The Future of Marketing: Our Top 5 Takeaways
by: Mandy Bradshaw
Attending industry-related seminars generates a unique energy. It’s a mix of excitement and overload. That’s how we felt after attending the Social Media Marketing World event (virtually) hosted by Social Media Examiner. The 2-day virtual event was packed with seminars on a wide range of topics from organic social strategies, paid social media content, and TikTok ideas to the Metaverse, Web 3.0, and the future of NFTs.
Here are our top 5 takeaways from our time spent immersed in the marketing world.
Followers Are Dead
Ten years ago, when we were still in the attraction phase of social media, we wanted everyone to follow us on the most popular platforms. Remember when businesses would promote “Like us on Facebook” any chance they got? Followers were the ‘It’ metric to indicate success. That was until we began to notice a lack of correlation between followers and sales and a severe drop in the reach of content – especially on Facebook. Gone are the days of attraction. Now it is time to cut through the clutter. Now is the time to focus on engagement, community, and authenticity. Social engagements such as reactions, comments, shares, saves, and video views are the main metrics to shoot for. High engagement on posts allows content to be seen by more people.
People want to be entertained and informed. So engage with these potential customers by creating content that is relatable, fun, and sparks conversations. Posts that have been working well for social engagement include Graphic Posts, Memes, Gifs, and Videos.
Video Is King
Speaking of video, all popular social media platforms prioritize video content, which means content creators and brands should also prioritize video content. If you have spent any time on Instagram in the last two years, you have likely noticed a shift in the type of content you see from just people you follow to seeing videos of strangers, thanks to the launch of Reels in August of 2020. This has shifted Instagram from a photo-sharing app to an entertainment platform. The algorithm will seek an audience for you, much like how YouTube does. All types of videos can serve a purpose on social media. From short videos like GIFs and motion graphics to Reels and long form videos. Views and engagement are the goals.
TikTok Is Here To Stay
TikTok has seen exponential growth in the last few years, with 2021 pushing TikTok ahead of Google as the most-visited website. With over 1 Billion monthly active users and over 2 billion app downloads, the audience here is rapidly growing and shifting. Currently, over 60% of the users are under 30. However, the audience is aging up, so the time to get there is now. The video-only platform has proven to be engaging with its entertaining and informative videos. So much so that the average user spends 50-90 minutes on the platform daily, with younger audiences spending more time. TikTok remains the most downloaded app in the world. It has held this title for over a year as it holds the 2020 and 2021 most downloaded app of the year. Still sparse with brands, businesses, and advertising, there is little competition compared to older platforms like Facebook.
Metaverse/Web 3.0 Is The Future
There were several discussions about the future of marketing, Web 3.0, and how it will occur in the Metaverse. Though there isn’t a formal definition for the Metaverse yet, it can be loosely defined as “a shared virtual experience that can happen in the physical and virtual world.” It is not a single platform or company, but rather a mix of various technologies, including but not limited to, Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), Artificial Intelligence (AI), gaming, blockchains, NFTs, and cloud and edge computing technologies.
Before jumping into the future of Web 3.0, let’s take a step back to look into the past. Web 1.0 was the introduction of the Internet. It was mainly a decentralized, read-only version of the websites we know today. Think of it as the era of Brand.com. Web 2.0 was more engaging and participatory with the introduction of social media platforms and cloud-based technology. We are all contributing to the Internet. Consider this the era of @Brand. Web 3.0 is, in a way, is marrying these two together to form a decentralized space for users to contribute to their communities while maintaining ownership. Community and authenticity are at the heart of Web 3.0, where users want experiences over ads. This can be considered the Brand.eth era. While still in its infancy, Web3.0 elements like cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and other decentralized platforms will pave the way forward in how the Internet, at its core, will work.
While intrinsically linked, it is essential to note that Web 3.0 and the Metaverse are NOT the same things. While Web 3.0 is about how people, places, and things are connected, the Metaverse serves as the “connection point” for this.
Rethink Rewards Programs
Web 3.0 is about digital property ownership. As marketers, we want to regain ownership of the business model by moving away from masses of followers on social media that we have no control over to email subscribers and paid subscriptions where we have a committed community we can reach more directly. This will allow creators to build scarce assets backed by social tokens and the tokens give users property rights. Currently, most rewards programs are set up in a way where you do not own your points. If you don’t use the points, they will disappear or remain unused without benefitting the customer or the business. What if your points never expire? What if you could trade your points for something of value? What if your points could be traded peer-to-peer? What if your points were in the form of tokens or NFTs?
Social Tokens are fungible tokens that are a form of cryptocurrency a brand, community, or influencer can use to monetize themselves beyond the typical means. Fungible tokens are all of the same value, just like the quarter in my pocket is worth $0.25, and the quarter in your pocket is worth $0.25. On the flip side, NFTs are Non-Fungible Tokens, which means each one is unique, and the value is ever-changing. Right now, NFTs are mainly pieces of digital artwork. You would own it just like if you were to own the Mona Lisa. Yes, others can save it as a JPEG, but they do not own it. Just like they can take a picture of the Mona Lisa, they only own a picture of the Mona Lisa and not the actual artwork. With the property rights, the owner AND the creator can continue to receive benefits. This is beginning to shift event ticketing and loyalty programs already. It is essential to note that you must have a community first to see success with tokens and NFTs. Invest the time into building your audience, and you will see the rewards.
We are energized for what the future of marketing has in store and are eager to jump on these emerging trends. Innovation and leaning into curiosity are a part of our values here at The Buzz Effect. So let us help you generate your engaged community as we venture into the new terrain of marketing in Web 3.0.