Today, the internet is a vast, complicated sphere that has a profound effect on our everyday lives. Call tracking providers Ruler Analytics, takes a look at the digital marketing big trends of 2018.
The numbers involved are astronomical – blog posts are being published at a rate of two million a day. In the very same day, a staggering half a billion Tweets are generated with over half a million hours of YouTube video content also thrown into the mix.
The internet is a crowded space.
Cap that off with the ever increasing PPC competition, social media visibility sliding into reverse and ad blockers rising by 30% last year, online marketing is becoming more challenging and complex than ever before.
To illustrate the point perfectly, Peter Caputa, the head of Databox, dedicated 10 years of his career in attempt to convince companies of the clout of inbound marketing. That was before executing a textbook U-turn in August of this year and declaring that the traditional approach isn’t working any longer.
Caputa has realised that his traditional approach is now obsolete.
For too long, marketers have used articles describing how [insert business] utilised [insert technique] to increase [insert big win].
They are not alone.
Replicating this strategy has become the norm, and consumers have become weary of the copy-and-paste attitude.
“You can’t stand out by copying a methodology that’s used by tens of thousands of other companies,” Caputa says.
“Buyers tune out marketing methods that look like everyone else’s, especially if you’re following the playbook your top five or five hundred competitors are following.”
Those marketers looking to push forward in the future will do so by using a combination of innovation, thinking outside of the box, and developing a unique approach to succeed.
The big 2018 digital marketing trends will rely on using analysis and data to unearth new ways to stand out.
Trend One: Pioneers Leave The Followers Behind
Describing the advertising industry as ‘broken’ is a bold statement.
That’s exactly what Harvard Business School professor and brand consultant Thales Teixeira claims in an article for Think with Google.
He claims that most ads are inefficient and ineffective as a result of the “spray and pray” mantra adopted by advertisers.
As opposed to using modern technology to hone in on the appropriate target market, companies are ploughing money into distributing ad campaigns to vast audiences, hoping their intended message resonates with a very small portion.
This naturally equates to:
- squandered resources
- consumer ad disregard
- poor results.
Successful marketing often makes use of the spray and pray ideology.
Marketers will publish a case study on the benefits of video marketing, which is swiftly followed by an exodus of brand editorial staff in order to “pivot to video.”
Marketers publish a case study highlighting the benefit of long-form content ranking higher for searches or that keeping readers engaged must be done by publishing blog posts every day.
The response has brands cramming their blogs with fluff and uploading poor content to adhere to the ‘perfect blog post size’ and ‘perfect blog post frequency.’
Quite simply, reality dictates that no single advertising or marketing approach is successful for all companies, audiences and campaigns.
Success lies within initiatives that pander to the needs of the intended audience.
When achieving successful campaigns, you have to:
- be able to understand your audience
- mould each initiative to the required audience and its needs
- utilise data to highlight what works and fails
Behind innovation is data to back it up.
When you’ve discovered a technique a company used to increase their presence and revenue online, try it out, and use an analytics platform to measure the results. You can use the data to understand what really resonates with your audience.
What if your audience don’t care much for watching videos?
What if your consumers would rather read 1,000 word blog posts that 250 snippets?
Data allows you to ascertain these preferences before revamping an entire marketing strategy to potentially be led down the wrong path.
Insights plucked out using data analytics are vital, but are impossible to stumble across if you are copying and pasting other marketers rules.
Prosperity with marketing in 2018 and further ahead lies with being able to act on your own ideas, test them and use data to sharpen your approach.
Trend Two: Learning the best practices from ABM
Account Based Marketing (ABM) consists of in-depth research on vital decision making at target accounts. They use the research to conjure up outbound campaigns that tailor to the specific audience requirements.
ABM results are very good: 97 out of 100 who have taken advantage of the approach have confirmed it results in a higher return on investment, with a 40% increase in contract values. Brands have also disclosed that close rates have increased as much as 285%.
In order to prosper where inbound marketing is falling by the wayside, content marketing has to go after a specific, intelligent audience.
At Ruler Analytics, we used this technique to close the same number of deals in the first 6 months of 2017 than the entirety of 2016.
Extracting the data from our own system and its Pipedrive integration, we found a particular segment was converting 1.4 times than others.
After refocusing our marketing strategy to wholly target that segment, the monthly recurring revenue increased 2.5 times faster than in the previous two months.
This is described as the ‘customer-content fit’ by the co-founder of Grow and Convert, Devesh Khanal. It ensures the customer is identified correctly, and that the content is published with the intention of targeting them.
Today, content marketing is a step beyond finding keywords, manufacturing content, social media integration and waiting patiently for someone to feel a connection to what it is you’re offering.
Traffic may come, but not all traffic commits, generates leads and boosts revenue.
This tactic only serves to soak up budget and fail to deliver a decent ROI.
In acquiring the customer-content fit, content marketers are required to conduct precise research on the ideal potential consumers – just as an ABM marketer would for important contacts at target accounts.
The fallout from the research should then be integrated into every section of every piece of content that is published.
Content marketing can no longer be drivel. It needs to be specific, personalised and ultimately – valuable. Only then will it stick its head above the parapet for increased engagement and reap the rewards.
Trend Three: Voice and IoT Tech Are Going to be Big Players
Google recently suggested that 1 in 5 searches are already being carried out using a voice search, with that number expected to reach a staggering half by 2020.
That’s a lot of searches. Voice is going to have a huge impact on the world of content marketing and Search Engine Optimisation.
Amazon Alexa and Google Home device sales are forecast to be over 24 million in 2017, with Alexa already Amazon’s flagship product over the 2016 holiday period.
Following a recent Google patent, it is thought that the Silicon Valley giants will use personal assistants to recommend products.
Voice is on the up, and is going to throw the proverbial spanner into the marketing works in the near future.
Recently, it was announced LG home appliances are to be adorned with Google Assistant – soon, a lot of people’s electronics, devices and appliances will be controlled through voice command and personal assistants.
Internet of Things (IoT) technologies are wedging the door open for groundbreaking marketing and advertising. They present the stage for innovative marketers to step into the limelight.
Zazzle Media director and founder Simon Penson is developing a team of voice experts to create and apply best practices for voice SEO to stay ahead of the game.
“We know from the minds of the most informed experts that voice is developing quickly and that it clearly offers significant benefits to its users”, Penson explains.
“When those two key things combine, alongside a lowering cost to the technology needed to access it, it creates a tipping point that only ends one way: in the birth of a new era for computing. Such a thing has massive connotations for both digital and wider marketing, and it will pay to have first-mover advantage.”
Those in the marketing business that are burdened with a stagnant ROI and on the hunt for new ideas to help stand out will do well to start scrubbing up on the incoming change in digital marketing and advertising as a consequence of increased voice and IoT influence.
While most are slow to wake up to the new dawn, marketing teams can develop the best practice for this particular medium. Then follows the industry leader validity by releasing some of the best strategies whilst retaining their ‘je ne sais quoi’ by keeping the best to themselves.
Marketers who stay in the present will slip into trap of using best practices published by others, staying head on for a collision course with consumers who have been conditioned to turn a blind eye.
The Outlook of Digital Marketing in 2018
Heading into 2018, marketing needs to change with fluctuating consumer preferences.
With Google and mobile domination, consumers are safe in the knowledge that they can access a wealth of knowledge the very instant they need – all with a just a click or a few words.
From the incessant need for the everything to happen instantly, brands that don’t deliver quickly are losing out.
Innovation and personalisation will resonate and stand out in a saturated digital marketing sphere, and with it, the attention and engagement it deserves. Attention and engagement tends to result in one thing – better revenue and marketing success.
When it comes to starting out on the road of innovation and personalisation, the first steps are with data. Incorporate systems that allow the collection of data, decipher it to extract valuable insights, and adjust accordingly.
That adjustment is the key.
In the words of the great Charles Darwin, “it is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”