Ever read a book on digital marketing? No? That’s probably because the rules have changed by the time it goes to print. Digital marketing trends literally change every year and it is crucial to the success of your company to stay on top of those trends.
In an industry marked by continual evolution, top digital marketing agencies need to have their eyes constantly on what’s around the corner and the changes in internet marketing services.
Over 60 percent of the top digital marketing agencies and content marketers reported effective strategies last year. But that doesn’t guarantee the same response in 2018.
If you want to replicate your past successes, you’ll need to stay on top of the most recent digital marketing trends.
And with the rise of video, mobile browsing, voice search, artificial intelligence, and other game changers, it’s going to be an exciting year ahead.
Check out these digital marketing trends in 2018.
Mobile Friendly Content
Companies have been getting wise to the fact that their content needs to be optimized for mobile.
This will increase your traffic and afford more convenience to your customers. You’ll also get brownie points with Google, as well, who favors mobile-friendly sites.
The focus won’t just be on adapting your desktop content, though. There will also be a rise in popularity of mobile-only networks, like Snapchat and Foursquare.
A Rise in In-Store App Use
When it comes to retail, the bigger names will be experimenting with location marketing (or geofencing marketing). This is a smart way to track consumers and send offers to their phones when they’re in the vicinity of a store.
More than half of retailers say that improving the customer experience is their number one priority. Integrating mobile into that experience will be key, as usage of mobile apps in-store rises.
Many retailers will be offering mobile discounts when customers enter their stores, highlighting certain areas of the store to visit, and encouraging use of coupons and sampling of new products.
The perfect example of mobile marketing at its best has to go to popular coffee chain, Starbucks. The company excels in offering not just a mobile experience, but synergy across all channels.
Download the Starbucks app and you immediately receive a free loyalty card that gives rewards for purchase. Top up your credit from anywhere and it will be reflected in-store, online and in your app in real time.
Superstore Target is also a master at using push notifications to enhance the customer experience. They are given timely offers based on what they’re looking at in the store.
It’s essentially offering the customer the right product in the right place at the right time.
In fact, using push notifications in mobile apps sees a 16.5 percent higher usage of apps in-store.
Voice search is on the rise, as tools like Siri and Alexa become more efficient. Why waste your time and energy typing into your phone, when you can speak the same command more easily?
More than 50 percent of all search queries will be voice search by 2020, according to Search Engine Land. And this has implications for digital marketing and content strategists. Big ones, in fact.
For example, when people type to search, they may only enter one or two main keywords. But when they speak, they’ll say the entire sentence. This means that you’ll need to pepper your content with more long-tail keywords for improved SEO.
Most search results for voice bring up featured snippets. Which unsurprisingly means that the more featured snippets you have, the more you’ll come up top of the page.
It also highlights the fact that people are asking questions and you need to provide them with succinct and complete answers.
If you’re in the catering industry, for example, and a search results asks “where can I find the best caterers in Los Angeles?”, you’ll want your content to deliver the answer.
The top digital marketing agencies that offer internet marketing services or web design, will want to draw up a list of FAQs that people are likely to want to know.
Write in a way that mimics how people speak. Include subheadings with possible questions that people might ask when searching, with your targeted content below.
Keep it simple. The human concentration span is now officially less than that of a goldfish. You may enjoy reading Shakespeare’s sonnets, but in this digitally distracted age, this is neither the time nor place to write one of these.
Make it part of your marketing strategy to be positively frugal with words, no more than 45 per featured snippet response.
Increasing your featured snippets will increase your traffic. So preparing your content for voice search is one of most important digital marketing trends in 2018.
The recent news that Facebook will be changing its algorithm to show less business content on users’ feeds has many digital marketers feeling nervous.
Social media is an effective way of engaging your audience online (and over 80 percent of all Americans having at least one social media profile). Losing out on this platform as a marketing tool is not a good idea.
One of the digital marketing trends in 2018 that will mark a sea change in advertising is the rise in influencer marketing. How come? Because their content mimics that of friends and family.
Brands can still get their message in front of their target, but in a more non-threatening and non-invasive way. While getting around the algorithm, of course.
2018 will be all about consolidating your relationships with the right influencers who can endorse your products to your clients.
88 percent of consumers trust peer reviews online as much as a personal recommendation. So, find a genuine and authentic influencer and you’ll start racking up the sales.
Remember that the emphasis should be on genuine. For brands looking to engage Gen-Y and Gen-Z, they need to understand that authenticity rules.
These consumers want to buy products from companies whose values are aligned with their own. They want to see the human side of the brand. And they’re happy to trust the words of an influential influencer over branded content any day.
What this means for your influencer marketing campaign is that you need to scout out real influencers who are on-point for your brand. Respected figures who can encourage trust.
Just ask Pepsi about their experiences with Kendall Jenner if you want an example of influencer marketing gone wrong. Paying good money does not guarantee the best results.
Micro Influencers Gain in Popularity
The best influencers are usually the micro-influencers who aren’t paid. They have a smaller, but more niche audience, and a genuine interest in your product.
Digital marketing trends in 2018 will also mark a change in the dynamic between influencer and brand. Influencers will start taking the lead when it comes to content creation.
Rather than being provided with a script to read, the influencers will be given more creative freedom to find the right way of getting your message to their audience.
This was recently showcased with a Nike advert featuring marketing guru and influencer, Charlie Jabaley. He created a video that used Nike running shoes as the centerpiece and called out to Nike to sponsor him.
The video tells of his dream to be an athlete and of how he was inspired to do this because of Nike footwear. It is honest and authentic and completely on-point for the Nike brand, and ended up with talks about an ongoing collaboration together.
Video On Demand
80 percent of all web traffic will be video by 2019. It seems we’re more and more comfortable consuming information presented in a bite-sized, visual way, on our mobiles.
So, video remains one of the important digital marketing trends in 2018. If you’re not convinced yet, keep on reading.
Everyday, more than 500 million hours of video are watched on YouTube by its over 1 billion users. 87 percent of digital marketing experts use video content and more than 30 percent of all time spent on the internet is done so watching videos.
When surveyed about it, half of Gen-Z claimed that they could not live without YouTube. That may sound slightly dramatic, but it certainly backs up the case for investing in video this year.
Moreover, the increase of live streaming platforms, like Facebook and Twitter Live, are giving consumers what they want: instant gratification.
They can watch what’s happening now and form a part of the conversation. In fact, viewers have been found to watch live videos for longer than recorded material and are 10 times more likely to comment.
This can work even better when coupled with your influencer, who can respond to your customers’ questions in real time.
A Focus on Niche Content
Thanks to social media, we now have deeper insights into our audiences. We know more about them, beyond their age, gender, or location.
We know their likes and dislikes, political views, purchasing preferences, and a whole lot more besides.
The top digital marketing agencies to understand that one-size-fits all advertising is no longer going to cut it.
Brands like Toyota are beginning to experiment with different adverts for different ethnicities, with Group VP and General Manager of the Toyota brand, Jack Hollis, commenting, “People like to see people of all ethnicities in what they’re seeing because that’s the life they’re living in most of the U.S. today.”
What does this mean for your marketing strategy? That digital marketing trends in 2018 will include a focus on more niche content.
Platforms like Facebook Watch are leveraging their audience base to provide producers the opportunity to make content with less massive appeal.
This means that digital marketers can associate their advertising with these types of minority shows, popular with a smaller target, and align their content with them.
You’ll Need to Learn More About Privacy
Privacy issues are continually making headlines when it comes to social media platforms. In fact, 60 percent of Gen-Z say that they worry about their privacy online.
This is bringing rise to social media platforms and apps that can assure user privacy, and also calls for companies to be honest when it comes to the way they handle personal data.
Facebook recently made the headlines when a German court found the social media giant’s use of personal data and privacy settings to be illegal.
Added to that, the General Data Protection Regulation, (GDPR) goes into effect on May 25th this year.
This will give EU citizens more control over how companies handle their private data and means that digital marketers and agencies offering internet marketing services will need to know how to comply, or face hefty penalties.
Marketing Automation and Artificial Intelligence
Around 49 percent of all companies are currently using internet marketing services like marketing automation, and that figure is set to rise. Marketing automation is becoming one of the key digital marketing trends in 2018.
Artificial intelligence could automate about 45 percent of all tasks carried out by humans. So, it won’t be long before more companies catch on to its uses.
Currently, artificial intelligence can be used in areas like data analysis, chatbots, predictive analytics and marketing. This will lead to greater efficiency, higher sales, reduced cost and time.
Just automating your social media posts can save as much as six hours a week. So, imagine if you could use marketing automation for lead generation, lead nurturing, email marketing campaigns, offer creation, and other internet marketing services.
Artificial intelligence can apply machine learning to take even the task of content creation off your hands. As it learns over time, AI can create the perfect email or offer for your client.
You can also analyze your best clients and use a marketing automation program with artificial intelligence to replicate the accounts. This makes lead generation simple and effective, cutting down on manual time.
With so many new trends in digital marketing in 2018, one thing is certain: you can’t rely on the same old tactics you used the year before. Stay ahead of the competition, compete with the top digital marketing agencies, rise to the top of search results, and connect better with your customers this year by staying one step ahead of the game.
To learn more about digital marketing trends in 2018, contact Ezra Digital today!