Digital marketing predictions for 2018
This post is one of my few ‘grown up’ posts, if you follow me on Facebook you’ll know i’m all about the humour and candid, this one is a serious one so listen up and get your note book out.
April already with no dramatic changes in the digital world, I guess we’re all busy scaring ourselves with GDPR. Life beyond GDPR gives us much to consider, it’s going to be a great techy year and it’s vital marketing campaigns are prepared, afterall there are no excuses, we have so much data available to us that teaches us what direction our marketing campaigns need to take.
The continued rise of Big Data and Artificial Intelligence
Arguably two of the biggest talking points of 2017, Big Data and AI will certainly remain firmly on the table throughout 2018. The key here, however, is that the space between those businesses utilising them well and those who do not have a grasp on the unique benefits they hold will continue to increase.
Technology will never remove the need for businesses to maintain a comprehensive understanding of their audience, which is why successfully utilising every available tool to garner every available piece of audience-related knowledge is imperative, to build a strategy that will ensure your business remains one step ahead of your competition.
Providing an experience audiences want to engage with
Creating content which provides a valuable and engaging experience that audiences are genuinely interested in is almost certain to become the next battleground for businesses to conquer. Audiences no longer want to be talked at, but instead, they want to feel as though they are part of the content they are consuming, and that it is coming from businesses that can demonstrate a more intricate understanding of their specific wants and needs.
It can often be all too easy to fill data reports with superfluous information that either fails to communicate the whole picture or is simply irrelevant to the particular set of objectives a business is currently pursuing.
By focusing more closely on developing strategies which are specifically driven by clearly set out data, key business objectives will be underpinned by clear and measurable metrics which will contain an inherent ability to demonstrate value and the ability to contribute meaningfully to the business.
While the ultimate goal of digital marketing – that is, understanding, reaching, and connecting with an ideal audience – will remain largely the same, the ways in which those goals are achieved are going to have to shift slightly. The only way to ensure that messages are successfully delivered to the right people is with a strategy that has a strong audience-first focus.
This will require responsive digital budgets which have not been immediately allocated to specific channels, and budget managers will need to remain consistently at the top of their game to channel resources appropriately.
Increased video budgets
We have seen a continual shift towards video for several years and 2018 is looking set to be no exception to this trend. Google has clearly been investing in the commercial business-focused side of YouTube, and so it will be interesting to see the steps it chooses to take to ensure brands find the platform easier to create, curate, and promote their content.
Shoppable video is something that is widely noted to have been vastly underused throughout 2017 and so it is likely that this is a video format that will gain a considerable amount of traction very soon.
An increased number of brands are predicted to be working on their own content creation strategies, with a number of others looking to become lead sponsors of content solely in the digital sphere.
The Amazon effect
As Amazon has invested heavily in services which provide added value to its already dominant business model, including Amazon Lockers, Amazon Prime, and Amazon Grocery, its customer loyalty only looks set to increase.
E-commerce businesses, especially, will find it necessary to adapt to these increasingly difficult conditions, because while many users may demonstrate a desire to engage with their content, they might ultimately end up opting to purchase from a retailer operating through Amazon, simply because it is convenient.
As 40% of adults and 55% of teenagers utilised voice search technologies throughout 2017, it is likely that these numbers will grow significantly throughout 2018, and this will undoubtedly affect the implementation of content and keyword research strategies.
Instagram marketing and personalised Facebook ads are likely to become an increased priority for many digital marketers, as micro-targeting becomes a more integral component of a multi-layered marketing approach.
Delivering basic advertisements to users in accordance with certain keywords will gradually be phased out in favour of a more personalised approach. Advertisements will need to be appropriately tailored, meet specific needs, and be delivered at the appropriate time within the customer journey. Audience lists will therefore become a more integral tool for agencies and a level of creativity will be required to effectively target the right audiences for every brand.
Strategies which rely on the creation of articles targeting previously identified low-competition and high-volume keywords are now looking slightly dated and their effectiveness is questionable. 2018 is looking like it is going to be the year for long-form content, particularly 1,000+ word articles, which will require an increased amount of planning and research to tackle larger subjects and themes. This will form part of a wider approach to place audiences firmly at the centre of every creation, with the ultimate aim of delivering increased value and therefore boosting engagement and securing more social shares.