It’s safe to say that digital marketing has gone through some drastic changes as trends and fads have shifted over the years. As we kick off a new year, it’s important to know the difference between trends and fads and how to identify them for your business.
Keep in mind that both trends and fads have advantages, but they each have a different purpose as well as offering varying levels of value. In this blog, we’ll break down trends and fads and provide examples. Let’s get started!
What Is a Digital Marketing Trend?
When thinking of a trend, in general, imagine a slow gain of momentum. Trends tend to appear and gain momentum over time. Most trends that are just starting out may not be noticed at first or are only considered by thought leaders in the industry.
Once more and more people start to notice a trend, it will then gain that upward momentum. A great example when it comes to the digital world is social media marketing. Of course, there were social media platforms such as Xanga and Myspace that began that type of marketing, but it wasn’t until Facebook came around that the trend really started to soar.
Although Facebook was founded in 2004, it wasn’t until 2008 that the social media giant really started to gain momentum. It almost seems impossible that there was a time that Facebook wasn’t around, but it’s part of a social media marketing trend that gained momentum over time.
Whether you work in digital marketing or have a digital marketing strategy in place, being on top of the up-and-coming trends can be extremely beneficial. Jumping on the train at the beginning and holding on for the long haul will help you start to see traction on certain trends.
Not sure what’s trending or wanting to see how trends have changed over the years? Check out the Google Trends tool. This tool offers valuable insight into how trends have gained or lost momentum.
What Is a Digital Marketing Fad?
Unlike trends, fads tend to pop into existence and then quickly fade. Fads offer a unique value level to businesses and marketers, but it’s crucial to note that some fads can be costly if caution isn’t considered. Putting a large amount of budget behind a fad or jumping onto the bandwagon too late is a risky move.
However, using fads can help brands stay relevant (if a brand is on top of them). Fads are great for marketing in the moment, but completely adjusting a marketing strategy to focus on a fad isn’t a smart tactic.
Let’s look at an example of a fad. As a whole, Instagram Stories are trending, but the content that is used within the Stories feature can be seen as fads. When Instagram first launched the Stories feature in 2016, it was trying to keep up with Snapchat’s ephemeral content.
The content people are sharing on Instagram Stories has shifted. It first started with simple photos with cute captions. Next, video started being shared. As time went on, the functions within the Stories feature continued to improve, giving people more options on what to include.
A specific example would be the “Boomerang” and “Superzoom” functions. When these two functions were launched, they exploded on Instagram Stories. Although both functions are still around, they aren’t used nearly as much.
While exploring the Google Trends tool, it can also help identify fads that have come and gone. For example, when searching “Superzoom Instagram” in Google Trends, there is a huge spike when the function was launched. Shortly after, the spike drastically dropped — this is a perfect example of a fad within digital marketing.
Trends and fads each have their own advantages. Even though trends take time to gain the momentum they need to become worthwhile, they are highly valuable to businesses. Fads, on the other hand, offer in-the-moment marketing to supplement marketing strategies.
Remember that trends aren’t immediate while fads have a quick burst before falling into the shadows. Utilizing the Google Trends tool can provide insight and data into the trends and fads within the digital marketing world.