Although digital marketing has only been around for two decades it’s always shifting. The shifts represent societal tastes and the evolving role of technology in everyday life. As digital marketing moves toward a more tailored approach, new advertising trends are beginning to emerge.

Customizing vs. Mass Marketing

Twenty years from now, the next generation of marketers will shake their heads and say, “We can’t believe we did mass marketing.” Today, the internet offers a unique window into the personal world of every consumer. This in turn makes digital advertising the ideal platform for customization. Advances in audience data and RTB technology now enable brands to reach in-market consumers where ever they are. With these advancements brands now can customize their content strategy to align with the needs of each customer segment.

Clicks vs. Conversations

Not that long ago click-through banner ads were the wonder tool of digital marketing. Today, people don’t want advertisements — they want great stories. The world’s top brands win over customers through stories and content marketing. Whether it’s a trending news topic or testimonial — being relatable is key to long-term success.

In the past, marketers tended to only track the last click — the one that leads to a sale or revenue. Instead, conversational marketing provides the consumer with touch points throughout the entire buying journey. This is especially valuable for B2B companies as customers might read 10-20 pieces of content before deciding to engage a sales rep.

While marketers are natural storytellers, they don’t always have the channels to tell their story at scale. That’s where content distribution come in. But with an increase in the quality of content available, brands also need a customizable way to promote content beyond banners. Enter native advertising.

Native Advertising: Seamless and Sophisticated

While native advertising might be the term du jour in digital marketing, make no mistake, it’s here to stay. Native ads fit seamlessly into the content where they are placed, it doesn’t even look or read like an ad. Best of all, native advertising enables content writers and marketers to place personalized messages into the content — messages that can engage the consumer without being disruptive. This way, native ads can become an integral part of great content.

For a marketer, native ads use a conversational format that’s customizable to promote any type of business. Companies such as Forbes, USA Today and the New York Times, and platforms such as Facebook provide native ad formats designed for promoting content. As traditional banner ads diminish in popularity, the time is ripe for marketers to begin using more integrated advertising formats. According to Marketing Tech Blog, social advertising will generate a whopping $11 billion in revenues by 2017.

While native ads are used in sponsored posts hosted on publisher pages, native advertising is a broad channel. Marketers can find promoted listing, content recommendation strategies and in-feed formats available. In fact, there’s over 30 programmatic native advertising networks in market today. We’ve never seen this level of rapid innovation in digital marketing before.

Mobile: The Way to Go

Americans spend a whopping 60 percent of digital media time on tablets and smartphones. Analysts are also predicting that more than a third of the world’s consumers will have smartphones by 2018. The numbers tell the story: Mobile represents a major shift in how brands need to create and distribute content to consumers.

Marketers are finding the need to create unique, sound-bite-sized advertising messages to fit this medium. Programmatic native advertising will begin to displace mobile banner ads as the premier choice within apps and content feeds.

Shifting to these emerging new paradigms in digital marketing won’t happen overnight, but today’s savvy marketers would do well to stay on top of these trends, because they’re more than just trends — they’re fundamental shifts that are here to stay. Digital advertising is revolutionizing the advertising industry, and these are the “new normal” ways that consumers will be engaging with brands and businesses. However, it’s important to realize that it’s going to take years for companies to develop the best ways of combining storytelling with digital advertising so that it can be effectively customized to consumer demographics.