What are some new unsaturated channels in digital marketing that a startup can exploit?
I've heard that the key to success in online marketing is exploiting market inefficiencies i.e. new untapped channels that are not yet saturated. 8 years ago Facebook was this channel, 6 years ago it was Taboola and Outbrain. How about today?
I would argue that the key to successful online marketing is not finding new untapped marketing channels, but simply to find the most effective and efficient channels. A new AdWords or Facebook is not going to pop up every year and it certainly will not be a mature ad product.
Facebook was and still is a great marketing channel because you can reach a very refined target in a native way for a reasonable price. While it has gotten more “saturated” over time, it is still your best bet for investing limited advertising dollars, along with SEM. Networks such as Taboola were great for driving traffic, but don’t offer the same quality experience to the end user that Facebook does.
Your real goal as an online marketer should be to find your audience (the people who you want to buy your product or visit your site) and get them to complete that goal for the least amount of money. Because so many people are spending their time on Facebook, that is where I would invest the money. While new platforms such as SnapChat exist, they do not yet have a mature ad product that will convert your audience.
All of this also depends on your goal, what you are selling, who you are trying to reach, etc. If you are selling a B2B product, you may want to invest in LinkedIn Marketing. If you are simply trying to brand your product in a certain way, you may want to try Instagram Stories, as you will get less clicks, but this channel is definitely undersaturated. If you want to get readers to your sponsored content so that you can generate ad revenue, you may want to buy through Facebook or Taboola.
My ultimate advice would be to be wary of any marketing “gurus” that sell you surefire ways to market online. Each product is different and using the new hot thing will often lead to a waste of money. Set a marketing goal, choose a set of ad products you’d like to test based on your audience, give them a each a set amount of money and see what works for you. There may very well be a “new Facebook” in a couple of years to jump on early, but for now, the actual Facebook can still lead to an extremely positive ROI if used correctly.