The digital arena has evolved enormously and businesses today are keen to stay up-to-date on what’s trending in the digital landscape. Change is essential, but it does not essentially have to mean innovation. Sometimes improvising an old concept can be the game-changer.
When it comes to adapting trends in digital marketing therefore, it’s necessary to identify what may work and what may not. So, be prudent and before strategising your digital marketing plan for 2018, go back to the last year to learn from old mistakes and make the right changes.
In this article, let’s have a look at 11 digital marketing trends that will dominate 2018! And yes, not all will necessarily have to be incorporated into your business.
Trends in Digital Marketing and how it will affect 2018
1. ‘Stories’ are in fashion
People are hard-pressed for time, and their attention-span is dipping. With information overflowing from all sides, users today have the privilege of choosing what content they would see or avoid. For marketers who aim to have their content viewed and engaged with, ‘stories’ are the most effective way of being acknowledged.
Initially started by Snapchat, stories have become a rage across Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp and even YouTube ‘Reels.’ What makes stories a favourite is the sense of urgency it creates. These are short fun bites that users share. So if you miss it, it’s likely that it’s gone!
With viewer’s attention span dipping and curiosity rising, stories with its crisp, edgy and to-the-point content are the right way to restore engagement.
2. Artificial Intelligence
When it comes to understanding customer behaviours and conversions, it is AI all the way.
AI has come a long way and today can act as the game changer by conceptualizing the buyer’s journey to affect conversions. Of course there are methods of doing so – from the usual A/B testing to the use of digital collaterals, AI can transform the future of marketing.
3. Live Videos all the way
Videos have taken over photographs; and Live Videos have taken over videos.
Videos, whether on a company landing page or on social media, is universally accepted to have better customer engagement than text-based content. The engagement is more when it comes to live video or broadcast, popularized by Facebook.
With the launch of Facebook Live, users now have the opportunity to broadcast themselves to the world, live! So whether it is a soccer match, or a graduation event, users can now have their followers/friends enjoy the moment, live.
From the perspective of business and revenue, this is eventful. Research shows that there is an annual growth of 113% on advertisement views on Live videos. Since social channels want their visitors to spend more time on the site itself, this is a smart way for businesses to get noticed. In fact, research shows that viewers comment 10x times more on Live videos than ordinary videos.
Think about it – would you rather spend 10secs viewing how Messi scored the winning goal, or read about it on a blog-post after 2 hours?
4. Voice Search
While textual search will not die, voice search is sure to gain popularity in 2018 and beyond. As per Google, almost 20% of all its mobile searches are voiced based and the number is sure to rise.
Voice search will no longer be limited to Alexa, Siri and Google Voice Search, but expand. With improvements being made to voice search algorithms, businesses need to incorporate features snippets into their content to keep it voice search friendly.
This also means that there is work to be done on existing and future content. Existing content will need to be modified to make it compatible for voice search.
5. Personal data protection
25th May 2018, is going to be a landmark date for businesses in the European Union with the GDPR compliance getting enforced. (You may be interested to know more about Key GDPR Considerations for Businesses.)
As per GDPR rules, businesses will now have to take exclusive consent from individuals for collecting personal data and using it for marketing and promotional purpose. The GDPR mandate is global, which means that whether you are in the U.S., Canada, Australia or any other country, the norms will be applicable to you as well, if you are using data of EU citizens.
Privacy protection can actually be the USP of businesses, considering the extent to which its breach will affect businesses. From the perspective of digital marketing, especially email marketing, necessary changes with regards to data collection and usage will have to be made. This also means that old email databases will no longer be of use and sending emails to customers in the EU without their consent is not allowed.
6. Influencer Marketing on Social Media
Social media has taken the world by storm and thanks to it, the number of social media influencers have been on the rise consistently. This is the year for influencer marketing to reach new heights as brands are looking at strengthening ties with social influencers.
The internet has churned out a new-era of influencers who are thought-leaders in their niche fields. Brands no longer need to associate themselves with celebrities who do not match their brand image and instead build a fan-base by reaching out to industry based influencers.
For businesses, when it comes to referrals, social media works best. Even in terms of ROI, it has been seen that the right form of influencer marketing can generate 10-11 times ROI.
7. Personalized Content
Personalization of content has come a long way and in 2018 analytics will ensure that viewers are getting content that suits their taste. The currency is changing in the digital era, and personalized-targeted content is the current currency.
Marketing can no longer be interruptive and businesses need to identify ways in which to engage with their audiences through targeted communications. Additionally, with the help of analytics the trend is towards displaying content that matters.
Chatbots have been in place for quite some time now; its popularity however has been teeming of late. Whether it is for maintaining engagement with customers, answering queries or simply resolving an issue related to customer service, with the popularity of AI, many businesses are now including chatbots as a part of their marketing strategy for customer engagement programs.
In fact, it is estimated that by 2020, approximately 85% of all customer-interactions will be carried out by chatbots. It requires investment, so plan your budget accordingly.
9. What people are saying
What people think and speak about your brand will set you apart in the years to come. Whether it is through review sites like Yelp, Google Reviews, TripAdvisor or through mentions on social media, businesses can strategize their plan-of-action based on what people have to say about them.
Buyers today are intelligent and informed, and it is likely that they will search for information online before making purchase decisions. While designing a marketing plan, businesses should include a strategy for earning positive reviews. A simple feedback form or a testimonial will serve the purpose.
Even from the perspective of driving organic web-traffic to your page, reviews play a critical role as it affects SEO.
When it comes to the popular trends in digital marketing for 2018 these were some of the most noted ones. And as stated previously, not all need to be adopted by all businesses. So identify the trends that will affect your business and make the necessary changes.
All the best!