The end of the year is always a good time to look back and see what worked and what didn’t in the last 12 months. It is also the perfect time to look to the future and predict trends that will influence a certain industry. In digital marketing, these trends are usually quite difficult to predict, but with a bit of analysis and careful deduction, it can be done.
So, why not do it?
1. More Careful Ad Spend
In January, Marc Pritchard, chief brand officer of P&G gave a speech in which he addressed the murky data issue in paid online advertising. Among other things, he pointed out how unprecedented in is for Google and Facebook to act both as ad distributors and verificators of how effective those ads are. He also mentioned the issue of bots masquerading as real, live ad consumers. Since then, P&G cut their digital spend by more than $100 million, losing little (if anything) in terms of sales.
Many companies have already started demanding more transparency from Facebook and Google and it is safe to assume this trend will continue in 2018. In other words, companies will be far more careful with spending money on ads, requiring independent verification that those ads are being seen and requiring unadulterated numbers and shady practices.
2. Further Evolution of Content Marketing
Content marketing has had a rough year, especially if we are talking purely results-wise. Namely, over and over again, reports have shown that content marketing rarely succeeded in accomplishing goals put in front of marketing teams. Despite this, companies continued increasing their content marketing budgets in hopes of hitting it big.
The biggest reason that caused such poor results has been the fact that many marketers and agencies spent 2017 doing content marketing from 2014.
Content marketing is evolving at an unprecedented rate and marketers need to be aware of this. In 2018, we will see further evolution of content marketing with concepts such as digital publishing taking the forefront (find out what is digital publishing here).
3. Increased Marketing Automation
Marketing automation has been a big part of digital marketing for a while now, with various tools being used to streamline the least demanding aspects of doing online marketing. For a number of year, we have seen more and more automation seeping its way into marketing stacks around the world and 2018 will definitely be a continuation of this.
Regardless of the strategy or the tactics utilized, marketing automation will be a time-saver for many a marketing team, allowing the marketers to concentrate on the truly creative and important aspects of their work. Marketing automation is a very competitive market, bringing down the prices of sophisticated software and allowing even the smallest marketing agencies to automate certain parts of their day-to-day operations.
4. Influencer Marketing Disillusionment
Influencer marketing experienced quite an explosion over the last couple of years, with brands handing out sizeable amounts of money to influencers across the board. In 2017, we have also experienced a rise in micro-influencers, influencers with relatively limited but trusting audience. Brands from various industries virtually competed in who will throw more money on influencer marketing.
Then, towards the end of the year, marketers started examining their results and analyzing the performance of influencer marketing. They didn’t like what they saw. Then, Mediakix did their amazing study of influencer marketing where they created two fake Instagram profiles in matter of days, bought some followers and started making money from unsuspecting brands. This revealed additional cracks in the fancy facade of influencer marketing and made people think.
In 2018, influencer marketing will have to be properly reevaluated and marketers will be far more careful when reaching out to various influencers for marketing purposes.
5. Social Media Shake-up
Digital marketing is not complete without social media and, in 2018, we are about to see quite a few events that will shape the social media marketing industry.
For one, Facebook will most likely further entrench itself as the leading social media channel for marketers thanks to a combination of different ad formats, a huge user base and unprecedented targeting options. Twitter will continue to struggle as it undergoes an inevitable transformation from a traditional social media channel into a more news-oriented platform. Instagram is on the rise and it will continue to be a favorite among lifestyle, clothing and travel brands (just to name a few). LinkedIn has been making some major strides in 2017 and it is quite possible it will become a popular choice, especially for B2B brands targeting certain types of decision-makers.