As we all know, marketing trends are governed by the customer choices, their way of interaction and their manner of thinking. As these are constantly changing, so do the trends in digital and social media marketing. In case of digital marketing, we have seen a tremendous growth in the importance of organic and paid searches, social media and the role of smartphones. The biggest trends which are slated to impact organizations’ marketing activities are:
Videos are in demand:
Studies have shown that 87% of the Facebook users consume videos, not mere images. Good video content on multiple sites like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc. will be unparalleled in terms of customer engagement in 2018. There are a lot of video formats that marketers can opt for, such as 360-degree videos, live streams etc. when planning their video campaigns. Advertisement views on a live video have a 113 percent year-on-year growth, which shows that people today are more inclined towards live videos Marketers must keep in mind that an overwhelming majority of the videos are consumed through mobile devices, so they have to be mobile-friendly and responsive.
The initial reports from the early adopters of AI regarding its role in enhancing user engagement are encouraging. A study found that high-performing marketing teams are more than two times as likely to use AI in their campaigns as under-performers. AI can be used in advertising automation and optimization, creating personalized content and can also be linked to chatbots for customer service and assisting in sales.
Influencer Marketing was the marketing buzzword and hot topic in 2017. This year may witness a change in the game. Instead of fighting for visibility, brands will try to increase their visibility by building their own influence by capitalizing on others; influencers who have already built an audience and reputation. These influencer networks are more economical to maintain and also can help improve the online visibility of the brands. Within the realm of influencer marketing, there is a visible shift towards engaging with micro-influencers. According to HelloSociety, an agency that connects brands with influencers for specific campaigns, they deliver 60% higher engagement rates. Influencers can build credibility by becoming ambassadors for the brand and the brand in turn develops relationships with the influencer’s audience.
Chatbots have been around for years. In recent years, they have seen big-time AI improvements. By 2020, 85 percent of customer service interactions will be handled by bots. Brands are increasingly working on chatbots for customer support and are working on their chatbot marketing technology. People, especially the millennial and the later generation do not like waiting for information and are increasingly turning to voice search. All that the 21st-century searcher wants is the most direct line between their problem and a solution. With the help of messaging apps, bots help find the solutions irrespective of the location or the device being used, minus the cluttered inboxes and scrolling through reams of content. Chatting with a bot should ideally be like talking to an omniscient human being. The conversational UI, powered by Artificial Intelligence will help bring the user closer to the answer he/she is looking for.
Search queries have evolved into sentences either typed or spoken into a variety of devices. Voice assistants like Siri and Cortana, and smart speakers like Google Home are encouraging more and more customers to use voice, and marketers need to find ways to adapt to this growing trend. Voice accounts for 20% of the searches and is expected to touch 50% by 2020. Voice content in the form of podcasting is seeing great growth. Marketers looking for ways to engage with customers in a more meaningful way are looking a podcasting as a way to do that.
Google defines it as an intent-rich moment when a person turns to a device to act on a need- to know, go, do or buy. There are four game-changing moments that count: When a person is exploring or researching, but is not necessarily in purchase mode, or when someone is looking for a local business or is considering purchasing a product at a local store, or is seeking help on completing a task or is ready to purchase, but needs help deciding what to buy and how to go about the purchase, such times are the ones the brands need to capitalize on and draw these customers to deliver on their needs. The brands that spend the most time anticipating the micro-moments for their target audience provide a digital experience relevant to the consumers’ needs in the moment and connect them to the answers they are looking for, and creating a seamless customer experience across all channels, are going to have the highest possibilities of success.
The Art of “Story-telling”:
Stories capture the best moments from a day and most disappear after some time. They are a fun, bite-sized way to present video content. The “stories” format introduced by Snapchat is fast emerging as a staple of the social media world. Be it the Instagram Stories created by Instagram or the “Reels” story format introduced by YouTube, the underlying concept is the same. Stories have become upcoming way to uniquely promote your content, amidst all the clutter on social. The popular television channel “National Geographic”, known for producing high-quality, colourful and unique visual content have successfully captivated the attention of customers and viewers through the power of visuals and great storytelling. At present, they engage 350 million combined global followers via storytelling content marketing on social media.
These are some of the trends that are going to shape the landscape of digital marketing in 2018. Brands need to constantly update their strategy to cater to the changing customer choices.