Digital transformation: Moving from trends to data insights

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Digital transformation: Moving from trends

to data insights 

You can find the original article here

The lessons brands should take away from social media and digital marketing trends (such as #DigitalDetox). 

Wellness doesn’t stop at mindfulness, yoga and healthy eating. Digital detox is making its way into the vernacular and our daily lives. From apps that limit phone usage to entire communities switching their devices to grayscale mode for a day to resist smartphone temptation, there is an increased awareness of the effects of social media on our well-being. 

What is digital detox? Is it just a hashtag? A full blown movement? Do marketers have cause for concern? 

The idea is that by abandoning their phones – social media specifically – for hours or even days at a time, people can recalibrate mentally and emotionally and return to their normal routine more fulfilled.  

Digital detox is a growing trend for which marketers should be prepared. Nearly 64% of people who use the term #DigitalDetox use it in a joyful manner.  

The impact of digital detox is that people will spend less time on their phones. They will spend less time on the apps where marketers ply their trade, including Instagram and Facebook. We should expect a generational movement away from established ad platforms in the future. Digital wellness and detox is all about putting an end to the endless scrolling. Marketers depend on scrollers to tap on ads.  

Brands will always have to do more with less but like many things in digital marketing, best practices and common sense still apply. How much time do you have to capture someone’s attention with a Facebook ad in their feed? If you said any amount over a second, think again. You have less than that – and it’s shrinking.  

Given these shifts, what should brands do? Know your audience and spend the time to perfect how you capture their attention. Testing will continue to give you the audience and algorithmic insights you need to deploy ads confidently. Don’t forget this crucial step because as the audience shrinks, what works for many people may be less popular among fewer eyeballs.

Interrupt the scrolling feed with your ad. Since people will be scrolling less and less, your copy, creative and ad dollars are now all the more precious.  

Generation Z: You have to mean it 

Generation Z is the label given to the generation born after 1996 and before 2012. Unlike the previous generation, they grew up with near-ubiquitous internet connectivity. As they enter the workforce, they also entered the minds of many marketers who hope to reach and resonate with them. The way to their brand loyalty and social media feeds is authentic, real, personal content.  

Authenticity is everything. Videos that go viral either show someone in pain – authentic pain – or they show a touching moment between people you didn’t expect would connect. They show something real happening. 

Gen Z is now expecting this level of authenticity from digital content.  

According to Samantha Kelly, owner of the Women Inspire Network and contributor to Talkwalker’s Social Media Trends 2020 report (registration required), “People buy from people. People buy from people they know, like and trust.” 

Content needs to reflect that reality. Gen Z wants to support brands that stand for something. While they understand that companies exist to make a profit, they also ask that companies make a difference. Brand purpose can be a powerful driver for these young consumers if the brand truly believes in it.  

On the other hand, nothing is a bigger turn off than a brand purpose that only serves to further the brand. An inauthentic brand purpose can drive Gen Z away in droves.  

One only needs to look at Nike to see an example of brand purpose in action. After Nike’s powerful Colin Kaepernick ad, do you remember the immediate response from marketers and consumers? It was very divisive – some consumers even streamed themselves burning their shoes.  

But among Millennials and Gen Z, the ad was not a flop. According to a study by youth research firm YPulse, Nike is the top brand among both generations. Its “believe in something, sacrifice everything” campaign is part of the reason why. Gen Z watched this unfold, they watched as Kaepernick was sidelined by the NFL and his message resonated with them.  

Nike’s message did too. They saw in the brand a sponsor for racial justice, a sponsor for someone who was labeled a pariah by his employer, prohibited from playing the game he loves because of his beliefs. Nike’s brand purpose was loud and clear in that campaign and subsequent ones, and it worked. 

Brands need brand purpose to reach Gen Z. They also need to use more of the tools and technology available to them if they want to engage Gen Z. New technology or new mediums. Experiential activations and swipe-up shopping on Instagram are good examples.  

An experiential marketing activation can pique interest, and make a young consumer feel they are being selected to attend an exclusive event by the brand. Similarly, by activating influencers who have the Gen Z audience brands want to target, brands can reach picky consumers who want products they know are specifically designed with someone like them in mind.  

Technology can also take you further. With options such as hyper-targeting, the message should resonate every time. Hyper-personalized ads will be the next step, and it will drive great results for marketers looking to reach Gen Z. Perhaps 2020 won’t see Minority Report-style ads, but it will see the first steps toward advanced targeting and personalization in advertising. 

Believe in your purpose, your numbers and in yourself  

The future truly does feel limitless at times, and it’s easy to get carried away thinking about which trends really matter and which ones are just passing fads. Only time will tell. 

But it is important keep in mind the skills and knowledge you have acquired over your career – the rules are not being thrown out. You know what will work best, because you’re an expert. Let the data validate your gut instincts.  

Digital transformation is about moving from trends to data insights. It’s about seeing potential in new technologies first, and smoothing over the difficulties second.  

In the year and decade to come, the organizations that thrive will be the ones that employ people who believe in their actions because it’s their purpose, or because their data makes clear it’s what they must do.