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Just about a week into this new year, and we can see some clear trends emerging for digital marketing. Yes, 2018 will see quite a few new trends emerging, although some of them will really be reiterations of some trends we have seem emerge across the last couple of years. Here are some trends you need to follow and keep track of, to stay on top of your brand’s digital marketing game.
1. Phygital marketing
This is my big one for 2018. Digital will no longer stand alone as a separate discipline. It really just cannot anymore. In order for ‘digital’ to work, it will need to be seamlessly integrated into real-life experiences – and this will really be this whole ‘experiential’ trend that everyone is talking about. In particular, at sporting events, at concerts, we are seeing the online and mobile experience leading into the actual physical – and, as well, blending the two, often with AR and VR playing a key role. This will become big.
2. AR (Augmented Reality) will be a lead in Social Media
Brands on social media will need to take a serious look at using AR. With our smartphones becoming increasingly powerful, social platforms will start to integrate AR technology, and this will enale brands to use AR and social in interesting new ways. Pokemon Go did this a couple of years back, and it’s only now that we’ll see wider scale adoption.
3. Data to drive most aspects of marketing
For brands, understanding their customers and their target audiences have never been as important as now. And, data – converted into intuitive marketing insights – will be at the core of this. Understanding the customer journey – across all aspects of the multi-channel marketing spectrum – will be key. And data science will become a key aspect of marketing. This will lead to better targeting, better and cleverer remarketing and, on to better loyalty.
4. Targeted ads with real power
The days of pray and spray marketing are done. This year, we will see a far more focused energy being driven into creating advertising that’s resolution driven for the consumer and customer. Campaigns will be micro-targeted and hyper-personalized – speaking to individuals at their very moment of need – focusing on their need, their experience and with conversion in mind.
5. Again, video. Video marketing has arrived and here to rule.
I said this last year, as did Cisco and many leading pundits: video marketing is going to be very, very big. Video is the most popular and influential form of digital content for digital marketers today, and it holds the power to persuade better than any other content medium. With attention becoming an expensive commodity, what with multi-tasking, brands will need to re-focus energies on video content – to get better search ranking, better engagement and better content recall.
6. And, make that Live Video.
Every social platform now offers some form of live video – and most are trying to out-gun each other will various new features and ways of using live video. To really best utilize the power of live video, it will need to be high quality, delivering content that has value for the consumer, and be structured and organized – while still, of course with the reality of it being live. That’s going to ba a challenge, but with advances in technology, and better pre-planning, I’m convinced good content creators will win this game.
7. Conversational experiences
Chatbots and their conversational use in marketing is becoming rather common. Watch out for more adoption of brand-customer or brand-audience conversations (see voice marketing, later) using platforms like Google Home, Amazon Alexam Microsoft Cortana and more. I’m beting that this aspect will become part and parcel of our lives – and speaking to a connected device in our moment of need (Google calls these micromoments) will be commonplace. As technology better grasps natural language processing, this will make it second nature for us.
8. Voice as marketing tool
With voice search increasingly taking over the the way we search, with our mobile phones now almost surgically attached to us, voice as a marketing tool should really come into its own this year. We are increasingly going to ask our phones, our cars, our smart fridges to do things for us, and brands have a huge opportunity to stand by, and become a handy resolution provider at that time of query or need. This will be a whole new kind of content marketing.
9. Humanize, personalize and win the game
I mentioned hyper targeting. But we really need to believe in, and adopt true personalization of our brand communications across all aspects of our marketing. From landing pages that are made-for-one – instantly, and on demand, to apps that are micro-developed in the instant using clever algorithms, to even digital OOH applications that speak to an individual, true personalization will change the game this year, and make brand communications genuine, interesting, engaging, and human.
That’s just the top trends for 2018. And there are several other areas that will break out and become important to keep track of. Do share this, and comment below. Thanks. Have a wonderful and meaningful 2018.
– Tom Roy
chief innovations officer, MCN