Transitioning into a new year brings with it a whole host of new challenges and opportunities for marketers to experiment with. Here, we take a look at some of the top digital marketing trends for 2018 that you can expect to take prominence in the not too distant future.
Rise of voice search
Voice search has seen serious growth in recent years, arguably since Siri made it much more accessible on mobile devices in 2010. Now, with companies investing heavily and the advent of other systems such as Cortana, Alexa, and Google Assistant, it seems that voice search has become more than just a fad.
These statistics highlight an opportunity for marketers in the future, and that is to ensure that you’re optimising for voice searches or risk being left behind by your competitors. Fortunately, there are a number of techniques that you can adopt to ensure your business is future-proofed.
Evidence suggests that many voice searches are performed on the go and that users are looking for information, usually local information, as quickly as possible.
Therefore, to optimise for voice search it is imperative to ensure that your website is optimised for mobile devices and information is easily accessible. With regard to the content, consider utilising structured data markup to ensure search engines understand your content and its context and also think about creating in-depth FAQ pages. When thinking about content creation, search queries tend to be longer and more colloquial and so target keywords will need to reflect that. A term recently coined for such keywords is longtail+.
As many voice searches show local intent, it is also important to employ local SEO techniques. Claim your Google My Business listing and ensure all information is correct, up-to-date and consistent. Also consider implementing location specific keywords and look for local citation opportunities.
Websites offering more data-driven, personalised experiences are expected to make huge strides in 2018. As users become savvier with regard to how businesses use their data, they have become more receptive to tailored marketing messages.
It has been well documented that businesses that have adopted personalisation across their online marketing strategies have already seen significant benefits. According to Accenture, 58% of consumers said they are more likely to make a purchase in store or online when a retailer recommends options for them based on their past purchases or preferences. Similarly, 93% of companies are seeing uplift in conversion rates as a result of website personalisation and 74% of marketers say targeted personalisation increases customer engagement, according to Econsultancy
Off-site, it’s also a good idea to adopt personalisation across your email marketing messages too. Even something as simple as personalising an email subject line can increase open rates by up to 26%, according to Campaign Monitor.
Expect marketing automation to feature in a big way in 2018. As platforms adapt and evolve, as marketers we need to do the same but we also need to reduce admin time to ensure we’re working in the most efficient way possible. Enter marketing automation tools.
Firstly, with milestones such as Facebook messenger opening its API, chatbot technology is becoming more accessible and easier to implement. This intelligent software is able to comprehend user queries and then provide adequate responses in real-time. This ensures that in-house teams are able to focus on the tasks that really matter rather than deal with menial ad hoc requests.
Secondly, using automation as part of your email marketing strategy can also be a huge timesaver. When automated workflows are used effectively, you are able to grow your database and drive revenue using welcome emails, communicate effectively to active subscribers, and also reengage inactive subscribers who made need an incentive to pay your business a visit again. You are also able to cleanse your database over time, leading to a more receptive database.
Continued mobile growth
Mobile searches have surpassed those on other devices in recent years and with rapid growth in technology coupled with the accessibility of a range of devices, marketers are required to continually adapt to this ever-changing environment.
With the advent of more sophisticated smartphones, user behaviour has evolved with users able to search and find results in an instant. By definition, these actions are called micro-moments, which are moments when users turn to their devices as a reflexion to learn, buy, watch or do something. In 2018, businesses that are visible as soon as a user logs in are going to reap massive rewards due to the intent of these micro-moment searches. Of online consumers, 69% agree that the quality, timing, or relevance of a company’s message influences their perception of a brand.
Many in the search marketing industry are also expecting Google to announce the roll-out of their mobile-first index in early 2018, although some think it has already started. What does mobile-first indexing mean? Essentially, as more searches happen on mobile, Google wants to display results that are most representative to their users in the SERPs. This shows a clear shift towards prioritising mobile and it is likely that other search engines will follow suit. Therefore, it’s imperative that you ensure your website is as optimised for mobile as possible for SEO success.
Accelerated mobile pages, or AMP, are also a hot topic right now since being announced by Google in 2015. They have also reportedly shown ranking increases for those sites that have adopted them early possibly due to the fact that accelerated mobile pages drastically improve site speed and user experience.
Real-time content creation
Live streaming has seen huge growth in 2017 and the upward trend is expected to continue in 2018. According to LiveStream, live videos are more appealing to brand audiences as 80% of users would rather watch live video from a brand than read a blog, and 82% prefer live video from a brand to traditional social posts. It has also been reported that live streams get more positive engagement across social media platforms than more traditional video content.
Ephemeral content is also expected to see continued growth in 2018, especially since Instagram and Facebook have now rolled out “stories”. Although audiences tend to be smaller, they are much more engaged as users get a sense of authenticity and exclusivity from brands especially if brands post content that fits the medium it is posted on.
Augmented reality has been bridging the gap between online and in-store experiences in recent years, and more brands are creatively using AR as part of their marketing campaigns. Simple examples of using augmented reality includes the filters that are easily accessible on social media platforms such as SnapChat & Instagram, but brands are starting to get a little more complex and provide real value to consumers by providing a better user experience. Need convincing? Check out Ikea’s latest AR app, Ikea Place.
Brands that have already adopted video as part of their digital marketing strategy are already seeing significant benefits with video consumption continuing to grow year on year. From a search perspective, video reportedly drives a 157% increase in organic traffic from SERPs with video on a landing page reportedly increasing conversions by 80% or more. In terms of social engagement, 92 percent of mobile video viewers share videos with others.
In 2017, 90% of user-shared content was video and it is reported that around 72 Hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every 60 seconds. As technology improves, it has become easier for businesses to create effective marketing videos in a relatively easy and inexpensive way. Also, live streaming is making it easier for content creators to reach engaged audiences through this platform.
In 2018, it is imperative for brands to become more creative to stand out from the crowd. Expect to see a shift to more VR video content, more 360 videos, and more live streaming. By 2019, it is being reported Internet video traffic will account for 80% of all consumer Internet traffic.
As users become savvier and less receptive to obvious click bait articles and pop-ups, brands have had to think outside of the box in recent times. Native advertising enables brands to communicate their marketing messages in a less-obtrusive way and with that in mind native advertising will drive 74% of all ad revenue by 2021, according to Business Insider.
Due to the fact that native ads blend into content in a seamless way, users may not even be aware of the fact that they are being targeted with advertising. The intention of native advertising is to pique a user’s interest and to present them with information when they need it through the use of advertorials, display ads, and sponsored social advertising.
It is also widely considered that engagement of native ads is considerably higher than non-native display ads due to the implementation of native ads and also the fact that more users are browsing on a mobile.
As far as digital marketing trends for 2018 are concerned, the continued evolution of technology means that marketers have seemingly endless marketing possibilities to communicate their messages year on year, especially as opportunities to do so become more accessible. That said, it is also important to ensure that you don’t lose sight of your objectives and spread yourself (or your marketing budget) too thinly. If you’re looking for digital marketing consultancy in 2018, get in touch today.
What digital marketing trends will you be focussing on in 2018?