We’re ten years into the great social media experiment and 2017 was the year we saw Facebook hit the 2 billion user mark, the proliferation of real-time video across social platforms and the continuing email renaissance. With 2018 coming up fast, what better time to reflect on the past year, dust off the crystal ball, and predict the digital marketing trends for 2018.
We know that Google is going to continue to emphasize the importance of mobile in 2018 so expect to see function taking precedence over form through a focus on usability and minimalist site design.
Will 2018 be the year when small businesses finally catch up? 50% of small businesses still don’t have a website; we’re hoping this new year will be the one the laggards finally catch up. It is interesting that social media adoption for small business is much higher (90%) than website adoption. This preference for social media is likely because of a low barrier to entry. However, it is important to consider that you don’t own your Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter pages (or any other social media presence you might have), the social media company owns it. What happens if they switch directions or go out of business? A website belongs to your business, not to a third party.
Artificial Intelligence is going to be everywhere in 2018 too, as enhancements make Chatbots better and better at answering questions and simulating conversations with website visitors.
Don’t let anyone tell you that keyword research is no longer important. It is and will continue to be, but there will be a shift in 2018 to focus more on semantic search, buyer intent and topics, rather than specific keywords. SEOs will focus more on having their site show up at the right time when people are actually considering a purchase, rather than having the site show up to attract particular personas.
The email renaissance will continue in 2018. Get ready to watch videos embedded directly in email campaigns. Technological enhancements in email clients will continue to lead to more and more email apps that support embedded video.
2017 was the year of streaming video in social media; LinkedIn and Twitter followed Facebook Live’s lead and began supporting live streaming video content. In 2018, watch out for growing adoption of these technologies and more creative live streams.
In 2018 we will also see the increased adoption of short-lived content, content that’s only available for a short period of time before it disappears, like Instagram stories and Snapchat. Marketers must start developing strategies to maximize the reach and impact of ephemeral content as well as considering tactics to get this content noticed.
Social media analytics, measuring tools and management solution will become more sophisticated in 2018 with an emphasis on enterprise social marketing integrating all platforms.
How Marketing Strategies Will Evolve in 2018
I am going to go out on a limb here and predict that 2018 will be the year that our obsession with all things digital and only digital will end. It’s also going to be the year we’re going to start calling our discipline marketing again (rather than digital). Marketing in 2018 will encompass all aspects of the marketing mix, both online and off, and marketers will use the means most likely to help them attract their target audience.
2018 is going to be an interesting year where technological advancements will continue to speed up. To be effective as marketers, it’s going to be important not simply to jump on the bandwagon of the next big thing but to consider your options strategically and with your target audience in mind (rather than being product or service-centric). That said, video popularity has been growing year over year and won’t stop. Cisco predicted that video will account for 80% of internet traffic by 2020. So, if you do nothing else, consider how you might incorporate video into your digital marketing approach in 2018.
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