By John Egan

Who doesn’t want to gaze into a crystal ball and peek at the future, right? That’s certainly true for the future of digital marketing. Every marketer wants to keep tabs on what the next big thing will be in the digital arena.

You’ll certainly be able to find out what’s on the horizon for digital marketing at the DMA’s &THEN marketing conference in October.

In the meantime, let’s take a look at six digital marketing trends outlined by MDG Advertising.

1. Data quality

MDG offers several statistics that underscore problems with data cleansing and quality control:

  • 60 percent of enterprise workers aren’t very confident in their companies’ management of data quality.
  • 76 percent of enterprise workers say their companies lack data quality plans.
  • 94 percent of enterprise workers believe business value is being lost as a result of poor data quality.

“Big Data has been an important trend for a few years now, and rightfully so. The vast amount of information available to marketers is truly transformative – it can be used to significantly improve everything, from messaging to targeting,” MDG says.

2. Marketing automation

Marketing automation is so vital that 91 percent of marketers who rate their efforts as successful say automation is very importance to the effectiveness of their programs, according to survey data cited by MDG.

“Here’s a simple fact: It’s become almost impossible for an organization to manually execute digital marketing effectively. There are now too many complicated platforms and tactics to manage – triggered messaging, real-time ad bidding, cross-channel remarketing, etc. – without the help of digital tools,” according to MDG.

3. Content analysis and audits

MDG says content analysis and audits shouldn’t be one-time undertakings, particularly since surveys show only 43 percent of B2C marketers and 44 percent of B2B marketers have clarity about the success of their content programs.

“While brands’ recent focus on content has helped improve messaging and audience connections, many marketers still aren’t sure by exactly how much,” MDG says.

4. In-depth content pieces

A study of corporate blog posts found the ones that are shared most on social media range from 1,200 to 1,400 words, according to MDG. The length of the average blog post rose by 19 percent in 2016.

“For a while, there’s been a common belief among marketers that content needs to be short and sweet. It turns out this assumption isn’t always true,” according to MDG.

5. Messaging and chat

MDG notes that mobile messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, Snapchat and WhatsApp have become ingrained in the consumer culture, especially among younger people.

In fact, according to MDG, messaging apps have more than 4 billion active users around the world, and three of the most downloaded apps in 2016 were messaging apps.

“Marketers ignore this trend at their own peril,” MDG says.

6. Short-form and live video

These days, no marketer can ignore the value of video.

After all, according to MDG, the amount of live video watched by consumers climbed 20 percent in 2016, and 52 percent of marketers rate video as the content type with the best ROI.

“While spending on video can often feel daunting – the cost is higher than text/graphics and distribution can be time-consuming – the effort is absolutely worth it,” MDG says. “Why? Because video is increasingly popular and effective.”

This article is brought to you by &THEN, DMA’s annual event. Click here to join the leaders of the marketing community and explore how data transforms marketing in New Orleans, October 8-10. Save over $300 when you register online.