Digital marketing is complex and has many moving parts – SEO, social media, marketing automation, PPC, email marketing, and more. It’s also incredibly important to be in the know. New technologies, techniques, and ever-changing Google and Facebook algorithms constantly keep TheeDesign’s digital marketing team on its toes! A large part of the job of a digital marketer is to constantly stay up to date, so our clients’ digital marketing campaigns remain effective. In the past year, we saw the rise of video, VR, machine learning, Internet of Things and artificial intelligence. 2018 will be the year that we bring it all together.

With so much new technology, there’s a lot to cover. We’ll try to make it as simple as possible! Digital marketing trends for 2018 can be boiled down to seven Vs: visualization, visceral, visibility, voice, venturesome, veracious, and vital.

Visualization Through Video, Images, and Infographics

We witnessed the rise of video over the past couple of years and this trend is only getting stronger. Current predictions indicate that by 2019, video will account for 80% of consumer internet traffic. Still not convinced? Here are a few more fancy stats for you:

Part of the reason video is becoming increasingly popular is accessibility. Even just a few years ago, videos took a long time to load and were difficult to access on mobile. Now, they are easy to access and there are entire social networks dedicated to video, such as Snapchat and Periscope.

During the past couple years, we were also introduced to Facebook Live, an entirely new avenue of live stream video. Brands could instantly connect with customers via video. If you haven’t jumped into live stream video yet, 2018 is the time to do it. People are watching – according to Facebook, Facebook Live videos are watched 3x  longer than Videos that aren’t live.

You’ll notice this section is titled “visualization” and thus far, it’s all about video. It is much more than that. In 2018, images and infographics are just as important, but users are no longer content with simply looking at images. Expect to see a rise in interactive infographics. Here are a few amazing examples if you need some inspiration!

Visceral Experiences with VR and AR

Another reason video continues to rise in popularity is that it enables brands to connect with consumers on an emotional level. This brings us to to the next V – visceral. The word visceral relates to deep, inward feelings. Advances in technology allow brands to connect with users on a deep, emotional level by creating experiences using virtual and augmented reality.

Earlier this month, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerburg introduced Facebook’s new virtual reality platform, Spaces, to the world by virtually touring a hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico. While this introduction was ill-advised in a PR sense, it’s an example of where digital marketing is headed in terms of offering deep, meaningful experiences. With access to VR and AR technology, brands can offer tours of facilities, take users through the process of creating products, and create interactive 3D models so users can thoroughly examine products.

Visibility Through Native Advertising

Visibility is the whole point of marketing, but what frequently changes is how you become visible to your targeted audience. In 2018, increased visibility will come with native advertising. Native advertising is a form of paid advertising where ads appear as part of the natural experience. An example would be an ad showing up in Facebook’s newsfeed as you scroll, as opposed to the ads in the sidebar. The trend of native advertising comes to us as a result of the declining performance of pop-up ads, which are disruptive and pretty much universally hated.

As you plan your use of paid advertising in 2018, be sure it’s used on native advertising to increase your chances of success. Native ads are also a display of goodwill towards potential customers as you won’t be annoying them by disrupting their online experience with annoying pop-ups. Today’s internet consumers expect seamless experiences. Give them what they want and you will see your traffic and conversions increase.

Voice Search

In the last year, we saw the rise of digital assistants. Sales of the Amazon Dot/Echo and Google Home dominated, even though the technology is still new and being honed. Consumers also have access to digital assistants on their mobile devices in the form of Siri and Cortana. Access to these technologies has led to a rise in voice searches and digital marketers must pay attention to this as part of their 2018 strategy.

Voice search will especially come into play when it comes to keyword selection. People search differently with their voice than they do with other methods. For example, a person looking for the nearest Indian restaurant might type in “indian restaurant raleigh” into Google, but might ask Cortana, “where is the closest Indian restaurant?” Be sure to include phrases and long-tail keywords in your 2018 SEO strategy.

Venturesome

Digital assistants, virtual reality, augmented reality – all of this new technology is exciting, but it’s also a little scary. That being said, taking risks can often reap a lot of rewards. Get an edge on your competition by being venturesome. Be the first in your industry to use VR as part of your digital marketing plan and consumers will be sure to remember you.

Veracious

Honesty is a trend that never goes away. Always be truthful and forthcoming in your advertising and marketing efforts. Information is readily available and untruths are easy to uncover. Consumers have so many choices and they want to work with brands they can trust. Be mindful of your online reputation by addressing customer complaints and reviews. All of the cool VR technology in the world can’t help you recover from a bad reputation, so make it a policy to always be honest and open with your customers.

Vital

This brings us to the last V – vital. Updating your digital marketing plan frequently is absolutely vital. Trends and technologies constantly change and falling behind can mean a loss of revenue. Plus, it can be difficult to catch up when competitors start to outrank you. Virtual reality technology is amazing, but if customers already can’t find you, it could all be for naught if you are using outdated keywords and SEO strategies.

Hiring professionals to manage digital marketing takes the pressure off of you so you can devote more time to your business. TheeDesign’s team is absolutely obsessed with digital marketing and you can be confident in their ability to help you stay one step ahead of your competition. Take a look at some of our marketing case studies and contact us at 919-341-8901 or schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.