The world of digital marketing is always changing so quickly, that if you’re not constantly and proactively making adjustments to your strategy, you’ll quickly fall behind. Now that 2017 is drawing to a close, it’s a good time to look ahead to 2018 and try to anticipate which things are going to be the most important as you decide how to allocate digital marketing funds. Here are a few predictions about what’s going to be important for your brand in the coming year.
Video is going to be the single biggest content marketing channel. Already the big social media platforms are trying to prioritize video content through algorithms and improved video capabilities. Adding video content to your website greatly increases the chances your site shows up on the first page of Google search results. People are ten times more likely to comment on, “like,” or share video content as they are non-video content. Approximately 65% of viewers will watch at least three-fourths of a video; the retention rates for text-based content is much lower so video is the best way to get a message across if you want people to actually get to the end of it.
Google search is becoming increasingly localized. By that we mean that people are more likely to include the name of their location in their search. You can optimize for this by targeting Google ads by location. You can also encourage check-ins on social media if your business has a physical space so that friends and acquaintances of customers can discover you online. Finally, you can invest in real-time geolocation marketing in which customers can be notified of special deals via SMS (with their permission) when they get within a certain distance of your place of business.
Influencer marketing has never been important. For Gen Zers especially, traditional marketing can seem inauthentic whereas influencer marketing feels more organic and genuine. If other people are promoting your products for you without being paid to do so, people will have an easier time trusting your brand. Influencer marketing is about building relationships with people who hold influence with your target audience already and sending them free samples so that they can publish an honest review of them for their audience.
Chatbots went mainstream in 2017 and will continue to grow in popularity in 2018. Chatbots can be used as a shopping assistant and/or a customer service agent to assist your customers in finding the product that is right for them through asking questions and it can answer frequently asked questions or provide other limited customer service.
Along with influencer marketing mentioned above, social proofing helps customers overcome the hesitance to buy when they see their peers saying good things about your brand. You can invest in social proofing by encouraging your loyal customers to become advocates of your brand by sharing their positive experiences with your brand on social media and directory pages like Google or Yelp.
Recently, IKEA launched an AR-enabled mobile app that allows customers to aim their smartphone’s camera at a place in their room and on their phone screen, the customer can see IKEA merchandise in that space so they can visualize what it would look like in their own home before purchasing. Augmented reality will let your brand display advertising not just on customers’ screens but all around them as well.
One-word, short-tail keywords are never going to go away completely but longer search strings are becoming the norm especially thanks to voice search functionality that encourages people to use a more conversational style when using search engines. Long-tail keywords are going to need to be emphasized by brands in 2018.
Only 3% of consumers make a purchase when they visit an online store for the first time. Retargeting will be especially in 2018 and you will need to find ways to retarget customers who visited but didn’t purchase.
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