So Sam, as a Marketing expert in the game with years of experience, I want to ask you one question: Where is Digital Marketing heading in 5 years’ time? Will we see more changes or less?

The digital industry evolves at such an exponential rate; I believe it’s extremely difficult to predict its state in 5 years’ time. However, there a few key trends we are seeing now that are set to become the staple…

The amount of change is only going to accelerate — forcing smaller businesses to either adapt through funding or fold under pressure.

Further ahead, I see the superpowers (namely Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, Uber and Alibaba) completely dominating the world — continuing to consume any trace of slight competition or brands they see as worthwhile investments. This will have a direct impact on us all because nobody will be able to come close to matching their credible, immediate, sustainable and highly customisable services.

For now and the near future at least, they will continue to steadily reap rewards from businesses and marketers’ advertising budgets.

We have already entered the pay to play realm and there’s no turning back:

Private Social Media Marketing

Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, WeChat and now Google Allo…these are the apps of the future, holding colossal advertising potential. Closed social is the new kid on the block and it isn’t going anywhere…

Yes…that’s 1 in 7 people active on WhatsApp. Every month.

Expect to see ultra-targeted promotion within such platforms, completely tailored to personas through monitoring of your conversations and phone calls.

How might these ads be managed? I expect them to be integrated into hubs like AdWords and Facebook Ads.

360 Video, Virtual & Augmented Reality Advertising Platforms

Similar to the above — dedicated advertising will extend to headsets like Oculus Rift and Google Cardboard in a unique fashion, as soon as consumer-prices for these technologies are reduced.

Imagine the possibilities for ecommerce? 4D versions of Google Shopping ads and personalised, in-store experiences enhanced with branded promo.

That brings an entirely new concept of ad management to marketers.

24 million virtual reality and augmented reality devices are expected to be sold in 2018.

Advertising Processes Become Entirely Programmatic

The technology is there — IBM, Adobe and Oracle are already light-years ahead of everyone. Again, right now it’s at a price-point only accessible to blue chip brands. When this stabilises; programmatic advertising will be the standard.

There is a huge chasm between the traditional and modern business models out there…the canyon is only widening and soon, only those who chose (or were able) to keep up will survive with the times.

It seems absolutely crazy that humans are still manually dipping into PPC campaigns and tweaking costs-per-click!

Seriously, the technology available is insane. It’s just not widely known…

Lifecycle Marketing Optimisation

Increasingly, brands are fiercely competing to offer their customers a full, cross-channel, multi-device experience that can’t be matched elsewhere. This intensity is raising the bar higher and higher — by 2020, the complexity of such marketing will be extreme.

The aim of the game is a seamless, cyclical, story-like journey from first touch to purchase. There are no ‘funnels’ anymore. That’s an outdated perception. Customers now have so much freedom and distraction — expecting a simple top-to-bottom route to conversion is unrealistic.

Marketing Automation and CRM will be in use by most brands in 5 years. I can’t see it being any other way — the ‘always-on’ nature of the world in which we live demands it. Human control of these processes is both inefficient and inaccurate.

Big data and predictive analytics will closely follow as they become widely adopted to maximise company profits. I feel there’s still a long way to go with this at the moment. Solely grasping the concept is difficult enough for many.

Just look at all that juicy data not being wholly utilised…

Source: Working with Big Data by Seth Familian

Live Video Expected From Brands

The likes of Twitter have already created an expectation of immediacy.

Soon, consumers may expect marketing AND customer service to be deployed in an instant via live video, when and where it suits them.

This will bring its own unique set of challenges to brands with regards to resource and technology.

People already spend 3x longer watching live video compared to recorded material.

Syndacast predicts 74% of all internet traffic in 2017 will be video.

Influencer Marketing & UGC Promotion Surges

It’s the fastest growing channel for customer acquisition with brands seeing a $6.50 return for every $1 spent: influencer marketing is the hot trend and cuts through noisy industries.

As the remainder of marketing tactics become exceedingly difficult and competitive, brands will progressively seek influential figures to spread their message.

In parallel, utilisation of user-generated content will play an even greater role in marketing going forward.

When run alongside influencer campaigns, REAL customer experiences are invaluable — particularly visual formats.

Search Becomes Hyper-Personalised

As Google continues to brazenly vacuum users’ data and inject it into its artificial intelligence algorithm (RankBrain), SEO won’t exist as we know it.

There will be many more machine learning algos released in the coming years…just look how extensively Google has transformed over the last 20!

Source: Softonic

~25 million pages indexed? A far cry from the current 60+ TRILLION.

Imagine the data gained from those pages alone — and that’s only one piece of Google’s humungous pie of insight.

Search results will soon be based entirely on your life history, online behaviour, past purchases, demographics and even your health using connected IoT devices and genomics.

I’ve had fascinating conversations on the subject with Mark Preston and Gary McIntire, great men with equally powerful minds. Check out Gary’s take on this and our collective discussions right here.

The days of manipulating search results will be long, long gone…

A Social Divide Takes Marketing Back To Its Primal State

I believe in years to come, the nation will be split in half. The over-indulgence and dependence on technology we are already experiencing will cause a rift, separating the world into halves: tech-freaks and digital-detoxers.

Those who choose to live without technology will have to be approached like they would have been in the good old days…printed flyers and door-to-door salesmen — but less sales and more relations.

Sam Hurley is a lateral-thinking digital marketer holding 6+ years’ self-expedited experience in both agency and client-side settings before launching his own digital consultancy venture: OPTIM-EYEZ.

He has achieved success for SMEs, national to international blue chip organisations while being ranked as the world’s #1 digital influencer by Webinale and #2 most influential digital marketer by Onalytica. He was also recently commended as one of the top 3 content marketing influencers of 2016 by ScribbleLive.

Catch him on Twitter for heaps of helpful tweets on entrepreneurship and marketing!

Webcontentspecialists interviewed ***Sam Hurley***

****Top Digital Expert, Growth Hacker and Social Guru****

Featured and seen on Inc,Huffington Post and BBC.

Founder of Optim Eyez

Webcontentspecialists undertook this interview as its a small Startup looking to scale up. It shares basic up to date content from Tech to Growth Hacking and connects with influencers all over the world who can share some of their knowledge.

Webcontentspecialists doesn’t make any profit from this yet, but shares some of the latest news happening in the tech scene. Its looking to connect with top tech professionals all around the world, and build our image on Social Media. We are always looking to interview influencers who can share their insights about the latest tech news so check us out and please send me a message if you are interested in being interviewed.

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We connect with Top Influencers!

The people we have interviewed so far and more to come:

Sam Hurley: People Connector, Top Growth hacker, Seen on BBC, MOZ Fast Company Social Guru and Entreprenuer. (149K Thousand Twitter Followers)

Timothy Hughes: Voted No 1 Social Seller on Onalytica- Top Online Social Speaker and Influencer; Founder of the Social Selling Lounge. (200K Followers)

Ian Moyse: Voted No 1 Cloud Expert and 18th Social IoT Influencer of 2016; (Over 50k Followers)

Ed Leake: Top 100 Digital Marketeer, PPC Expert, (Seen on BBC, BBC 2, NBC NEWS)

Dennis Koutoudis: LinkedIn Expert, Social Media Expert, Featured in Huffingdon Post, and Entrepreneur.com (1.36 Million Social Media Twitter Followers)