2018 Digital Marketing Trends to Watch

Digital marketing trends are a hot topic as marketers try to get ahead of the curve going into 2018. In an industry that’s always evolving, it can be tough to see the next hot thing coming. A better strategy might be to focus on the undercurrents that drive innovations like the rise of artificial intelligence and chat bots. It’s hard to stay on the cutting edge of an ever-changing industry, but these 2018 digital marketing trends could help get your year off to a strong start.

Six 2018 Digital Marketing Trends

Customized Content

Data and analytics have come a long way in the past year. A push toward greater transparency and better reporting means marketers have more information than ever to guide content creation. As a result, social media thought leaders anticipate a rise in highly personalized content that appeals to niche audiences. Of course, this means brands have to start paying attention to the data they collect from customers. When marketers identify purchase trends, they can serve custom-content that’s tailored to individuals’ interests. Not only does this often result in revenue, when done correctly it reinforces the relationship between the brand and the consumer.

Expanding Video Content Strategy

It’s no secret that video content has exploded in the past few years. According to projections, in 2017 video will account for 74% of all web traffic, (source: Syndacast). Another study found video is also better for engagement. The average video post generates 135% greater organic reach, when compared to photo posts, (source: Social Bakers). In the last year, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn have all expanded their video offerings – a sign that marketers should be paying attention.

Choosing Social Media Platforms Wisely

This isn’t a new concept, but as platforms offer more and more similar features strategy becomes crucial. Take Snapchat and Instagram for example, both feature timed videos stories and visual content but they have different core demographics, reach and engagement. So which is more valuable to brands? It depends. Snapchat is dominant among younger audiences, yet Instagram has better reach and engagement, (source: TechCrunch). Brands and marketers need to be mindful of which platforms offer the greatest ROI for their intended target audience.

Increasing Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing has come a long way in response to fake news and increased demand for transparency. Although traditional advertising strategies have prevailed in the past, the value of influencer marketing is hard to ignore. Consumers are much more likely to believe word-of-mouth and referrals over ads. Brands can capitalize on this by enlisting micro influencers, users with a following between 1,000 and 100,000 followers. Followers see micro influencers as more authentic than macro influencers, and data shows they see higher engagement, (source: Huffington Post).

Embracing Mobile Dominance

Smartphones have become ubiquitous, but how much so may be surprising. Research shows 69% of digital media time is spent on mobile, (source: comScore). That’s a huge potential audience for marketers. Not only are more and more users accessing the web via mobile, the number of people browsing on desktops is declining, (source: eMarketer). This isn’t news to industry thought leaders; Mark Zuckerberg started migrating a desktop-based Facebook platform to a mobile-friendly app more than five years ago. Now, it’s predicted that 59 percent of U.S. users will access Facebook through mobile exclusively by 2020, (source: Contently). As mobile gains ground on (and overtakes?) desktop, it’s important that marketers adjust their content creation and ad strategies.

Invest in Content Developers

Digital marketing consists of a number of unique components and has become a powerful element of most communication strategies. Successful content creation requires specific skills but often brands lack the bandwidth to hire and train dedicated staff members. Fragmented internal “teams” are often comprised of job creep victims rather than a cohesive, goal-driven units delivering successful outcomes. For this reason, many thought leaders expect to see more and more companies outsourcing their content creation in 2018.

Final Thoughts

Industry-wide trends that shape the digital landscape may be a better bet than trying to predict the next big app or tech breakthrough. For brands, it’s important that web use continues to shift toward mobile and away from desktop. Creating highly personalized content that performs well on mobile screens is a no-brainer in the New Year. For brands that haven’t implemented video content or influencer marketing, you’re falling behind and it’s time to catch up. Being mindful and taking advantage of the copious reporting tools available is another key to success in 2018. Savvy marketers are honing their messaging to the platforms that offer the best-fit audience and maximum ROI.

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