It’s 2018 and digital marketing isn’t going to look the same as it did in 2017. Things are changing faster than ever, and in 2018, the consumer is going to be even more important and in charge than they have been. All things revolve around increasing convenience, relevance, and reaching the consumer at the right point where when they are ready and willing to engage. With that in mind, here are the updates you’ll want to know about for digital marketing in 2018.
Artificial intelligence is here. Alexa, Siri, and Cortana are our artificial-intelligence digital assistants and are welcomed into our homes, and the industry is encouraged by the fact that we haven’t begun a Terminator-style situation yet. Marketing has moved in step with the shift in technology AI has made itself at home in marketing. 57% of marketers already use AI, for everything from helping refine or find an audience to chatting with customers. AI-powered chatbots are becoming more and more powerful as the technology finally becomes advanced enough to deal with most of the complexities of regular business – including digital marketing.
One of the most powerful ways advertisers and digital marketing experts are using AI is in PPC. AI-powered PPC tools can analyze tremendous amounts of data and utilize machine learning to help focus PPC advertising efforts and optimize ad spend. This trend is only beginning to make changes to the advertising world, in fact, AI in digital marketing is expected to grow 53% in the next couple of years. Don’t underestimate the impact that artificial intelligence can make when it comes to getting the edge in your digital marketing and advertising campaigns.
If you aren’t doing any digital marketing or advertising with video on mobile devices, you’re missing out on the most effective and popular type of content on mobile. In 2018, digital marketing experts are following audiences as people disproportionately go for mobile video as opposed to their laptops or desktops.This year, 2018, mobile video consumption is expected to grow by 25%. This means that for the first time ever, video consumption on laptops and desktop computers will decline. The convenience and speed of mobile video is becoming a better option for many consumers than booting up their desktop of hauling out their laptop just to pull up a short video. The short length of most videos is perfect for mobile now as well, bending content to the device.
This year, global ad spend on mobile video will surpass that of non-mobile to upwards of $18 billion, confirming the domination of mobile video advertising. Between subtle and unobtrusive pre-roll ads to Snapchat video marketing, there is space for every business and product to reach and engage with their audience.
Some agencies are predicting that 2018 is the year of the empowered consumer, but the truth is we’ve been in the Age of the Consumer for a while now, and it is only getting stronger. Forbes recommends that this year CX strategy makes convenience king. Advertisers and digital marketing specialists are increasingly incorporating better customer experience into their efforts.
68% of marketers say their business is increasingly focusing on customer experience in marketing. And that’s as it should be.
One way that customer experience is making its way into digital marketing is via personalization. Personalization allows digital marketing experts to deliver content to users that is more relevant, interesting, or helpful to them that a general advertisement. A major part of CX is providing users with content that has actual value to them, and personalized marketing does just that. Machine learning and predictive analytics are helping digital marketing experts to get more value from their data, and understand how to better market to individual users with personalized content and tailored deals. Digital marketing professionals and advertisers should be keeping their eyes peeled for new ways to market their business while providing their customers with the best possible customer experience.
2018 is the year to get going on content marketing – particularly if you have a product that requires some education or research before purchase. This is an aspect of digital marketing that cannot be ignored. 89% of B2B marketers and 86% of B2C marketers report that content is part of their lead generation and brand development strategies. One of the main ways this is done is obviously through blog posts and articles. In fact, 70% of people said they’d rather learn about a business through an article than an ad.
But it isn’t just articles that can make up content. Content creation depends on your specific business needs and can be anything from cute pictures posted on social media to articles, ebooks, white papers, infographics, podcasts, gifs, videos, research reports, or any other medium of distribution you care to imagine. Content marketing has the major benefit of being flexible enough to fit into any market or audience. Even if your only audience is 500 highly skilled craftsmen, there is a forum somewhere you can join in the conversation.
Everyone is whispering about Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality in digital marketing. It’s the next big thing, even if it hasn’t reached everyone yet. Ikea has an app that allows users to try out furniture from the store in their own home using augmented reality – a sophisticated and beautiful solution to an age-old furniture shopping problem. Snapchat’s now-famous AR is an exceptional digital marketing tool, and AR is popping up in all sorts of social media applications. Make certain to keep your eyes on Facebook and Instagram, which may be investing in this technology and releasing the results very soon. AR will be particularly applicable to marketing and advertising purposes as it doesn’t require goggles to experience, so this may be the best area to watch.
A recent study conducted by Goldman Sachs concluded that Generation Z was more valuable to most organizations than millennials. On top of the $44 billion of their own spending power they already wield, 93% of parents agree their Gen-Z children maintain at least some influence on household spending and purchases. Gen-Z kids are digital (and digital marketing) natives, unlike Millennials who grew up as tech did, Gen-Zers were born into the high-tech world and are truly comfortable in it. This makes them both much more ad-weary and distrustful than other generations, but also much easier to access digitally. Gen-Zers are also much more financially conservative than Millennials. They witnessed Millennials struggling with student debt in jobs without high enough pay to justify the high cost of education and they learned from that – some are even opting out of college for now to avoid the expense and focus on other careers. It’s likely that Gen-Z will be a more powerful economic force than Millennials in just a few short years, as Millennials continue to be burdened for decades under debt and stagnation.
There are a lot of articles extolling the virtues of influencers in digital marketing in 2018, and an equal number warning against influencers. Here’s what’s really going on.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is finally begun to crack down on the practice of celebrities not disclosing payments they received to endorse products. This “influencer marketing” has been a part of digital marketing for a long time, but it has varying degrees of integrity involved in it. 2018 will still see celebrity endorsements, but more and more we will begin to see micro-influencers. Micro-Influencers are normal people who endorse a product they believe in, or who promote it in return for the promotion of something of theirs. These are less high-profile and appear more trustworthy than celebrity influencer digital marketing.
2018 holds a lot of marketing promise for brands who are seeking to dramatically improve their sales. Using these tools, your brand can successfully stay ahead of the curve and grow your customer base.