“Market in the year you live in.” When Gary Vaynerchuk said this, he meant … don’t ignore marketing trends or trends in the way your audience is communicating. Vaynerchuk made his career by jumping into new social media networks and marketing trends early so by the time others have caught up, he has already built an audience and reaped the benefits of a less crowded space.
Keeping up with marketing tech and trends can be difficult when you can barely keep up with your job, but they can give your business a major competitive advantage. If you want to compete in your industry embrace current marketing trends as well as anticipate new trends so you can find opportunities to surpass your competition.
Here are 7 marketing trends for 2018 that you should expect to generate attention. While some of them may seem obvious, surprisingly few companies are taking advantage of them. Use these 2018 marketing trends to help drive your strategy so you can make next year the year your company gets ahead of the curve.
No matter what marketing trends you focus on in 2018, it all comes back to data. Most companies understand the need for better insights but only 37% of companies say they successfully employ data-driven strategies.
Expect that number to rise in 2018. IDC forecasts for big data industry to reach around a worth of $102 billion by 2019, nearly double what it is today.
Unfortunately, “big data” has been a marketing buzzword for years now. How can you turn it into a real strategy? Make sure to focus on the information you need to fuel your marketing strategies and provide your team the tools to leverage that data. Take advantage of:
- Market and customer insights
- Predictive analytics
- Technology to integrate different data sources
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
A recent survey asked marketers which marketing activity would make the largest impact on their business in 2018. AI and machine learning tied for second with Big Data, behind content marketing.
As martech (marketing technology) offers increasingly sophisticated tools for analyzing and automating your customer interactions, you should look to integrate automation and AI into every part of the customer lifecycle. Here are just some of the many applications of machine learning and artificial intelligence in marketing:
- Smart content curation
- AI-generated content
- Ad targeting
- Lead scoring
- Predictive analytics
- Dynamic content emails
- Dynamic pricing
- Chat bots
Another application of AI is programmatic advertising, which uses software to purchase digital advertising. According to eMarketer, 85% of mobile digital display ads in the US will be programmatic by 2019.
Instead of going through the traditional process of ordering and targeting ads, using machine learning to optimize your ad spend can help your business:
- Purchase Advertising Efficiently - Removing the human element speeds up the ad buying process and reduces costs.
- Optimize Marketing Spend - Using analytics and real-time bidding puts your advertising dollars in the right places automatically.
- Focus on Advertising Strategy - Automating the more menial tasks of advertising frees your marketing team up for strategic planning and optimizing campaigns.
While it may seem like we’re fixating on advertising too much, native advertising more closely resembles content marketing than traditional advertising. The goal of native advertising is to deliver informative content, in the stream your user is already reading. Common examples are sponsored search engine results, boosting posts with social media advertising, and paying for sponsored blog posts.
According to Business Insider, spending on native advertising will reach $21 billion in the U.S. in 2018 and will drive 74% of all ad revenue by 2021.
Since native advertising is such a broad term, there are many ways your company can take advantage of it in 2018. Here are the top five opportunities for investment in native ads according to a survey by Native Advertising Institute and FIPP:
- Written content - 69%
- Video content - 63%
- Multi-platform storytelling - 57%
- Multi-media storytelling - 52%
- Content solutions on client’s platforms - 27%
Social Messaging Apps
Social messaging apps have been around for a few years now, but companies have only recently experimented with them as a marketing tool. Using messaging apps for marketing isn’t for every business and it takes a more tailored approach than many of the other marketing trends on this list, but the benefits are clear.
Apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger offer a way to reach your audience in an extremely targeted and engaged way. And according to Adweek, they’ll soon be easier to create. Here are a few strategies for messaging app marketing:
- Facebook Messenger offers marketing features such as sponsored messages and destination ads.
- Integrate with chat bots such as Chatfuel, Mobile Monkey or ManyChat to send and respond to messages automatically.
- Allow visitors to subscribe to your blog or other content feeds through a Slack channel or other messaging app.
The ideas of using messaging apps and native advertising really play into the need to reach customers where they are and how they like to communicate. What makes this tricky for marketers is, most people consume content and engage with brands really, really quickly.
Google coined the term micro-moment to describe this new, immediate way people are collecting information and making purchases. They have found consumers experience these micro-moments an average of 150 times a day. When these moments occur, people are ready and willing to buy. Smartphone users are 50% more likely to expect to purchase something immediately while using their smartphone compared to a year ago.
As marketers in 2018, we need to fully embrace the idea that you only have a few seconds to capture your audience’s attention and you need to be prepared to capitalize on the exact time, location and context of their need. As Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo has said, "the urgent can drown out the important.”
When it comes to what type of content to engage your audiences, video is rising as the clear favorite for users and marketers. According to a Cisco report, by 2019, 80% of the world’s internet traffic will be video.
Here are some things to work on in 2018 as you improve your video marketing:
- Live Video - Cisco also predicts 13% of the video traffic will be from live internet video. Use livestreams as a way to engage directly with your audience and create a sense of FOMO (fear of missing out).
- Format Videos for Social Media Channels - Square videos take up 78% more space in the Facebook news feed and get more engagement.
- Improve Cost and Publishing Times - Invest in the equipment, employees, or contractors needed to put out video content quickly and consistently. This will help you gradually reduce the costs of creating video and improve how quickly you can publish new content.
2018 is bound to come with many new surprises and opportunities for marketers. While you may have to adapt your strategy during the year, the best way to set your company up for success is to anticipate as many 2018 marketing trends as possible and put a plan in place now.
2018 is the year to get ahead of the curve and set your company up for future success. Will you be ready?