Digital Channels to Watch

Guest post by Heidi Tolliver-Walker
Which channels should you be watching and investing in for 2018? Direct mail continues to remain strong, but digital channels continue to shift and change. Which channels should you be preparing to offer your clients and integrate this coming year?
According to’s “Fourth Annual State of Marketing” survey, there is one clear frontrunner—video advertising [1]. Between 2015-2017, video advertising outpaced all other digital channels in terms of growth. In the B2B world, it was up 204%. In B2C, it was up 141%.
But video advertising is not the only channel showing strong growth. In the B2B world, here are the other channels strongly on the rise:

  • SMS/text messaging (+197%)
  • Mobile apps (+161%)
  • Native advertising/sponsored content (+147%)
  • Advertising on social platforms (+130%)

In the B2C world, these channels are showing the most growth:

  • Email marketing (+106%)
  • Mobile apps (+103%)
  • SMS/text messaging (+92%)
  • Native advertising/sponsored content (+81%)

What about channel integration? Although coordination among all marketing channels is the ideal, even simple, two-channel integration can produce outstanding results.
According to, over the past 12-18 months, 63% of all marketers say their company has become “more focused on expanding marketing efforts across channels and devices.” Where are marketers along the integration continuum? It depends on their level of overall marketing sophistication. divides its respondents into three categories: high performers, moderate performers, and underperformers based on their self-evaluation of marketing effectiveness. Forty-three percent of high performers say they have “heavy integration” of marketing channels, 47% have moderate integration, and only 11% have minimal coordination [2]. High performers are 12.8x more likely than underperformers to heavily coordinate marketing efforts across channels.
Among the majority of the marketing population—moderate performers—only 16% are heavily integrated. The overwhelming majority (69%) have “moderate” coordination and 15% have minimal coordination.
Which channels are the most likely to be integrated with at least one other channel? About half of marketers’ campaigns overall (48%) are identical from one channel to the next. However, if they are integrating channels, here are the ones most likely to be integrated: social media, websites, social media advertising, email, and customer communities.
How do your clients stack up? Equally important, how prepared are you (technology, expertise, commitment) to take them further?

[1] Actual channel growth 2015-1017, “Fourth Annual Marketing Survey,”
[2] Heavily coordination is defined as coordination across 10-11 of the channels (defined as email, website, mobile, social media, display/banner ads, advertising on social platforms, organic search, paid search, video advertising, and native advertising/sponsored content). Moderate coordination is defined as coordination across four-nine of these channels. Minimal coordination is defined as coordination across 0-3 of these channels.

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