller screens on mobile devices, and even fewer search results given on many non-smartphone devices, brands need to prioritize gaining access to the top spots on the SERP and earning Quick Answers whenever possible.
- Monitor how customers interact with your content. When you do earn top slots, see how it impacts your mobile traffic and conversion rates. This will offer key insights into how customers interact with your content and help you improve your strategy.
Trend 4: Content and SEO convergence
SEO and content cannot be regarded separately. All content developed needs to be optimized to boost its rankings on the SERP and to ensure its relevance, which means that content and SEO teams need to work together from the beginning.
Fortunately, most companies seem understand this need. A survey completed by my company, BrightEdge, found that that 97 percent of companies view these two functions as more integrated or converging into a single function. There are still ways that companies can improve their integration.
Tips for succeeding with SEO and content convergence
- Remember that customers recall experiences more than text. Use SEO insights, such as trending topics and keywords, to find topics. Then create outstanding content for digital experiences that align well with customer needs.
- Do customer analysis. Look at how customers interact with your material, including what devices they use to read your material, customer impressions of your brand and what customers want to see from you.
- Set realistic goals for your content, and regularly measure how well your efforts align with these benchmarks. Goals might describe traffic rates, rankings, conversions or revenue.
Trend 5: Native advertising growth
Native advertising will increase exponentially over the next few years. An estimated $7.9 billion was spent on this style of advertising in 2015, but that number is projected to reach an incredible $21 billion by just 2018. Mobile native ads are also expected to reach 63 percent of the mobile display ad revenue by 2020.
Native advertising has taken off because of its ability to fit more smoothly into the user experience. Customers have turned away from disruptive advertising practices. They do not respond to pop-ups or other ads that hinder their user experience. They want to see promotions that relate to them and their needs and experiences.
Native ads, which focus on creating ad copy that is relevant and natural for customers reading a particular web page, create positive outcomes both for the host websites and the company formulating the promotion. This form of advertising focuses on creating ads that align with the content that already appears on the website, thus making it more appealing to customers who had arrived on the page organically.
Tips for succeeding with native advertising
Research the audience and the target site’s content. The more familiar you are with these criteria, the easier it will be to select advertising platforms that align best with your target audience while also making it easier to create content that fits well with those visiting the host website.
Create content that will add something for the reader. To attract readers and make a strong impression, you want to focus on creating content that creates a positive experience for them. Just like your search optimization strategy, your native ad strategy should include providing value for those interacting with the material.
Test what advertising content works best where. Unlike using PPC advertising on Google, for native advertising, you have a better ability to target particular audiences that fit particular personas. Track not only what customers respond best to your content, but also the platforms where you find them and how well the traffic on your advertising content ends up becoming leads and then customers on your main site.
Digital marketing continues to change rapidly as technology and customer expectations evolve and mature. Brands that want to not only keep up with the curve, but thrive in this environment, need to capitalize on these emerging trends. These five that I have identified I believe will be the most significant moving forward through the rest of 2017 and into 2018.
It involves signing up to the beta – which is fun, but risky.
iOS 11 will officially be released in the autumn. But you can get your hands on it a lot earlier.
The new operating system will bring with it a range of new features, for both new iPhones and iPads and old ones.
Those include new ways of syncing messages between phones, and payment services so that people can pay each other from within messages. And Siri is getting a major upgrade too – getting more powers and a far more natural voice.
Apps within the operating system are getting big upgrades as well. Apple Music, for instance, adds a range of social features so that you know what your friends are listening to.
And Apple is adding new technologies under the hood of the operating system, which can in turn be used by new apps that will improve over time.
But none of those features will be coming to the public until the autumn – likely in September, as it usually is, alongside the release of new iPhones.
Some people are already using the operating system – developers who are signed up to Apple’s special programme, so that they can start making apps for the new software.
(Online guides claim to have workarounds to download iOS 11. This is very risky, both in terms of your personal data – which could be stolen by dodgy downloads – and the health of your phone. The Independent doesn’t recommend downloading one.)
But for anyone else who wants to get hold of it, you’ll have to sign up to Apple’s public beta for software. Then, later this month, you’ll receive an invite to take part – and can download the new software.
Those updates are usually fairly reliable – Apple doesn’t push them out until the public until they are. But they can often have bugs, meaning that the company doesn’t recommend installing it on a device that’s used every day.
Have you ever needed to record your screen to show a demo of your software, give someone a walkthrough as a tutorial, or create a video of your screen for an online course? Screen capture software is perfect for this. Screen capture software includes tools to capture all or portions of your screen in high definition, and allows you to easily edit, add information such as text or audio, add interactive buttons, and lots more. Some even include features such as live-streaming.
9 Best Screen Capture Software for WordPress Video Tutorials and Client Walkthroughs
Most of the apps on this list were made specifically for creating training videos. Some are for Mac only, some are for Windows only, and others work on both systems as well as Linux. Prices range from free to several hundred dollars. I’m showing the prices for commercial use. The software might be cheaper than I’ve shown, but the cheaper prices will either show watermarks, limit the features such as time of recording or number of recordings, reduce the editing features, or specify they are for home use only. The apps are in no particular order.
QuickTime 7 Pro for Mac from Apple unlocks editing functionality within the QuickTime 7 Player. Editing features include creating slideshows with music, cropping, resizing, compression, and adding special effects. You can also convert images to different formats. The Pro features are purchased through the free app. QuickTime X (10) Ships with Mac OS X. It includes video editing, screen recording, capture of video and audio streams, visual chapters, file conversion, sharing to YouTube, live streaming, and GPU acceleration. Its screen capture features keep users from copying DVD’s. It removes support for a few of the popular formats, so some have preferred version 7.
Price: $29.99 | More Information
ScreenFlow from Telestream provides video editing, screen recording, and screen-casting for Mac. Anything or any part of the screen can be recorded with high quality. It evens records iOS, meaning you can record your iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV. It includes tools meant for software tutorials such as mouse click effects, pointer size, and displaying any keys that are pressed. Editing tools include callouts, highlights, annotations, transitions, text, audio and video filters, and even multi-channel audio. Animations include graphics, titles, and logos. It also includes closed-caption support. The intuitive interface is easy to learn for anyone without video editing experience. It has lots of publishing options.
Price: $99 | More Information
Screenium from Synium Software provides screen recording for both Mac and iOS. It provides recording at 60 frames per second to create a smooth video recording. It will record full screen, windows, or a selected area. Editing features include cutting, text, audio, effects, transitions, and animation. You can embed picture-in-picture clips from a webcam so you can appear within the video or show additional slides or images. It has smart zooming to highlight areas on the screen. Videos export to multiple platforms including YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, Flickr, and messages and mail apps.
Price: $49.99 | More Information
4. Screen Recorder
Screen Recorder from Icecream Apps works on Mac OS X and Windows 10 to capture any area of the screen as either a screenshot or a video in HD. You can draw, add text, and add arrows while you’re performing the screen capture. It even includes project history so you can see previous versions of the images and videos. Zoom while recording and select a mouse size and area so you can record a specific region around the mouse. Trim, convert, display hot-keys within the video, set screen captures on a timer, and perform audio adjustments.
Price: $29.95 | More Information
Camtasia from TechSmith uses an intuitive drag-and-drop WYSIWYG editor for both Mac and PC. You can record any portion of the screen all the way down to an individual pixel. Add callouts, shapes, and arrows. Insert video using your webcam. Build videos with multiple tracks for video, audio, images, and text. Import media with 4k resolution. Add transitions such as intro or outro to the beginning or end of a clip. Add voice narration, audio effects, video effects, and even green-screen. You can even add quizzes so you can know how much of the video was viewed and by whom. It includes animated backgrounds, graphics, icons, and royalty-free music tracks that are safe to play on YouTube and Vimeo.
Price: $199 | More Information
Snagit, also from TechSmith, is a simple screen capture and recording app for Windows and Mac. Capture screenshots, record video, edit images, and share your files. It includes markup tools that make it easy to edit and customize every screenshot. Click and drag to capture any portion of the screen. Record, narrate, and trim video. A magnify tool lets you focus on one portion of the screen. It can be expanded to capture Android and iOS and send photos and videos to the Snagit editor from your mobile device. It will even capture multiple types of scrolls. Panoramic capture is used for wide horizontal scrolls and infinitely scrolling webpages. Scrolling capture helps to capture something that’s not showing on the screen vertically, horizontally, or a scrolling area. It will also create animated GIF’s.
Price: $49.95 | More Information
7. Snap 10
Ashampoo’s Snap 10 for Windows allows you to capture and edit anything on your screen including the entire screen, multiple windows at once, a web page, or individual sections, and turn them into images or videos. You can add arrows, graphics, automatic numbering, etc., to create self-explanatory steps. Live editing lets you add text, drawings, and voice narration rather than having to add them in post-production. Visually show mouse and button clicks within the video. Add watermarks, include information on the source page, and include other graphical metadata and links. Videos can also be converted to animated GIF’s.
Price: $49 | More Information
8. Open Broadcaster
Open Broadcast Software is a free open source software studio for Mac, Windows, and Linux that’s made specifically for video recording and live streaming. Designed with gamers in mind, it records directly from your graphics card in HD in full-screen at 60 frames per second. It includes real-time video and audio capturing and mixing to record unlimited scenes. You can switch between scenes using custom transitions. Video editing includes filters such as chroma, color correction, color keying, masking, etc. Audio filters include gain, noise gate, suppression, and VST plugin support adds even more features. It’s easy to configure and you can set up different configurations based on profiles. The studio mode lets you preview the video before publishing.
Price: $Free | More Information
Flashback, from BlueBerry Software, is a screen recording app for Windows. It will record any part of your screen from multiple monitors to create a video file. It will also record from your webcam and will record audio. It includes pro editing tools so you can draw on the screen, add notes, callouts, text, images, cut, crop, add blur effects, synchronize audio with video, etc. The files will export to any major video format. Schedule your recordings and add watermarks, interactive buttons, create start and end titles, etc. Zoom in to any part of the recording and use auto-tracking for the mouse so the action stays in view.
Price: $99 | More Information
Screen capture software provides you with the tools to create videos of your screen, allowing you to easily create your own software tutorials and walkthroughs. There are a lot of screen recorders out there to choose from, but this quick look at 9 screen capture programs will help you narrow it down so you can select the best software for your needs and budget.
Web Security Alert
DNS provider DynDNS, also known as Dyn.com is currently being attacked using a very aggressive DDoS attack. If you use them for your website DNS you probably have experienced outages today.
You can get status updates from DynDNS themselves here and also on Twitter.
This attack affects any website or online service that uses Dyn.com for DNS resolution. So far this attack has affected:
And many other large well known brands.
This attack may affect your website shopping cart checkout if you use a service provider who has been affected by the attack. It may also affect other features or services you provide to customers that rely on being able to contact a site affected by the attack.
The attack appears to be an attack on Dyn’s infrastructure according to their technical updates. They are working continuously to mitigate the attack. You can watch BGP routes change as Dyn tries to mitigate the attack.
Last Friday the source code for the Mirai malware that infects a very large (greater than 1 million) Internet of Things botnet was released to the general public. According to Brian Krebbs this “virtually guarantees that the Internet will soon be flooded with attacks from many new botnets powered by insecure routers, IP cameras, digital video recorders and other easily hackable devices”. This large scale attack today may be related to the Mirai source code release.
DownDetector is showing many major brands are having trouble today. Click on a logo for connectivity details.
If you are affected by this attack, you should consider setting up another DNS provider as your secondary DNS or temporarily moving all DNS to another provider. This appears to be what Amazon has done to mitigate the attack. You will need to exactly duplicate your DNS configuration on the new provider before making it the authoritative DNS for your domain and this may take some time. The transfer may take up to 48 hours, by which time this may all be over.