Brands, agencies, thought leaders and influencers everywhere are discussing what the future holds for digital marketing. Everything feels so exciting – possibilities seem endless.
Truth be told, I don’t think we are on the verge of some digital awakening in 2018, rather I think we will continue to see certain areas – video, content curation, influencer marketing – continue to trend upward and evolve as the digital arena changes.
But, because I am just like you, I have read probably a dozen different “Things to Watch in 2018” blog posts written by some of my favorite authors. To save you time, I have distilled down my top five takeaways:
1. Voice Search Optimization
Almost every 2018 trends list I read mentioned Voice Search. According to Google 20-percent of mobile searches are done by voice (and they predict that number to increase to 50-percent by 2020). Take a moment to think about that. Just a few short years ago the idea of using a mobile device to conduct a search on the world wide web wasn’t a thing any lay person thought of. Today, all the information is at your fingertips, er…the tip of your tongue?
Whatever the case is, this means that we as marketers now must create content that isn’t just search friendly but is voice search friendly. This isn’t such a bad thing when you consider that voice searches tend to include more long-tail keywords (i.e.: best place for costume fabric in New Orleans or Flower shop in Hattiesburg). These types of keywords are easier to work into content that just traditional search terms because they tend to be a little more “human.”
Takeaway: You pretty much need to start considering this in your content marketing and begin optimizing your content accordingly. Voice search is the future of search.
2. Amazon Awakening, Ogilvy
Ogilvy does an annual trend forecast report for digital marketing and has been one of my favorites to keep an eye on for the last few years. This year, one thing they included that no one else did was Amazon as an advertising platform. Their take? “Amazon is the most important emerging platform for digital advertising, and might soon rival Google and Facebook.” And you know what? The more I think about it, the more I agree.
Let’s take a quick look at some Amazon stats:
· 300 Million Users
· 30 Million Monthly Average Users (MAU) on Mobile Apps
· 80-percent of US Customers make an Amazon purchase at least once a month (20-percent once a week)
Now take a minute to think about how many impressions that means for your brand, your message, your ad. Ogilvy is on to something here….
Takeaway: Think outside the box with your digital advertising in 2018. Sure, Google and Facebook are great, but they aren’t the only playgrounds, and you may be able to garner more market share somewhere else.
I chose to include both Forbes and Digital Marketing Institute (DMI) specifically because the two articles actually contradict each other when it comes to their predictions for Influencer Marketing in 2018. But, I actually think they’re both right.
Forbes has Collapse of the Influencer Market as their #2 Trend for 2018 (well, actually Craig Greiwe, Rogers & Cowan said this but it was featured in Forbes) stating: “Brands pour millions of dollars into influencers now, but by and large they’re either not measuring or not seeing the results they could get from alternative marketing spends. The market will collapse as brands zero in on a few select individuals who drive results or move to organic grassroots promotion, and away from high-cost, middle-tier influencers who drive awareness but little ROI.”
On the flip side, DMI has as their #3 Trend for 2018 that Brands Will Invest Heavily in Influencer Marketing stating that in 2017 businesses generated nearly $6.50 for every $1 invested and that nearly 95-percent of marketers who currently use an influencer marketing strategy believe it to be effective.
So, here’s where I stand on this: Craig Greiwe via Forbes is not wrong, but neither is DMI. Influencer marketing will continue to evolve and change through 2018 and I think that means that a) brands will have to be smarter about how the invest their money and b) how they measure success.
Takeaway: Neither of these forecasts is entirely fair or true, Influencer Marketing will continue to trend upward but those implementing Influencer Marketing Campaigns will need to invest wisely and have SMART goals and metrics.
4. Better Integration and Personalization, Smart Insights
I could try to regurgitate everything I read in the Smart Insights Top 10 Marketing Trends to Watch in 2018, but honestly, I wouldn’t do it justice. The important thing to know with this trend is that all facets of digital marketing – all marketing, actually – are getting closer and closer to full integration. This includes fully integrated experiences that transcend digital experiences and real-life experiences. Better integration across digital platforms.
Takeaway: The more integrated your marketing efforts, the more successful you will be.
5. Video Will Continue to Grow
For what feels like an eternity, I have been reading about “video marketing being the future.” Well, this year is no different and I’m here to tell you (thanks to those 15 articles I read) that video will continue to be an important tool in your marketing tool kit. This make sense when we think about the average attention span of humans. What’s more, 43 percent of consumers prefer video content.
The challenge here is making content that stands out from the noise not contribute to it. In your video marketing you need to be thoughtful and compelling but also concise and clear. Quite the challenge (and, challenge accepted!).
Takeaway: Video isn’t going anywhere and is only getting bigger and more important. If you aren’t doing it, you’re doing this whole thing wrong.
Feel like these “trends” are nothing new? Well, that’s because they aren’t. I’m not clairvoyant so I can’t predict what new platforms will be developed (and be successful) in 2018 but what I do know is that technology is improving and evolving faster than it ever has before and that we, as marketers, must continue to evolve and change with it integrating and adapting our strategies to be as smart as possible.