Hit or Miss: 2018 Marketing Trends
Dianna Albanese, SourceMedia
At the beginning of the year, we identified the top 5 digital marketing trends of 2017 as follows:
1. Digital Advertising
2. Social Marketing
3. Artificial Intelligence
4. Content Development
5. Mobile Marketing
As we move into the second half of 2018, we’re looking back to see what trends marketers took advantage of, and what they still don’t quite understand.
From advanced targeting options, to scheduling, to tracking performance metrics, digital advertising can be extremely beneficial to a brand. Facebook states, “With digital advertising, you can reach the right people, with the right message, at the right time.” A large part of the development of digital advertising has been the implementation of programmatic. Back in April, eMarketer reported that over $46 billion will go to programmatic advertising in the US this year, which is about $10 billion more than last year.
82.5% of all US digital display ads will be bought via automated channels in 2018.
eMarketer also reports that by 2020, more than $65 billion will be spent on programmatic digital display advertising. eMarketer principal analyst Lauren Fisher says, “Buyers have come to rely on programmatic as the primary way to infuse their ad campaigns with first-, second- or third-party data insights.”
The proof is in the data: programmatic and digital advertising is growing and will continue to grow.
Brands have benefited from social media marketing greatly over the past few years. Not only can they advertise and promote their products and services on timelines that their audiences spend most of their days scrolling through; social media also provides another platform for customer service, and gives brands the ability to interact and build relationships with consumers, which has become a pivotal factor in customer experience.
However, as social communities grow, problems arise. Marketing Land states, “According to a recent study by social media metrics company Buzzsumo, average social shares per post had declined by 50 percent in 2017 compared to 2015. Their data also demonstrates how quickly most hot topics become saturated with content, resulting in only a relatively few winners getting most of the social shares and links.”
Other issues Marketing Land references include:
1. Dark social, or social interactions that can’t be tracked and tied directly to campaigns.
2. Influencer abuse and scandals. Many “influencers” and thought leaders who seem successful at the surface don’t have the reach or influence they claimed, because of the ability to purchase followers and engagement.
3. Ad blindness and blocking. Who wants ads interfering with their online and mobile experiences anymore? Downloading an ad blocker has become the norm.
Social media marketing is far from dead: platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have millions of users engaging every second of the day, so it would be foolish to pass up that opportunity. However, marketers need to understand how to best utilize social media for their brand and combat these issues - or if they should enter the social media world at all.
To no one’s surprise, artificial intelligence continues to grow as a valuable tool in the marketing industry. In its mid-year review, Forbes listed AI as a digital marketing implementation that moved to the forefront this year, stating that, “AI automation is transforming the way businesses interact with customers.”
Forbes offered a few ways brands can integrate bots into their digital strategies:
1. AI bots can interact with website visitors, programmed to answer common questions quickly and effectively with the ability to pass the visitor on to a real person if need be.
2. AI bots can provide lead management, identifying where a customer is in the sales funnel and following up with questions.
3. AI bots can personalize a customer’s experience, gathering data from each interaction with a customer and changing the experience as needed.
Is AI stealing jobs away from us? Many experts don’t think so. In present day, AI exists to support, allowing us to avoid menial tasks and put effort into creativity and connection. We have a while before an iRobot scenario comes to life, and marketers are implementing AI in every corner they can find.
Marketers have gathered a lot of buzzwords from the digital transformation we’ve seen in the industry, one being “personalization.” The easiest way to personalize your brand? Through content: email, blog articles, videos, you name it. Content has become key to delivering personalized customer experiences. Coredna cites a perfect example of what it means to personalize your content for consumers:
“Consider this: you visit a landing page and enter your name and email to download an eBook on social media marketing. The next time you visit the same site, you’re greeted by name. Not only that, you are also shown more eBooks related to social media marketing.”
Content development has become a surefire way of creating personal, intimate experiences that not only attracts customers, but also builds a relationship with - and keeps - customers.
You’re probably reading this article on your mobile device, like most people who consume content in the 21st century. Entrepreneur states that people spend 59% of their time on a mobile device, and overall, average smartphone conversion rates have gone up 64% compared to average desktop conversion rates.
Despite the stats, marketers still spend only 15% of their budgets on mobile and the remaining 85% on desktop. Why?
It’s possible that marketers don’t know that there are various ways one can market on mobile. It doesn’t have to be all about mobile ads. Some of the more popular methods include:
1. SMS Marketing
2. App-Based Marketing
3. Push Notifications
4. Email Marketing
With the amount of smart devices on the market today, there are U.S. households that only own tablets and smartphones. Marketers are missing the mark on this opportunity - big time.
What marketing trends will we see in the second half of 2018?
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