6 + 1 of the Biggest Digital Marketing Trends to Use to Your Advantage in 2018
November 17, 2017
It’s a fact: the face of digital marketing is changing at remarkable speed. An exciting time for brands, there are countless technologies to take advantage of, and new opportunities to connect with customers via a seemingly endless list of platforms! But before we know it, the New Year will be upon us and many of us will no doubt be wondering: what’s going to rock the digital world in the year to come?
If you’re busy planning your budget and marketing strategy for 2018, you’re obviously thinking about which tactics you can utilise to your advantage. In this light, we asked our experts from around the Action Global network what they believed are the biggest trends for 2018, to help you pinpoint the best opportunities for your business and gain the maximum ROI… here’s what we’ve narrowed down!
1. Influencer marketing
Influencer marketing exploded in 2017; Action Digital’s experience is evidence of this, with our influencer marketing campaigns having more than doubled in the past 12 months. The fast approaching General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to be implemented in May 2018, which will protect and empower online data privacy for all European citizens – meaning advertisers will no longer be able to carry out campaigns in the same targeted fashion as they are today – is likely to have a knock-on effect on influencer marketing, skyrocketing its popularity even further as other forms of online advertising are likely to become less reliable.
Country Manager of Action Global Communications Qatar, Elise Zwein, and Dimitar Delchev, Account Manager at Action Global Communications Bulgaria, are in firm agreement about the increasing importance of influencer marketing in 2018. “Customers are simply tired of traditional ads… they now read reviews by independent influencers who have somehow won the trust of their audience…it has got to be part of the digital marketing strategy of every company in 2018.” Angela Kiofiri, Account Director at Action Global Communications Greece, confirms: “In 2018, even more brands will embrace influencer marketing as a way to connect with audiences who tend to just ignore traditional strategies.”
2. Video content
The demand for video is growing at an outstanding rate and it’s deepening its dominance as it becomes a meaningful part of the conversation online. According to Cisco System’s recent Complete Visual Networking Index (VNI) Forecast, 82% of all IP traffic will be video by the year 2021. Action Global Communication’s Serbian Account Director, Srdjan Crnogorac, says: “Local channels with local video content on YouTube are gaining an incredible number of follower’s day by day.” And this isn’t just a Serbian trend, it’s a worldwide phenomenon.
But more than just videos on YouTube, promoting short video content and video advertising across ALL social media platforms is the way forward these days if you want to market your products or services to create meaningful consumer relationships. According to HubSpot, 43% of people want to see more video content from marketers, while 48% of marketeers plan to add YouTube to their marketing campaign next year. And here’s another fact to digest: almost 50% of internet users look for videos related to a product or service before visiting a site!
Unique customer experiences – let that sink in…it’s set to be a really big deal in 2018. Dimitri Kourtoulos, Marketing Executive at Action Digital in the Cyprus headquarters, points towards a recent comment by Keith Weed, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at Unilever: “I believe that in the future we will build brands as segments of one.” So what exactly does this mean? Keeping it simple, it indicates that marketing is getting so personalised, that you’ve got to deal with your audience as if you’re dealing with one specific person. This is especially important when it comes to the content on your website, which needs to be specifically tailored to each unique customers’ needs.
A great example of this is the Amazon Dash Button, where products can be bought with ‘one touch,’ based on what the user has previously ordered, making the whole purchasing process faster, easier, and more importantly, custom. “We must find ways to cut out all unnecessary information that a consumer does not want to see, making the path from awareness to conversion as efficient and stress free as possible,” Dimitri emphasizes.
4. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
There’s no doubt that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is revolutionising digital marketing, with intelligent machines that can think and respond like humans. This in turn leads to machine learning, which is all the rage these days, with companies and marketers able to harness the power of AI to increase customer satisfaction, but most importantly, sales, as the traditional sales funnel turns on its head!
Action experts around the network agree that things are set to take on a whole new dimension thanks to AI. Beyond personalisation, customers will be provided with immediate feedback, voice their queries, take advantage of special offers in real time, and much more.
Not convinced about AI? As Moe Khan, the Head of Digital of GCC points towards, this past October the UAE appointed its first Minister of Artificial Intelligence, aimed at increasing their GDP, improving education, minimising health issues and more! Read more here.
5. Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)
Ahmed Amer, Country Manager at Action Global Communications Egypt, emphasizes that more and more companies in Egypt are embracing virtual reality, drawing on a worldwide phenomenon as big international giants utilise VR to simulate an experience to their potential customers with impactful and fully immersive computer simulated environments that take users to new places and spaces. Just take a look at this Mercedes- Benz new generation SL 360-degree video along the beautiful Pacific Coast Highway in California.
Augmented Reality (AR) – a technology that layers computer-generated enhancements atop an existing reality – is also a force to be reckoned with. Garen Meserlian, Digital Director of Action Digital explains: “Customers these days want to experience a given product before they actually buy it, and with VR and AR, you are able to do exactly that as you enjoy a full experience.” Ikea’s app, ‘Ikea Place’ is a brilliant example of this, with users given the chance to tap into the app’s catalogue of over 200 products, holding up your phone and placing digital sofas, armchairs, coffee tables and more, anywhere you want in your room.
6. Messaging apps and chatbots
The stats are staggering – 1.3 billion users are now active on Facebook Messenger, and they’re exchanging more than 2 billion messages per month with businesses.
If you’re after B2B digital marketing success, our international team agree that chat-bots are the way to go in 2018! Part of the growing AI phenomenon, while meeting growing consumer demands in the fast-paced digital realm, chat-bots are computer programmes that can have a conversation with the user/customer via messaging, give you real time information or even send you the best sales on the products that interest you. How can they help your business? Its, all about real time, efficient, communication which will help improve the user experience.
7. Native advertising
Anton Teretyshnyk, Country Manager at Action Global Communications Ukraine, points towards native advertising becoming even more popular in 2018, becoming an organic part of the user experience, in stark contrast to the dying trend for pop up and banner ads. Somewhat similar to print media advertorials, native advertising is a form of sponsored content that gives businesses the chance to almost discretely advertise goods and services more ‘organically’ without interfering with the user experience in a specific platform.
Just take a look at the way Seven Seas – a leading UK supplement company – has sponsored a page of positive news in The Telegraph. It’s discrete but effective, as it encourages readers to associate positivity with the Seven Seas brand, without being pushy or invasive. And it’s targeting just the right audience, who are already drawn towards this lifestyle section of The Telegraph’s website.