Top 5 Digital Marketing Trends to Watch for in 2018

October 24, 2017

As we enter into the fourth quarter of 2017, many businesses are already looking forward to 2018 and what they can expect to plan for in their marketing strategy.

While some of these trends have emerged in 2017, or even the year before, you can expect to see them become more prominent in 2018.

Here are five things that you should consider adding into your marketing strategy next year in order to stay ahead of the competition online.

#1 Mobile-First Indexing

Optimizing for mobile has been important for businesses for a few years now, but this could be even more of a game changer if Google decides 2018 is the year to finally deploy its mobile-first index.

However, even if this isn’t the time for Google to launch their mobile-first index, 2018 is the year to really start optimizing for mobile if you haven’t yet.

According to a recent study by BrightEdge, 57% of web traffic comes from mobile devices. That means that if your website isn’t responsive or mobile-friendly that you’re going to lose out on traffic. If a visitor comes to your site and it’s not mobile-friendly they are more likely to bounce off your site as the user experience will be slow, clunky, and hard to navigate.

It’s also been found that there is a significant difference between which keywords and phrases rank on mobile vs desktop. Mobile searches are much more localized and visitors are often seeking very specific information. It’s important to keep this in mind when optimizing your website in 2018.

#2 Voice Search

According to Google, 1 out of 5 searches already come from voice queries. These voice searches are expected to get even bigger next year.

What this means for your search engine optimization and digital marketing strategy is that you’ll need to focus more on long-tail search keywords and match the natural, conversational tone that people use when searching through digital assistants like Siri, Alexa, or Google Assistant.

As accuracy improves in digital assistants, more people will start using voice search from their mobile devices and new home hubs, seeking quick and relevant answers. Researching voice user intent will help provide more accurate results, which in turn helps the algorithms provide the best answer.

#3 Visual Search & Video Advertising

This is another trend that has been around for a while, but continues to grow at incredible rates - visual search and video advertising.

As the internet becomes more visually-focused, businesses will need to factor the power of visual search into their marketing strategy. In 2018 it will be important to continue to consider the way your customers consume visual media and how you can go beyond text to market your business.

This concept also applies to video marketing and advertising. According to Hubspot, 43% of people said they wanted to see more video content from companies.

With platforms such as Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter all fighting for a place in video advertising market, companies have the ability to use video ads where their demographics spend time.

#4 Personalization

As we approach 2018, personalization in marketing has already begun to gain traction, but with the start of the new year, it will become even bigger.

In fact, companies are so convinced of its value that two-thirds expect a 6% increase in annual revenue from personalization. In some business verticals such as apparel, financial services and technology, they are anticipating increases of 10% or more.

Whereas in the past, personalizing emails was the standard, consumers now expect automation based on their behavior, interests and demographic – and they expect it across the entire customer journey.

#5 Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (also referred to as AI or machine learning code) is one of those things that many business owners think is “not mature yet” or is too hard to figure out.

The fact is you may already be using some form of rudimentary AI. For example, with email personalization, pulling the first names of contacts into your emails is a first step toward a smart, AI-powered email.

Yes, AI is still new, but within 18 months you'll start to see more and more tools make their way to the market. Companies who embrace AI sooner may gain an advantage over competitors who don’t.

Digital Marketing in 2018

Digital marketing and search engine optimization is an ever-changing environment. While older techniques are still helpful in some ways, new tools and techniques continue to pave the way your content and advertising reaches your audience.

There are so many channels in which to reach your audience in 2018 that now is the time to explore all of your marketing options beyond organic ranking. Staying up-to-date with the latest trends and discovering how your business can take advantage of them will be how to succeed in today’s digital world.

Are you ready to start planning for 2018? Call SMT today at (407) 682-2222 and ask for a free, no-obligation strategy session.

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