Mobile, social and data: the key marketing trends shaping the digital landscape
The digital landscape is evolving rapidly and as a result so, is the way brands communicate and engage with their audience. Globally traditional marketing has taken a back seat but in Nigeria, many brands have yet to fully embrace the digital revolution to their own detriment. Speaking at the maiden edition of NITEC [Nigeria International Technology Exhibition and Conference] Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor, Country Manager of Google and Nkem Begho of Futuresoft identified the following as the key marketing trends shaping the digital landscape:
We now live online, and it’s mostly mobile
Mobile has grown exponentially and by 2020 there will be 11.6 billion mobile connected devices in the world, that’s more than the projected global population at that time [http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/solutions/collateral/service-provider/visual-networking-index-vni/mobile-white-paper-c11-520862.html] The growth of mobile technology has greatly influenced Internet consumption worldwide, but particularly in Nigeria, which is often described as a “mobile first” or “mobile only” country, due to the fact a number of people first experience the internet through a mobile device. The average Nigerian spends three hours a day on their mobile phone, accounting for 51% of all digital time spent and 65% of search traffic now comes from mobile. According to Ehimuan-Chiazor this means mobile will be at the core of any successful marketing strategy. “The average person checks their mobile phone 150 times a day,” she said. “We no longer go online, we live online.”
The future: With the number of smartphone users in Nigeria estimated to grow to 94.9 million in 2019 and the expected drop in data prices, mobile will continue to be at the forefront of marketing. Brands will seek to utilise this as much as possible through the use of mobile advertising, mobile payments and so on. The nature of mobile advertising will likely shift focus toward higher quality ads to avoid negatively affecting consumer experience.
So long websites? Social is the new Internet
Social media has evolved from novelty to necessity when it comes to marketing, with 80% of Fortune 500 companies utilising it globally. Begho argues it’s time for Nigerian brands to take this shift seriously. “Here we still look at it as people playing around and posting stuff,” she said “Nobody is really looking at it as ‘Okay this is actually an integral part of my marketing and my brands online existence, which I find very worrying.” Social media, she argues is here to stay and it goes beyond just having a Facebook page. Although Facebook is still the market leader with 1.59 billion monthly users worldwide, [in Nigeria there are 7.2 million daily active users, the highest number in Africa:http://qz.com/611516/more-people-use-facebook-in-nigeria-than-anywhere-else-in-africa/ ], brands must incorporate other networks to achieve success. Instagram, for example, recently hit the 500 million user mark, [http://www.cnbc.com/2016/06/21/instagram-now-has-500-million-users.html] and has been labelled the Engagement King, boasting 58 times more engagement per follower than Facebook. Snapchat is a solid hit with millennials, and live streaming app Periscope posted impressive growth numbers after its first year.
The future: Are the days of the website numbered? Maybe. “A lot more people are consuming through social media and not websites, said Begho. “So in a lot of places in the world websites are nice to have, but social media is essential.” Moving forward (and with the help of data) social media marketing will become more a personal affair with the rise of targeted advertising. Direct chat and live video feeds will become more and more important, and we will eventually see a shift from small screens to no screens as holograms, augmented reality and virtual reality take over.
It’s all about Big Data (and Analytics)
Data, more specially big data, is shaking up marketing in serious way. The benefits seem almost endless; it helps brands get key insights into their customer base, leading to more accurate decision making, in terms of pricing ,selling strategy and so on. Big companies are already taking note; Uber, for example is utilising Big Data through geospatial data and location intelligence providing more tailored services to commuters. But what is data without analytics? In 2016 analytics are a crucial component of marketing in the digital space, they optimise the consumer experience, help real time campaign adjustments and the allocation of marketing spend. In Nigeria, Data and analytics are used sparingly if at all, meaning many companies are failing fully to harness their power.
The future: Begho predicts the merger of analytics and Big Data, along with the refinement of both tools. She argues that Big Data will allow marketing spend and strategy to become more targeted, and that more sales people will adopt data driven methods to target potential consumers and retain current clientele. Analytics will become even more precise and will start to integrate emotions into the equation.
Content is still King and video now is the crown Prince
Content remains King, but it is Video content that the world is really interested in. More than half of all mobile data traffic in the world comes from mobile video traffic and this number is projected to rise to three-fourths by 2020. Ehimuan-Chiazor explains that video allows for more powerful storytelling particularly with digital where brands are no longer restricted to traditional time constraints.
The future: Ehimuan-Chiazor predicts a rise in user-generated video content and video sharing, and that brands will continue to create, curate and co-create video content.