2018 Biggest Online Marketing Trends to Watch For

As we enter the final month of Q1, we reflect on the first few months of 2018 and the trends that we feel will be prevalent this year. After a January that seemed to go on forever and a February that flew by much too fast, we have finally reached a place where we can officially tip our hats to 2017. We’re calling it! Here are the trends we are spotting in the digital realm this year:

Digital Marketing Trends

  • Artificial intelligence (AI) will grow: Is Skynet slowly becoming a reality?

While the possibility of Skynet becoming a reality is safely rooted in science fiction (for now), AI is becoming increasingly more integrated into our everyday life and is projected to grow by 53% over the next few years. While it is not a new technology, it may still come as a surprise to you that nearly 57% of marketers already use it.  In fact, you most likely interact with marketing AI every day when you see ads in search and social media.

AI creates more efficiency and allows marketers to extract more from their data and increase personalization. Consumers favor individual, personalized communication, and experiences with brands.

Because of artificial intelligence and machine learning, Big Data is becoming much more accessible to all businesses. To stay competitive, we highly suggest tapping into it. The predictive analytics and insight it provides will give you a leg up!

  • Voice searches: Alexa and Siri are evolving from “party trick” to a SEO force of nature

The days of using Siri and Alexa to tell a joke or a riddle are becoming a thing of the past. It is predicted that by 2020, 50% of all searches will be by voice. Optimizing your website to voice search long-tail keywords and conversational phrases will become more crucial going forward. Content marketing such as blogs and articles makes fitting in these kind of keywords easy!

  • Transparency will become crucial

Consumers want to know everything about your business before they come to you. They want to read reviews, see social media profiles, and internet stalk you.  Plan to see more transparency within businesses with review marketing strategy and a more behind-the-scenes look at businesses. This is where live video and Instagram stories really come into play (discussed in more detail below). They can be used to promote transparency that consumers want to see.

  • Increase in customer experience marketing

Customer Experience Marketing includes in-store customer service, seeing an ad on Facebook, finding a local listing online, over-the-phone customer service, and more. It should always be about customer satisfaction because when consumers have a great experience with your brand they will become loyalists. Focus on this heavily this year if you haven’t been doing so already.

Social Media Trends

As more users and younger generations flock to social media, it is becoming a crucial space for marketers to get in front of their audiences.

Image of a hand holding up an old video camera with the label Facebook LIVE on it.

  • Use of Live video

Live video usage will definitely continue to grow as it is liked amongst marketers and the general public. Research shows that 80% of users would rather watch a live video than read a blog post and according to Facebook, live video gets 3 times more views!

PRO TIPS for Live Video & Stories:

– Introduce yourself and your employees. Show customers who you are!
– Use live video at events. Show customers where you are!
– Offer an exclusive promotion to anyone who watches your live video/story.
– Make sure everyone knows you’re filming, whether they are a customer or employee.

Consistent content marketing such as this will do wonders for your business. Nowadays, consumers want to learn about your business through engaging content like video, blogs, and pictures as opposed to ads.

Similarly, the popularity and use of Instagram Stories and Live will continue to skyrocket. Even though Instagram Stories are only a year old, over 200 million accounts use the feature each month! So if you are a brand interested in connecting with Instagram users, you have to master the art of stories. Plus, if you have over 10k followers, you can add a link to your story. That multiplies your buying/inquiry opportunities like crazy! All metrics are trackable on Instagram Stories, unlike other transitory video platforms. This allows for some great insight.

  • Influencer marketing

There will be a greater investment in the influencer market in 2018. Capitalize on influencers who already have an audience and reputation to promote your service/product. Make sure they align with your brand mission/vision and have a following that would be interested in what you have to offer. In most cases, this is less expensive to manage than content marketing and it can boost brand visibility.

  • Marketing to Generation Z…. What happened to the Millennials?

Just as we finally figured out Millennials (and meticulously documented everything they smothered in avocado), they’ve already become a thing of the past. Generation Z spans 22 years, starting in the mid-1990s till the early to mid-2000s. They are entering the labor force and will have increased buying power. Brands should shift their investment and strategies accordingly. Gen Zers spend A LOT of time on Instagram, so if you want to market to this generation definitely ramp up your presence there.

  • New ad placement: Jumping from the big-screen into the palm of your hand!

We will see more brands purchasing ads and making the effort to earn exposure on popular apps.  Additionally, with TV migrating to the digital world, brands will be bidding on ads on social media/YouTube instead of investing in local TV commercials.

We will also see an increase in spending on native ads and see the rise of smart content for those ads—meaning it will be able to adapt to audiences using cookies and an in-depth understanding of target audiences. It is projected that by 2021, 74% of all ad revenue will be driven by native advertising.

Micro-moments will also become of utmost importance looking forward. These are any moments a consumer is driven to either buy something, learn something, go somewhere or do something. If your business takes the time to understand and capitalize on micro-moments, you’ll have greater possibilities of success. To gain this understanding it takes a lot of demographic research and a well-thought-out mobile strategy.

Lastly, the competition will set in between big brands and local businesses for local marketing tactics and placement. Bigger brands may start investing and focusing in on local marketing (and local SEO) because of its personalization and proven effectiveness. Now that it is easier than ever for local businesses to interact with consumers, they better be with it and on their game to beat out the big leaguers!

In this day-and-age, trends are changing faster than ever, but it’s not too late to get on board! At Titan Growth, we are more than just an agency, we are your partner in growth. Feel free to contact us today, let’s crush this year!