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Digital Marketing trends according to graduation students

21 January 2019 | Blog
Leontine van Geffen

On November 8, 2018, the second edition of HvA Digiteers was held. An event where fourth year students Digital Marketing of the Commercial Economics study of the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences gave their vision on 11 important Digital Marketing trends. After the success of the first edition of HvA Digiteers, this year’s edition once again explored current themes such as Influencer Marketing, Conversion Optimization, Growth Hacking and Voice Search in interactive sessions.  Approximately 200 visitors attended a total of 19 sessions on topics all related to Digital Marketing.

According to upcoming Digital Marketing professionals, what are the trends to consider? I would like to highlight here three Digital Marketing trends that have personally stuck out to me.

An important trend that we see coming back in all kinds of places is Voice Search. Voice Search is ‘the next big thing’ when it comes to internet search. It was one of the themes that was also discussed at HvA Digiteers. Whereas we still search by typing text into Google’s search bar or another search engine on our computer or mobile phone, in the future we will increasingly do so using our voice. We all know Apple’s Siri, although Apple seems to be completely outpaced by two other tech giants at the moment. Amazon has been paving the way for some time with its ever-improving voice assistant ‘Alexa’. And Google is also starting to gain ground in Europe with its ‘Google home’ assistant.

This means a lot for the content that you as a marketer will have to offer in the future in order to be found by your customers. Where the Google algorithm currently still links search terms – entered by the user in the search bar – to written texts on websites and shows the best ones at the top of the search results, the arrival of these new search engines also means a new way of offering content. So questions like “but how do I create this content?” and “will we still need websites then?” are not at all crazy. Although in the short term things will not go that fast and websites will continue to exist.

During their workshop, four upcoming Digital Marketers showed what is going on in the field of Voice Search and studied the possibilities that are currently emerging when it comes to developing new ‘content’ as a marketer. And also during the workshop on SEO the subject came up. Voice Search. Stay tuned!

Another session that made an impression was Growth Hacking. Not necessarily ‘new’, but in a time where changes follow each other rapidly and you as a company should therefore also move quickly, this is still very important. Five Digital Marketing students focused on SMEs in particular during the session in which this topic was discussed, but the students’ insights into this way of achieving growth also offered many starting points for large companies. During their session, the students showed that you shouldn’t think in separate subjects, but should bring all those subjects together in a ‘cocktail’ and try to find out what works and what doesn’t in a quick and dirty way. Not months of research, just do it, it works, keep going, it doesn’t work, stop. This requires some guts, but if you do it right it will yield results much faster.

The last trend that has stuck with me is Influencer Marketing. Influencers are the new celebrities. At a time when more and more people distrust ads and brands, companies see influencers as a more authentic way to bring their products or services to the attention of their customers. Two sessions at HvA Digiteers addressed the distinction between different types of influencers. In particular, the session on using Micro Influencers was well attended and reviewed. Micro influencers do not have millions of followers, but they do have a very loyal group of followers in a niche target group that is interesting for specific companies. Micro influencers aim for qualitative engagement above quantitative kpi’s such as reach and number of followers. One group of students even invited a micro influencer. More and more agencies are emerging that – comparable to managers of soccer players or celebrities – approach good (micro) influencers, connect them and then act as an intermediary partner towards companies.

These were three interesting trends that emerged at ‘HvA Digiteers’ the event where fourth year Digital Marketing students are the speakers for me personally. But there were many more topics covered. For example, Customer Journey was also a hot topic this year. I personally found the session in which the Customer Journey was linked to Google Analytics very interesting. Another group showed that you don’t have to turn to Photoshop these days, but that there are very easy alternatives available to create beautiful visuals. Visitors could get support in writing effective text ads, starting with SEO, Customer Engagement, Conversion Optimization. The Centre for Market Insights was also present on this day to show visitors in between sessions how they, with the help of students and professionals, can support them in doing (online) research. In short, too much to mention.

I wonder what the students will surprise us and the business community with next year. One thing is clear: you don’t want to miss HvA Digiteers next year!


This blog was written by Leontine van Geffen. She recently wrote a blog about conversion optimization. The HvA Centre for Market Insights was present at HvA Digiteers to advise companies on challenges in the field of digital analytics and raffled off 3x a website scan for companies. Also need help with analyzing or collecting social media, website or customer data? Please feel free to contact us.

Leontine van Geffen
Leontine van Geffen is docent Digital Marketing bij de opleiding Commerci?le Economie op de Hogeschool van Amsterdam en schrijft geregeld blogs voor het CMI als gastblogger.


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