While a marketing campaign will have a target audience, this audience can be reached in a variety of ways. This is why having multiple channels becomes so beneficial; campaigns will be seriously limited when only using one. In the digital landscape,competition is so high these days. Online users and consumers are wanting quick and easy accessibility, with the answers and solutions being provided instantly. Each channel has ways of improving performance and increasing impressions, however it’s using multiple channels that allows for that extended reach.
Rise of omnichannel digital marketing
Digital marketing has evolved greatly over the years, often seeing new methods, techniques and platforms being released every year. It’s a big part of what makes it so exciting, but also challenging. As previously mentioned, digital marketing is highly competitive, where if certain aspects of the strategy aren’t working as intended, the impact on traffic and engagement can be quite significant. Therefore digital marketers have to adapt and react quickly.
Digital marketing campaigns used to be focused on email marketing and SEO. Social media marketing wasn’t quite the heavyweight that it is now; while major platforms such as Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn existed in the mid-2000s, the opportunities for advertising and marketing weren’t as widely recognised. Email had begun all the way back in 1978, yet became a popular tool for business communication in the 90s, when the internet was born. Email marketing further solidified itself as a core digital marketing channel in the late 90s following the introduction of HTML, allowing for visually unique and engaging content with colours and images, as well as the launch of Internet Mail (now Outlook) and Hotmail.
SEO was very different years ago, as search engines such as Google didn’t have the algorithm technology, so they could be manipulated using keyword stuffing. It wasn’t until the late 2000s where we saw major algorithm updates that improved Google’s ability to crawl pages and determine relevance as well as quality. To rank highly, content needed to be of genuinely high quality and keywords required a more balanced approach. Once the algorithms improved, new channels began to form, including content marketing, paid search and inbound marketing, all of which are now major channels for many digital marketing strategies.
Once social media became accessible to everyone, as computers became staples of the home and mobile phones eventually transitioned to mobile internet devices, the power of social media as a marketing tool became very apparent. Before long, social media was being used by countless businesses to grow a following, brand recognition and engagement with target audiences. Following from social media marketing was influencer marketing, now another major recognised digital marketing channel.
Essentially, omnichannel strategies began much smaller and simpler, with the likes of email marketing, less advanced SEO and early social media. As SEO and social media developed and became more advanced and accessible, new channels formed and this has led to the omnichannel definition we use today. With that being said, omnichannel can also refer to the multiple channels that now exist within the ‘main’ channels.
Channels with channels
Some of the major channels mentioned above actually contain their own channels within them. An example of this would be social media marketing, which as a channel is excellent for digital marketers due to the number of daily users and how content can be tailored to specific groups. Within social media marketing there is a variety of platforms that can be used, each having their own characteristics and benefits. These platforms can even be categorised as channels within social media marketing, therefore further branching the omnichannel strategies.
Twitter is great for communicating with an audience in personable, fast-paced conversation. LinkedIn on the other hand can be good for B2B marketing, as employees and businesses share their work, celebrate others and join discussions, often in a more professional manner. Hashtags are available in all of the most popular social media platforms and they’re a powerful tool for digital marketers, creating content using hashtags in order to increase the number of impressions and engagement rate.
Content marketing is another example of having multiple channels within. Content can be produced for a range of different platforms, including various social media apps, blogging, and even podcasts. Whereas content marketing originally began as predominantly publishing blogs on websites, it then branched out into other forms of media such as videos on YouTube and as aforementioned, podcasts.
Omnichannel digital marketing campaigns are commonplace and used by the majority of businesses. It’s now widely recognised that there are significant benefits to using multiple channels, allowing for a larger reach and the ability to communicate in various ways. When discussing digital marketing channels, there are the main channels including email, social media, paid advertising, content marketing, and SEO, yet there are many channels within these as well. It may be easiest to visualise as a digital marketing tree of sorts, with the largest branches being the main channels and the smaller branches connected being the many other individual channels and platforms.
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