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5 key Digital Marketing trends for 2018, and what they mean for you

The search phrase “2018 digital marketing trends” returns more than 7 million results in 0.3 seconds when you type it into Google. And still more are being released as you read this very article. To save you the time and hassle, we’ve scoured as many of them as we can to highlight the five most prominent digital marketing trends on the horizon, and then translated them into what they mean for you.

5 digital marketing trends

01. MASTER THE MICRO MOMENT

Micro moments make up our lives – those small moments that happen each second, every day. Most of these involve a small device – your mobile phone.

While we can’t control the small moments, as digital marketers, we can control a lot of what happens on the small device. We can use these devices to drive consumer decisions and shape behaviour.

When we have a question or need to solve a problem – no matter how simple or complicated – the first thing we do is pick up our phones. In fact, according to a study conducted by Think with Google, 96% of people use a smartphone (i.e. mobile) to get things done.

What this means for you?

Start thinking about anticipating a wider array of micro moments and need states from your customer’s side, rather than just ‘selling’ something. Ask yourself, what is driving the need? – is it fear, budget, convenience or simplicity… you get the picture, and then package the most effective solutions accordingly.

Use real-time user behaviour and data to inform your decisions, and anticipate the users next move. When we master these micro moments we’ll have a strong handle on the macro picture.

02. MOBILE INFLUENCERS

Yes, influencers were everything in 2017 and the concept is certainly not dead. While brand influencers like Suzelle DIY or Katlego Maboe will always remain the foundation for any human-to-human brand interaction, 2018 will see the rise of the mobile influencer.

Why the mobile influencer (and not a micro or brand influencer)? Because mobile – as discussed above – is the driver. It’s the driver for micro moments, it’s the driver of data (see below) and it’s what connects companies to users in the digital space.

With mobile influencer marketing, you don’t have to spend millions getting users to create content for your brand. 30% of consumers are more likely to buy a product recommended by a non-celebrity blogger. (Maddy Osman, The Blogsmith) Click To Tweet

What this means for you?

Of course you still need to focus on the big promotional punts and tactical campaigns. But you also need to interrogate all the many, little interactions your consumers have with you, across all touchpoints. Make sure that your brand consistently delights everyday customers so much so that they want to talk about it, and endorse your brand over your competitors by sharing a personal experience that brings your brand promise to life.

03. DATA IS STILL THE DRIVER, BUT IT JUST GOT BIGGER

“I think people who can find ways to really utilise artificial intelligence to their advances for marketing can make a big difference in 2018. Artificial intelligence can provide high-end data and information on your customers,… Click To Tweet

Big data, previously only available to big companies with even bigger budgets, will become more accessible for small-to medium-sized companies. According to McKinsey research, companies that make extensive use of customer analytics see a 126% profit improvement over their competitors (Lucas Miller, The Next Web).

What this means for you?

With digital, the beauty is that there is so much data available. But it’s is also a drawback, because it can feel overwhelming at times. So start off by identifying your key conversion funnels, and tracking the corresponding data points. Gain initial insights by analysing what is and isn’t working over time, then add or remove the data sets you are monitoring as you learn what is important. Use big data, specifically from mobile, to glean the insights you need for mastering micro-moments and determining who your influencers should be.

04. VOICE SEARCH

We have Siri, Genie, Google Now, Cortana, Robin, Jarvis, Alive, Andy, Dragon Mobile and surely more will appear. Even though the complexities of ranking high in text-based search remain challenging, it’s something we’re familiar with. But voice search presents a new frontier we’ll need to conquer – certainly in the beginning it will be unpredictable, more diverse and tricky, because the way people speak is way more diverse than the way they’ve learnt to type phrases into a search field.

“Right now you don’t see too many people doing it, but it’s growing steadily. So voice is going to be huge, what’s inside the video is going to be huge as well. You know, more detailed algorithms going within the content of images and videos in the short to medium term. Longer term, where Google is headed and the world is headed, is AI.” – Herman Tumurcuoglu, SearchReputation.Net

What this means for you?

If your brand isn’t thinking about the impact of voice search, add it to the agenda. Not only will it affect your SEO strategy, it will also introduce more people to AI, in a subtle fashion. Start reading up about how to optimise for voice search, video content or algorithms to drive AI voice response (think: bots). It’s ultimately all about content, much like conversations and social media are currently.

05. VISUALS AND VIDEO FOR SHORT ATTENTION SPANS

“I’d say my top digital marketing tip for 2018 is to plan for a short attention span. This is especially true for social and mobile where there are many app sessions per day for a short duration and where content can quickly be advanced with a scroll of a feed or a tap of the screen.” (Kieley Taylor, GroupM)

Video is the best way to tell a story and it can be done quickly. Thanks to mobile phones and a plethora of apps, everyday people can create video content on the move. But you’ve heard all that before, so why is video still a pressing issue? Why is it still such a big deal?

Because video is no longer confined to one format. Consider live photos, cinemagraphs, timelapse, AR, 360 videos, VR videos, and even GIFs.

What this means for you?

Start playing with different formats, test what delivers the best results for what audience, and use these learnings to guide your video strategy in line with the various objectives of your bigger business needs. There are some amazing apps and resources out there – so start using them, and evolving your marketing efforts. Our lives aren’t static; our content shouldn’t be either.

2018 is a year to learn and grow yourself and digital marketing skills are now a must-have weapon in any executive’s armoury. Sign up now to take our flagship digital marketing course which starts next week. We think you’ll enjoy it because it has been developed in conjunction with industry experts and Red & Yellow has almost 25 years experience in growing business leaders like yourself.

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