Digital marketing is constantly evolving, a fact not lost on the people in the industry who have to stay on
their toes just to stay on top of current trends and get the best possible results.
2017 saw a huge evolutionary jump, with so many innovations and developments making a splash and planting the seeds for the future of digital marketing. We saw live streaming take off; mobile get bigger than ever, and more and more brands making good use of marketing automation.
For 2018, we expect the following digital marketing trends to get some traction and even dominate the year:
The influence of social media influencers will grow
Last year saw social media influencers become even more influential, with companies spending over a billion dollars on their services on Instagram alone. There will be more of the same in 2018, and their influence is bound to become even bigger.
The rise of social media influencers was inevitable with the decline of traditional marketing channels. As far as brands are concerned, influencers offered a more authentic and less invasive way for them to communicate with consumers. With this positive effect, we can only expect more brands to throw their hats into the influencer marketing ring. Whether they’d be just as successful as the other brands that went before them remains to be seen though.
SEO will go beyond the major search engines
For the longest time, digital marketers have focused the SEO aspect of their efforts on Google, Bing, and the rest of the bigger search engines. However, we have seen Amazon, Yelp, and even Siri come into their own as relevant search engines over the last few years. Digital marketers will not be able to ignore the fact that going beyond Google and factoring Amazon et al. into their campaigns will make them visible to a broader audience.
Chatbots will rule the world
Okay, that sounds a little too Matrix-y, but we have to admit that chatbots impacted 2017 in a big way and changed the face of customer support, among other things. The success they had last year will carry over into 2018, with more and more brands working towards incorporating the use of semi-intelligent chatbots into their marketing strategies. Also, we can expect these chatbots to become even more intelligent this year, and the human race will become increasingly dependent on them for user engagement.
There was a time when digital marketers had to focus much of their efforts on dominating just a single platform because trying to do it for multiple platforms cost too much and took too much time. Not anymore.
Marketers can now easily repurpose a video into a blog post, or an article, or into any type of content and distribute it across various platforms relevant to their industry. They can also repurpose all this content into social media posts, micro-videos, and even an email series.
Videos will dominate
Actually, videos have been dominating the Internet for the longest time now. YouTube users alone watch a billion hours of video each day. That number grows astronomically with Facebook users, whose daily video consumption can reach over 8 billion.
If you make people choose between reading a 5,000-word article and watching a 3-minute video that basically talks about the same thing, which do you think would people choose? Besides, video presents stories in a more compelling way. Most importantly, your point always comes across faster, which can help boost sales. There has been research showing that landing pages with videos in them see significant increases in their conversions. There has also been a steady rise in the use of Facebook Live across all niches, and we can only expect more and more marketers to make use of Facebook Live videos to drive their point across in 2018.
More user-generated content
Endorsements by celebrities or even social media influencers are fine, but do you know what customers trust more? They trust each other’s opinions more than anything. A social media influencer can talk about how good this product or service is all he or she wants, but customers are more likely to believe what other customers actually have to say about the same product or service.
In 2018, more brands and marketers will leverage user-generated content to boost sales. They will jump on this trend by adding more testimonials and reviews to their respective websites.
One of the biggest challenges that digital marketers have faced over the years is how wary people are about sharing their personal information, which is what landing pages are made for in the first place. They feel that their personal info is not that secure, and it is up to brands to assure them that everything is locked tight and the information they share will be used appropriately.
Of course, the only way to do that is to have better encryption and heightened security on their websites. With a better-encrypted and more system, people will trust them more and give them those much-coveted leads and conversions.
Voice search will rise
Voice search took center stage in 2017 when Google launched Home, a speaker that allows you to interact with various services using voice commands. Considering that a survey has said that half of Google searches will be done by voice by 2020, it’s only right for digital marketers to formulate strategies that revolve around voice search to make sure their brand has a presence there.
There’s no way digital marketers will ignore social media “stories” this year, not when there are more than 250 million active users of this interactive method of communication on Instagram, with Facebook coming late into the game in 2017 and poised to grow. The “stories” format, which was pioneered by Snapchat, has since become a staple in social media. WhatsApp has joined the fray as well, while YouTube has launched “Reels.” The various stories platforms have their own unique features, but they all follow the same concept of capturing highlights of a day and disappearing after a set period.
With the growing popularity of social media stories, we can expect digital marketers to work towards making it an essential aspect of their social marketing strategy.
These are just some of the trends that will shape the landscape of social and digital marketing in 2018. Some of them may fall by the wayside as trends often do, but digital marketers must keep an eye on them just the same.