The first quarter of 2018 is already over, and as far as digital marketing trends go, there is a lot to look at. The online landscape is always changing, and already this year we have seen some new trends that are on the move.
To keep on track, here are seven digital marketing trends that have emerged in the early stages of 2018.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
You might notice that whenever you Google a topic, that the search bar immediately starts to offer predictions on what you might be searching for.
These predictions are being generated by AI (aka the giant computers at Google) learning what people type after they type the search keyword. And most of the time, they are exactly right.
What this means for your marketing is that you can align your search results with what people are searching for. If you match your website content to what your customers want to know, the AI will help you reach more people.
Google calls this ‘relevance at scale,’ and it is changing the way we find and interact with our customers.
There was a time when a live event broadcast on TV was a big deal. It only happened for breaking news or significant events such as the Olympics or the Superbowl.
Today, every single smartphone can broadcast to the world. The creation of Facebook Live, Instagram Live and Youtube live events show that the major platforms are banking on live streaming becoming a bigger part of our everyday lives.
What does live streaming mean for digital marketing? The live format provides your potential customers with a way to see the everyday workings of your company. People are interested to look behind the curtain of your company.
If you can find a way to implement live streaming into your marketing and share your story, people will watch it. Facebook and Instagram, in particular, are willing to give more attention and time to people and brands that use live streaming features.
Content Marketing (Done Right)
Here’s the thing: nobody wants to consume ‘content’; they want to gain insights.
Did you know that over 50% of all online product searches today begin on Amazon.com? Why is this happening? Because Amazon provides excellent insights into the products you’re considering buying from them. It has the price, the delivery information, good and bad reviews, free previews, and similar products all in one place.
Amazon might be the best example of how providing information about products makes you want to buy them. But you can do a similar thing with your products or services on your site. Provide a large amount of detail about what your product does, how it works, what to expect, how long it takes to be delivered, what it costs, and what people are saying about it.
The more detail you can provide about your services and products, the more people will want to buy them from you.
Chances are the names ‘Siri’ and ‘Alexa’ are not foreign to you anymore. They have become household names in the US, and around the world.
The rise of voice searches and virtual assistants built into hardware is starting to become a part of popular culture.
For digital marketing to be effective, it is vital that you are highly ranked in search results. Virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa will highlight and read only the top search result to users, meaning that users may not even ever see the companies that are in positions #2 and #3.
Optimizing for voice search tends to include long-tail keywords and conversational phrases (‘best cheeseburger in Irvine’ vs. ‘Irvine Restaurants’) that people are more likely to say out loud.
Also, when content marketing is useful and interesting to your visitors, it makes optimizing for voice search a little easier because you’re not just trying stuff keywords into your website.
You may have noticed that it gets harder and harder to reach your intended audience on social media. Each platform is becoming more monetized, and that squeezes out the organic reach.
But fear not: as with everything to do with social media, the key to success is the relationships that tie it all together.
Influencer marketing is an area that is starting to emerge in the past few years as a new way to grow your customer buy-in. By working with people who are trusted by your target market, you can often leverage their trust. In some instances, this may be a paid contract, in others, they might just be happy to share your products or services.
Of course, at the same time as using the power of influence marketing, you should always be working on growing your community of fans and followers through your social media platforms.
In 2018, everyone reads reviews. People want to know everything they can about you before they come to your business. For this reason, transparency is a great way to get ahead of the curve. The more you reveal about who you are, and how you operate, the more likely people are to trust you.
Think about Elon Musk for example. He is open and honest about his business plans for Tesla, SpaceX, and The Boring Company. He openly shares the progress and prototypes of his company’s work even before they are ready. This creates interest and buzz, and it also makes consumers want to buy from him. He is open and honest about the company failures and setbacks, and this makes him even more relatable.
You too can use this transparency strategy in your business. Create FAQs, How-To Videos, a platform for customers to openly and honestly give feedback. Create videos and blogs that poke fun at yourself in some way. All these aspects will work to make you more engaging and trustable to your audience.
Imagine that you’re hungry and looking for a place to eat right now. You know that Google will give you results for business close by that can meet your needs.
The growth of hyperlocal search results and map data has made this a breeze for consumers. This is also true on the advertising and marketing side.
Hyperlocal marketing is the process of targeting your customers in a geographically restricted area. Targeting can be as specific as just a few blocks or streets, or focused on people conducting ‘near me’ searches on their mobile device.
Data from Google suggests that many users now expect search engines to automatically take their location into account when showing results.
The closeness to a consumer creates convenience, and that is something your business can leverage better than a large corporation.
These seven digital marketing trends are exciting to watch and surprisingly easy to adapt to your own business. As the technology platforms continue to evolve, perhaps the most important thing you can do is to stay adaptable. What worked yesterday may not work as soon as tomorrow. Keep sharp, and keep trying new strategies to make your digital marketing strategy a big success.