Staying current with the latest digital marketing trends and strategies is crucial for companies trying to connect with modern audiences. With how rapidly technology evolves, the digital landscape looks completely different today compared to just a few years ago.
Outdated techniques quickly become ineffective, leading to wasted budgets and missed opportunities. By regularly educating yourself on emerging tactics and innovations, you can keep your marketing efforts aligned with the shifting digital world.
Here we explore tips for monitoring important digital marketing developments along with the top trends to focus on right now.
Monitor Industry Publications and Influencers
One of the most straightforward ways to stay up-to-date is to follow digital marketing trade publications and thought leaders.
- Subscribe to e-newsletters from sites like ClickZ, Search Engine Journal, and Social Media Today to get regular updates right in your inbox.
- Check industry publications like Adweek, Marketing Profs, and Marketing Land to see what’s new.
- Follow influencers on social media who regularly share cutting-edge insights. Some great people to follow include Neil Patel, Ann Handley, Brian Dean, and Rand Fishkin.
- Read blogs from digital agencies to learn what’s working for them currently.
Setting aside a little time each week to consume the latest news and analysis helps you monitor trends as they emerge.
Attend Marketing Conferences and Events
Conferences provide fantastic opportunities to directly engage with industry leaders and emerging technologies. Sessions and keynotes often cover new strategies months or years before they go mainstream.
Some top annual digital marketing conferences include:
- Search Marketing Expo (SMX)
- Social Media Marketing World
- Content Marketing World
Look for both large established conferences as well as smaller niche events catered to your focus area. Your budget allows. Local meetups and virtual events can provide affordable alternatives.
Enroll in Online Courses and Training
Digital marketing changes so fast that even skills you mastered recently can risk becoming outdated. Taking regular online courses helps sharpen existing competencies and expand into new areas.
MOOCs (massive open online courses) from providers like Coursera, Udemy, LinkedIn Learning, and Skillshare offer thousands of classes at a wide range of prices. Look for courses focused on emerging topics or taught by recognized experts.
Some specific course categories to consider include:
- SEO and content marketing
- Social media strategy
- Email marketing
- Analytics and data visualization
- Mobile and app marketing
- Video marketing
- Emerging technologies like AI and VR
Many digital tools like Hootsuite, SEMrush, and Mailchimp also provide free certification courses on their platforms. Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and HubSpot offer free online certifications as well.
Review course syllabi and instructor profiles to pick training that best aligns with your goals. Sign up for email lists to receive discounts on bulk course purchases or annual subscriptions for ongoing access.
Experiment With New Platforms
Reading about digital marketing tactics is invaluable but does not compare to hands-on experience. Actively trying out new platforms, features, and tools helps you better evaluate their potential.
When emerging apps like TikTok gain traction, create accounts to publish some test content. Play with new ad formats released by Google and social networks. Tinker with leading SEO and email tools.
Run small-scale tests of concepts you read about like shoppable posts, live audio rooms, and augmented reality. Manage the risks by starting small.
Become an early adopter of the next big wave of innovation. For example, register accounts on up-and-coming “Create” platforms like Byte, Clash, and Paimon to stay ahead of trends.
Gain first-hand exposure to the latest platform capabilities you can later scale up in larger initiatives once mature. Consider hiring an agency like Tidal Digital to help strategize and execute small experimental campaigns to validate new platforms and features.
Foster a Culture of Curiosity
While consistent effort is required for ongoing education, nurturing curiosity helps the learning process feel less forced and tedious. Maintain an open and inquisitive mindset toward trends outside your immediate role, company, and current campaigns.
Question assumptions about “the way things have always been done” in your organization. Brainstorm fresh angles to creatively engage modern audiences. Analyze what competitors and non-industry brands are doing as well.
Follow thought leaders completely outside your field. Draw inspiration from data, case studies, and strategies from other industries, business models, and geographic markets.
An attitude of curiosity helps you spot emerging trends early, envision how to leverage them and generate innovative ideas to stand out. Let curiosity fuel your drive for continuous digital marketing education.
Top Digital Marketing Trends for 2023
With strong systems for staying updated in place, focus especially on these major trends unfolding in 2023:
AI-Enhanced Content Creation
- Artificial intelligence is transforming content creation through tech like ChatGPT for writing and Stable Diffusion for images.
- Leverage responsibly to boost productivity but maintain the human touch.
- Short vertical videos thriving on TikTok and Instagram Reels.
- Shift budgets from static posts to dynamic video content.
Privacy-Centered Digital Experiences
- Cookies being phased out prompts a shift from tracking-based to contextual digital ads and emails.
- Develop first-party data strategies and privacy-focused personalization.
- Customers expect unified shopping experiences across in-person, online, mobile, metaverse, and more.
- Take an omnichannel approach.
Web 3.0 and the Metaverse
- Emerging Web 3.0 and metaverse tech create new digital engagement opportunities.
- Start small with experiments in augmented reality, NFTs, and virtual spaces.
To illustrate the relative market share of major social media platforms today, here is a breakdown of global active users:
- Facebook: 2.9 billion
- YouTube: 2.6 billion
- WhatsApp: 2 billion
- Instagram: 1.6 billion
- WeChat: 1.3 billion
- TikTok: 1 billion
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the most influential digital marketing publications?
Top publications include Search Engine Journal, Social Media Today, Search Engine Land, Marketing Land, ClickZ, Adweek, and MarketingProfs for staying updated on the latest news and trends.
How much do major digital marketing conferences cost?
Pricing varies but expect $500-$3000 for multi-day passes. Search marketing and social media-focused conferences tend to be the most expensive.
What beginner digital marketing courses do you recommend?
Google Analytics for Beginners, Facebook, and Instagram Advertising courses, and Introduction to SEO courses on platforms like Udemy, Coursera, and LinkedIn Learning provide fantastic starting points.
Should I devote a few hours each week to learning?
Absolutely. Consistently investing just 2-5 hours per week consuming industry content helps tremendously in staying up-to-date over the long term.
By subscribing to industry publications, attending conferences, taking courses, and experimenting with emerging platforms, you can avoid falling behind on today’s ever-evolving digital marketing landscape.
It does require an investment of time and resources, but pays off exponentially through more effective and optimized campaigns.
The faster you grasp important new developments and trends, the greater advantage you have over competitors still utilizing outdated tactics. Become a lifelong learner marketer ready to lead your company forward into the future.