Four keys to understanding the future of online marketing

We already know that online marketing is revolutionizing the way in which products and services are commercialized. But, how will it evolve in the future? Purchases made on mobile devices, ubiquity, new systems of mediation and the greater volume of information will be some of the factors that define the future of consumption on the web. 

1. Virtual shops will have a scope as large as physical shops

In the same way that the forms of communication and work changed recently, the buying experience is also changing. Every day there are more and more people who acquire products on the Internet, and companies must facilitate this access to their services. According to a report by CNN, in this moment there are 16 companies related to the Internet created every hour. It would not be strange therefore if in a few years virtual sales were as common as purchases in physical stores. Moreover, the online world impacts consumers’ decision-making in a phenomenon known as “investigate online, purchase offline”. According to data by Google, 84% of surfers use web resources to inform themselves before acquiring a product or service.

Another one of the keys is in Social Shopping. We are referring to applications for social networks that allow users to explore products, check prices and make purchases online. The big advantage lies in the possibility to for users to indicate their tastes and share them with their contacts. Direct recommendations have always been fundamental for the success of any product, and they used to be out of reach of advertising. Now the world of online communication has enabled the monitoring of this practice.

2. Consumers will make more and more purchases on their mobile devices

Social Shopping will become Mobile Shopping. According to a report by IDC, the number of users who connect to Internet from mobile devices has been growing 16.6% every year since 2010 and will continue growing at the same rate until 2015. This means that in a period of three years the number of users who access the web from their telephones and tablets will be greater than those who access from their computers.

In this context, tools such as Google Wallet, Paypal Mobile or tPago will help convert mobile devices into real “virtual wallets” through which consumers will have the capacity to make payments and purchases online no matter where they are. This will also pose new challenges in terms of customer service: companies will receive inquiries at any moment, and they need to be ready to give an immediate answer to the needs of their clients.

3. The analysis of Big Data will replace traditional statistics

The way of obtaining information is also being radically modified by the rise of social media and user-generated content. Today, the web offers the possibility to access a source of unedited information that must be processed: millions of minimal data such as comments or clicks on “I like” buttons. This information is massive and spontaneous; correctly analyzed, it can place us in a position to get to know the market much better than through a survey.

In the next few years, this way of obtaining information will surely replace many aspects of traditional statistics. Users’ profiles will no longer be based on demographic characteristics, but they will be much more personal. In this way it will be much easier to offer each consumer a product he or she will be more likely to choose. This is valid just as much for market studies as it is for measuring the success of campaigns.

4. Marketing on the Internet will grow in comparison with traditional advertising

Online recommendations from other consumers are more and more important in the process of deciding what purchases users make. According to a study by Cone Communications, 89% of web surfers believe that online channels are trustworthy when it comes to looking for other people’s opinions about products and services. Moreover, the investigation reveals that four out of five people change their decision about making a purchase if they find bad reviews on the web.

The truth is that traditional methods of advertising are losing power of persuasion in the face of online tools. The broadcasting communication model in which one single transmission spoke to many receivers is beginning to fall behind and be replaced by a new interaction paradigm based on multiple channels where everyone has the capacity to communicate. Even television is changing, and thanks to digital technologies it is moving towards a model where the distribution of content is more and more personalized.

The evolution of Internet is constant. In five years the world can completely change face, and we must always be attentive to the latest advances. Very soon, losing clients on the Internet will be the equivalent of losing almost all clients. In this context, knowing how to interpret new trends in digital consumption and adapt to them will be indispensible for future success.