Top Digital Marketing Trends and Tips for 2018

Marketers, is there anything else more fulfilling than edging out your competition? We don’t need to go beyond the nods, do we?

Unfortunately, you have to work at being the best marketer. You must understand your market needs, the changes affecting your audience’s purchase patterns, and, you also have to determine the best way of meeting the needs of your market despite the changes? How do you do this? Edging out your competition and staying on top of the game means that you have to analyze trends. The only way to meet the needs of your customers is preparedness, which is crucial to a grade 9 math tutor as well.

Preparedness starts from the analysis of past trends and using the information gained to make plans for the future, and also to predict the changes expected in future. Once you have all these figured out, you can set and implement the goals you have for the year. Otherwise, you will be the last to jump the bandwagon, and you will miss out on every big opportunity foreseen by other marketers. As you kick off 2018, which are the trends and tips you need to incorporate into your digital marketing strategy? Do you have what you need to win big through social media, email marketing, and for your site/ web pages to rank highly in search engine result pages?

You may have great ideas yet, but, here is a fool-proof guide to successful digital marketing in 2018. Keep reading for details on the trends to help you gain a competitive advantage over your competition:

  1. Live video streaming

You have social media to thank for the live video trend which has revolutionalized the way you share content and sell products and services. Live streaming is replacing pictures and videos because of one thing – time. Consumers prefer being part of actions taking place at present rather than having to read about it all on your blog. Studies put the percentage of consumers in support of live streamed content at 80 percent. Also, it is shown ah more than 67 percent of people are more likely to purchase tickets to events after watching previous live streams. This is all because most consumers have a great fear of missing out. Social media sites like Snapchat or Instagram, or even twitter are the best channels to stream your content from.

If you are unsure of where to begin, go to Snapchat. First, Snapchat is big for Generation Z. Secondly, the fear of missing out (FOMO) is real on Snapchat. You should, therefore, reconsider your thoughts against putting your brand before a camera. You should also invest in ephemeral content which describes the short-lived content.Besides FOMO, live streaming of videos increase your reach and sales because you catch the attention of serious customers – they have to spare their precious time to check out the live stream. Therefore, it should be important. Even though the streamed videos will still be available for viewing later on, you need to think of live streaming as an exceptional opportunity to answer questions posed by your viewers. Responding to questions instantly gives your customers a sense of belonging.

  1. Behavioral Marketing and AI

AI gained traction in 2017, but it is expected to grow bigger in 2018. So far, big data has improved your business performance by giving you crucial information on the site’s usage, search history, browsing patterns and content use/ preference. This information is important as it guides you in preparing the ideal customer profiles as well as behaviors which shape your marketing strategies.

To implement your strategies, you will find that the use of AI and machines is invaluable. AI also means reliance, and to a bigger extent, over-reliance on a machine for analysis of raw marketing data plus building segments and even running campaigns across different platforms. While this sounds like living the dream, you have to ensure that there is a favorable gelling of humans and AI. This means that despite the efficiency of employing AI, you should keep your focus on being human, creating relevant and helpful content. With Facebook’s release of predictive analytics to help you find insights faster and the development of visual rather than keyword-specific search engines, you can expect a future that redefines searches increasing sales.

You can incorporate AI in areas of business like:

  • Customer care – chatbots are taking over social media communications for most companies and customers are happy with the performance of the companies. Since these bots can hold human conversations with your customers, you should not be too late adopting this technology, especially if your response time is low. Chatbots also help in building better relationships with your customers.
  • Social commerce – this involves the use if AI to help customers research and even complete the purchase process easier.
  • Analytics – the use of AI for analytics will reduce the time you normally use for manual reporting and, you will also get your insights faster.
  1. Rise of Peer Influencers

If you have been keen on digital marketing trends, you know that consumer trust for brands reached an all-time low in 2017. There is a deep erosion of trust in mainstream institutions, and the mistrust has affected consumers and businesses. With the rise in mistrust, consumers are forced to trust each other or people who share similar interests. Those people trusted by customers are influencers – the window to the hearts of consumers. You need to invest in micro-influencers, customer advocates, as well as engaged employees.

This is what you need to know about the world of social media influencers and brand ambassadors – there are celebrities, macro influencers, middle influencers, and micro influencers (Over 1M followers, 500k – 1M followers, 100k-500k followers, and 1k-100k followers, respectively. Reaching out to micro influencers is important because these micro influencers are much more relatable. Even though celebrities have millions of followers, they aren’t relatable, and because your biggest market is of the average consumers, you should invest in more micro influencers. You will also spend more on micro influencers compared to the macro influencers, and the reach will be high.

  1. Advertising formats to go around Ad Blocking Technology

Even though you need ads to gain traction to your website, they are annoying, don’t you think? Perhaps you even use ad blockers on your computer! With more than 100m US consumers predicted to be using ad blockers by 2020, how do you avoid the loss of over $12 billion in ad revenue by 2020? Unfortunately, you cannot depend on Google which is working on a Chrome tool expected to automatically mute videos. As a marketer, you already know that this isn’t the best move. As a result, some brands are getting around the use of ad blockers by using the smart advertising platforms like Facebook – these brands can disable ad blocking on their sites allowing people to see their content. At the same time, brands are shifting their advertisements to other platforms.

One of the biggest advertising platforms is YouTube which is growing significantly, attracting a new audience base. If your target audience consists of kids aged between 6 and 12 years, then you should consider advertising on YouTube Kids which comes with parental controls, time limits and content preferences. This is a great platform to direct your marketing efforts since many parents are shifting from expensive cable. If you are willing to use streaming ads to reach your target audience, then you should leverage the power of YouTube. Other platforms include Hulu, Amazon Video, and Netflix. Even though Netflix is technically an ad-free site, there are numerous product placements taking place through the streaming site. Despite sites gagging ads, Accenture could be the company that lets you earn from ads. The company is working on a product placement technology, a possible billion-dollar revenue generator addressing the issue of ad blocking technologies. The solution which is expected to be AI-Driven is expected to quickly sale, place, and even personalize product logos and product appearing in related content.

  1. Privacy protection measures

As a brand marketer in the United Kingdom and beyond, you have to comply with the new regulations, especially the new European Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which is expected to redefine online privacy measures for all organizations. Some of the rules you will have to comply with include the permanent erasure of customer information through restrictions on data collection policies for marketing purposes and the right to erasure. This is all because of the massive breaches which had a significant impact on customers from many parts of the world. Customers have been forced to rethink their online security and privacy. With customers becoming more conscious, only working with the companies that offer the assurance of the protection of their private information, you have no option but to comply with the set privacy requirements. You need to start thinking about data protection from your customers as an avenue for a value proposition.

  1. Deep Focus on Content Marketing

Content marketing remains the most important element of digital marketing, and you should leverage it to get ahead in business. Over the past few years, you have heard and read about how you need to use content to gain more traffic to your site and for a high ranking on search engine result pages. This doesn’t change in 2018. You need to invest in high-quality, useful and relevant content for high ranking. An important consideration would be the use of ephemeral/ short-lived content to communicate to your audience better and for you to share the kind of information that remains relevant for a short time.

  1. Mobile use for increased use and performance of social TV

With an increase in the consumption of video content, you need to consider turning into a publisher or, you can become a producer and broadcaster of mobile TV and social media-TV-style advertisement. For this to work, you need to determine the best way to combine search engine optimization with solutions like Facebook Live. With your live broadcast completed, your Facebook videos will be indexed by Google, and the high-volume target keywords which you must include in the video’s text summary picked up by Google bots.

  1. Facebook Video Ads

With social media changing quickly, every brand is doing the best it can to leverage its audience in social media. Unfortunately, the audience on different social media platforms is often shared, and so, you need to be more aggressive with your marketing tactics. With your competition using these ideas, how do you beat them? First, you need to be aware of the fact that Facebook is a good source of revenue but, you have effective strategies to tap into the market. With an increase in paid advertising on Facebook, amid changes in what appears on your newsfeed, you need to create exception videos. Some tips for creating Facebook ads are given here.

Video ads are on the rise in Facebook because they help in engaging customers and driving sales in the process.

Here are some of the things you should do to make the most out of Facebook video ads:

  1. Include captions for your videos. Since Facebook autoplay videos on the newsfeed, you need to ensure that you have captions to be used when the video plays with no sound.
  2. Compelling offers – you have to create irresistible offers. Above that, you need to track your links using the UTM codes to know if the video is effective or not.
  3. Quality – top-quality content should be the only content you churn our if you wish to attract your followers and sell your products or services.
  1. Consumer Personalization

Besides enhancing data protection and complying with data protection policies, you need to personalize your customer’s shopping experiences to increase sales and engagement. The best personalization strategy entails encouraging your customers to create personal profiles on your website. Besides making customers happy, you will also learn your customer’s habits, and you can give them offers based on their browsing profiles plus their browsing and purchase patterns. With the information gained, you will realize how easy it is to target current customers than acquire new customers. Personalization enables upselling and cross-selling. You also need to focus on email personalization.

Other trends

  • If you’re in B2B marketing channel your efforts to Linked In,
  • Live Chats
  • User-generated content
  • Rise of virtual reality and augmented reality
  • Cross-device marketing
  • Focus on Generation Z
  • Use of mobile payments