Emerging technologies and customer preferences mean that staying on top in digital marketing requires staying ahead of current trends. Last year’s gains can evaporate quickly if advances don’t continue in 2018. Here are some trends to follow to maintain the edge in digital marketing this year.
Voice Search Poised to Explode
A recent report from eMarketer estimated that by 2019 there will be more than 52 million smart speaker users in the United States. Amazon’s Alexa products currently dominate the market, with the Google Home trailing a bit and Apple’s Home Pod not yet available. As these products grow in popularity, many online searches will happen over a voice-activated device such as these, rather than typed out on a keyboard or smartphone. Voice searches have a radical impact on search engine optimization and must be considered to stay ahead of the curve this year as smart speakers gain a larger foothold in homes.
Live Video Captures Attention
Images capture more attention and convey more information than text. Videos capture even more attention and hold it for longer periods than images do. Live videos hold attention longer than standard videos and create a more-lasting impact on consumers than any other medium. Eighty-two percent of audiences would prefer to see a live video from a brand rather than social posts, and audiences stay tuned in for almost a full minute longer for live videos than for videos on-demand. Hosting a live video event will draw audiences in a way that feels fresh and important and should be part of your digital marketing plan this year.
Machine Learning Widely Accessible
Marketing companies spend tens of thousands of dollars and hundreds of man-hours tracking marketing trends and suggesting the direction content should go to attract buyers’ attention. AI-assisted programs can spot those trends in minutes for a fraction of the cost. Machine learning systems are now more accessible to medium-sized and even small businesses than ever. By putting the power of artificial intelligence to work in your marketing, you gain advantages that were only available to very large marketing firms in years past and have a definite leg up on any competition that hasn’t caught up yet.
Smarter Influencer Marketing
According to some, influencer marketing is dead. More likely is a change in how audiences perceive influencer marketing and what they expect in terms of transparency. Consumers still prefer recommendations from people they know and trust, and influencers can fill that role in many cases. It is important, however, that audiences don’t feel misled along the way. Providing greater transparency in how influencers are used and compensated can restore a sense of trust in the influencer and continue to make this an effective digital marketing strategy going forward. Transparency is vital for cause marketing as well. Consumers are looking for a greater sense of sincerity and integrity in their marketing and are more sophisticated in spotting phoniness in marketing efforts.
While 2018 will no doubt hold some surprises, jumping on these trends early will position your company to be ready for the next big thing down the road.