Recent Digital Trends

I have been looking at recent trends in the digital market that I think are interesting and influential to those working in the marketing sector. The landscape of the digital market is an ever changing one, that requires the full attention of marketers unless they wish to be left behind.

YouTube Vloggers

Children and teenagers are more likely to recognise a YouTube vlogger than a film star, according to a recent study. This would suggest that vloggers are beginning to become the faces of a generation and have a massive influence over the young people that are watching their videos. However, research suggests that the influence isn’t as great as the impression that marketers get it is. According to global web index, around 50% of internet users aged 16-24 have watched a vlog in the last month, but only 12% of all internet users would influenced into buying a product as the result of a vlog. The debate continues regarding whether YouTube users should make it clear in their video that they’re being sponsored to promote a product on behalf of a company. As time goes by and sponsorship becomes more of a common thing, it’s reasonably safe to assume that it will have to be made clear to the viewer on moral grounds. When internet users are actively searching for product recommendations, only 5% will go to a vlog, whereas only 10% of vlog watchers will go to one. Most people go to review sites and search engines for recommendations. More than 40% of internet users said that they discovered a product from newspapers, magazines or a friends recommendation. As marketers, it is sensible to focus our attention in different, perhaps more traditional, areas than YouTube blogging. The digital landscape at the moment is not one where vloggers are incredibly influential on children and teenagers, they largely serve as figures of entertainment. Perhaps subtle product placement would be a more effective means of building an association between a vlogger and a brand. Many vloggers are sent free clothes that they wear in their videos, which obviously raises the profile of the clothing brand. All of this considered, it would be stupid to completely write off vloggers as a means of brand influence. Vlogging is still relatively very young and hasn’t completely hit the mainstream as a form of social networking. This is the first generation of vloggers, and the law of averages would suggest that more will come along as YouTube grows and they will be more influential than the last. As marketers, we should keep one eye on the research surrounding the influence of vloggers and consider it as time goes on.

Using the power of video to increase student engagement

As previously mentioned, YouTube is a relatively new phenomenon that people of this generation are completely native to. They have done most of their growing up on computers with complete access to YouTube the entire time; it’s what most people spend time on while studying to avoid learning. However, if we were to combine the two, so that you could be learning from YouTube, or any video platform, I am of the belief that it would increase student engagement. If younger people are in a relaxed environment that they are completely at ease with, surely they would find it easier to focus, as opposed to if they were in a stressful environment that causes anxiety. My idea is that videos should be short and snappy, with questions in between to make sure that they’re paying attention. Visual aids can also increase memory retention and associations between images and information is easier to process. A study from the University of Queensland shows that the use of video in education leads to higher student motivation, an enhanced learning experience and higher marks. As marketers, this is an important topic for us to consider. With the digitalisation of even the education system, this allows for sponsorship deals. If, for example, a YouTube channel is created that is separate to the national curriculum but teaches subjects from it, brands could consider paying that YouTuber to advertise on their channel. It would require finding channels that young people find useful and engaging, but it is definitely something to consider.

The Internet of Things

The internet of things is the digitalisation of many mundane household objects and the connection of them to the internet that can essentially make someones home smart. European consumers are looking for products that solve tangible problems and work in tandem with each other. In an advanced example, a device that monitors heart rate could interact with a fridge to decipher what items are in there and what meals could be cooked based on the users daily heart activity. An issue with the current internet of things is that there are lots of manufacturers producing products that connect to the internet, but little to no manufacturers creating various products that connect to and interact with each other. Manufacturers are, however, learning about this as the days go by and it is only a matter of time before these items become available on a large scale for consumer use.

The internet of things is important for digital marketers to be aware of because it will completely change the way in which consumers interact with the world around them. While at home and all of their IoT products are surrounding them, constantly monitoring everything, almost taking the thought process away from users. To use the fridge example again, it could register what is going to go out of date several days before it has, which could connect to an iPad, for example, that is registered to order food.

Essentially, the internet of things is the future. Not only is there a new market to be penetrated as thousands of new products become available, data also becomes available to buy that allows us to see consumer trends. If marketers can tap into the buying trends of people and what they mean, it allows for invaluable knowledge regarding what channels to market certain products on. It seems almost evil, but it would work.

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