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As 2017 comes to an end, marketers need to consider what changes on the digital world are going to affect them. Here are a few trends that we think are going to impact marketing decisions for 2018.

 

Artificial Intelligence

 

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is predicted to grow as technology proliferates – this means stronger behaviour marketing strategies from stored information, such as your search history or content preferences, from AI machines. Marketers are using AI to make all digital marketing efforts such as websites, social media posts and other content tailored to what their consumers want in way that we haven’t seen in previous years.

AI will create sophisticated customer journeys and experiences based on how they interact with the site, like what actions they take. Collaborative filtering, for example, is a technique where by information is gathered about visitors that are then grouped together by their preferences. These groups will then get similar customer experiences when they view the site, and will constantly evolve so they aren’t static as the group data changes.

 

Mobile Video Consumption

 

As we’ve mentioned in our previous blog, consumers are using their phone for searches more over their desktops, and as a result of that Google will have a mobile-first index. In 2018, it is predicted that video consumption from handsets is going to grow and video consumption from desktops is going to fall. Therefore, we would suggest getting some video content on your website, but also investing in a YouTube channel – whilst your video content may not be directly obvious, there are ways to generate good content that would capture awareness of your brand. For example, if you’re marketing a Law Firm you might have career tips, or tips on a certain situation that requires legal advice such as divorce or separation.

Another aspect of video consumption is also in relation to live video usage, which can be seen on key social media players such as Facebook and Instagram. Some might think that live videos are reserved solely for celebrities, however it has been seen by retail businesses on big sales such as boxing day or black Friday, or for educational purposes such as seminars or discussions.

 

Influencer Marketing

 

Due to the increase in strong branding and social media activity, influencer marketing strategy has been steadily growing in popularity with marketers – this is set to increase in 2018.

Influencer marketing is essentially product placement but with micro influences (bloggers such as now-millionaire Zoella) and celebrities – this has been seen rampantly with fashion and beauty brands, but other industries are starting to catch on as well. One post to hundreds of thousands of followers generates awareness, increases footfall to company sites and ultimately pushes sales.

One thing to be aware of, however, as this strategy increases there has been a crackdown on influencers who aren’t disclosing that they are actually advertising. For example, a fashion influencer posts on Instagram a watch saying how great it is, unbeknown to their audiences that it’s really a paid promotion and they are being advertised too. From now on, when advertising on social media, influencers must write #ad to show that they are promoting a product.

 

Ad-Blocking

 

Online shoppers today are discovering ad-blocker, whilst technology giants such as Google are working on a Chrome tool that mutes autoplay videos – this is amazing news for us consumers, however for marketers, this is a big problem. Brands spend millions on expensive ads that are now getting erased and ignored, as well as agencies who are making money selling these expensive ads – so these may mean changing the type of ads you work with.

It’s not all bad news - some sites, such as Facebook, have disabled ad-blocking on their platforms, ensuring to advertising businesses that their content is seen by users. Also, this is just on chrome users – for other browsers such as Internet explorer and safari (which is the choice of most iPhone users) there are no current ad-blockers built in. However, this is something to consider as others may follow suit. 

 

By Maddi Sheppard, Search Marketing Consultant