2018 Digital Marketing Trends: What to Watch for in the New Year

A new year is upon us. For many, this is a chance to start fresh. We’ve made resolutions to eat healthily, read more, exercise regularly, or otherwise make our lives better. For businesses looking to revamp their marketing practices to bring in new and better leads, the new year is also a chance to reflect on what’s working and what’s not. So if you’ve made resolutions to build up your customer base this year, be sure to keep a watch on these top 2018 digital marketing trends.

Chatbots Amuse and Inform Potential Clients

While 2017 may have been marked by awkward conversations with poorly designed AI, 2018 may very well be remembered as the year of the chatbot. As automated chat technology gets adopted by big businesses like Starbucks and Whole Foods, consumers are going to expect your brand to have its own online robotic representation. Don’t worry about spending thousands on developers, though. Drag and drop technology like Botsify allows business owners to create their own chat bots without any need for coding.

Read: Two Ways Chat Bots Can Help Your Business in 2018

Mobile-first Web Design Becomes a Priority

In 2016, Google announced their mobile-first index, and SEO experts are expecting it to finally hit the search engine results this year. This means that Google is going to show preference to sites that are optimized for mobile users. So if you’ve been putting off upgrading to a responsive website, 2018 is the year to do it.

Read: 2018 Web Design Trends: What’s New Versus What Matters

Instagram Interactions Take Over Social Media

Analysis from TrackMaven found that Instagram posts garner nearly 10 times the number of interactions per 1,000 followers than Facebook. So, even though Facebook is still the biggest competitor in the social media ring when it comes to monthly users, savvy internet marketers are going to get a much better return on investment from Instagram in 2018.

Read: Why You NEED to Be Active on Instagram in 2018

Paid Traffic Becomes a Facebook Necessity

While Instagram snowballs its social media takeover, Facebook remains inflated with so much competition that businesses are struggling to get any reach with organic posts, making well-optimized and soundly targeted ads a key to competing on Facebook in 2018. If you’re looking to get good ROI from the world’s largest social network this year, you can’t rely on guesswork anymore. Even viral content will need an initial dose of paid traffic to take wings organically.

Read: How to Prepare for the Facebook Algorithm Change: Two Keys to Success in 2018

B2B Client Outreach Takes a Multi-faceted Approach

Business-to-business marketing is a competitive landscape, and as spam filters and gatekeepers get better at preventing sales teams from connecting with decision makers, a single stream approach to cold outreach isn’t going to cut it in the new year. Acquiring new clients is going to take a combined strategy of email, phone, and text message marketing to create highly relevant audiences for digital ad retargeting.

Read: A Three-Step Client Outreach Plan for Success: Email + Call + Remarketing

Content is Still King

This isn’t really a trend because it’s not going to change anytime soon, but don’t let all of the focus on new marketing strategies distract you from the fact that the number one key to attracting customers online is high quality, relevant, and helpful content. Whether you’re driving visitors organically or through paid ads, they aren’t going to convert into customers if your content isn’t on point. There are, however, several new directions your content needs to take in 2018 in order to meet the demands of modern audiences.

Read: How to Succeed at Content Marketing

Interactive Content Marketing Drives Engagement

An engaged audience is a loyal audience, and what better way to build your brand than with an active following who trusts your business enough to share it organically. While we won’t see the end of blog posts and infographics anytime soon, 2018 is going to be the year that businesses push the envelope when it comes to creating content that their audience can interact with. Don’t feel overwhelmed by the terminology though. While interactive content does include such high maintenance techniques as branded games and customized calculators, any business can build on this up and coming marketing trend with easy-to-implement strategies like contests and quizzes. The key is finding ways to make engaging with your content a two-way street that encourages your audience to spread the word.

Read: Three Interactive Content Marketing Tools You Can Use Today

Voice Optimized Content Captures a New Search Market

By 2020, it’s predicted that nearly half of all queries will be conducted via voice using technologies like Siri or Alexa. That means that this is the year that marketers who want to stay ahead of the curve will be optimizing their content to capture this growing search market. Voice searches are often longer and more conversational, which opens up a whole new world of SEO for targeting long tail keywords. One strategy that clever webmasters will employ, for example, is not burying all of their question-and-answer content on FAQ pages. Instead, branch each Q&A out into their own pages that can easily rank for voice searches which are more likely to be long-form questions.

Video Content Reigns Supreme

Videos on social media account for 1200% more shares than text and image content. Many consumers are more likely to watch a video than read a blog post, and more than one-third of time spent on the internet involves watching video. To meet users where they’re at in the new year it will be more important than ever for businesses to create high-quality video content to build brand awareness and drive customers to action. Furthermore, real-time broadcasts using Facebook Live, Periscope, and similar live stream tools will help businesses connect with audiences on a level that enhances trust by breaking down the usual walls that separate businesses from their followers.

It’s 2018. Eat better, exercise regularly, read more, or accomplish whatever personal resolutions you’ve set for yourself. But for your business, set a goal to meet the needs of modern consumers. Let’s make 2018 the year that you stay abreast of the latest trends in digital marketing.

Not sure where to start or which trends are most relevant to your audience? Contact us and we’ll help you start the new year off on the right foot for your business.

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