Top 3 digital marketing trends you can’t ignore in 2018

Some years, the digital marketing landscape seems to change drastically. Remember in late 2016 when Instagram launched Stories? Or 2013 when Snapchat exploded and caught the attention of brands?

We all had to scramble to learn the basics of the platform — and how to best make it work for our business model and target audience.

Well, looking at 2018, it appears we may be in the clear. So far, 2018 is shaping up to be a year where budding trends of years past come to a crescendo.

These trends have been gaining momentum for so long that now your audience expects them. In 2018, stick to perfecting the trends that are here to stay.

1. Create more videos

On social media, videos (especially live ones) have reigned for years. By 2021, video will represent 82 percent of all IP traffic, projects Cisco.

Already, Facebook users watch over 100 million hours of videos every day, found Q4 2015 Facebook data. That’s partly why videos on Facebook now have, on average, double the engagement rate of other content types, according to BuzzSumo.

But videos are also much more difficult to make. It takes a lot of planning — from scouting the location, securing the equipment and prepping your talent to creating a storyboard, providing talking points and editing the footage.

In 2018, you need to find a way that works for you to create more video. Period. Yes, it will take more time. Yes, you’ll need to learn a new skill. But video has secured its spot at the top of the content food chain, and its dominance will only grow.

2. Add a bot to your team

48 percent of business leaders told Business Insider they already use automated technology for business functions.

Take Marriott International. The company’s chatbot allows Rewards members to research and book stays, request articles about booked destinations and chat directly with customer service associates on Facebook Messenger, Slack, WeChat and Google Assistant. 44 percent of users successfully received assistance about their stay, and 53 percent received help with their Rewards account.

In the coming months and years, we’ll see more of this. Already, the top four messaging apps have 3 billion monthly active users while the top four social networking apps have 2.5 billion, reported Business Insider.

Plus, by 2020, 80 percent of businesses plan to use chatbots, according to Oracle. That same year, chatbots are expected to handle 85 percent of customer service interactions. By 2022, chatbots will be responsible for cost savings of over $8 billion annually, found Juniper Research.

In 2018, consider building a Facebook chatbot. Your business can quickly recoup the upfront cost. Plus, people are ready for them! Already, 27 percent of consumers weren’t sure if their last customer service interaction was with a human or a chatbot, according to PwC.

3. Embrace voice search

Currently, more than half of households in the U.S. own and use a smart speaker, found Recode, and that was before Amazon announced the Echo Dot was the best-selling product this holiday season.

Google voice search queries in 2016 were 35 times what they were in 2008, found 2017 Search Engine Watch data. By 2020, half of all searches will be voice searches, according to iProspect data. With smart home speakers and mobile digital assistants, like Siri, users search differently.

Because of this, searches will begin to reflect how we speak. “Alexa, what’s the weather today in Philadelphia?” will overtake “Philadelphia weather.” Similarly, long-tail keywords that encapsulate whole phrases and thoughts will dominate.

In 2018, begin creating content like this that caters to voice searches.

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