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6 Trends That Will Impact Digital Marketing in 2018 and Beyond

By Karen TaylorAug 29, 2017

digital marketingWe’re more than halfway through 2017 and marketers already are looking ahead to 2018 to determine the New Year’s direction for their digital marketing campaigns. Many are wondering if they should stay the course they charted in 2017 or make changes. Here are six developing digital marketing trends to consider, both for the rest of the year and beyond.

Personalized Content: Think Unique Customer Experiences

More than half of B2B buyers rely on content to research their buying decisions. What’s more, 47 percent want to review three to five pieces of content before they engage with sales reps.

Clearly, content is the beating heart of every marketing campaign. But as digital marketing matures, so does the nature of content. One of the increasingly important factors in creating content that connects with consumers is personalization—content specifically tailored to both customers’ needs and where they are in the buying process.

Consider These Stats and Facts

  • 94 percent of digital professionals believe personalization is “critical to current and future success,” according to Monetate
  • Personalized content performs 42 percent better than non-personalized content, according to HubSpot
  • Marketers who deliver personalized web experiences are getting double-digit returns in marketing performance and response, according to Forbes’ Publish or Perish analysis
  • 94 percent of senior-level executives believe delivering personalization is critical or important for reaching customers, according to PWC’s Digital Services group

Tips to Leverage Personalized Content

  1. Start by targeting the “low-hanging fruit” in your client data: names and emails—most visitors will share these with you in exchange for valuable content, such as an eBook.
  2. Once you have this basic data, start lead nurturing campaigns offering prospects access to more great content in exchange for more data.
  3. Add value to visitors’ personalized experiences by asking: Will this help prospects and customers solve their problems and better understand our solution?

SEO and Content Conversion: Help Them Work Together

Few companies discuss marketing without including a conversation about SEO. The two go together like peanut butter and jelly. However, the two functions have reached a point of conversion, according to a study by BrightEdge. In the survey, 97 percent of digital marketers believe that SEO and content have become more integrated or are converging into a single function. The marriage of content marketing and SEO impacts marketers’ three most important content performance metrics: conversions, engagement and traffic.

Consider These Stats and Facts

  • 52 percent of marketers recognize that fluency in SEO is critical to long-term content marketing success, according to BrightEdge
  • Organic search drives 51 percent of content consumption

Tips to Leverage the SEO and Content Conversion

  1. Use SEO data to discover how prospects consume and engage with your content. Identify what generates interest and results in prospects who take action.
  2. Conduct ongoing customer analysis, because prospects’ interests can change quickly.
  3. Consider how customers engage with different types of content across channels and devices and at different stages of the journey.
  4. Always be measuring. Set realistic and concrete goals for your content at every stage—from awareness to conversions.

Social Media Marketing: Sharpen Your Focus

In the coming years, B2B marketing leaders expect to spend most of their time on social media. As a result, social media budgets will expand, according to a TEKsystems 2017 study. Central to the success of this expansion is understanding consumers’ point-of-view: Namely, they want consistent brand messaging and intuitive interactions whenever they encounter a brand or are considering making purchases.

Consider These Stats and Facts

  • Facebook continues to dominate social media use, according to Top Rank Blog
  • Social marketing is shifting toward emotionally engaging content and storytelling because strong emotions increase content’s “spreadability,” according to Oregon Web Solutions
  • By the end of 2017, we’ll likely see most of the major platforms enabling users to create and share video content, create and share live video content and discover news and what’s going on around them (based on location), according  to Buffer App

Tips to Leverage Social Media Marketing

  1. Ask: How do current customers feel about their experience interacting with our brand on social media?
  2. Determine which networks are most important for your business and spend the most time creating fully fleshed out social presences there.
  3. Consider dropping or reducing your time on social platforms that aren’t delivering lead generation and brand awareness.

Video Marketing: More is Better

Remember the old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words? Consider the new adage about video: Digital marketing expert James McQuivey estimates that a single minute of video content is the equivalent of 1.8 million words. Clearly, video is a critical direction in the future of digital marketing. Cisco Systems’ recent Visual Networking Index report found that video will continue to deepen its dominance on internet traffic with volumes increasing fourfold between 2015 and 2020. By 2019, video will represent over 80 percent of all internet traffic. Viewed another way, the internet will support 3 trillion internet video minutes per month by 2020, which equates to 5 million years of video per month, or about 1 million video minutes every second.

Consider These Stats and Facts

Tips to Leverage Video Marketing

  1. Assess how much video content you currently use and the ROI. If you haven’t done enough, expand production.
  2. To make your videos as memorable as possible, ensure that you’re keeping them in line with your brand strategy.
  3. Boost your SEO by adding video to your landing pages, website and content offers.
  4. Experiment with different lengths and subject matter for your videos.

Mobile Marketing: Time to Get “Mobile Friendly”

It’s full steam ahead on mobile marketing in 2017—and beyond. For one thing, Google’s announced mobile-first algorithm is expected to launch in early 2018. With this change, Google will primarily index mobile content and use it to decide how to rank its results, regardless of whether you’re on desktop or mobile. There no longer will be any type of “mobile-friendly” adjustment done just for mobile users.

Consider These Stats and Facts

Tips to Leverage Mobile Marketing (From Google)

  1. If you have a responsive or dynamic serving site where the primary content and markup is equivalent across mobile and desktop, you should not have to change anything for Google’s upcoming mobile-first algorithm.
  2. If you have a site configuration where the primary content and markup is different across mobile and desktop, you should consider making some changes to your site, including making sure to serve structured markup for both the desktop and mobile version.
  3. If you’re a site owner who has only verified your desktop site in Search Console, add and verify your mobile version.

Digital Advertising: Dominating the Future

If you’re not yet engaged in digital advertising, now is the time. According to a new report from Facebook and IHS Technology, by 2020, media buyers will spend $84.5 billion on mobile advertising, with mobile accounting for 75.9 percent of all digital ad spend globally.

Consider These Stats and Facts

Tips to Leverage Digital Marketing

  1. Experiment with ads on different social media platforms to see which perform better for your brand.
  2. Leverage advanced ad-targeting tools, such as location-based advertising, which put your ads in front of users at the moment they’re in your area of interest.
  3. Privacy is a real concern for all customers, so be sure to enable opt-in and opt-out in your advertising.

The future developments in digital marketing are approaching at blinding speed. This is no time to rely only on what’s worked in the past. Now is the time to start planning for—and even implementing—the leading trends that will impact digital marketing success in 2018 and beyond.

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Additional Topics: Content and Design
Karen Taylor
The Author

Karen Taylor

Karen Taylor is a professional content marketing writer with experience writing for over 100 companies and publications. Her experience includes the full range of content marketing projects — from blogs, to white papers, to ebooks. She has a particular knack for creating content that clarifies and strengthens a company’s marketing message, and delivers optimum impact and maximum results. Learn more at KarenTaylorWrites.com.
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