Times are changing, whether you like it or not. Barbie is not just blonde anymore, a CD looks like something from space and Pokeman … who?

With the rise of the Internet, the marketing industry has seen a shift in the way a strategy is planned and executed. You no longer just worry about new leads or recruiting the best candidate to promote your brand. 

No, now the Internet has developed many more challenges — like shadowbans, polarisation and emotional influences on children — to make your job even harder!

One of the major technological advantages that have taken the industry by storm is algorithms. Now, I don't know about you, but I don't want to go against an advanced phenomenon like algorithmic marketing without knowing the effect it may have on a marketing strategy. 

Yes, 'algorithms' is a big and scary word, but its purpose is very clear. It is a predictive tool that anticipates how data will behave. Coders will then use machine learning to teach a range of functions how they should perform. Basically, algorithms control what your consumers see. 

In the olden days, before the rise of Artificial intelligence (AI), a brand did not have the resources to track its success or to collect big heaps of data for better decision-making. Now, you do … but nothing comes without a price. 

So, marketers, media update's Jana van der Westhuizen is here to help break the code on how algorithms affect your marketing efforts … the good, the bad and the ugly thereof! Hang on tight, it's about to get messy!

Ready? Let's dig in: 

The good

Imagine a world where you don't have to play a guessing game to discover what your consumer needs from you. Let's face it — being a marketer is difficult. You have to drive sales, keep promoting new offers and, at the same time, make sure your consumers are happy with your efforts.

But what if there is a tool that can help you minimise the effort? Well, with algorithms, you gain more consumer insights such as demographics, previous product choices and even future interests. These are all based on what your consumer is searching online.

Algorithms help you to target a specific audience so that you can show them what they want to see. And on the flip side, you already know they're interested. This is definitely a win-win situation.

For example: If you are a travelling agency, you can track down consumers that are searching for flight prices, accommodation or travel destinations because they are likely potential clients. 

You won't waste your efforts on people looking for food products, cause that ain't up their alley

In this way, you get marketing insights and save time!

The bad

Ever heard of the deep dark world of shadowbans? Well, it ain't pretty!

When a brand is shadowbanned, it means that the social platform that you are advertising on has essentially blocked your content from your users in such a way that it is not even noticeable.

Your posts or paid media will appear less on the screens of your target audience as the platform has restricted you in some areas — and this all happened when your content appeared on an algorithm's radar.

Yes, this is really bad! If your brand has been shadowbanned, you will see it in a few factors, such as:
  • engagement rate on posts or page views that are declining drastically
  • your marketing efforts not reaching your audience, which means that your virality rate will go down, and 
  • fewer products being sold and your revenue is lower than the previous months.
But, don't pop that chill pill just yet, because there are certain ways that you can avoid your brand from being hidden. How? Well:
  • Use hashtags that relate to your product. Don't go and add irrelevant hashtags just to get more reach.
  • Avoid using too many chatbots. Yes, bots can be an easy way to limit admin, but when there is too much activity on a platform per day, it might raise some concerns. This is what the algorithms were designed to do — spot the bot! 
  • Do not buy your followers.
  • Avoid targeting an audience that is too wide when planning a paid campaign. Be specific when determining your target audience.
Don't fade into the masses … rather, shine with authenticity!

The ugly

Yes, the messiest of them allpolarisation!

This means that your consumers are not in control of what they see on their screens. Once an algorithm is set, you as a marketer cannot do much to change the outcome. 

When, for example, your consumer sees the same pair of jeans every day for seven days straight, their viewpoint on what type of jeans they want will change … and even if you had the better product, you don't stand a chance. 

Many times, the act of polarisation goes hand in hand with ideology. Whatever appears on your consumer's screen makes them feel something! And when they feel, they form subjective opinions of a certain brand that will not be altered easily.

Yes, polarisation is scary because it can happen to any brand without you knowing. And when what you are selling is not part of the majority polarised need, you will be kicked to the curb!

Unfortunately with algorithms, politics and basic freedom of speech, polarisation is not something that can just be fixed.

As a brand, you can, however:
  • implement sentiment analysis to analyse the market and pick up on keywords or sentences that will give you insight into the ideology of your consumer
  • never choose a side when it comes to current events — always stay neutral, and
  • make sure to spice up your offering regularly to not let your consumer wander off.
The point is that algorithms are here to stay … you can choose to look at the good, the bad or the ugly thereof!

Do you feel that algorithms influence the way you shape your marketing strategy? Share your thoughts about it in the comments section.

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In the day and age we live in, you have to make sure your brand is humane and connects with your consumer. Let's talk shop! Read more here: Does sentiment really sell?

*Image courtesy of Pexels