5 ASX-listed companies exploring key digital marketing trends in 2018

Digital marketing trends 2018 companies ASX stocks

Recent research shows that in 2017 advertisers begin to spend more on digital advertising than traditional forms such as television and print.

Recode reports that the global digital ad spend hit $209 billion in 2017. This figure represented 41% of the total ad market and knocked TV, which managed an admirable $178 billion, off the top spot.

The trend towards digital is expected to continue with IPG Mediabrands’ research arm Magna predicting that digital ads will capture half of the world’s total ad spend by 2020.

With 2018 upon us, there are a number of digital marketing trends expected to make an impact on the advertising world.

Here are some trends to look out for and ASX-listed companies seeking to service that space.

Content Marketing

Marketing firm Smart Insights surveyed 850 marketers worldwide and found that 20% of them see content marketing as an activity that will have a large commercial impact in 2018. Leading Out Of Home media company oOh! (ASX: OML) is well positioned to capitalise on the content marketing trend, having spent $11 million on acquiring 85% of youth publisher Junkee in mid 2016.

“We started this journey with the launch of content platform Q-view and we later added Hijacked.com.au and ShortPress.com.au to deliver advertisers a 360-degree offline and online marketing channel to reach specific audiences,” said oOh! Chief Executive Brandon Cook.

“These content platforms have generated new revenue from advertisers in categories including telco, B2B, travel, tourism and government, who have invested in campaigns that combined Out Of Home advertising with native content running across the social, online and mobile platforms.”

Big data

oOh! is also actively using big data as part of its strategy. oOh! doubled its large format digital billboard footprint in 2017 and its oOh! Insight division to deliver optimised location-based solutions.

oOh! Partnered with Quantium to acquire audience data from WiFi networks, anonymous audience analytics software and neurological testing which allows oOh! To create highly-personalized and location-based marketing messages.

AI and machine learning

This year we will see increasing uses of AI and machine learning systems to improve customer journeys across multiple touchpoints. AI can provide customers with recommendations, assist in personalising information and targeting, and improve overall customer experience through chatbots and digital assistants.

Global technology company Crowd Mobile (ASX: CM8) leverages AI and Business Intelligence (BI) technology to drive its profitable Q&A and Mobile Subscription Divisions.

Personalisation

The days of having a “one size fits all” approach to marketing are well and truly over. Companies must now use data analysis and digital technology to deliver individualised messages to customers.

Recently listed Los Angeles-based digital advertising company engage:BDR (ASX: EN1) has a tool called “state-of-mind targeting” in which rich behavioral segments are overlaid with precise geo-targeting of locations during specific periods of time.

“State-of-mind targeting allows us to access the right person, at the right place, during the right time,” said engage:BDR CEO and former marketing VP of Myspace Ted Dhanik. “So, for example, we might serve an Oscar Meyer [hot dog] ad to non-vegetarians only who are attending a specific Dodger Game.”

Social media and influencer marketing

As the shift towards digital advertising has taken place, “influencer marketing” has seen a sharp rise in popularity and effectiveness. In recent years people – particularly millennials and Gen Zers – have become resistant to traditional forms of advertising.

Influencer marketing takes social media users with significant clout and leverages their popularity in order to spread marketing messages. Studies have shown influencer marketing to provide an excellent return on investment (ROI) and in 2016 marketers spent $570 million on Instagram alone.

Both Crowd Mobile and engage:BDR are aggressively going after the influencer market, but in their own ways. Crowd Mobile has launched a Europe-focused division called Crowd Media. This division consists of Crowd.Agency, a platform which connects brands and influencers, and Crowd.ly, an influencer commerce platform.

“While other agencies may simply count eyeballs as a metric for success, Crowd Media combines influencers, audiences and our internal data to create a clearer picture of Return on Investment (ROI),” said Crowd Mobile CEO Domenic Carosa.

engage:BDR also sees the importance of the burgeoning digital influencer industry but is taking a different approach. It has launched a product called “IconicReach“, which is described as the world’s only self-serve Instagram influencer marketing platform focused on ad-supplied creative.

Crowd Mobile and engage:BDR are currently the only ASX-listed companies giving Australian investors access to the fast-growing digital influencer space.

Voice-optimised content

Google CEO Sundar Pichai recently announced that 20% of search queries on its mobile app and Android devices are voice searches. With the growth of the digital assistant industry adding to this, industry experts are tipping 50% of all searches to be voice searches by 2020.

Israel-based global company HearMeOut (ASX: HMO) has built a voice-based social media platform and is well placed to benefit from the voice trend. It can also blend in elements of content and influencer marketing by having celebrities on the platform endorse products.

Earlier this month, HearMeOut announced the launch of an Internet of Things (IoT) device that will enable users of HearMeOut’s app to use the platform while driving even if they lack connected car technology.

Mobile content

Just as 2017 saw digital advertising eclipse the spend of traditional advertising, 2016 was the year that mobile officially overtook desktop browsing worldwide. Mobile content is now core to the digital marketing ecosystem as consumers use their smartphones more than ever to chat, shop, and browse the internet.

Digital agency The Gruden Group (ASX: GGL), which has been around for over two decades, has increased its focus on mobile in the last few years.

In 2016, Gruden launched MobileDen a mobile marketing, customer loyalty and payments platform.

Momentum seems strong, with Gruden making a number of MobileDen-related announcements last year including a partnership with PayPal, the launch of new loyalty app, and the rollout of the MobileDen platform to the Mad Mex and Coffee Club franchises

With digital marketing becoming an industry worth over $200 billion, these companies are looking to get their slice of the pie.

Filip has written in both Australia and abroad during his career, covering everything from the global economy, politics and geopolitical issues to commodities and small cap stocks on the ASX.