There was no lack of interesting and game-changing news and developments in 2017. The one that stood out the most, at least as far as digital marketing is concerned, was this: 2017 was the first year digital marketing spending was higher than television marketing spending. Even though most marketers saw this milestone coming, it is still a major confirmation of the importance of digital marketing.
We can expect the uptrend to continue in 2018. Because of it, we can also expect that more existing businesses that haven’t dived too deep into digital marketing will do so. And any new business will certainly rush towards digital marketing for its ability to deliver on a budget. If you want to know how to make the most out of your digital marketing dollar this year, you need to know the trends that will shape the industry.
Video Will Only Get Bigger
Over the past couple of years, we have seen marketers praise video as a very valuable form of content. We have also seen every major social network release a video product or two, often copying directly from its competitors. This trend will not subside in 2018 – it will only get bigger.
The good news is that fledgling businesses will not have to give up their shared hosting plans in order to utilize video to the fullest. All of the major trends in video, like live video, video annotations, mobile optimization, and 360° video are available through social networks and video hosting websites. Businesses will need, however, to master the different forms of video if they want to get the most results from their content.
Focus on the Customer Journey
The driving principle of digital marketing in 2017 was personalization. It will keep its role in 2018 as well. The technology that’s making 1-on-1 personalization possible is going to be even more available. And we can expect that personalization will be one of the key elements of the growing focus on the customer journey.
In 2018, there will be a stronger emphasis on using every tool in the digital marketer’s toolbelt to ensure a smoother and more purposeful customer journey. Personalization is one of those tools. Video is also important, as are various forms of content that increase customer engagement. Every point of interaction between the business and the customer will need to provide a customer-centric experience.
Voice Search Optimization Gaining Popularity
The following two facts should be enough to convince you voice search will start shaping into one of the most important marketing fields in 2018. In Q2 of 2017, there were 3.8 million units of smart speakers shipped. That’s a sevenfold increase year-on-year. In addition, Amazon’s advertising policy on Alexa is as strict as it possibly can be.
We have two insights into the voice-first marketing in 2018. The first is that it will grow as the voice-first device adoption grows. The second is that paid advertising on voice-first devices will be difficult. So the most viable option marketers have for reaching customers over voice-first devices is to use content marketing optimized for voice search.
Integrated Marketing as Digital Crosses Paths with Traditional
The world of commerce is entering its fourth year of upheaval. Retailers that were mainstays of the American consumer culture are going under. Digital retailers are becoming more interested in traditional, brick-and-mortar retail. The underlining causes are many, but most of them boil down to the need to reach customers wherever they are. And that means – everywhere.
Integrated omnichannel marketing will be a necessity in 2018. Consumers have shown repeatedly that they don’t want to choose between the digital and the physical. They want both, and they want it integrated into a single customer experience. It’s up to businesses and marketers to find the best ways to deliver.
Influencer Marketing Shakeup
Influencers have become one of the facts of social media marketing – they are a marketing tool that is difficult to avoid. But all the attention influencer marketing has been getting might have created an inflation of the influencer market. And in 2018, it’s very likely the bubble will deflate.
Influencer marketing can be very effective. The biggest influencers are great for increasing reach. The smaller influencers are great for creating credible word-of-mouth. Those in between, however, might be too expensive for the results they deliver. In 2018, marketers will have to be extra careful with approaching influencers. The influencers that get picked up will be those that are capable of long-term engagement.
So far, social media marketing alone has seen plenty of changes this year, from the big Facebook announcement in January to Instagram’s change-heavy schedule. And we are likely to see more things develop as AI becomes even more present. There is no doubt that we are in for another interesting year in digital marketing.