4 Digital Marketing Experts Share Their Predictions For 2018
Unless you’re psychic, or the owner of Zoltars crystal ball, you probably don’t now know what’s in store for digital marketing in 2018.
Will it be new technologies like VR or AI that dominate? Will content marketing still be the biggest talking point? Or will analytics and data continue to be the back bone of digital marketing?
I spoke with 5 digital marketing experts to get their predictions for 2018.
For several years, improvements in targeting and attribution have made digital marketing more precise and more efficient, driving reasonable expectation that advertisers are able to reach a more relevant audience at greater cost efficiency. Unfortunately, these savings are offset by the increasing shift in advertising dollars from traditional to digital channels, making digital real estate that much more expensive. Nonetheless, several trends in digital marketing have gained significant footholds, foremost among which is overall and deep-funnel attribution, fraud prevention and media buy optimization. As both advertisers and publishers become increasingly sophisticated, it would be reasonable to expect greater transparency, as well as further gains in creative optimization to drive both relevance and cost efficiency.
Finding optimal combinations of product, messaging, user, channel and circumstance or context has unlocked new frontiers of cost efficiency as well as user satisfaction in advertising. I would predict that the best is yet to come. Advertising can be made more impactful with the inclusion of social proof – evidence that other consumers, ideally users that the targeted consumer knows, are also using the mobile product and vouch for its quality. In addition to social networks, social proof can also be achieved with commerce platforms. Imagine being in the market for a car and seeing what cars your friends, or users like you, are shopping for on platforms like AutoGravity.
In the coming year, greater optimization should be achieved from better user targeting, less obtrusive advertising (less likely to frustrate users), retargeting creative that is better tuned to individual user engagement behavior, as well as improvements in the native blend of creative and the publishers where the creative is purchased. As is true in marketing more broadly, users are substantially more likely to engage with creative that is non-intrusive and relevant for them.
Niche content will become even more prevalent in 2018. With more options for content consumption at our fingertips than ever before, successful marketing leaders will continue to leverage niche content and narrow-targeted audiences at a higher rate in 2018. Pressure for tangible returns on marketing spend continues to mount, and one of the easiest ways to ensure a strong ROI is to concentrate marketing efforts on a brand’s core customers. Niche content allows a brand to position itself as a team of trusted experts within a given field, leading to improved brand positioning with the organization’s most important customers.
The days of a “set it and forget it” content strategy around generic 300-500 word blog posts are no longer effective, meaning that marketing leaders looking for digital marketing success are best served to focus on unique,comprehensive content that serves a specific audience with a specific need. For example, instead of writing a generic post around the three mistakes a cook makes in the kitchen, a brand would be better served writing a 1,000 word article around vegan prep meals, then taking the content to the next level by including photos and, if possible, a demonstration video. Niche content like this that provides a comprehensive solution to a core customer’s problem will lead to increased site traffic, improved search rankings, and increased on-site conversions (read: ROI) for marketing leaders in 2018.
Marketing leaders who aren’t sure where to start with niche content should rely upon keyword research from free tools like Google’s Keyword Planner and paid tools like Buzzsumo,which are great for identifying niche content opportunities that will generate traffic.
The biggest trend for 2018 will be long-form content. Companies with successful digital marketing campaigns will, in increasing numbers, be regularly writing pieces of well-optimized, quality long-form content. Benefits of longer content are numerous, including that top ranking pieces of content in Google search result pages tend to be at least 2,000 words. Site visitors engage more deeply with long-form posts, and these boosted engagement metrics (longer time on site, reduced bounce rate) will also help with rankings. Strategically include internal links for even better engagement. Long-form posts get significantly more inbound links, further boosting rankings and visibility.
Long-form content should typically be 1,500-3,000 words long, covering a topic in depth. You can brainstorm topics by asking members of the team who regularly communicate with prospects and customers what information would be most helpful; reviewing Google Analytics to see which posts have performed best to date; using Google Trends to find useful insights; and auditing the website to see what gaps in information exist. Using this intelligence, you can create a relevant topic that is neither too broad nor too narrow. Too broad: Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Telecommunications. Too narrow: Definition of Payload in Packet Switching.
Elements of long-form content can include (but are not limited to) FAQs, customer testimonials, highlights of case studies, compelling (hopefully, original) images, how-to videos, quotes from industry leaders, interviews and checklists. Elements such as FAQs, checklists and other bulleted content can sometimes cause your text to appear in Google’s Answer Boxes, which greatly boosts site visibility.
Although companies will need to invest more time into longer pieces of content, they’re efficient uses of time because snippets can be used for social media postings over long periods of time. The content can form the basis of email marketing campaigns, among other uses.
There are a few trends that will overtake digital marketing in 2018, especially short form video, increasing use of influencer marketing, and product forums.
In 2018, audiences will be consuming much of their information through short form video: 5 second soundbites on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Email and More. What organizations are doing more and more to stand out is posting fun, informed content on YouTube -- and then distributing soundbites of that video through social mediaA second trend is the increasing use of influencers. Consumers can see through the thin veil of branded content, and view it with a lot of skepticism. Increasingly, industry experts can talk about a product or trend with much more authority than companies. So B2B brands will be leveraging industry experts a lot more, and B2C brands will be leveraging influencers a lot more.
In fact, at HashCut, we’ve seen a lot of success by combining these trends. For instance, we ran a contest with a YouTube creator called SNG Comedy. They asked their 650,000 fans to clip out their favorite joke using HashCut, post on Facebook, and ask their friends to like the clip. Over 900 made and posted hashcuts. For SNG Comedy, they saw their normal YouTube view counts & watch times increase by 100%, and social engagement increased by 1,500%.
Finally, a third trend will be that product and user forums will increase substantially. Sites like Reddit are taking off. This is great for brands, because they can not only release their content in these forums, but use the forums to discuss directly with their audience.
In summary, your audience is getting their information through social feeds, video, and forums. So focus on these and you’ll get the word out in 2018.