Digital marketing is always changing, so don't let your strategies fall behind. Read on for 10 digital marketing trends that will dominate in 2018.
2018 is the year you break the internet and break new ground. You're going to take the coming year's digital marketing trends and stake your claim in the web space that you deserve.
You're just not 100% sure on where to start...yet. That's OK. That's why we're here.
It's our job to stay on top of these markets and separate what's a fad and what's a trend. Fads will be gone by the time you're done reading this sentence. Whereas trends become the new best practices in digital marketing.
Here's our list of the top 10 digital marketing trends that will separate the winners from the losers over the next 12 months.
1. Your Mobile Site Has to be Better than your Desktop
Google has announced they're indexing mobile first in the near future. Meaning they will look at your mobile site before they look at your desktop site when indexing you.
This is mainly because of the numbers we've seen in recent years, as mobile devices now pretty much spend the most time online. In fact:
• Mobile traffic made up over half of (52.64%) all global online traffic last year
• 61% of those surveyed won't return if they had any hiccups along the way
• And 40% of those people will leave and immediately go to a competitor's site
• Phones aren't the only thing that's mobile. Tablets had the highest add-to-cart rates in online stores at an impressive 8.58%
• 88% of people who look for and find a business on a mobile device will give them a call or visit them within 24 hours
Your mobile site has to be well optimized, laid out in an intuitive way, and still provide a complete user experience. Also, your site clearly needs to load quickly. A page's load speed has long since been a huge predictor of success and SEO value for desktop sites, and it's now more important than ever for mobile.
If you haven't yet, 2018 needs to be the year you look into Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). It's an open-source coding standard that allows sites to load quickly on mobile.
2. Responsive Design is Crucial
As we just mentioned, browsing happens anywhere at any time. Your site could now be viewed from a laptop, a phone, a tablet or a watch/wearable device these days.
You need your site to respond to what the user is looking for, and then show up in full brilliance, custom-fit for their screen size. Give one excuse to your visitor to bolt and they will bolt. And as we said above, they will head right to your competition's site, where they imagine they can get a better experience.
That excuse to leave could be your site not quite showing up correctly on their screen. Maybe your text is slightly out of the margins because it doesn't fit their resolution quite right. Or (gasp) maybe they can't find the "Buy" button.
In either case, these are the micro-moments (more on those later), that will either make you money or cost you a sale.
3. The Local SEO Landscape is Shifting
This is the biggest item on the list if you're a medium to small-sized business. Local SEO is what drives most of your business or foot traffic.
As mentioned above, the journey from Googling-to-find-you to buying-from-you is less than 24 hours these days. So whoever is optimised and ready for business is going to win. Whoever isn't, is pretty much funnelling even more business to the winner. Google is getting smarter and more in tune with how people are searching for a local business while getting more in tune with how "black hat" businesses are trying to cheat to win the SEO war.
In recent years, the Google Possum and Hawk updates have both been game changers. Collectively, they have:
1. Made the actual physical location of both you and the searcher a big decider on what results the searcher will see
2. Cracked down on businesses trying to scam the system with things like multiple listings/locations for the same business
3. Rewarded local businesses who are doing organic search the right way
So what does "the right way" include?
4. 100% Certified Organic
Again, Google wants searchers to find real businesses who offer exactly what they're looking for... Not scammers who've found an SEO loophole.
This means Google is focusing more on the user's journey now and rewarding real organic SEO efforts like:
• Blogs that actually get read and shared
• Online reviews, at Google and third-party sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor
• User experience (things like your site's load time, or 404 pages)
• User engagement (things like your bounce rate, or clicks per session)
5. Talking to Robots
This is an interesting one because users are very polar in how they respond to chatbots and live chat pop-ups. Some people find them to be an intrusive barrier that gets between them in the information they're looking for. These people angrily close the chat pop up. Others see them as a useful way to quickly get ground-level questions answered. They will actually interact with the chatbot, and may use it to schedule an appointment or engage in some other way.
It's the success stories that businesses are focused on when they see the potential that chatbots could offer. And the market is expanding. In fact, the chatbot market is projected to climb to £8 million by the year 2025. That's a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 24.3%.
6. Micro-moments: Click Click Boom
This is a real emerging science that falls under the realm of user experience.
What is a micro-moment? A user picks up their phone to research something impulsively. They search, then find what they're looking for. Now, they may be ready to make an impulse buy from what they find... if what they find is optimised.
It's an impulsive moment, so this site has to be set up to push them to the desired action (buy, phone call, schedule) in as few clicks or swipes as humanly possible. The more you ask them to do, the less they will do. If this micro-moment isn't captured because a user has to reload the site or provide too much information, the impulse is gone and so is the business.
The art and science to try to imagine the exact user-intent when arriving on this page and give them what they want. Because you need to give them exactly what they want, right now, without bogging down the experience with too much info. If you can't convert them right now, you need to capture their information so you can win them over down the line with remarketing.
7. Straight, No Filter
The #NoFilter movement is still going strong. A lot of people are tired of highly staged/ edited/ airbrushed images and crave something "real."
Last year, Getty Images released their list of digital marketing trends for 2017 and predicted that real, untouched and unedited pictures would grow in popularity and they were bang on. People really respond to these images on social, in blogs, and on landing pages. And this particularly true for millennial-aged people who are used to being fed heavily produced images most of their lives.
8. A Move Away from Vanity (Metrics)
Today's tools let us measure interactions on a level that would have been impossible even 5 years ago. Armed with this new data, it's time for us to graduate from useless vanity metrics. That includes things like Followers, Likes, Retweets, and Favourites. These all look great, but they really don't do much to move the needle forward. It's basically mistaking activity for accomplishment.
So focus less on those, and take a look at:
• Lifetime value (LTV) of a customer
• Click through rate (CTR)
• Quality score (QS)
• Cost per acquisition (CPA)
• Cost per click (CPC)
• Sentiment scores
• Cross-device conversions
These will give you a far more detailed account of how your web campaigns are performing.
9. Know the Power of Dark Social
Not all of your content gets shared the way you want it to, ie via Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube. A lot of people who share your content will copy and paste the link into SMS, iMessage, WhatsApp or email. You have to get more creative to track those "dark social" shares.
Only about 70% of sharing happens in public places where you can track it.
10. Video: The Heavyweight Champion of Digital Marketing Trends
You'll be reading about video in lists of digital marketing trends for the next 30 years probably. Everybody wants it, but companies still struggle to use it. Most are still figuring out how to properly leverage stories on Instagram and Snapchat.
Cisco VNI (Visual Networking Index) said that 70% of the total Consumer Traffic in 2015 was video traffic only. Conservatively, that number will be 80% by 2020. Maybe higher.
Need Help in 2018? Let's make this the year we start working together. At NEXO, we know that success comes from more than just understanding digital marketing trends. It's about making real connections with real people.
Let's talk! You can click here to get in touch with us.