9 New Digital Marketing Trends for 2018
Are you up to date on the latest digital marketing trends?
With each new year, you need new strategies to stay on top of the digital marketing game. If you fall behind, it’s hard to catch up – the competition will already be moving ahead.
I’ve put together this guide to make sure you stay up to date on the latest in the digital marketing world. Ready to learn what 2018’s top trends are, and why they matter? Keep reading to find out more.
Why Digital Marketing Matters
Wondering why it’s so important to keep up with digital marketing trends?
The reality is that if you want to run a successful business, digital marketing is a necessity. Before diving into the top trends of this year, let’s talk about why digital marketing needs to be a part of your business strategy.
What is Digital Marketing?
Chances are good that you’ve heard the term “digital marketing” before, but may not yet know quite what it means.
Digital marketing is tricky to define since it’s a broad term for a broad concept. However, digital marketing basically refers to all the ways a business can connect with potential customers online.
This can involve a lot of different tactics. Digital marketing may include (but isn’t limited to) the following:
- Company site
- Social media pages
- Online content (photos, videos, blog posts)
- Email communications
- Online ads
- Apps and games
- SEO strategies
Why does digital marketing matter? Here are a few top reasons why digital marketing is so important.
1. Helps With Branding
It’s not enough to just sell good products anymore. Today’s customers are all about branding and brand stories. You need to be able to share your brand with people to get them committed to your company and its vision, and digital marketing is the best way to do it.
On your company website, you can give a clear message about what you stand for. Customers love information about a company’s philosophy, origin story, and staff.
Through sharing videos, photos, and posts on social media and on the site, you can refine that message and keep customers invested in the story. Digital marketing helps customers feel like they can get to know your company.
2. Increases Visibility
Simply getting your company in front of potential customer’s eyes is easier said than done. But thanks to digital marketing, you can increase your company’s visibility at a relatively low cost.
Without digital marketing, you will only be able to connect with a limited number of customers. Putting your brand online allows many more people to discover what your company has to offer.
3. Builds Community
Businesses do better when they have a strong network. Digital marketing helps you connect with other people and brands that can turn into valuable partnerships.
This also helps build community and relationships with your customers. Through shares, likes, and comments, you can interact directly with clients and potential clients, and they can share your brand with their online circles.
5. Provides Information
With digital marketing, you can build a valuable pool of data that are useful in making future decisions for your business.
You’ll have a trail of analytics that lets you see who is visiting your site, when, and from where. You can easily see which content gets the most responses, and when it’s the best time to post new things.
With this information, you can strategize how to best connect with your customers in the future. This allows you to grow your business without wasting time trying things that won’t work.
2018’s Top Digital Marketing Trends
Now that you know why digital marketing is so important for your company, let’s take a look at the latest digital marketing trends.
In the online world, things move fast, and it’s easy to get left behind. Digital marketing is only as good as the tactics you use. Make sure to follow these trends to stay on the cutting edge of competition.
1. Shifting Away from Influencers
Right now, many companies are putting lots of money toward digital influencers. However, not all of those influencers are successfully promoting products.
This year, companies will start to focus less on influencers in general, and more on those few that get results. Some people are great at getting results, while others are just on the bandwagon.
Brands will start to recognize that awareness of a product doesn’t always translate into sales, and adjust strategies accordingly. If you’ve been putting money toward digital influencers, it’s time to take a close look at the numbers and decide if it’s really worth it.
2. Augmented Reality
Although the name sounds a bit creepy, augmented reality is already a common practice in digital marketing, and it’s not as bizarre as it may sound.
Augmented reality uses digital input to “augment” a user’s experience of reality. Just think of Pokemon Go, the popular app that shows gameplay against a real-world backdrop.
AR doesn’t have to be nefarious: it’s typically straightforward and fun for users. As apps and devices become more responsive and “smart,” AR is poised to become an important part of digital marketing. For example, a brand’s app could trigger sponsored AR content to appear when customers are near one of their stores.
3. Better Use of Data
As digital data is used by different brands, ways to use it more effectively are always being discovered. One of 2018’s top digital marketing trends is sure to be companies using data to better understand the customer journey.
“Customer journey” refers to the steps the customer goes through before making a purchase. Data will be used to track exactly what each step along that path looks like, making it easier for brands to push people toward making a purchase.
4. Stronger Targeted Ads
Targeted ads strive to get the attention of today’s customer, which can be a real challenge. Modern customers are good at filtering out anything that looks like traditional advertising and responds best to creativity and storytelling.
In 2018, targeted ads are going to become more refined and more effective at getting attention from these customers. Ads will become even more targeted to specific populations at specific places and times.
5. Higher-Quality Live Videos
Live video has become a huge part of digital marketing, especially since Facebook rolled out its “Live” feature. Customers love the raw, real-world feel of a live video.
However, this technology has been out long enough for brands to figure out how to use it strategically. One of those strategies is going to be creating higher-quality, professional live videos.
Live videos aren’t so great when they’re plagued by problems like noise, bad lighting, and shaky camera work. Adding professionalism means customers will still get the authentic experience of a live video with none of the drawbacks.
6. Automated Conversation
Siri, Alexa, and other automated conversationalists are now firmly out of the uncanny valley and a normal part of people’s lives.
It’s now easier than ever to create an automated conversation that is helpful and realistic. One of the latest digital marketing trends involves brands harnessing the power of automated conversation to interact with customers.
The conversation has been a natural way for brands to interact with customers since people first started selling things. However, paying customer service representatives to be on-staff can get expensive, especially when brands want to offer round-the-clock service.
Automated chats and phone calls can help meet customers’ needs cheaply and effectively. Expect to see a lot more use of this strategy in the future.
7. Increased Personalization
Many current digital marketing trends, like targeted ads, show that customers respond well to personalization. This year, the level personalization will only increase.
Brands might try personalized email newsletters instead of generalized email blasts, for example. The more targeted and personalized each interaction with a potential customer is, the more likely it is to translate into a sale.
8. Integrating Digital and Non-Digital Worlds
As tactics like augmented reality hint, the future of digital marketing trends involve combining the digital world with the “real world.”
Digital marketing shouldn’t feel like something that happens separately from a customer’s real life. In the future, brands are going to use online media to supplement in-person experience their customers have with their products, and vice-versa.
9. Use of Natural Speech Patterns
Today, more people are using voice-to-text to search for things online. The more companies learn to use natural speech patterns to their advantage, the better success they will have.
This includes things like using algorithms to predict what people will search for using voice, and how they will phrase it. People tend to say things differently out loud than they do via text. The better brands can understand that difference, the more they can use it to their advantage.
Which Digital Marketing Trends Will You Try?
Don’t wait to see how these top digital marketing trends play out. Get ahead of the game by working some – or all – of them into your marketing strategy now.
Digital marketing will never be a static industry. A year from now, there will be a new set of trends to look at. However, those trends build on each other, so you’ll want to make sure to jump on board with the latest trends now in order to be prepared for the future.
Of course, most small companies may not have the resources to tackle digital marketing alone. Need help staying on top of the trends? Contact us today!