In the continuously changing landscape of digital marketing new trends are always emerging. Marketers need to be constantly examining the future of digital marketing and be on the lookout for new emerging trends and strategies.
Equally important, they need to ensure their businesses become more human-friendly and relevant as well as provide seamless and coherent online and offline experiences.
With that said, here are the top 7 trends to focus on in 2018.
1. Augmented reality
Another area that’s at the forefront of the future of digital marketing discussion is Augmented reality (AR) – as it’s starting to become more mainstream in the last few months. Marketers are trying to create a seamless interface between real life and the digital realm. Social media will be a key driver, offering more and more opportunities to overlay digital information onto the viewer’s physical environment. Mobile devices will allow marketers to bring a lot more consumers face to face with this unique and interactive marketing. Although an exciting area for marketers, Rani Arsanios warns us of the expense of this as part of a digital marketing strategy. This is an area to watch but invest in carefully. That said the future of AR looks lucrative. Carolanne Mangles claims the projection for AR revenue by 2020 to outweigh virtual reality (VR) by $120 billion.
2. Customer experience marketing
Customers should be at the core of every piece of digital marketing. Their experience is key to gaining brand loyalists. Customers expect to receive a personalised service throughout their experience with a brand. Every interaction should be personalised. Generic communications to large databases will become a thing of the past. With this high expectation for the perfect experience also comes the need for increased transparency. Customers search online for information about an organisation in order to make an informed decision. Rani Arsanios tells us that the key to successful customer experience is nurturing customers through the whole process. Consumers need to feel like they’re dealing with an individual, not a company. Adverts will also become more targeted with a particular purpose in mind that creates a positive experience for target audiences. All marketing should aim to have a human element to see continued success.
3. Content marketing
Content marketing is on the rise again this year. Consumers prefer to learn about businesses through articles rather than adverts. Rani Arsanios has always believed that content marketing is more than just stating facts. Your brand story represents a powerful medium to gain followers and convert customers. In 2018 content marketing will evolve as the increase in voice searching creates the need to present information in a digestible format. Content needs to be more interactive; blogs alone will no longer suffice. Content marketing strategies will need to focus on video and interactive tutorials to reach the multi-tasking digital audience.
4. Professional live video
With the increase in demand for quickly digestible content comes the increase in video content as an integrated part of marketing strategy. We lead increasingly busy lives and, in turn, have less attention span at any given moment. Video provides the opportunity to increase engagement and boost search engine rankings if optimised for mobile. More than this, live video is on the increase across social media channels. Customers expect to see snapshots that are a true reflection of a brand; transparency is expected at all times. According to Isabella Anderson of Social Media Today, 80% of users say they’d rather watch a live video than read a blog post. This highlights the importance of high-quality live video to compete on social channels.
5. Customer-centric metrics
Metrics to measure the success of our digital advertising campaigns are changing alongside the marketing landscape. Rani Arasnios claims that with customers at the centre of our strategies it only makes sense for them to be at the centre of our success metrics. The focus is changing to cost per experiment, which combines old metrics to measure actual outcomes rather than just clicks or impressions. These metrics allow a true understanding of how campaigns affect the customer journey. Data shows where customers are at every step of the journey and allows marketers to reach and influence them along the way.
6. Conversational user interfaces
The development of artificial intelligence (AI) has seen the rise of voice marketing. Chatbots create a more natural conversation interface that allows brands to seem more human. Consumers are getting used to using and trusting these non-traditional sources for their information and insights. On the flipside of this consumers are also using voice searches more. Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai revealed during his Google I/O keynote that 20% of its mobile searches are voice searches. To optimise search keyword strategies need to be more conversational to try to imitate how people talk.
7. Strategic advertising
Advertising needs to become more strategic to harness the changes in the digital landscape. Social media channels now have their own TV series’ and adverts on this medium are going to start taking precedence. Social media itself is making it harder for businesses to reach their audiences due to constant changes in algorithms. Rani Arsanios suggests that social media plans need to be actionable and constantly responsive to change. Hyperlocal digital marketing will continue to soar allowing businesses to more accurately meet the immediate needs of their audience. The use of native language will play an important part in this local level advertising.
2018 looks set to be a challenging yet exciting year for digital marketers. Marketing strategies need to focus on customer experience whilst harnessing the developing technologies, which will guide these experiences. On top of this, Rani Arsanios suggests that we start to concentrate our efforts on marketing to Generation Z. This audience is the most digitally engaged yet and will soon account for a large percentage of consumers.