It’s December and you know what? It’s that time of the year when people look forward to the new year and what to expect from it. For online marketers, we should be looking forward to new digital marketing trends in 2018.
Digital marketing trends such as voice search, artificial intelligence, personal assistants etc. are already altering the marketing landscape we’ve known, presenting a new challenge and opportunity for marketers, who will have to reassess their digital marketing strategy to accommodate such changes.
By 2020, after all, voice and image-based searches are expected to contribute at least half of all searches.
The truth is, we are already teaching some of these spanking new online marketing trends in our digital marketing training course.
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Among many, in 2018, we will be seeing a marketing mix of new trends storming the online marketing space.
If I were you, I’d get my pen and paper because what you are about to read are some of the biggest revelations you as an online marketer won’t find anywhere on the internet.
So let’s get started right away!
If there is one piece of technology that has captured marketers’ imagination this year it is voice recognition.
With voice search, you use your voice to perform actions on the web. And this is one significant trend that can govern the world of SEO in 2018.
Amid the rising popularity of voice-controlled devices, including Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home, brands have jumped on the voice bandwagon.
These are all valid ways of thinking about voice. Voice offers a new and innovative way to reach consumers that technologically advanced brands can take advantage of.
Domino’s Pizza, for example, sees voice as a way to sell more pizza and so has enabled customers to order directly through Alexa using voice.
The brand’s digital boss Nick Dutch admits it isn’t seeing huge sales from the channel now but it expects to in future and is “preparing for the fact this technology will be something people use”.
However, perhaps the bigger transformation for brands is in search.
In 2016, Google claims 20% of mobile search queries submitted via its app are already done using voice. Meanwhile, comScore estimates 30% of searches will be done without a screen by 2020.
That will have a big impact on search results and therefore SEO strategy.
Instead of consumers seeing a long list of results and being able to pick the most suitable one, most voice results will probably serve up just one answer.
The types of search queries are different too. When typing, people generally input queries such as ‘weather’ but in voice, they might ask ‘do I need an umbrella today?’. That offers more context and therefore more chance for brands to show up relevant content, but that requires a change of approach.
Because of this, smart marketers are developing ways to tailor their SEO strategies for voice search. As typed-out search terms become less popular, it’s going to get more and more important to start making those adjustments.
Here are some ways that the rise of voice search will shape the future of SEO, and some tips on how to prepare for it.
We expect to see more brands optimising their content for voice search (Voice SEO).
The popularity of voice search is certainly exciting — it’s often easier and more convenient than typed-out searches, and younger generations are attracted to its “cool factor.”
Because of this, it’s important that marketers pay attention to how this may affect their SEO in 2018.
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AI is not new – in fact, you probably already interact with marketing AI on a regular basis when you see ads in search results and on social media. And, 57% of marketers already use AI.
However, the use of AI for marketing is only going to grow as the technology improves. It’s projected to grow by 53% in the next couple of years.
Projected in 2018, we are going to be seeing chatbots as an alternative to human-to-human interaction.
Chatbot can answer customers’ related questions. It uses artificial intelligence an machine learning to optimize the customer experience.
So, marketeer adds up to 90x efficiency using Artificial Intelligence.
It learns from human-to-human conversations and from customer behaviours.
It’s no coincidence that a company called ZhuiYi was founded just a year and a half ago by a group of former Tencent computer programmers and it’s already making waves in the field of chatbots.
Also, Singapore Airlines on Tuesday (Dec 12, 2017) announced that it has launched a chatbot designed to answer customer queries.
Another company who’s effectively using chatbots is Mall of America, their chatbot aims to give shoppers a personalised shopping experience.
So you see, companies are already using chatbots to enhance and automate customer experience. And we’ll have even more in 2018.
In fact, Google has opened it’s Google’s chatbot analytics platform called Chatbase — that allows the usage of the chatbot can to be monitored in order to spot potential flaws or problems.
It can also provide useful insights that can improve the final user experience (watch the video embed below).
The truth is chatbots could even move into a conversational advertising role in the future, based on whom they are speaking with, and what is being discussed.
How much video marketing is your brand doing right now?
If the answer is NO, well it’s time to start. Because if you don’t, then you’re going to be missing out on one of the biggest marketing trends set to skyrocket in 2018.
In fact, according to Entrepreneur, by 2019 80% of online content will be video. That’s a pretty incredible stat. So, it shouldn’t go unnoticed.
In Hubspot’s released State of Inbound 2016 report, video was set to play a large part of the strategic plan for brands and marketers in 2017.
When asked: What content distribution channels do you plan to add to your marketing efforts in the next 12 months?
This was the breakdown of the responses:
Notice a trend there?
Beyond the heavy social media presence here, every single one of these distribution channels have a large (or solely) video component with the exception of podcasting.
The majority of marketers are looking to add channels that support video in their marketing efforts in 2017. Meanwhile, in 2018, these figures are projected to increase as more brands would embrace video marketing.
Of course, there’s a reason why marketers are starting to love video because video provides results.
Check out this infographic from Hubspot:
Video has the capacity to increase conversion rates and the infographic above say it all.
Also known as growth driven tactics, these are marketing processes specifically targeted for increasing growth in revenue.
As technology evolves to allow additional search options, you have to adjust your strategy to meet your audience where they are looking for you.
Attracting leads with awesome content and exciting twists (such as a giveaway or a challenge) can help move the dial in converting these leads to sales.
The idea of “growth hacking,” which means seeking growth from a company’s existing traffic, driving marketing through technology, and gaining results through greater efficiency is a new mentality and skill that today’s company managers and marketers will need to master in 2018.
Music tech company Shazam came up with a neat marketing device to spread interest in its song-recognition app, while at the same time turning a problem to its advantage.
Shazam’s app allows its users to identify songs they hear at clubs, on the radio or at parties by recording a snatch of the music and matching it to an online database. When there’s a lot of background noise it can be tough for the software to do its work, so Shazam encourages users to hold their smartphones up to the speakers.
It’s a neat trick. Others see smartphones brandished and ask “what’s going on?” News of Shazam spreads quickly by word of mouth. The result – 500 million downloads.
With operations in 35 countries (including Nigeria) and a valuation of more than $30bn, Uber is a poster child for rapid scale-up. But in 2009, it was just a local car-hire company with a platform matching supply and demand and handling payments.
The company knew it was solving a range of problems associated with conventional cab services but it needed traction.
Its base in San Francisco was the key. Uber initially focused on the tech community, organising events and – crucially – free rides for those attending. Those who used the service told their friends about the experience. The result was rapid growth and model that could be rolled out elsewhere.
Messenger was an important launch for Facebook, allowing the company to create a stand-alone messaging service that can be used by third parties to offer a range of services through Chatbots. Ultimately playing into Facebook’s future advertising plays.
But Facebook faces a challenge – namely that there are a great many people who already have the Facebook App itself on their smartphones. People who might well ask – why should I download Messenger?
To counter such resistance, Facebook has progressively turned off the message facility on its own app and telling mobile users they must migrate to Messenger. The result is a rapid growth curve to underpin the Facebook messaging masterplan.
Click here to check out more Growth Hacking case studies to inspire you in 2018.
Micro influencers are 4x more likely to get a comment on a post than are macro-influencers (who usually have ~10 million followers) Click To Tweet
Well, have you heard micro-influencer?
Think of micro-influencers as digital influencers with a total audience size of between 1,000 and 100,000 followers.
Surprised with the audience size?
There’s data to support it: Micro influencers are 4x more likely to get a comment on a post than are macro-influencers (who usually have ~10 million followers). Micro-influencers are more likely to post about specific niche topics and they have the loyal followings that share their passion and a staggering 90% of consumers trust peer recommendations and only 33% trust ads.
With more than 32% of internet users enabling ad blocker in 2017, it’s increasingly harder to reach users and micro influencers can bridge that gap moving into 2018.
So, I believe that it will be rare for any brand to launch a campaign that doesn’t involve at least one social media influencer.
High-quality content is in short supply so people will have to be creative in their approach and with whom they are working. Click To Tweet
The aim of grabbing consumer attention through Content marketing will remain a key priority for marketers in the online marketing world.
Bill Gates was wrong when he said “content is king” in 1996. Content isn’t just king anymore, “Quality content is king!”
In this highly digitized world, high-quality content is in short supply so people will have to be creative in their approach and with whom they are working.
To develop super-relevant content requires speed, agility, and risk taking. And this will favour local companies (over multi-nationals) as they move faster, take bigger bets, and are therefore more able to be timely and relevant with their content in 2018.
Customer experience is hugely important. Customers see your business or brand as the sum of experiences they’ve had with you. Click To Tweet
Customer experience marketing is exactly what it sounds like – making sure the customer has a good experience when you market to them.
And, it’s gaining popularity; 68% of marketers say their business is increasingly focusing on customer experience in marketing.
Customer experience is hugely important. Customers see your business or brand as the sum of experiences they’ve had with you. This could be anything from in-store customer service to finding your local listing online or seeing one of your business’s ads on Facebook.
Creating a great experience for the customer is more likely to help you gain brand loyalists. If they search for you online and find two different listings, or they receive bad customer service while making a purchase, they’re just not going to use your business again.
Let’s prepare to share a good customer experience when you market to them in 2018.
2018 may finally be the year that businesses start to become customer-centric and embrace intelligent, strategic conversion optimisation (I’ve been preaching that every year for what seems like a while now).
Amongst the heady mix of AI, machine learning, chatbots, data clouds, influencer marketing, and fixed mindsets within businesses, these trends will be harnessed by the few brands who choose to step outside of their comfort zon.
In 2018, I see more brands levraging proofs.
Proof is the art of showing potential customers and clients that what you sell is both real and worth having. It’s one of the trickiest elements to get right in digital and inbound marketing, and can be the difference between appearing authentic or fake.
More and more people are using ad blockers or developing ‘banner blindness’ to overcome the fact that they are constantly being targeted by someone.
Perhaps, with real proofs, you can display real-time customer activity notifications on your website and let your existing customers sell for you.
Have you heard of Useproof?
Well, if you are concerned about showing your potential customers that what you have to offer is both real and valuable to them with a bit of , then you might have to check out Useproof.com.
Useproof can do the following:
“Fluid online marketing” is a multi-channel approach to online marketing that addresses each customer’s unique challenges in a way that can help you keep your brand in front of them.
Instead of following a one-size-fits-all approach, fluid online marketing leverages the very best growth opportunities for each customer’s situation.
In fluid marketing, you see your customers as a moving target, you will understand where the word “fluid” originate from.
The way fluid marketing works are you leveraging different channels to ensure that you deliver what your customers are looking for no matter where they are, what website they visit, social media platform they use etc.
In 2018, fluid marketing will thrive! I see more marketers using features like re-targeting, customer audience and look alike audience to ensure customers are always reminded of what they left off.
If you’re maxing out on data and analytics in 2017, just wait.
The mass amount of information being created by the IoT has the power to revolutionise everything from manufacturing and healthcare to the layout and functioning of entire cities — allowing them to work more efficiently and profitably than ever before.
One company, for instance, found that it was able to reduce the cost of managing its fleet of 180,000 trucks from 15 cents per mile to just 3 cents.
That same kind of efficiency can be exercised in almost every industry, from retail to city planning.
Tech giants such as Microsoft, IBM, SAS and SAP are all heavily investing in Analytics, more specifically IoT Analytics as they are seeing the power of this combination in driving new business insights across a vast array of industries and applications.
Given the way the complexity of marketing and digital marketing has increased, techniques like customer journey mapping for different personas are increasing in importance to help define the most relevant communications and experiences for different touchpoints in the customer journey.
To support this, the way I like to think about how to improve the effectiveness of digital marketing is to think from the customers’ viewpoint of the communications opportunity available through the customer lifecycle for different types of business.
We define lifecycle marketing as:
Creating a managed communications or contact strategy to prioritise and integrate the full range of marketing communications channels and experiences to support prospects and customers on their path-to-purchase using techniques such as persuasive personalised messaging and re-targeting.
We designed this mind-tool to help members think through all the potential touchpoints across paid, owned and earned media. Then you can perform a ‘gap analysis’ of the use and effectiveness of lifecycle comms you are using against those you could be using to increase the relevance and response of communications.
To sum it up:
Digital marketing trends in 2018 are going to be massive.
The likelihoods are that 2018 is going to be another exciting year for new and innovative ways to reach consumers and increase brand awareness. Accelerated advancement in technology is making it more challenging and marketing teams will need to explore, invest, experiment and adapt in order to keep up.
Do you agree with the digital marketing trend in 2018 contained in this list? Or perhaps, do you have any of your own to add?
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