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As the year 2017 is nearing its end, it’s about time to prepare for 2018!
What is marketing going to be like next year?
What technologies and approaches are going to dominate the field?
In this article, I will outline the digital marketing trends for 2018.
But, why stick to the “digital”?
Nowadays, everything exciting, innovative and groundbreaking takes place online. We live in a world that is both interconnected and “shrinking”. Thanks to the Internet, we can reach people from the other side of the globe in a matter of seconds. That gives marketers a perfect platform, not limited to any place on the globe (as long as there’s reception!). But marketing efforts need to be focused and targeted.
Read on and learn some of the most effective ways to do marketing in 2018!
1. Video content and live video are in the foreground of digital marketing trends for 2018
According to the statistics published by WordStream, we spend a third of our Internet time watching video content. The people between the age of 25 and 34 watch the most videos – this is also, according to Business Insider, the group that spends the most money online! This is therefore, the demographic to target with your marketing efforts.
People are more likely to watch a video than to read an article. As the attention span is decreasing and the number of on-site distractors (ads, pop-ups, etc.) is increasing, video is a great way to keep the engagement of viewers. Many news agencies including giants such as BBC, found out that video is the best way to convey the most crucial events. It is simply more compelling and engaging!
Some time ago Facebook introduced their own video feature, which made many content pieces go viral reaching millions of views overnight. The power of the native Facebook video system is that it’s fully integrated into news feeds. That means, videos pop up as you scroll down and immediately start playing. In fact, 85% of Facebook videos are watched without sound! Yet, their reach is 10 times bigger than YouTube.
Still, YouTube remains the strongest platform for video content. It managed to accumulate many content creators – to the point that being a “YouTuber” is now a full-time job for many people! Facebook attempted to encourage original content creators with a Watch feature introduced earlier this year.
Twitter and Instagram are two more major online players who have their own integrated video systems. Both are more mobile oriented. The former gets 90% of its video views from mobile users. The latter is generally a mobile-oriented app. However, introduction of such features as Stories and Boomerang, allow for a great degree of customization and personalization of video content.
What to make out of the statistics cited above and the fact that major online players are getting deeper into video content? Well, it means that if you have the means to do it, start producing videos! They will improve many aspects of your other marketing campaigns. A video on your page increases the possibility of it appearing in the first SERP by 53% and drives organic traffic by 157%.
Live video content opened an entirely new realm of possibilities. From concert broadcasts, Twitch streaming or behind-the-scenes footage, to media coverage. You can virtually stream everything that’s going on around you. Of course, as long as it’s interesting! Apart from the good quality of streaming, compelling content is the most important factor that decides whether or not people are going to spend time watching your content.
According to Livestream, 45% of people are willing to pay for an on-demand video. Live video is also a great incentive for purchase – 67% of viewers are more likely to buy a ticket to a concert or event after seeing a related footage.
Similarly to video content, the biggest platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, can be used for live streaming.
Now, let’s talk about the impact of live video on your branding. I’ve already said it many times on my blog – people trust other people, not businesses! Live-streaming a company event, a conference you’re organizing or doing a live Q&A session will bring you closer to your customers! Even the most personalized social media posts and customer engagement won’t do as much good as seeing the actual people behind the business. In today’s, online-based world, it is particularly important for companies to try their best to shorten the distance between them and their customers.
2. Content is so much more!
I’ve already highlighted the importance of video content. It is, however, a part of something bigger.
Yes, it’s content marketing!
It’s not the easiest of strategies. It requires planning, scheduling, time to create and a lot of ideas. In order to be attractive to the viewers, your content needs to bring value into the lives of your customers. And to make it re-shareable, it needs to be unique – either in its subject matter or execution.
Long story short – content marketing is a lot of work! Then, why the biggest number of interviewees agreed that it is the most effective marketing method? 20% of businesses claim it to be the strategy that will have the biggest impact on their growth in 2018.
Business in 2018 is not going to be about simply selling a product – it ceased to be so a long time ago! Instead, it increasingly is all about creating a valuable relationship with the customer. Content marketing serves this purpose greatly!
Content needs to be quality and that doesn’t just mean good writing
People have expectations.
In a market, where everyone is blogging, how do you ensure that your blog stands out?
The answer – create quality content – is simple. But its execution is where it gets hard.
Quality of content depends on many more factors than just having a team of good writers. Video and audio editing, graphic design, optimization, strategic approach, content promotion, advertising, SEO – those are only some of the skills you and your team needs to have in order for your content to be successful in 2018.
Transparency and disclosure are key
What do you think when you see a sentence “Paid content by [company name]” in the cover photo of your favorite blog? Sell-outs? In today’s interconnected world collaborations shouldn’t really come off as a surprising and undesirable thing. So shouldn’t the attempts aimed at brand expansion!
Now think of a situation where a business you follow doesn’t disclose the “paid content” bit. How would you approach this company? Do they hide something more? Are they doing something shady on the side? CSR has been shunned a long time ago for taking the attention away from unethical corporate practices. Therefore, one of the digital marketing trends for 2018 should be to avoid doing anything suspicious and be completely transparent!
Content is the skeleton that keeps it all together!
Content supplements many other strategies – social media, lead generation, email marketing, SEO landing pages and many, many more!
Content needs to create relationships
Content is what grabs the attention of your customers. It is the voice of your business.
Your content needs to convince people to choose your business on every stage of their decision-making process. That is, from the moment they become aware of your brand, through the consideration of available options, and finally, the decision stage.
Effective content marketing strategy in 2018 will, therefore focus on diversity and multiplicity of customer relationships. Relying on driving conversions will not be effective – it might come off almost as cringeworthy as stuffing your articles with keywords to rank them higher in SERPs.
Well, apparently, food is not the only trendy organic thing in 2018 – content marketing too!
3. Interactive content will be the key to customer engagement
How to keep the engagement of your customers in times where attention span is extremely low? How to stand out from the crowd of thousands of businesses, and millions of content pieces?
Start doing things differently – embrace the latest innovations and keep your content fresh. Interactive content is one of those fresh innovative things, that will make you really stand out.
But as with everything, it’s easier said than done!
The most basic example of interactive content are the newly added Instagram Story Polls. It’s a pretty simple tool, letting people pick between two options. However, despite how straightforward it is, it perfectly shows the way interactive content works.
It generates reaction. It’s more than just consuming content. It’s inviting customers to actively participate. It gives you data on their preferences, which you can use to tailor your future campaigns.
Of course, interactive content can be much more complex than a simple Instagram poll. However, whether it’s quizzes, interactive videos and graphics, or even mini games, many marketers rate it higher than passive content when it comes to its effectiveness.
Remember Pokemon GO? Well, who doesn’t! Apart from an amazing nostalgia trip, the game employed Augmented Reality – an amazing an innovative way to integrate the virtual world into the real life. Snapchat also recently added a new Bitmoji Augmented Reality features – that includes the (in)famous hot dog!
But how AR can be one of digital marketing trends for 2018? Isn’t it just nice things popping up on your screen? Take a look at IKEA ARKit app. It allows you to fit virtual furniture into real-life rooms – just like the Sims, but in (augmented!) reality. It’s accessible for anyone who has a smartphone. It’s engaging and interactive. It’s innovatory. And most of all – it makes people’s’ lives easier. All these factors are evidencing the strength and potential of AR in marketing!
4. Internet of Things is a thing
Think of your computer, your smartphone, your tablet, your wearable, your devices (fridges, cars, even curtains in your windows!). What joins them together is the fact that, thanks to the Internet, they are interconnected.
What does it mean for the marketers? More data are available, from a much bigger variety of sources and platforms. This will lead to better campaign planning as well as better recognition and prediction of customer needs. More data means better relationships with customers and what follows – more sales and a stronger brand!
On a more immediate note, IoT will allow for better tracking of customer’s buying journey. That will allow for clever positioning of ads, use of live chat and point-of-sale notifications. It will make resolving customer issues quicker, easier and more effective.
5. Chatbots will be used in more ways than just messaging
Data is everything for marketers. It indicates the areas to improve, the things they succeed at or the ways markets will develop.
However, once again, IKEA took chatbots to the next level. They started programming their bots to ask people about their shopping experience. What’s revolutionary about it is that it’s not your typical survey where you indicate how happy or unhappy you were about certain things. It feels like an actual conversation!
The case study of IKEA chatbot shows a perfect understanding of digital marketing trends for 2018 – data collection and customer engagement, all in one place!
Digital marketing trends for 2018 can be summed up in two words – engagement and data.
These trends fit into the general notion that business is all about creating meaningful relationships with the customers.
Content marketing and especially video marketing, as well as live video is going to have a major role in making businesses successful. Content needs to be original, unique and engaging in order to make an actual and lasting impact. What is more, it requires many more skills than simply writing.
Another type of content that will shape the digital marketing trends for 2018 is interactive content. From more simple things like clickable graphics and quizzes, to advanced AR mechanics, interactive content is going to drive customer engagement.
Interconnectivity of all devices is another thing that will improve digital marketing. The concept of the Internet of Things is something that allows marketers to collect data necessary for ad targeting and tailoring campaigns.
The last thing are the chatbots, which apart from being a great place for customer service and informing customers about deals and offers, is also a fantastic space for data collection.