Digital marketing is always evolving in line with consumer tastes, technology and social change. What was popular last year may well be banished to the annals of history the next. To stay ahead of the game and provide your clients with digital campaigns, you need to know what these trends are in advance.
Here are seven of the most important trends that are sure to play a big role in the marketing industry during 2018 and beyond.
1. Personalized Content
Consumers are now demanding more information than ever from brands and corporations. There is a huge amount of white noise online these days, and consumers are used to skimming across web pages and social media timelines in search of what they need. Websites, in particular, need to take visitors on a very personal journey. A one-size-fits-all approach to marketing will no longer suffice.
According to comScore, around 69 percent of engagement across digital media happens via mobile advertising. As a result, expect to see apps such as Facebook Messenger, iMessage and Whatsapp being utilized to deliver personalized content to target consumer groups.
2018 will be the year of dynamically rich content. Depending on the location, web habits and demographic details of the consumer, the marketing message will be personalized in a way that resonates with the individual.
2. Omni-Channel Marketing
In previous years, multi-channel marketing was one of the most powerful trends in the industry. In 2018, however, omni-channel marketing will take center stage. This relatively new term refers to the integrated shopping experience given to the consumer. People can now buy their services and products across desktop, mobile, phone and brick-and-mortar stores. While the multi-channel experience was siloed, with the online store and brick-and-mortar operating independently, the omni-channel experience is consistent across environments.
The potential for this area of digital marketing is huge. For example, a customer might sign up for email and text updates while they're in a brick-and-mortar store. That person may receive details of a special offer a few days later, and then be asked to visit the website for more information. Omni-channel marketing is about bringing every platform together – in both the digital and real world – to give the consumer a fluid, seamless experience.
3. Google AMP
Google AMP has become incredibly popular among leading news websites since its launch in 2015. This mobile technology can make mobile websites much faster -- improving the experience for the customer and reducing bounce rates. In return for implementing AMP, websites are offered the chance to receive preferential exposure on a "Top News" carousel at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs).
The move toward AMP is going to continue at breakneck speed during 2018. Events Ticket Center converted the vast majority of their pages to AMP. As a result, bounce rates dropped by 10 percent, pages per session increased by 6 percent and session duration increased by 13 percent.
4. Outstream Video
Outstream video is already here, and the chances are you've already seen it many times. It works by opening up a native video player when the user scrolls down a page to a certain point. Most commonly, outstream video pops up in the middle of text.
This digital marketing tool is going to be very big in 2018. For advertisers, it provides an impactful way of grabbing the user's attention, as well as an alternative to the kind of content-led ads used by Facebook and YouTube on the Google Display Network.
5. Remarketing Ads
Remarketing ads are those that are displayed to users once they've left a website. For example, imagine you'd landed on a motorbike website an hour earlier. You may have browsed for a while without actually buying anything. An ad for that website will pop up somewhere else in your browser to remind you of what you're missing out on.
Consumers are increasingly discerning in the marketplace these days, and they're more likely to shop around for the best deals than ever before. Remarketing gives your ad campaigns a second chance to entice consumers to buy or sign up.
Bonus: Check out these 10 remarketing tactics for guaranteed success
6. Live Video
Facebook Live could be a real game-changer in 2018. According to Social Media Today, consumers spend 300 percent more time (or three times as much) watching live content than pre-recorded video. And around 82 percent of consumers in a recent survey said they prefer live video events over standard content.
Perhaps the most powerful aspect of live video for marketing is the ability to give consumers direct control over content. Using the comments section of video feeds, marketers can ask for feedback and questions, and tailor the presentation accordingly.
7. Online Communities
There's nothing new about online communities in the world of marketing, but the principles are slowly evolving. 2018 will be the year of user-created content. Rather than simply asking people to comment and share, marketers will be asking consumers to make videos, write reviews and take photos. This content can be used to create marketing narratives that people can relate to.
You should also expect to see an increase in the number of vloggers and bloggers being asked to create content. The most successful writers have huge followings, and they wield huge influence in their own communities. Marketers and businesses will leverage this influence more than ever before. For example, Neil Patel is an authoritative voice in the digital marketing space.
Digital marketing is approaching a new and exciting era of interactivity, live video and consumer content. Whether you're a marketer or a business leader, you need to be ahead of the digital marketing curve if you're to beat the competition.