What is real-time marketing? (In 300 words or less)

While it seems like people are using delayed media (like streaming services or podcasts) more often, real-time media has not stalled.

Real-time marketing is still a great way to reach and convert your audience.

A new report from Monetate and Econsultancy concludes that UK marketers are reporting a 26% increase in conversion rates from real-time marketing.

Additionally, one study found that real-time marketing not only positively impacts standard marketing goals – word of mouth, attention, preference, likelihood to try or buy – but also boosts other marketing initiatives, including the effectiveness of paid and proprietary media.

As a marketer, these statistics are not to be ignored.

Learn more about real-time marketing below. Then we’ll see what it looks like in action.

What is real-time marketing?

Real time marketing means reacting in real time or near real time. It’s about creating relevant messages and this is achieved on social channels by listening to and anticipating customer needs. Essentially, real-time marketing focuses on current events, trends, or feedback.

This type of marketing occurs when your company reacts instead of spending months planning or strategizing a marketing plan. That’s not to say you don’t have a real-time marketing plan, but it will turn out to be faster.

The goal? To connect with your audience and communicate your brand position.

You may be able to schedule real-time marketing if there is an event or an ongoing trend. For example, targeting an ad to a current fad can make your business more attractive to your audience because you understand them.

Real-time marketing helps you deliver relevant news tailored to the wants, interests, and needs of your audience.

One way for marketers to implement a real-time marketing strategy is with an active social media presence.

Your social media team is often the first to hear about a current fad or trend when implementing social listening (which it should be).

Additionally, you can learn more about your audience and their current interests by looking at your own data.

For example, you can search for the most popular topics of conversation on your website or in your social media analytics. You can also find out what questions your audience is asking using social listening tools.

Having a team actively reviewing this information every day can help plan and strategize a real-time marketing plan.

If you’re looking to implement a paid real-time marketing ad, you can use social media and search engine targeting tools to make sure you’re reaching the right audience. This type of personalization in marketing has increased real-time marketing efforts.

To effectively implement a real-time marketing plan, you should always listen to your audience, monitor industry trends, and know where the conversation is taking place.

Then you have to react. Respond to your audience on social media and create assets to discuss what’s going on.

Before implementing a real-time marketing campaign, think about your audience and what you want your reaction to achieve. Once you know the destination, whether it’s a social media comment, email, or ad, you can compose your message.

Now that we know more about real-time marketing, let’s look at a few examples.

Examples of real-time marketing

1. AS Ice Bucket Challenge

One of the biggest lessons in real-time marketing is the Ice Bucket Challenge from 2014. This phenomenon spread across the globe and every company or celebrity who took part in the challenge participated in real-time marketing.

Participating in the challenge was a way to raise awareness and money for ALS. However, since it was a current event and trend, companies were able to increase the mood and brand awareness by participating.


Every year INBOUND attracts thousands of business people from almost every industry to learn more about marketing, sales and customer service.

During this three-day event, companies and professionals will be active on social media, commenting on the live events such as HubSpot product updates and the keynote address.

All of those social media posts and comments on the live breakout sessions or speeches are real time marketing in action.

3. Taco Bell

Taco Bell has built a reputation for being a great company that can be followed through its designed brand messages on social media.

The reason? On social media, Taco Bell’s strategy is to engage in enthusiastic real-time marketing. They reply to messages on Twitter almost twice an hour.

The company is committed to listening to and interacting with and socializing with its customers online, regardless of what happens that day.

Real-time marketing is a great strategy to get in touch with your customers now. However, to implement this type of marketing, it is important to measure conversation and sentiment to determine how real-time programs will perform. To get started, you can use free monitoring tools or invest in one of the many paid social media monitoring technologies.

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