Digital marketing consultants like me love to speculate on what the big trends of the upcoming year will be. So here are my predictions for the biggest digital marketing trends of 2018.
Digital marketing trend #1: shoppable media
Shoppable media allows customers to make an immediate purchase through digital content. By clicking on media such as a video or image, consumers are taken straight to the purchase point, satisfying the immediate desire to purchase that the digital audience has.
Astute brands are going a step further and embedding direct purchase links into 360-degree video and imagery for increased engagement and marketing ‘magic’.
Digital marketing trend #2: optimised customer messaging
Brands are finally creating better mobile experiences so in the next twelve months we should see increased personalisation and optimised messaging for mobile users. Expect to see a more relaxed tone-of-voice alongside specific audience targeting using the data-driven insights garnered in 2017.
I also expect to see super-targeted segmentation across brand websites but anticipate this will be created by SaaS tools rather than user-defined.
Digital marketing trend #3: focus moves to Gen Z
The oldest members of Generation Z are the ripe old age of 22 this year so we’ll definitely start to see marketing focus shift away from Millennials in early 2018 (some savvy brands have already made this alteration).
Since Generation Z are actually more valuable than the Millennial crowd now, marketers need to get under their skin and work out ways to engage them. Engagement won’t be easy as this group are true digital natives: they’ve grown up with advanced technology and already understand how brand marketing ‘works’.
Gen Z will be looking for authenticity, simplicity, and speed of purchase – is your brand ready for them?
Digital marketing trend #4: the continued rise of AI
The two big AI players of 2017 were chatbots and voice search.
Although chatbots are not new tech, the introduction of Facebook Messenger bots to its 1.3 billion users sparked a massive increase in usage, with brands using the app in major social media campaigns and as customer service tools.
In 2018, expect to see Messenger chatbots embedded in websites as standard as marketing managers get a better idea of how to use and deploy them.
SEOs will focus efforts on optimising websites and apps for voice-controlled search assistants such as Siri and Alexa. I’m anticipating the big news of 2018 will Facebook joining the voice search fray with its own version of a digital personal assistant.
Digital marketing trend #5: Twitter will get a massive makeover
2017 saw the introduction of longer tweets and image galleries, but I anticipate a much bigger overhaul for Twitter in 2018.
Facebook has dominated the social media landscape for far too long and for Twitter to survive, it needs to pull something rather special out of the bag for its 330 million active users. The platform continues to make a loss so I also expect to see major additions to its ad platform and general offering.
Digital marketing trend #6: video isn’t going away
Video killed the radio star and now the web is firmly in its claws: it’s one of the most valuable formats to brands right now and in 2018 we’ll see new features from all the top players. I hope we’ll finally see a hard launch of Amazon Video Direct, and, dare I say it? Facebook TV (which I genuinely thought we would have seen by now).
We’re also likely to see more features around ephemeral video from Instagram and Facebook.
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