Marketing is, in large part, about dealing with change. Successful marketing entails keeping up with trends and knowing when to adjust strategy. While the trends that will define digital marketing in 2018 are impossible to fully predict, here are some that appear to be safe bets for defining where digital marketing is headed over the next year.
The ubiquity of the Internet means people are surrounded by words at all times. While text advertising is still valuable, marketing is largely about attracting attention, and internet video is a great way to stand out from the crowd. A perfect example is the video below, which debuted at the ONESOURCE Global User Conference by Thomson Reuters, garnering the company over 206,000 views.
The growth of internet video has been astounding. The Wall Street Journal reported that online video consumption rose by a factor of 10 between 2011 and 2016, and this explosion is only expected to continue. Furthermore, internet video is surpassing cable television among teens and other young adults, so those companies marketing to the younger generation must have a video marketing strategy in place to succeed.
Pop-ups have long annoyed users, but they’re still around because they work better than more traditional website advertising like static banners. However, 2018 will see the emergence of another trend: native advertisements. Ads that are smartly embedded within content stand out and are more likely to be read since their inclusion seems more natural to the reader.
Furthermore, studies show that native advertising is especially effective on smart devices, which continue to replace traditional desktop and laptop stations. Although pop-ups still have a place, digital marketers should focus on creating ads that appear more organic, native, in 2018. Here are two examples of native advertisements:
Content has always been the centerpiece of effective digital marketing, but content in 2018 will need to be more personalized to have an impact. Calls to action are far more effective when they’re given a personal touch. StubHub, an online ticket exchange owned by eBay, reported a 42% improvement when users were given a personalized call to action. Again, the key to success in digital marketing is standing out, and personalized content will gather attention. It also shows a degree of professionalism and technical savvy that can impress potential customers.
Smarter Advertising With Big Data
Big data has played a role in advertising since its inception, but the evolution of big data is allowing more advertisers to take advantage of insights into prospects never previously available. Big data helps advertisers hone their audience more carefully, letting them spend less money on ads targeting people who aren’t likely to be receptive.
An example of this is proximity marketing. Through location services, proximity marketing tracks where a prospect is via his or her mobile device, and pushes out offers or ads to them based on interests.
Furthermore, big data leads to more powerful analysis, helping advertisers track conversion rates and other factors more finely. Big data tools will also grow as more experts tout its benefits. According to the IDC, the big data market is expected to be worth more than $100 billion by the end of 2018.
Here’s a great video on what the future of Big Data will look like:
Fostering a Community
In the past, building a community around a brand or product involved setting up forums and asking people to share news with family and friends. However, Internet users are making more content than ever before, and their words, pictures, videos, and other content can go a long way toward building your brand and increasing sales. People might make content without any prodding or encouragement, but a bit of support can go a long way toward building a team of influencers.
Another strategy is to pay bloggers, vloggers, and other influencers to discuss your products or services. Building a team of evangelists can have long-term income benefits that easily outpace the initial investment.
Digital marketing is constantly evolving. Staying on top of trends can help you find ways to better reach out to customers, convert sales, and retain your current client base. While not all trends will last, it’s important to know what to expect so you aren’t blindsided by competitors. It’s also important to put your own twist on trends to ensure they match up with your company’s brand and strategic initiatives.