5 Biggest Online Marketing Trends for 2018

Unless you’ve been living under a rock in the Sahara since birth, there have been a huge number of technological innovations since the turn of the millennium.

sahara lizard

Rock in the Sahara, you say? I like reggae, mon.

There have been awesome, groundbreaking inventions like the Large Hadron Collider, the Mars Rovers, and artificial limbs that can react to nerve activity just like real limbs. There have also been tech innovations like Google, Wi-Fi, Facebook, smartphones and a bunch of other stuff that you might not think are particularly “awesome”.

OK, they’re awesome, but they haven’t been groundbreaking in terms of moving humanity forward. What they have done is change the way in which members of society relate to each other. We use them for a host of functions, not the least of which is to market our businesses and services in a way that was unheard of even as recently as the end of the 20th century.

When everything is moving forward at breakneck speed, it’s good for people in the online marketing game to keep our fingers on the pulse. Here are some of the marketing trends that will keep rockin’ the WWW in 2018.

1. The Chatbots are Rising!

Chatbots are those weirdly sentient, talkative AIs that pop up when you go to certain sites or social media platforms, and ask how they can help you. Often irritating, sometimes helpful, their purpose is to engage a customer online and – well, ask how they can help you, sell you stuff, or sometimes just indulge in idle chatter.

A chatbot enhances existing customer experience and attracts new customers. It’s pretty new technology, so big businesses are leaping onto the AI bandwagon. It will surely trickle down to small business soon enough – there are already 2 billion messages sent between businesses and customers a month.

Of course, because the tech is still fairly new, interacting with some chatbots is like talking to your elderly deaf relative on the phone.

annoying bot

"Dozed off for a second?" Not sure if amused or alarmed, AI guy.

2. Video content marketing

OK, so video has been a big part of digital marketing for a while now. It will continue to evolve in 2018 though, with businesses using platforms like YouTube, Instagram and Facebook more and more – and with many more people preferring to watch video content than read an article.

Some stats show that video posts receive 135% greater organic reach than photo posts. Also, a video uploaded directly to Facebook and not from another platform like YouTube, is up to 4 times more likely to capture attention.

There is increasing emphasis on live streaming, as Facebook seems to be prioritising live video content over video content, and video content over other types of content.

Most. Epic. YouTube advert. Ever.

3. Personalised experiences

Various studies have been done that show that the average person who goes online or uses social media is exposed to anything from 4000 to 10000 ads a day.

That’s a lot of info cluttering up our already overloaded senses. Media that isn’t targeted to people who could actually USE it, tends to put consumers off that company or product.

There are various methods that advertisers use to target a specific audience online. This isn’t anything new – but trust me, it’s only getting bigger. You’ve probably seen lots of examples of this targeting from your own social media feed. Be honest – you’re a lot more likely to click on ads for things you specifically have an interest in, right?

Even if deep down, you’re a bit weirded out by how Facebook knows you “liked” your one friend’s post about her yoga class, and now keeps showing you creepy s*&t like this:

hot yoga

Yeah, melting into a puddle of red goo seems like a good way to spend an afternoon.

4. Voice search and SEO

More and more people are using voice search to find things online than ever before, with the rise of smartphones. There’s various explanations for why this might be – which pretty much boil down to “people are lazy” and “my fingers are too big for those damn tiny screens”.

The result of this shift in how we search for things is that the search terms people use are changing. For example, if you’re searching online to decide what running shoes to buy, you’ll probably type in “running shoes”. If you’re using Voice Search, you’ll probably say something like “what kind of running shoes should I buy?”

So what’s the difference, you ask? To an online marketing expert, the answer is – a lot. We have to make sure that the Voice Search crowd  get relevant information returned to them. People generally talk more than they type, and search engine optimization (SEO) needs to reflect this.

voice search tech

"Google, where is the nearest f*&^%ing liquor store? It's URGENT."

5. Micro-Moments

96% of users reach for their smartphones when they want to decide what takeaways to get delivered, or what cheap throw rugs can be delivered in 24 hours to cover the badly stained carpet before a visit from their parents.

Top companies are geared for these impulsive splurges or micro-moments, by providing the right search information at the right time to the customer in need. They have to cleverly anticipate your decision-making process at any given moment.

micro moment marketing

"Incoming - aaand of course she wants the stuff on the highest shelf, so I have to help."

 These are just a few of the developments we can look forward to seeing grow over the next year. Time to embrace the tech and shift your online marketing strategies into high gear. 

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