Digital marketing is evolving every single minute. As customers behaviour changes, so do the need to alter digital marketing tactics. And everyone wants to stay ahead of the game! All digital marketers try to make assumptions and visualize future trends so as to be prepared. While it’s not an easy task, it’s not impossible either. With most of 2017 already gone by, it is high time we analyse this year’s trends and user behaviour to predict and prepare for 2018.
In the year gone by, some trends have died down while others have started picking up. For example, people are fed up of pop up ads. But advertisers continue to use them in websites and apps as it leads to more conversion and sales. But this won’t continue for long as users will evolve and upgrade to better resources. So what are things you need to divert to and what are things you should stay away from? Let’s find out.
1. Content Personalization
Over 50% B2B buyers and around 30% B2C buyers rely upon online content for making purchase decisions. Can you imagine how much business you could bring in if you could convert these users into customers? That’s how large the scope of content is. But producing good content isn’t enough. Personalization is a key. According to a study conducted by Hubspot, personalized content works 42% better than generalized content. Therefore, take relevant data from your users like age, gender, location, etc. and personalize the content you serve them to the minutest detail. This might increase your effort but it also largely improves your chances for conversion.
2. Narrow Social Media Targeting
In the last five to ten years, we have only seen social media usage grow among people. The platforms they use might change from time to time, but the time people spend on social media has only risen. And it is likely to go higher in the coming year as well. Therefore social presence is a must for every brand today. But there’s a common mistake marketer tend to make, they try to expand by spreading their reach to more and more people. But they forget one thing, TARGETING. People can only convert into customers when you target them and provide them with something they need. Therefore, identify closely where your users are and drop the other social media platforms. If your users are on Instagram, don’t spend lakhs on Facebook. Narrow your targeting to get a broader reach.
3. The Value of Videos
This one is a no brainer. Ask yourself, what kind of content are you consuming while surfing the internet these days? You must have observed most of the content on your Facebook page or Instagram page consists of videos. While having a blog was the most commonly used way of supplying content at some point, videos are the future. They’re still new and people are still trying to get the hang of it but everyone is creating video content today. And why won’t they? If done right, it can put you ahead of everyone and improve your user engagement by leaps and bounds. So if you aren’t investing in videos, start now. Analyse what ROI it is giving you, experiment with different lengths of videos to figure out what works and what doesn’t. And most importantly, don’t be random. Create videos that go with your brand strategy.
4. Let’s Get Mobile
Mobile marketing was already pretty big in 2017. And it’s not going away in the near future. To begin with, Google is introducing its mobile-first algorithm in 2018. What that means is it will use data indexed from mobile phones to determine page rankings irrespective of whether you are a desktop site or a mobile site. Why do you think that is? It was recently found that around 70% of user’s time spent on digital media is on cell phones. Therefore, in order to serve your consumers, you have to prioritize mobile. If you have a perfectly responsive site adaptive to both mobile and desktop, you have nothing to worry about. Else, it’s time to get moving.
5. Native Over Pop Ups
Let’s face it, no one like pop ups. They’re forced, annoying and undesirable. But marketers continue to use them as they work. But that might be temporary. Trend studies are saying that native advertisements have huge potential and will rule 2018 in terms of ads. Native ads are smartly embedded on a page and therefore appear to be more natural to a user improving his experience and your conversion rates. Moreover, native ads specifically work better on smart phones and since most of your users are likely to shift there, it’s a win-win!
6. Seize the Micro Moments
Up until now, people have focused on instances and simulations that make people search content for a large period of time. But everyone is ignoring the importance of micro moments. Right from deciding which salon to pick, which lamp to buy or which car to get, there are a million micro moments during a day that a user accesses his mobile device to search for content. Due to the shift from desktops to mobiles, users are now accessing their cell a million times a day for shorter periods of time. These micro moments are instances where a user expects companies to render to his needs and supply him with relevant content. So create favicons (for better brand identification), well-structured content and provide one-touch access to relevant information for higher conversion.
7. Convert Customers to Influencers
This is the oldest trick in the book and yet, one of the most successful one. How often do we refer brands to our friends? All day long, we use sentences like ‘hey, you have to watch XYZ movie, it’s awesome!’ or ‘xyz website delivered this product to me within 24 hours. It’s totally reliable’. So a happy customer automatically becomes a custodian of your brand. How can you achieve this? By serving to his needs with the most relevant and accurate solutions at the right time and for a prolonged period of time. Brand Loyalty is built over time and Good Will is the cheapest and most effective way of gaining customers.
8. Live Streaming
This is very new but has the potential to be very effective. All major social media platforms now allow users to go live i.e. allows them to publish live streaming videos to share their current experiences with their friends. So why can’t brands do that? News channels, big events, concerts, etc. are all live streaming their content. This might not be relevant to every line of business but it sure needs to be explored and capitalised upon.
9. Utilize Big Data
The most valuable resource to a digital marketer is user data. Studying user behaviour, deriving data and personalizing websites/pages/blogs accordingly is the key element that builds a successful digital marketing strategy. And especially now, where consumers are giving out real time responses, there is an abundance of data everywhere and therefore a higher need for analysis, segregation and categorization. Good companies with a successful digital reach have mastered the big data science and put it to use.
10. Influencer Marketing
This too is an oldie but goodie. With excessive use of social media and the internet in general, people have created virtual friends, relationships as well as virtual leaders. These leaders could be anyone you follow. For example, fashion bloggers, food bloggers, travel bloggers, etc. for tips, advise and in general, out of admiration. Therefore when these people vouch for your brand, it gives out a strong message and definitely helps build trust among consumers. But it is important to understand which kind of influencer is right for you and whether or not his followers match your target audience.
With businesses crossing local and national boundaries and globalisation at its peak, the scope for brands to reach out to a global audience is immense. But remember, each user is unique and you need to cater to each one of their needs effectively. So look deep into these trends mentioned, analyse what is best for your brand and build yourself a kickass marketing strategy for the year ahead!
About the author: Catherrine Garcia is a passionate blogger and a freelance Web Developer. She along with her group of freelance developers are experts at creating Websites on CMS.