Approaching the end of the second quarter in 2018, there are plenty of developments to take in for what’s to come in digital marketing. It’s important for individuals to stay up-to-date on technology that can drastic effects on their businesses. So where is the field today, and where might we be heading tomorrow? Here are 10 key trends and predictions to keep in mind throughout the rest of 2018 for both your business and your customers.
Focusing on every interaction is becoming increasingly important. From content to entire websites, personalization is a key driver for marketing strategies, and there is no sign of it slowing down anytime soon. According to Dave Charest, director of content marketing at Constant Contact, email marketing is one area where customized messaging is being brought to life, as many small businesses have a variety of products to offer. This is a result of “advances in personalization technology, especially click segmentation”.
Julien Verdier from Adyoulike suggests that in the context of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), things may be more complicated for ad tech vendors to track user behaviors with cookies. It will be a mainstay for advertisers to understand page context, for both appropriate targeting and brand safety purposes. Checkout Workspace Digital’s own resources behind Content and Contextual Marketing.
The production quality of video content, from live-streaming to sponsored pieces, will develop immensely in the coming years, as more businesses compete on every social media platform. Subscription-based video platforms, such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, will cater more to advertisers and content creators who have noticed an increase in viewership and subscribers for the platforms.
Businesses that do not carry a storyline behind their product or service will find it difficult to sell anything nowadays. Story development is a trend that is growing in 2018, and big companies may start sharing more “behind the scenes” type of action. For example, using Instagram live stories is one method of sending out a brand message with that “wow” factor, giving you an inside look at the marketing for the business. You can even generate a trendy hashtag that embodies certain elements in your campaign storyline that can resonate with your audience. (Click here to find out why it may be a good idea to do so!)
Influencer marketing is on the rise as well, but there will be significant changes in marketers’ selection process to collaborate with them. As many as 39 percent of marketers are actively increasing their marketing budgets for 2018 strictly for influencers. But if you want to participate as an influencer, you’re going to want to have a following of about 100,000 or more to be considered a “big name” in the industry.
Toby Danylchuk, co-founder of 39 Celsius Web Marketing says that social advertising will become more competitive. In Facebook, paid social ads will have more businesses aiming for that sweet spot in your newsfeed. As a result, there will be higher ad growth expectations on Social Marketing, with some 85% of organizations expecting social ad buying and spending to increase by more than 10% in 2018. Small businesses who have not yet fully embraced Facebook ads will spark the shift for Facebook to accelerate the number of advertisers it currently has and drive up the costs to deploy campaigns.
Chatbots used as a marketing automation tool have been effective in high tech businesses in 2018, providing online prospects and customers real-time answers to their comments and questions. Conversational chatbots, which include Virtual Personal Assistants like Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant, will continue to find their place in workforces, as well as consumers daily lives.
AI & Machine Learning Marketing Tactics
As Machine Learning becomes more popular, marketers are rushing to take advantage of the technology. Curtis Sparrer, principal at Bospar PR, says that AI will be at the forefront of solutions behind the hardest marketing problems. For example, conversational AI companies like Conversica will make it possible for PR companies to harness conversational AI for lead nurturing and finding new clients.
Over the past few years, brands have been using automation tools to reach users based on their behaviors, interests, and other defining factors with AI. Companies will know their visitor’s name by the time they land on their site, which means that live chat interactions can greet the person by name if they need assistance. AI will also allow emails and social media messages to speak directly to a user’s needs, and be able to mention elements from the customer’s account history, such as the time spent on site or purchase history. You can learn more about Machine Learning and AI here.
Augmented Reality (AR) is experiencing an explosive development in the market, as seen with the gamification of the phone camera in apps like Snapchat and Instagram, and an increased number of AR-based games. With mobile devices becoming more powerful,, brands will continue to use AR to better engage with consumers. For example, using your location, brands could trigger certain AR content, only accessible by reaching that particular location at a specific time.
Data Security & Privacy
With the introduction of the global GPDR policies, marketing databases are not totally lost because of the regulation, but rather businesses who have utilized around the policy for GDPR compliance already have a head start. Businesses that practice transparency behind personal data usage and marketing will gain a competitive advantage overall, and improve their efforts towards customer goodwill and trust levels.
Ashcorp, a lead generation company, predicts that the next big disruption to marketing lies within blockchain, the technology behind Bitcoin. Brands can use blockchain to conduct market research or produce marketing strategies. The ‘tokenization’ of marketing elements will enable different forms of value to be exchanged between publishers, advertisers, and users. For example, a token-based system that allows audiences to choose the ad they want to view in exchange for a payment. You can get started on blockchain technology through Workspace Digital’s guide here.