Top 10 Digital Marketing Trends in 2018

As we near the tail-end of January, if it hasn’t hit you already it soon will - we are now well and truly into the swing of 2018. In 2017, we saw the growth of virtual experiences and smart home assistants; too many Trump-isms to handle, and plenty of Royal engagement and baby news. So, what does 2018 have in store for us?

As we love all things marketing, we thought we’d take a quick look at what we think will be big in 2018 for digital marketing, so that you can keep your business ahead of the curve.

#1. MOBILE FIRST

And by this we mean with your thinking. Back in the day it was all “how does it look on a desktop?” Now your first question needs to be “how does it look on a mobile?” In 2016, mobile searches officially took over desktop searches globally. In 2017 we saw the impact of this being realised by businesses across the world, and slowly the “mobile first” concept is taking over. We think it will do this even more so in 2018.

So if you aren’t already, you need to consider how your customers interact with your brand on their phones, and how you can meet - and exceed - their expectations.

#2. VIDEO IN DEMAND

Here are a few fun facts for you about video content:

Video stats.png

So - if you’re not making videos for your content marketing strategy, why not? These days video production doesn’t have to be cost-prohibitive, and there are so many ways you can a) make videos, and b) use them - it gives marketers a lot of options to play around with and test. But don’t forget - mobile first! 90% of Twitter’s and 60% of YouTube’s videos are viewed on a mobile.

#3. VOICE-OPTIMISED CONTENT

In 2017, Google’s CEO - Sundar Pichai - revealed that 20% of search queries on their mobile app and Android devices were voice searches. And by 2020, it is predicted that this will grow to 50%. So if you haven’t already started thinking about it, you may want to consider how voice search could be incorporated into your marketing strategies, for example, incorporating voice command into your website, introducing more conversational-style content on landing pages, and using schema markups.

#4. THE BOTS ARE TAKING OVER

Chatbots that is.

We reckon 2018 will be the year that brands need to start thinking about how social media bots can be incorporated into their customer service strategy. For example - Transport for London use a chatbot to answer questions about tube timetables, delays, route information and so on. They can offer customers a truly bespoke experience, and we reckon we will be seeing a lot more of them this year.

#5. SOCIAL PROOFING

Social proofing is what makes customers feel more comfortable about buying online - it can take the form of customer reviews on your website or Facebook page, testimonials and so on.

 Customer Facebook Reviews for Little Bird Online Marketing

Customer Facebook Reviews for Little Bird Online Marketing

It gives customers a collective assurance that its ok to buy from you, and is increasingly becoming a big aspect of ecommerce. So this might be the year you need to consider how you can use social proofing to establish trust between your brand and your customers.

#6. SOCIAL MEDIA AND INFLUENCER MARKETING

Has the mummy blogger you follow on Insta been promoting a range of kidswear or frozen toddler meals recently? Or maybe you’ve seen a model or celebrity promote their favourite range of haircare products or self tanner? In all likelihood, they’re working as an influencer.

A social media influencer is someone who has some serious clout online, and leverages that popularity to spread marketing messages. Yes, usually they are paid to promote said kidswear or hair products, but a good influencer campaign will work with an influencer that aligns with your brand’s values, so the marketing message won’t feel forced or ingenuine.  And a good social media influencer campaign can be a pot of gold for a brand - which is why they are so popular, and will continue to grow in popularity this year.

#7. PERSONALISATION

Gone are the days of the “one size fits all” approach when it comes to marketing. These days - and especially in the digital world - you need to use data and technology to deliver individualised messages in order to get cut-through with your audience.

And once you have got their attention, you need to offer a bespoke experience to keep it. For example - using their past purchase behaviour and present browsing behaviour to offer product recommendations; sending personalised emails to your customers; or using geolocation to provide specific location-based messaging.

#8. MICRO-MOMENTS

 Definition of micro-moments from Google Think

Definition of micro-moments from Google Think

It’s becoming more and more important to reach your customers in these moments, and to succeed you need to reach them with the relevant content that meets the need of these moments.

There are 4 key moments to focus on:

  1. I-want-to-know moments: When someone is exploring or researching, but isn’t necessarily ready to buy just yet

  2. I-want-to-go moments: When someone is looking for a local business or is considering buying from a nearby store

  3. I-want-to-do moments: When someone wants help completing a task or trying something new

  4. I-want-to-buy moments: When someone is ready to make a purchase and may need help deciding what to buy or how to buy it

In these micro-moments, customers want what they want, when they want it - and they will be drawn to brands that deliver on their needs.

So how can you do that?

  • Be there - work out what your customer’s moments might be in relation to your product or service, and be there for them when those moments occur

  • Be useful - Provide an experience that is relevant to the needs of your customer’s in these moments and connect them quickly to the answers they’re looking for

  • Be accountable - Create a seamless customer experience across all channels, measure the impact of this experience, and adjust it where needed so it continues to meet the needs of your customers

#9. FEATURED SNIPPETS AND QUICK ANSWERS

Rich (or featured) snippets are quickly emerging as a really big trend in digital marketing. A rich snippet is basically a quick answer (or summary) to a user query that is entered into a search engine. The user can get the answer on the search engine result page, rather than needing to click through to the website to find it. The search engine extracts the answer from good on-page content, and serves it at the top of the results page.

This can affect your business in two ways:

  1. The question/answer summary at the top of the page pushes your organic listings even further down the page to make room for this feature

  2. Users no longer need to click through to the website to find the answer they are looking for, so your website traffic could decrease

But, on the flip side, if you offer really good on-page content, your website could be pulled up as the answer to a user question - and you could then be displayed at the top of the search results page. Then if the customer needs more information - there you are, right at the top, say “Hi, come on in - I can give you the answers”. And click, they’re on your website.

#10. DYNAMIC CONTENT

This goes hand-in-hand with personalisation, but it is worth a mention on its own because it is a goodie.

By having HTML content on your website, forms, landing pages or emails, you can change this information based on the viewer and serve unique content to them based on their age, gender, job title and so on. You can set up rules and variations that will display certain content to people that meet those rules, and dynamically tailor their experience to suit them.

For example, if you have stores across the city, you could dynamically update emails to customers with the details of the store closest to them based on their postcode.

While most of these trends are not new on the market, we do think they’re going to get a lot of airtime this year. So how do you think you could incorporate some of these things into your marketing strategy? If you’d like some help figuring out where to start, we’re here to help as your partner in marketing. Just get in touch to book your free initial consultation and we can work out what digital marketing activities are best suited to your business.