Being able to adapt to industry trends is the hallmark of a successful business owner. There are more platforms that ever before that owners and advertisers can utilize to drive traffic to their website, get people in the door of their brick-and-mortar shop, and convert leads into sales. The digital age of marketing is upon us and setting up a blog, website, and Facebook business page is not going to be enough to churn out the profits, especially when it comes to e-commerce.
The last few years have seen digital marketers focused on content marketing and Big Data—a term that refers to the market demographics and customer insights collected by advertisers. Marketing automation was another top trend the last few years, which went hand in hand with content marketing. Sending email blasts and web personalization is still an area that businesses have room to grow in – according to Smart Insights, most have said their skill levels falls somewhere between Basic and Good. So, what other trends are on the rise for 2018? What aspects of digital marketing should businesses be prepared for in the upcoming years? Here are five trends to be on the lookout for.
1. Video Marketing
Having a blog and sharing those posts on social media is not enough. Video content is becoming increasingly popular, with video content being supported on all social media platforms and websites. In fact, YouTube was the second most popular search engine just behind Google the past few years, but as of March 2017, it has overtaken Google with 42 million users, compared to Google Search’s 40 million users. Videos allow users to watch or listen on the go and put a face to the company name. Video content is going to be one of the hottest branding trends for 2018 with future years including virtual and augmented reality.
2. Mobile Optimization
Not many people are sitting behind a desktop computer surfing the internet or scrolling their social media feeds. In fact, 51 percent of web browsing takes place on mobile phones, which is up 25 percent from 2016, while computer usage is down nearly 20 percent, with less than half of internet browsing happening on laptops or desktops. Marketers need to ensure that websites and blogs are mobile friendly.
3. Web Personalization
You’ve gone through your A/B testing to find your target market and learned to optimize your site for Google Analytics through content and SEO, but in 2018 you should be focusing on personalization. Artificial intelligence is trending, enabling businesses to deliver personal experiences to every online customer. Personalization will also help get better results for your email marketing campaign. More than half of businesses don’t use segmentation in their email marketing and less than a third use even basic segmentation like targeting demographics based on industry, age, economic level, etc.
4. Social Messaging App
Gone are the days of 1-800 numbers and info@customerservice inquiries. Sixty-one percent of Facebook users have begun using Facebook messenger for all their communications since it can be integrated with their phone number to make calls and send text messages. Your customers want to be able to instantly connect with a representative to have their issues or comments addressed, and Facebook messenger is quickly becoming the most popular communication channel.
5. Artificial Intelligence
AI isn’t androids and robots, but a broad range of technology that mimics human intelligence with capabilities such as voice recognition, machine learning and semantic search. Artificial intelligence can generate content that can help draw traffic to your site, such as the AI writing program WordSmith, which created 1.5 billion pieces of content last year. AI can also generate market data and show users content that is relevant to them which results in higher conversion and a better customer experience. Using AI for your analytics is also going to become the go-to for learning and measuring the algorithms for ad targeting on social media. Facebook has also begun researching developing chatbots for some brands and businesses so that customer service is integrated directly through Facebook.
Digital marketing is growing faster than ever before. With retail chains facing financial difficulties and moving to online-based shopping, the need for smarter and more efficient marketing strategies to reach their online customer base is sure to be marketers’ focus moving into 2018.