Marketing January 22, 2018 7 Reads share

Top 4 Online Marketing Trends for 2018

The New Year is here and everyone, it seems, wants to talk about the year ahead and the opportunities and challenges it brings along. For a marketer, however, it is the time to gear up to match the latest trends in the town.

The problem with digital marketing is that the landscape is becoming bigger and busier with each passing year. It is, therefore, getting increasingly difficult to pay attention to what truly matters. Where should you spend your budget? Which areas deserve most of time and resources? These are a few questions every marketer must be able to answer. And that’s easier said than done. But the good news is: If you know what to expect in the coming year, it is way easier to focus on what really matters.

While there are several new online marketing trends poised to impact your go-to-market strategy, here are 4 most important ones to focus on in 2018.

#1. Escalated Need for Content Marketing Distribution

According to a survey conducted by SmartInsights, content marketing is the most important marketing trend for businesses in 2018, followed by big data and AI.

Chances are, we will be seeing more and more brands and marketers investing in content creation in 2018. But there is one problem. With so much competition over content, it will be hard to cut through the noise and get your target audiences’ attention. This will inevitably make your dream of generating more leads with content marketing a little hard to achieve.

But the good news is there is a solution. Don’t just run after creating more number of content at a faster pace. You should rather think about how to distribute your content better than your competitors. Now, when it comes to content distribution, you need to think beyond social shares. Taking into consideration that the organic reach of Facebook is dropping significantly, you need to invest in various content distribution channels to reach out to extensive and targeted audiences, ranging from Buffer, MailChimp, and Reddit to PRWeb. Put together a strong and comprehensive content distribution strategy, and focus on all three categories (owned media, earned media and paid media) to spread your content to your target audience when they need it the most.

2018 Digital Marketing

#2. Acceleration in the Use of Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence is nothing new. Many of us are already interacting with AI in the forms of ads on social media and Google search. In fact, according to Salesforce’s 2017 State of Marketing report, 57 percent of marketers are intensively investing in AI to help “their company create 1-to-1 marketing across every customer touchpoint.”

The report also found that marketers are using AI not only to drive efficiency and increase productivity, but 61 percent of them also believe that AI will help them achieve “hyper-personalization of content and dynamic landing pages.”

SalesForce Research

Data privacy and budgetary constraints have been a limitation for many businesses when it comes to AI. Till now, AI capabilities were largely available to teams with budget and the right data strategy. However, things are changing as it is quite possible for a lot of businesses to invest in AI for website messaging, thanks to tools like Drift and Intercom. These artificial-intelligence-powered live-chat tools will help you better to communicate with your customers and improve customer support. It is, therefore, no surprise that we are seeing more and more companies integrating chatbots and according to a Gartner report, “By 2020, virtual agents will participate in a majority of commercial interactions between people and businesses.”

Certainly, we are more likely to see AI becoming more and more mainstream in the coming years.

#3. Visualization Getting Stronger

Over the past couple of years, we have witnessed the rise of video and this trend is more than likely to continue in the New Year. According to Visual Networking Index by Cisco, video traffic will account for 80 percent of the total consumer Internet traffic by 2019 and that’s excluding the video exchanged data through peer-to-peer. Some other reports also indicate a similar upsurge:

  1. 500 million people are watching videos on Facebook every day.
  2. In a week, 45 percent of people watch over an hour of videos on Facebook or YouTube.
  3. Markets using videos increased their revenues 49 percent faster than those who do not.

Accessibility remains one of the prime reasons for the popularity of videos. With loading times becoming shorter and the availability of 4G Internet on mobile phones, videos are now easy to access. In fact, there are social networks like Snapchat and Periscope that are entirely dedicated to videos.

Live stream videos are becoming more and more commonplace, thanks to Facebook Live. This has allowed a lot of brands to instantly connect with their customers via live videos. And according to Facebook, people watch Facebook Live videos 3x longer than videos that aren’t live.

In fact, 2018 is not just all about videos. Images and infographics are equally important when it comes to visualization. However, static images will do you no good in the New Year. Over the past few years, marketers have extensively used and misused infographics, making things a bit stagnant in this arena. Unfortunately, it is not just the surge of infographics that have saturated the market but also the negligence of the marketers. Many of the infographics are poorly designed, containing little or no interesting data. They have been reduced to self-promotion tools.

Fortunately, things are likely to change in 2018. There will be a rise in interactive infographics that help marketers to improve dialogue between their brands and target audience.

#4. Increasing Popularity of Voice-Optimized Content

According to Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai, 20 percent of online searches in 2016 were conducted through voice search. A ComScore report also found that by 2020, voice searches will account for 50 percent of all searches. In addition, the sales of digital assistance like Google Home and Amazon Dot/Echo have also seen an upsurge. And as it is, mobile users already have their own digital assistants in form of Siri and Cortana.

Since voice search is easier than typing, more number of users are encouraged to use it. Besides, easy accessibility to these technologies has made voice searches so popular that digital marketers have no other option than optimizing their content for voice search and making it an integral part of their 2018 marketing strategy.

When it comes to voice search, keyword selection is utmost important. Long-tail keywords and longer phrases are key to optimizing your content for voice search.

Conclusion

No matter how extensively we prepare ourselves for the New Year, unknown surprises are always awaiting us. These predictions and trends are only a guideline to help you understand what to expect. However, even the most popular predictions can fail with a mere change of your consumers’ expectations. But don’t fret out yet, many of the trends are likely to come and pass. The best option is to take it slow while becoming more analytical. Also, invest in trends that are really going mainstream, rather than running behind an anticipation.

(Image credit: 1, 2 & 3)

Mattie Elsner

Mattie Elsner

Mattie Elsner is a dynamic writer & editor by profession with Outsourcing Insights, a firm that offers outsource accounting and finance services for various businesses. She loves to unwind by listening to music and challenging friends to a game of scrabble.

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