Being on top of trends – well, maybe ahead of them – is what separates good internet marketers from the pack. But with so many changing technologies, new developments, and shifting consumer behaviors it’s hard to predict the winners from what’s just a fad.
It’s important to pick your spots carefully moving forward and have a clear plan in place to execute and measure success.
Here are some of the big online marketing trends for 2018:
1. Artificial Intelligence Everywhere
AI is being used in so many ways in digital marketing. And currently, 57% of marketers already use AI. However, AI for marketing is only going to grow as the technology improves. And, AI is projected to grow by 53% in the next couple of years.
Internally, AI will be used for Predictive Algorithms Application programming interfaces. This opens the way for machine-learning algorithms, natural language processing enables businesses to better predict marketing spend to optimize their overall budget. Adobe predicts that machines will start making strategic marketing decisions to analyze data to build segments, start and stop campaigns across various channels, and create custom copy that will target perceived personalities.
Externally, more marketers will employ artificial-intelligence-powered live-chat tools to communicate with customers. AI will also create better, personalized shopping experiences.
2. More Live Video
Like AI, live video is not new, but it’s growing exponentially. 80% of users said they’d rather watch a live video than read a blog post. And, according to Facebook, live video gets 3x more views. Digital marketers will use live video at events to give followers a behind-the-scenes look at events. They will also show off holiday displays and sales in live video. And offer exclusive sales or promotions to anyone who watches the live video.
3. Influencer Marketing Growth
According to Inc.com, 84%of marketers planned on executing at least one influencer marketing campaign during 2017. That’s because businesses generate $6.50 for every $1 invested in influencer marketing. Nearly 95 percent of marketers who currently use an influencer marketing strategy believe it is effective. That is expected to grow as more brands launch influencer campaigns. Brands also plan to focus on recruiting loyal fans and turning them into influencers/brand ambassadors.
4. Ways Around Ad-Blocking
100 million consumers in the U.S. will be ad-block users in 2020, up from 44 million in 2016. According to Optimal.com estimates, this will add up to more than $12 billion lost in display ad revenue in 2020.
But the good news for digital marketers is that some advertising platforms like Facebook, have found ways to disable ad-blocking. Businesses know their content will be seen. Accenture is also working on a product placement technology that it hopes will be a billion-dollar revenue generator in the next few years. The product will address the issues advertisers are facing with ad-blocking software by using AI toplace and personalize logos and products in related content for consumers.
5. Customer-Centric Focus
More brands are focusing on improving the overall customer online experience. Sixty-eight percent of marketers say their business is increasingly focusing on customer experience in marketing. Creating a great experience for the customer is more likely to help gain brand loyalists. Personalization will play a big role in this effort. Becoming hyper-targeted and personalizing every interaction will be increasingly important.
6. Content Marketing Explosion
The focus is all about creating a content that is easily memorable, unique and personalized. Professional content developers will create a stories, case studies, blogs, video and more relating to your brand. This gives consumers a sense of attachment with the brand on much deeper level. Seventy percent of people would rather learn about a business through an article than an ad. And, content marketing is less expensive than many other forms of marketing and can produce more leads.
7. The Dominance of Voice Searches
The pervasiveness of smart devices, mobile devices, digital assistants, tablets and laptops has people speaking their searches, rather than typing. And, by 2020, 50% percent of all searches will likely be voice searches. Optimizing for voice search will include more long-tail keywords and conversational phrases. Content marketing makes optimizing for voice search easier as working conversational keywords within a blog post is more natural.
8. Trust is a Must
Transparency and trust are already a big deal for online shoppers. Everyone reads reviews. There will be more transparency in 2018 as many consumers want a behind-the-scenes look at companies. Part of trust is also privacy. And privacy protection will become a major selling point. Businesses must assure consumers that their data is safe with them. Marketers will begin using privacy protection and data security as a value proposition and potential differentiator for their businesses.