Top Digital Marketing Trends to Watch Out for In 2018

What is digital marketing?

Digital marketing, often referred to as internet marketing, online marketing, or web marketing, is the marketing or advertising of products via digital technologies, mainly on the Internet and its components like the social media, electronic mails, etc. It is done through the utilization of digital mediums such as mobile phones, TV, and other electronic media.

Digital marketing had drastically changed the way businesses and brands utilize technology. As digital platforms are increasingly integrated into the everyday lives of the people, businesses try their best to attract more consumers back to their brands with the use of efficient and effective digital marketing campaigns.

Methods such as Search-engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, content marketing, search-engine marketing (SEM), email direct marketing, e-commerce marketing, and many others are becoming more and more common. Digital marketing methods are evolving to compensate with the ever changing consumer trends, in fact, digital marketing now includes non-internet channels such as SMS, MMS, and call back and hold ring tones.

Why should you take note of these trends?

With the continuous advancements in technology especially in the online world, digital marketing methods are also advancing and new trends are constantly being developed. Keeping up with these trends will allow you to market your business and products more effectively. It also allows the possibility of having a 24/7 customer support, this gives your customers a feeling of being valued and supported making them much more loyal to your brand.

Another good reason to keep up with the new digital marketing trends is its ability to provide your business an advantage over competitors. Digital marketing could provide a system wherein you can pinpoint behavioral patterns of your customers and provide them a service based on their needs. Keeping up with the latest trends is simply keeping your business relevant and running.

Digital marketing trends for 2018

As we bid goodbye to 2017, and prepare ourselves to yet another great year, this is the perfect time to look forward and take a look at the expected and must watch digital marketing trends for 2018.

Here are the top digital marketing trends you need to keep an eye in order to stay ahead of the marketing competition;

(1) Growth of niche-influencer marketing

Over the past few years, influencer-marketing has been the talk of the digital marketing world. This has given rise to a number of young bloggers, vloggers, and professional and semi-professional videographers to try and take on producing various visual contents. They have taken social media platforms by storm and gained tremendous popularity among their peers. Many of whom found a way to monetize this popularity and quickly positioned themselves as the new influencers.

At present, there are more than 8 million blogging moms in the world with 85% of them being sponsored to try and promote products. On the other hand a lot of YouTubers and Instagrammers have reached more than $1 million in revenues from sponsorships and advertisements. The influencer marketing field is estimated to have a market value of $10 to $15 billion and will continue to rise over the next few years.

Recent studies show that investments of companies on niche-influencer marketing has been profitable. On the average, a company expects a $6.85 return for every $1 they invest on this kind of digital marketing.

(2) Micro-moments

 

96% of smartphone users reach for their phones whenever they need to find or search something. These impulsive informational splurges or micro-moments is what brands need to anticipate and address to be successful. Having mobile-first and optimized websites is a vital element in providing instant information to consumers during these micro-moments.

The BBC mobile site is a good example of a company embracing this trend. Their mobile-first website employs a “greedy navigation” technique wherein the mobile site displays a navigation bar wherein categories are arranged according to their importance, it is also developed to fit the screen of the user precisely. This strategy makes it easier for readers to locate relevant information during a micro-moment.

(3) Video advertising

Demands for videos are increasing at a staggering rate. 52% of marketing experts believe that video contents have the highest possible return of investment compared to other marketing contents. Moreover, 43% of consumers said that they prefer to see more video contents from advertisers.

This increasing demands for video contents led to major companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat having their own take on video advertising. Earlier in 2017, Facebook launched their 6-second ads developed with their advertiser to give consumers a more effective and faster messages.

In order for brands to build a better connection with their consumers, they must know how to leverage video contents across various platforms to grab attention – be it a 6 second video or more.

(4) Live chat

Real-time messaging and phone calls are effective ways in communicating with customers, but live chat interaction is gaining popularity among companies. Live chat provides a more personal and engaging feel to the traditional way of customer communication.

Live chat is also proven to be a higher converting medium than other channels of customer communication. This is the reason why more and more companies are putting more agents online for the sole reason of providing live chat for their customers. 2018 is expected to see a surge in this particular marketing strategy.

(5) Dark social

With today’s consumer-based market, internet users are not solely sharing links, videos, images, and other contents on their social media feeds. They also engage in other less monitored mediums such as messaging apps (e.g. WhatsApp, Messenger, WeChat), e-mail, native mobile apps, and secured browsers. These channels are called the dark social.

The dark social is reported to be accountable for 84% of outbound sharing, making it an area not to be ignored in 2018. Due to its unmonitored nature, regular web analytics may not account the reach of a particular campaign in the dark social and give an inaccurate report of the value that an ad impacts to your business.

Reports from RadiumOne indicates that 46% of consumers in the 55+ years old bracket share contents via the dark social only, this is much higher compared to the 19% of those on the 16-34 years old bracket.

These figures shows that dark social can offer great opportunities for businesses and brands to expand their reach significantly. With this, trying to utilize the untapped potentials of the dark social is an expected move for most businesses this 2018. Early adopters of this scheme includes IKEA for customer research and Pizza Hut using Messenger for booking tables.

(6) More inclusive ad campaigns

2017 have seen a number of brands trying to focus their campaigns on relevant social issues especially on issues of inclusiveness like gender equality, race, prejudice, and sexuality. Brands that have campaigns revolving around these social issues are generally more accepted by people and more likely to be shared.

Prime example of success with this type of ads are McCain’s We Are Family campaign and Heineken’s Worlds Apart campaign. Brands who are brave and confident enough to challenge and try to abolish social norms are expected to increase this coming year; with most campaigns having the ultimate goal of blurring gender and racial divides, eliminate taboos around sexuality, and target everyone.

(7) Artificial Intelligence (AI) and chatbots

The integration of Artificial Intelligence in marketing may not be that mature yet. This is the reason why many business and brands are still not convinced that they need it as of the moment. But things in the digital world are changing in a very fast pace, and in 18 months it is expected that more tools based on AI will be developed.

One early adaptation of this AI technology are chatbots. They are seen to have an increasingly bigger roles when it comes to consumer communication. It is expected that by 2020, 80% of companies will be integrating chatbots into their marketing strategies.

Major brands like the clothing giant H&M and make up retailer Sephora have already jumped early into the chatbot bandwagon. Sephora’s chatbot is being used to offer customers with make-up tips and advice via tailored customer interaction. On the other hand, H&M’s chatbot which was launched on the messaging app Kik, acts as a personal stylist for their customers. It has the ability to learn about a customer’s personal style by scanning social photos and in turn recommending outfits. As of writing, Kik chatbots have already able to exchange a total of 1.8 billion messages with users. This massive amount of exchanged messages is a sure indication that chatbots are effective and potent marketing tool.

(8) Voice search advancements

With the introduction of new voice-enabled devices in 2017 like the Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, voice searches has seen a drastic increase and has accounted to 20% of the total searches made on the internet.

With this rise in voice searches, businesses should put into consideration some changes in their SEO strategies in able to keep up. Below are some of the strategies businesses can use in order to make their optimization more effective;

  • Long tail keywords – when people normally search on the internet, they usually use short tail keywords. But when they do voice searches, expect them to be speaking/asking in full sentences or phrases.
  • Informal content – when writing content for your website, it is important that you will be speaking in the consumer’s language – meaning, your content must be in a conversational tone.

(9) Retargeting

Market research have found out that 97% of people who visit an online store or shop for the first time end up not buying anything. This very high number of could-be shoppers is the reason why retargeting is widely popularized and set to be one of the trending strategies for businesses this 2018.

Retargeting attempts to draw back customers who have already visited your site by showing them your ads when they visit other websites. This is strategy aims to remind them of abandoned baskets or remind buyers to come back and finish their check outs.

This is why if you have noticed, you are shown product ads on Facebook similar to those products you recently checked on Amazon or other online retail shops.

(10) Social proofing

Social proofing is another strategy of trying to build brand image and it’s an emerging trend used by more businesses. Social proofing the feeling of assurance that a buyer gets when they read positive reviews about the product, or they have read testimonials about, or if many of their social media peers are sharing and using it. It gives the buyer a sense of comfort that what they will be getting is of good quality.

As complex as its name may sound but social proofing can be easily done by any business. An example would be the online memory retailer MyMemory who have made use of their Google Customer reviews to further build a sense of trust and value of their brand to their customers.

How to cope up with the need of the trend

The world of digital marketing can become very complicated over time but it is never unpredictable. It becomes harder to analyze as the number of strategies and methods keep popping up out of nowhere but with the following approaches you will surely be able to cope up with the need of these new trends.

(1) Read reliable sources

Being updated with the latest in the digital marketing field is one of the key to being able to keep up with its demands. Read reliable sources covering digital marketing such as AdWeek, TechCruch, Hubspot, Harvard Business Review, Business2community, and other trusted websites.

(2) Listen where the crowd is

Being able to observe and understand your prospective audience is another secret to keeping up with the trends. Be present where majority of your audience is online and take a look at how they interact and how they behave, gaining these insights will greatly help you plan strategies for your business in the long run.

(3) Follow marketing experts

There is nothing better than acquiring information from those who really know it. There are a lot of self-proclaimed marketing experts in the field but only a few really knows how things truly work. Follow authorities and respected figures of the marketing scene on their social media accounts and have a look at their insights and opinions. Their insights can help you a lot and can give you more ideas in improving your business marketing strategies. There are also a lot of them who are giving free lectures and guides through their blogs without any charge.

With the ever-growing number of emerging technologies and platforms, it is high time for businesses to leverage these technologies to build a connection with existing and future customers. In digital marketing, knowing which platform and trend can give your business better opportunities is the key to success.

About the author

Ruben Licera

ESTRAT X's Chief ESTRATegy Officer (CEO) Ruben Licera Jr empowers businesses by providing them actionable digital marketing strategies. Know more about him via his personal website or here.


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