Gartner Hype Cycle for Digital Marketing

With new digital technology surfacing every day, how do you decide what to invest in — and when?

Discover which digital trends will deliver the best experience for your customers.

With new digital technology surfacing every day, how do you decide what to invest in — and when? The Gartner Hype Cycle for Digital Marketing and Advertising helps marketers focus on the technologies, trends and players with the greatest potential to impact planning, investment and customer experience.

Our Hype Cycle research shows which technologies and applications are emerging, overhyped and really ready for prime time — making it easier to decide which technologies to use or avoid. By using this tool, clients get clear perspective on the “what, where and why” of existing and emerging digital technologies in areas such as:

  • Wearables
  • Programmatic ads
  • Virtual and augmented reality
  • Content marketing
  • Gamification
  • Mobile ads
  • And much more

The 5 phases of a Hype Cycle

Technology Trigger: A potential technology breakthrough kicks things off. Early stories and media interest trigger significant publicity. Often no usable products exist and commercial viability is unproven. Let the hype begin!

Peak of Inflated Expectations: Early press produces a number of success stories — often accompanied by scores of failures. Some marketers take action; many do not.

Trough of Disillusionment: Interest wanes as experiments and implementations fail to deliver. Producers of the technology shake out or fail. Investments continue only if the surviving providers improve their products to the satisfaction of early adopters.

Slope of Enlightenment: More instances of how the technology creates real-world benefits start to crystallize and become more widely understood. Second- and third-generation products appear from technology providers. More businesses fund pilots; conservative companies remain cautious.

Plateau of Productivity: Mainstream adoption starts to take off. Criteria for assessing provider viability are more clearly defined. The technology's broad market applicability and relevance are clearly paying off. Early investors and adopters celebrate.


How you can use a Gartner Hype Cycle

By understanding the risks, opportunity and maturity of technology at each stage, you can decide to:

  • Adopt early
  • Wait until you have analyzed cost-benefits further
  • Delay investment completely until you see commercial value and demonstrated success

Whichever approach you take, Gartner Hype Cycles arm you with the information to see beyond the hype and make the right purchasing decision at the right time.