Tech innovations and trends for digital marketing in 2018

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Social media platforms, Google and so on are continuously pushing updates to adapt to the changes within the industry, and it’s essential marketers also keep up with the latest developments and tools. The most recent digital marketing trends and advances not only prepare you for any changes within your specific market but help to establish a comprehensive marketing strategy - designed to increase visibility and maximise revenue.

Video

Video may not sound much of a tech innovation, but video content is taking precedence in 2018. For those with Facebook accounts, how often do you scroll past news articles but watch a video for the first few seconds or more? To put it into perspective, YouTube is the second most ranked site after Google. By 2020, it’s estimated that online videos will make up more than 80 per cent of all consumer internet traffic. The increase in video content has been identified by the likes of Facebook and Instagram, implementing ‘stories’ to their apps.

No content is more eye-catching than that of video content, used to amplify your brand message and spread your reach. This form of marketing provides ample opportunities for your business to stand out, before all brands turn to video content to communicate with their prospects. Your content can take many diverse forms, including 360 office views and even live streams. You could even set up a Periscope, similar to the company that started ‘Puddle Watch’ in the North East, which even spread across the pond to American news channels.

Stories

Stories are an interactive method of communication that many companies are looking towards. After the successful launch of Instagram stories in 2016, accumulating over 250 million active users in just one year, we predict stories will become the foundation to digital marketing strategies in the future. Facebook has only recently followed suit, installing stories to their platform in late 2017. Today, with consumer data so readily available (be aware of the GDPR) and competitors fighting for consumer attention, brands are expected to become transparent - sharing their services, teams and even behind-the-scenes footage. Nothing is secret in the digital age, and you can use this to your advantage.

Fanta is a prime example of utilising stories to appeal to the younger generation. Using Snapchat, Fanta created a virtual reality experience - enabling users to experience a terrifying lift to the ‘13th floor’. Paired with the virtual reality marketing campaign was that of a specific QR code that unlocked a limited edition Snapchat filter when scanned.

Augmented Reality

Augmented reality (AR) is a trend emerging in almost all business sectors. Users spend an average of 69 per cent of their media time on their phone, according to recent reports. In the next year, it’s said mobile traffic will drive 80 per cent of all global internet usage. It would be madness to ignore these statistics. Pokemon Go is credited with the trend, with more than 650 million downloads in the first week of the AR app launch. Ikea also offers an AR app for shoppers, allowing them to place furniture around their house before buying. As mentioned above, Fanta tapped into the trend as part of their Halloween 2017 marketing campaign, and we expect the likes of Facebook and Instagram to incorporate AR to their platforms in the near future.

With the launch of Home - Google’s voice-activated speaker - in 2017, alongside the Amazon Echo and Alexa, voice search is taking centre stage within the digital marketing industry. A recent survey suggested that 50 per cent of Google searches will be conducted by voice in 2020, and it’s high-time to tap into the market. This exciting new world may seem intimidating, but there are basics to ensure your brand appears in the voice search.

Google Home pulls answers from Google, so traditional SEO digital marketing strategies will continue to work well. Keyword research will be vital to ensure you stay at the top of the page. It’s also worth noting that Home uses the featured Snippets, so work to appear in those. However, the likes of Alexa (pulling information from personalised shopping habits among others) and HomePod also receive answers from a mix of Bing and Google, so you will have to update SEO tactics for each platform.

Chatbots

Chatbots are a form of automated marketing that we associate with the likes of customer service. However, with consumers expecting and, quite often, demanding answers there and then - we predict the number of brands using the bots will rise. They deliver information in real time and are a fantastic method of digital marketing help.

Be Aware of the GDPR

The GDPR will be introduced on May 25th 2018, essentially placing control of data back with your customer. Personal data will be harder to collect, and you must receive consent from the consumer to store their data. Your digital marketing strategies should be prepared for the change in the market - especially when it comes to targeting the correct audience with your marketing campaigns. Always ensure your data is clear, accurate and regularly updated, with transparency between your business and prospect.

The digital marketing industry is ever-expanding and innovative, with brand-new methods of communication and tools to compare competitors regularly appearing. Even the likes of content marketing - a traditional marketing strategy - will become more user-centric and personalised in the future, and you must be willing to adapt. For those unwilling or not prepared, you will notice a drop in rankings and visitors. However, incorporating the trends will ensure you stay at the top of your field.

Lauren Green, Content Marketer, Flow
Image source: Shutterstock/everything possible