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May 2, 2018
Top 4 Digital Marketing Trends of 2018
Justin Twymon
Justin Twymon

Given the ever-changing nature of buyer behavior, being an early adopter of the latest marketing technology can give you the upper hand you need to tap into the minds of key audiences.

With 2018 well underway, there are many digital trends that B2C and B2B marketers will need to consider when developing their digital strategy in order to stay on top of their game. Here are the top 4 digital marketing trends that we think you should keep in mind.

1. VOICE MARKETING

Voice-assisted devices like Google Assistant, shown here on a smart phone, are rising digital marketing trends.
Google Assistant allows users to initiate a voice search query with a simple command.

According to eMarketer, at least 69 million voice-assisted devices — like Google Home and Amazon Echo — are currently being used in the U.S., and that number is expected to grow to 75.5 million by 2019.

How does this impact digital marketers? The answer lies in search engine optimization (SEO) and paid search (or PPC) advertising. Not only can these devices have a major influence on the effectiveness of your keyword strategy, they may also change how you target your paid search ads.

Compared to the average text query, voice searches tend to be:

  • 4-5 words longer
  • More conversational in nature
  • More likely to be locally focused than text-based searches

How you can get ahead: Tailor your SEO and PPC strategies to include voice-friendly, long-tail keyword phrases. You should also localize your paid search ads by region — it’s about time you get rid of that 800 phone number.

2. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE/PREDICTIVE ANALYTICS

Predictive analytics, shown here, is a powerful tool and rising digital marketing trend.
Predictive analytics and AI allow for hyper-personalized brand experiences.

Artificial intelligence (AI) enables computers to more efficiently perform tasks that normally require human intelligence. Predictive analytics has the potential to take AI even further, using historical data to accurately determine buyer behavior.

While the traditional online targeting model has long been limited by demographic data and search history, the combination of AI and predictive analytics allows digital marketers to create highly relevant, one-to-one brand experiences with hyper-targeted audiences — in real-time.

For instance, say you’re an appliance manufacturer that offers a wide range of product designs, features and price points. You can leverage AI and predictive analytics to ensure that the right product gets placed in front of the right person based on their holistic online behavior, individual needs and more. No more guessing games. No more assumptions.

How you can get ahead: If you want to get started with this dynamic duo of marketing technologies, check out our post on the five ways you can use AI in your marketing strategy, (or even better, let's talk!)

3. LIVE STREAMING EVENTS

Live streaming via social media, shown here, is a rising digital marketing trend in 2018.
Live streaming allows businesses to expand their event audiences via social media.

Do you ever wish that you could get the same kind of audience engagement that you would at a PR event – but without the investment? Or that you could find a way to increase exposure at trade shows? No matter the case, you’re not alone. That’s why live streaming events are a rising trend for digital marketers looking to build up brand awareness cost-effectively.

Even though attendance is online (typically through social media), live streaming events can lead to increased face-to-face interactions, online conversions and more. Some of the most popular platforms include Facebook, YouTube and Instagram — all of which have developed their own version of live streaming.

How you can get ahead: Test the waters by streaming your next planned live event via social media. If you have a decent camera, it won’t cost you anything. Once you start seeing results, you can begin developing online-only events, which can maximize your social media engagement while minimizing the costs involved with live events.

Here are some ideas for online-exclusive live streaming events:

4. AUGMENTED REALITY/OBJECT RECOGNITION

Augmented reality, shown here, is one of this year's most popular digital marketing trends.
AR and object recognition offer the ability to superimpose content throughout real-life experiences.

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Augmented reality (AR) allows users to virtually enhance real-life experiences as they occur. And it provides digital marketers the opportunity to showcase their products or services in ways that they never thought imaginable.

For example, Amazon’s AR View feature allows shoppers to virtually place furniture and other products in their homes through their smartphones, which takes the “try before you buy” paradigm to an entirely new level.

Object recognition, when paired with AR, enables mobile devices to detect objects in a user’s real-life environment, giving digital marketers the power to superimpose hyper-relevant information, advertisements and more.

Some examples of potential marketing applications for object recognition and AR include:

  • Announcing sales and promotions when users walk by a business
  • AR-based content marketing relevant to a user’s environment
  • Enhanced product experiences
  • Tutorials and troubleshooting

How you can get ahead: This marketing technology is still in its developmental stages, but it can present incredible opportunities for businesses who adopt it early. Start by looking into existing options via Snapchat or Amazon.

Though these trends give us a solid idea of how the rest of 2018 will play out, we’re only scratching the surface of emerging digital marketing technology. If you’d like to learn more about how you can enhance your company's unique digital strategy, we're happy to chat.