In 2017, the digital marketing landscape built itself around video ads, mobile optimization, big data, dedicated apps, SEO audits, high-quality content, and smart machines. An eventful year, indeed!
As we approach the back half of 2018, let’s take a look at the digital marketing trends that are having an influence on this year and beyond.
#1. AI taking center-stage
I say AI, and you go ‘meh!’. Because Artificial Intelligence is already everywhere, right?
Well, think on a grander scale.
Assistant, Siri, customer service chatbots – you encounter AI on a regular basis. But it’s the business, the backend, that has much yet to explore.
We’ll see more companies primarily use AI for trend analysis and consumer profiling. You’ll connect better with customers, targeting will be precise, and you’ll be able to shoot emails faster, offering an abundance of accurate and relevant options to the customer.
Plus, you could embed AI directly into your platform, something we’ve glimpsed with IBM Watson and Salesforce Einstein already.
#2. Video marketing continues to rise
A Visual Networking Index report predicts that video content will take over 80% of the entire internet traffic by 2019. With 63% of businesses that actively use videos for marketing motives, the trend isn’t going to peak or die anytime soon.
What may change is the nature and length of these videos.
Despite this fluctuating nature of viewer inclination based on video length, style, and structure, the 92% of mobile video viewers who share them with others makes for a convincing argument in favor of video marketing.
#3 & #4. The Internet of Things (IoT) and Analytics
In the last year, the IoT network expanded by more than 30%. And this network, as it grows, will bring in lots of data and churn it to reveal information.
Why I haven’t put down IoT and Analytics as two separate entities in this list is because it’s their collaboration that’s promising and which we’ll be seeing more of.
As IoT works to generate information, the functionality of complex units, like manufacturing, healthcare, etc., will gain efficiency. In fact, from managing retail expenses to planning cities – IoT and analytics, when working together, can create business insights at levels we’ve never reached before.
#5. Mobile marketing maintains its mantle
Mobile optimization was the priority for digital marketers in 2017. Now, this year, Google let loose the mobile-first algorithm.
What does it mean for you? Optimization and being mobile-friendly won’t be enough anymore.
Google will primarily index the mobile version of your website and rank the results. Whether a viewer visits your website on a desktop or a handheld device, the structure and SEO quality of your mobile-layout will matter above all.
Now, add to that the $143 billion estimated expense in 2017 on mobile ads and the 69% digital media time which users spend on mobile, and you have your reasons to include mobile marketing in your strategy.
#6. VR is out, AR is in (or so it seems)
This isn’t a good time to bet on either VR or AR.
2016 was expected to deliver $3.8 billion and $0.6 billion in VR/AR revenue. VR only brought around $2.7 billion and AR, credits to Pokemon GO, jumped to $1.2 billion.
2017 showed us how it looked like AR was going to grow at a faster pace than VR. In 2018 and beyond, they both have good growth chances. The fight is for people’s attention.
Apple’s moving to develop AR. With its ARKit, virtual viewing could dramatically shift from VR to AR.
#7. Content marketing embraces personalized experiences
IOT, smart speakers, the need to engage – it all has lead to content being lifted off the screen. Not just through an apposite post, but you can also use interactions with chatbots and virtual assistants to define consumer experience.
Although, the fact that most marketing attempts grow on the soil of original, engaging, educational, and value-imparting content won’t change.
However, visual content is rising. And there are as many content formats as distribution channels, so prioritizing one is hard to predict at present.
But, what you and I will agree over, I believe, is that personalized, targeted, and high-value content will remain key to content success. In fact, 94% of senior-level executives consider content-personalization critical for customer targeting, says PWC’s Digital Services Group report.
#8. SEO and content continue their close relationship
SEO and content, as per 97% of digital marketers surveyed by BrightEdge, are more integrated now. In fact, 52% of marketers also agree that a fluent SEO strategy helps long-term marketing content.
What’s more, the Mobile-first Google Algorithm will introduce new parameters to the website audit checklist. The increasing use of digital assistants and voice search will lead to an enhanced focus on long-tail keywords and a frequent familiarity with the conversational language.
#9. Dark social is not ignorable anymore
Many people share more URL-based articles/pictures/memes etc. using one-on-one mediums than they do on social media. And these dark social practices make up around 69% to 84% of outbound sharing, says a RadiumOne report.
Dark social offers you an excellent marketing opportunity. It reaches a demographic that often isn’t available or not entirely reachable via other social mediums. If you could get through to this audience, your social media ROI will benefit greatly.
#10. The blockchain is about more than just Cryptocurrencies
Blockchain tech secures economic transactions cryptographically. It’s aimed at improving efficiency. And as it advances and marketers try it out, it could play a significant role in digital advertising.
Publishers could create a list of safe, reliable advertising environments using blockchain. Influencers agreements could be fulfilled via automatic remuneration released as soon as an influencer reaches the agreed number of shares/likes.
But, if you plan to use blockchain tech, be sure you understand how it could be useful in your specific case.
Keep an eye out for more digital marketing trends
As is the ritual, the digital marketing landscape brandishes old trends while it presents new opportunities every other year.
Predicting digital marketing trends on the dot is pretty unlikely. Getting an idea of what’s ahead, not so much. So, stick around! You may spot a plan for the blueprint for your next digital marketing strategy.
Guest author: Abhishek Mohanty is the Marketing specialist for ReportGarden, a marketing agency software for management and reporting. Follow @ onTwitter.