It may seem like we just rang in the new year, but we’re already two full months into 2018! With the new year comes many new aspects to consider for your digital marketing campaigns.
The digital marketing landscape is ever-changing, and it can be a full-time job trying to keep up with its constant evolution. Throughout the year, we will devote some of our blogging to exploring new and emerging trends in digital marketing. The following are a few trends we predict will be help shape the digital marketing landscape forward.
Page speed is more important than ever
It’s been a couple of years since Google switched its focus from desktop to mobile SEO. With the development of AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages), it’s no surprise that page speed is going to be a big focus for digital marketing and SEO in 2018.
“In a recent survey of over 150 top search marketers, results showed that while most traditional SEO features were expected to either retain or decrease in influence, user-based features were expected to increase.” – Moz Ranking Factors Survey 2018
These user features will be looking at click-through-rate for search snippets, user time and engagement on site and other factors related to user experience; page speed will play a huge role in these changes, so it’s important to ensure your site is optimized.
New Adwords interface
Many marketers noticed a change in the Adwords interface that began rolling out at the end of 2017, and have been dreading the switch. It seems like every time we become comfortable with the interface of a Google product; they release a brand new (completely different) version.
While some may find the new interface daunting, it is much faster and has a lot of great information provided at your fingertips as well as several unique features you won’t find in the old dashboard – promotion extensions, new audience groupings, and special targeting options. Wordstream has a great article outlining some of these new features if you’re interested in finding out more.
Machine learning and A.I.’s role in marketing
While many advancements to machine learning and marketing A.I. benefit only large corporations with huge budgets, smaller agencies and local businesses can still use tools that incorporate these advancements. Many small to mid-sized businesses might already be taking advantage of machine learning (and not even realize it) through various ad networks.
For example, Google utilizes machine learning for its Smart Bidding, which can help lower campaign costs and increase conversions. Bing recently released Dynamic Ads that uses web copy to automatically create ads, saving marketers time writing copy for sites that have dozens or even hundreds of landing pages.
Video will continue to grow – ads, live and social stories
Nothing has exploded more online than video content. Billions of hours of video content are consumed by viewers every day on Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and other digital platforms. From high-production video projects to instant stories on Instagram and Facebook live video, this is a trend that covers literally every conceivable topic and provides individuals and businesses with great flexibility when it comes to marketing themselves and their companies.
SEO for assistant devices – Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri, Cortana
One of the biggest gifts for the holiday season last year was personal assistant devices like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home. These personal assistants are becoming a big part of our lives – from our phones and speaker systems to our TVs and appliances.
With the increasing role of digital assistants, the search engine landscape will morph from visual search engine results on a web page to a list of items spoken from a device. Right now, the type of queries this affects is limited to local guides, facts and information searches, but expect the offerings to grow as these assistants to become more advanced. Tailoring SEO to rank on personal assistants will become a huge opportunity for many and marketers in the coming year.
Getting reviews for your business
One of the top factors in placing your business on local map results lies in the strength of your reviews and ratings. Organic traffic from SEO is a huge source of web traffic for many businesses, but the growing reliance on Google’s local pack results for users is becoming a detriment to some businesses. One of the most important ranking factors for those local packs resides in reviews. Add that to the fact that 50% of adults regularly check online reviews, getting positive reviews for your business through Facebook and Google will be even more important in 2018 and beyond.
Much like digital advertising has gone hyper-local, social influencers – those social media users and bloggers that have large followings – will begin having more influence in their regional markets. Most influencer marketing has been tied to large companies and celebrities or users with national followings, but smaller companies can leverage local influencers as a cost-effective way to raise their brand awareness in a specific niche.
Many of digital trends are interconnected, and personalized marketing is no exception. Personalized marketing is the use of digital technology and data analytics to deliver messages to individuals or small groups that are likely to convert at a higher rate than average. Most people participate in these campaigns every day without realizing it, from memberships and discount cards at local stores to your viewing habits on various digital media platforms. Companies use this data to tailor coupons and experiences to your personal habits. On the web, personalization takes a lot of work and data analysis, so its growth has been slow. But with the emergence of A.I. and machine learning, we expect personalized marketing to gain ground in 2018.
Privacy and Security Concerns
There are two major events pushing privacy and security concerns in 2018. The first is the enactment of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) plan that will take effect in the EU in May of 2018. This regulation requires companies to get explicit consent to collect data from users in the EU and can have stiff penalties for non-compliance. Companies will be required to disclose to these users what they are collecting and what exactly they will use that data for. Many U.S. companies have already put measures in place to deal with this new law, but it’s important for any company that markets worldwide to be aware of these new regulations.
The second major event elevating the importance of privacy and security was the record number of data breaches in 2017. Last year, the number of data breaches in the U.S. alone reached record numbers, with nearly 179 million records exposed. With data breaches like those at Equifax dominating the news, users are more aware of the pitfalls of data security and their online privacy, so expect users to be more cautious about providing their data online.
At Group3 Communication, we pride ourselves on keeping up with the latest digital trends so that you don’t have to. If your business is struggling to keep up with the current trends, or just needs a helping hand, get in touch today and learn how our experts can help.