You’re shopping online for a pair of sandals. You click on a pair, but they’re just out of your price range, so onto the next pair. Later, that same pair of sandals follows you around, in every single ad. Practically stalking you. Digital marketing is hard at work here, and it has risen to a new level recently.

As business owners, we can get up close and personal with our customers without them ever leaving the couch. The technology is so advanced that we can target what they want even before they even know they want it.

Target Corporation found itself in some hot water when they used digital marketing to send coupons fitting of your spending habits. A coupon booklet was sent to a high school girl about baby cribs and pacifiers. Her father called asking why his 17-year-old daughter was receiving diaper coupons and target explained the custom tailored coupons. They apologized and said there must’ve been a mistake. A few weeks later the daughter announced she was pregnant. Yes, Target knew before her parents that she was expecting a child. This story was one of the first of many involving digital marketing tiptoeing around some touchy subjects.

Think of the potential of this technology and using it for your business. Digital marketing has been around as long as the Internet, but there are constantly new ways to use the data you collect. These are a few trends and benefits of recent digital marketing for your business:

  1. Automated ads- Nothing new, but here to stay. Tracking what a consumer clicks on signals the ad to show that individual the same thing they originally showed interest towards. As a business owner, you get right in front of your consumer every time they hop online. Those ads remind them just how much they want those shoes. Temptation at its finest.
  1. Multiple outlets for retail – A new feature on Instagram allows a retailer to put a specific URL on the posted picture of the product, linking it directly to the product on the website. No more digging and trying to find those cute shoes. Just a direct link to what the customer wants.
  1. Trends towards “humanizing” your brand – People use social media to talk to other people, not a company. Make your content more upbeat, soften the tone, and talk to your consumers like a person instead of automated response. It helps build a real brand and a real relationship.
  1. Own a Hashtag – Create a hashtag specific to your brand and promote the hell out of it. When someone uses that hashtag, we want people to think of you. It’s easier to track interaction with your business while also building a stronger brand identity. #Hashtags are everywhere now, it’s #badass.
  1. Be mobile-friendly – With activity online skyrocketing, it’s important to be optimized for every user and every device. People want your content on their iPhone, Android, Kindle. They want it on Safari, Chrome, Explorer, using Windows and Apple. They want you – that’s the good news. But, they want to dictate the how and when of consuming your content.

Digital marketing is not a new concept, but it’s being used for new and innovative ways every single day, we are just here to remind you why it cannot be ignored. Now go out into the world with restored appreciation for the digital world we’ve all helped to build.   Oh, and buy the shoes.