In the world of digital marketing it seems that things are always changing and it can be difficult to keep up. This year has brought us many ways to follow users through their entire consumer journey, from reaching them on all their devices to tracking their in-store visits and purchases.

Feeling a bit overwhelmed? Don’t fret! We have broken down for you the major trends and updates from this year that you should consider when planning your digital strategy.

  1. Machine Learning
    In 2016, mobile surpassed desktop spend for the first time, according to IAB. Due to this increase in mobile usage the search engines are better able to better predict behavior and outcomes.You will be able to use machine learning in your marketing by taking advantage of “In-Market audiences” to reach users who are more likely to make a purchase across Search, Display, and YouTube. Google has reported a 10% increase in conversion rates with this targeting. Additionally, Consumer Patterns and Life Events, intent-based targeting, was announced for YouTube and will be rolling out for Gmail ads this year.
  2. Mobile First
    This is a topic that is discussed on almost a daily basis in our office. Google is rolling out a mobile-first index, which means they will rank pages based on mobile content, even if a user is on desktop. Google wants their results to reach the majority of users, who are now on mobile. If you do not have a mobile site Google will still crawl your desktop site, it will just not rank as well as a mobile-friendly site.The mobile-first index has slowly begun, but has not fully rolled out. While Google is predicting a full launch in 2018, it is a good idea to start preparing your website for the mobile-first future.
  3. Conversion and Attribution Tracking
    Our ability to track user behavior online and offline has increased significantly in the past few years. With cross-device tracking from Google Attribution 360  we are now able to see how your marketing channels work together as a whole or on a more granular level.We also now have the capability to track users in-store visits. Digital advertisers with multiple locations can track users who click on a digital ad and later visit their store. The insights gained from this data will help you strategically target your digital campaigns to maximize ROI. In addition to the in-store visit tracking capabilities, Google has recently released YouTube location extensions. These location extensions will further increase the insights advertisers are able to gather when strategically planning their programs. Data is key when developing an integrated marketing campaign and these attribution and conversion tracking capabilities give us further insight into the consumer decision making process.