Almost half of the world’s population now has access to the internet according to new research.
The findings from InternetLiveStats.com show that almost three billion people (out of seven) have internet access, a number that increases every day.
This staggering statistic is one marketers should be paying attention to, as technically this means about 43% of the world can be reached by digital marketing.
Even in developing countries, close to one in three are online, a figure which has doubled over the last five years and looks set to increase if Google has its way.
The internet giant recently launched Project Loon which gives those in remote areas internet access via a series of high altitude balloons.
What’s more, the number of people accessing the internet through multiple devices is increasing along with the number of devices used.
People are constantly consuming content from the moment they wake up to the moment they sleep, and a savvy digital marketer can tap into every second of that.
Whereas five years ago marketing pioneers could get ahead of the game by focusing on email marketing, today’s marketers need to be able to reach their audience via desktop, laptop, smartphone, tablet, games console or other smart devices such as a TV or watch, not to mention be aware of future digital marketing platforms such as Google Glass and robotics.
In fact, one of the biggest marketing conundrums of 2014 was the potential of running marketing campaigns in other peoples’ virtual realities, something brought to light when Facebook acquired virtual reality start-up Oculus VR.
However, the level of unknowns at its success means this isn’t a pressing concern for most businesses (right now!).
What all of this does means, however, is that more than ever before digital marketing is of utmost importance to businesses and is suddenly being taken seriously in ways it wasn’t before.
One of digital marketing’s advantages over traditional marketing has always been its measurability; for example a campaign can be measured by the actual number of people who saw a YouTube campaign rather than an estimated audience of a press release, but with application comes scrutiny, and as times change and audiences become more savvy, digital marketing must become measurable in a way it wasn’t before.
Businesses need to be shown hard KPIs such as a percentage increase of customers as the result of a campaign, rather than the soft KPIs of the 2010s such as ‘improved brand equity’.
If you are a business you need digital marketing to be measurable so you can invest in the most pressing and / or rewarding areas, if you are an agency or consultant you need to be able to justify your fees.
Digital marketing now needs to show it offers a good CAC (cost to acquire customer), which is not always as easy as it sounds.
Today digital marketing relies on big data to be measurable and accountable and the more you can access, the more you can analyse and get a better reach of your audience.
The more sophisticated your (or your agency’s) data analysis, the greater the chance of a successful campaign. For example if you can use data analysis to understand who your customer is, you can use Twitter’s targeting options to reach them by promoting a post to reach a person based on their age, location, gender and interests i.e. your customer!
It’s important to realise that before any digital marketing campaign is launched, there are certain questions you need to ask:
Who do I want to reach? By using target prospect profiling you will get a better idea of who your ideal customer is, and the channels they will be using that you can access.
What do I want to happen when I reach them and how will I measure this? Today’s digital marketers need to be prepared to show real results e.g. email sign ups, increase in sales. These KPIs should be agreed beforehand.
You can use various tools to measure the success of your campaign such as Google Analytics to see from which avenues people are entering your site, the bounce rate, and the conversion rate.
You can also use a paid digital marketing service that offers a more comprehensive analysis and can show you which sites have linked to you, the authority of your social media avenues and where your keywords are ranking.
How shall I reach them? The way you plan on reaching your audience should depend on the agreed KPIs. If you want to see an increase in goods sold, then an email marketing campaign might be more successful, if you want to increase your rankings on Google then a piece of shareable content that other sites will link to will be most effective.
What will I do with the data once I have it? This is one of the most important questions to ask for a campaign can pull up huge amounts of data which can be analysed and used to help plan your next one.
A good campaign can be replicated over and over again (just look at the influx of viral maps digital marketers are using at the moment).
However, even with unsuccessful campaigns, it’s worth keeping the data, even if it is simply so you know never to run a similar campaign again.
You will know if your campaign is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ based on the criteria you set before launching it.