As we roll up our beach towels and head back to the office, our thoughts are turning back to the wonderful world of digital marketing and the must-know tactics that will ensure 2018 is your best year yet.
As a leading digital marketing agency, we thought we'd have a crack at predicting the big digital marketing trends of 2018, reveal how to conquer mobile search in the year ahead, and review the state of social media.
And as always, we’ve brought you our favourite digital marketing podcast of the month (it’s full of more must-know digital marketing trends) and your monthly must-read (it clarifies the link between mobile marketing and in-store sales).
(Your round-up mini-directory)
Too busy to read the whole thing? We get it: logistics, synergies, KPIs – all that stuff. Here's the skim-read version. You really should read the whole article though...You can click on the dot point that takes your fancy and head straight to the relevant section.
In this month's digital marketing roundup:
- Predicting the big digital marketing trends of 2018
- Your Digital Marketing Podcast of the Month (The Digital Entrepreneur: The 6 top online marketing trends for 2018)
- News from Google HQ
- How to conquer mobile search in 2018
- Digital Marketing Short Takes
- The state of social: 2018
- Your Monthly Stats Round Up
- Your Monthly Digital Marketing Must-Read (Mobile Marketing vs In-store Sales: Help! What’s the Correlation?)
Predicting the big digital marketing trends of 2018
As we look ahead to another big year for digital marketing, there’s always plenty of argument about which big trends will emerge and which will fade away with a whimper.
That’s why Smart Insights went straight to the source and asked marketers from around the world exactly what they expect to rock their digital worlds this year.
Here are the results…
As you can see, content marketing still reigns supreme in the battle for digital engagement, while the tech heads are backing big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning to have a heavy impact in 2018.
The importance of conversion rate optimisation (CRO) has overtaken search engine optimisation (SEO) in the minds of marketers, while mobile marketing and marketing automation also remain a priority.
On the flip side, affiliate and co-marketing partnerships, paid search marketing, wearables and display advertising have all fallen out of fashion.
So what does all this mean in practice? Well, Smart Insights is putting their money on integration as the big digital marketing trend for 2018. And, according to their survey of marketing professionals, integrating your marketing activities into your customer lifecycle will require a focus on customer personas and customer journey mapping. Then comes a healthy dose of AB testing...
According to Smart Insights, in 2018 marketers will also need to find ways to personalise the customer experience and integrate machine learning into marketing automation.
That’s easier said than done. So how is the digital marketer to achieve these goals in a brave new integrated world where consumers expect digital experiences that speak directly to them?
Tools like the new Google Optimize can help you discover the most engaging customer experiences through testing different versions of your website so you can tailor it to deliver a personalised experience to suit each visitor.
And audience targeting tools such as AddThis can help you to easily create personalised messages by targeting your website visitors based on their previous online activity.
Your Digital Marketing Podcast of the Month
The Digital Entrepreneur: The 6 top online marketing trends for 2018
In this insightful podcast, hosts Sean Jackson and Katy Katz take a deep dive into the top six emerging online marketing trends and innovative tools they think will be big news in 2018.
It also includes a discussion about how to use Amazon Publishing to grow your online audience, some tips on how to price your online products, and why content marketing is the cat’s pyjamas.
News From Google HQ
Google’s Year in Search 2017
According to Google’s annual ‘Year in Search’ review, 2017 could be the year we all decided to start making a difference.
The search engine giant notes that the question on all our fingertips in 2017 was ‘how...?’. In a year that was beset by natural disasters, unstable global politics, economic strife and general skullduggery, more of us turned to Google to find out how we could help.
“2017 was the year we asked ‘how…?’ How do wildfires start? How to calm a dog during a storm? How to make a protest sign? In fact, all of the ‘how’ searches you see in the video were searched at least 10 times more this year than ever before. These questions show our shared desire to understand our experiences, to come to each other’s aid, and, ultimately, to move our world forward.”
On a lighter note, Google also revealed that 2017 is the year acronyms ‘tfw’ (that was funny) and ‘ofc’ (of course) entered the cyberslang lexicon, and for a mysterious unidentified reason searchers were preoccupied with slime -- how to make it, and how to clean it out of hair, clothes and carpet. Go figure.
How to conquer mobile search in 2018
With Google’s mobile-first index expected to launch sometime in 2018, SEO experts are turning their attention towards the imminent mobile search tsunami and how to ensure your brand floats to the top.
Search Engine Land’s Cindy Krum shares her top three trend predictions that are set to rock mobile SEO in 2018. Here’s our three-minute summary -- or check out Cindy’s full article for the whole scoop.
Krum’s money is on progressive web apps (PWAs) to play an increasingly important role in mobile SEO this year. PWAs are essentially web pages that can appear to users like a native mobile app without the need to actually build a stand-alone app.
The benefit of PWAs is that an app icon is still displayed on users’ phones and they still get a full-screen app experience without that pesky address bar tempting them to surf on. You can also still send push notifications via a PWA, all without the need for pricey back-end app development.
So what’s the big deal?
“As Google begins adding PWAs to Google Play and indexing them on the web, this could make it easier for it to add app logos to SERPs for both Android and iOS, improving the appearance, CTR and engagement of the PWA links,” writes Krum.
#2 One app to rule them all
Krum warns that simply running a website with responsive design may not be enough in 2018 to handle the increasing number of connected devices consumers are embracing.
She predicts that the convergence between mobile and desktop will continue at pace through 2018, which means the line between mobile and desktop applications will become increasingly blurry.
“As more information moves to the cloud, it will be easier to seamlessly move from one device to another, maintaining the state, history and status of the interaction on all devices simultaneously,” she writes. “Developers will be more focused on testing data integrations of one app across many different devices, rather than testing multiple, device-specific apps on multiple devices.”
#3 You’re the voice
Krum also predicts that structured data will have a heavier impact on your mobile SEO performance in 2018 -- especially when it comes to voice search.
Google uses structured data to understand your website, and it’s tipped that this method will soon replace web crawlers as Google’s go-to web ranking tool. This will put extra responsibility on digital marketers to ensure your structured data game is up to scratch in 2018, or you may risk being shut out of Google voice search.
“Content that is well marked up with structured data can be easily parsed and presented on non-traditional devices through voice search and interaction (like with Google Assistant, Google Home, Android Auto),” writes Krum. “This is also a big deal for non-Google products like Amazon Alexa, Siri, Fitbit (which launched its own OS-specific partner apps) and voice-enabled TV remotes.”
Digital Marketing Short Takes
All the most important digital marketing news, insights and advice from around the online jungle blogosphere this month.
- 5 metrics to optimise your web push notifications strategy
- Embrace a product manager mindset to improve 2018 SEO KPIs
- Digital Marketer’s 101 Best Email Subject Lines of 2017
- Email trends in 2018: What do the experts predict?
- SEO Glossary: 200+ Terms & Definitions You Need to Know
The state of social: 2018
Love it or hate it, there’s no denying that social media will continue to make up a significant part of your digital marketing strategy in 2018.
Nikki Gilliland at Econsultancy spoke with social media experts to reveal what digital marketers should be paying attention to in the wide world of social media this year.
Here’s are the key take-home messages:
#1 Twitter falls flat
Twitter’s recent decision to double its character limit could be a desperate last grasp for relevance as visual-based platforms like Instagram and Pinterest steal its thunder. Beware investing too much in Twitter marketing this year.
#2 Chatbots go mainstream
Experts are tipping that chatbot technology will mature in 2018 and we’ll see more and more market applications in 2018. After all, forecasts suggest this kind of technology could save businesses as much as $8 billion annually by 2022.
#3 Disposal content
Instagram Stories and Snapchat have introduced us to the concept of ephemeral content that’s there one minute and gone the next. Digital marketers would do well to get in on this trend in 2018 and put your creative muscles to work making disposable content for a more on-trend, exclusive brand experience.
#4 Augmented reality
If Snapchat can turn a dancing hot dog filter into a worldwide trend, the sky is the limit for digital marketers when it comes to the brave new world of augmented reality in 2018. Take BMW for example. The car maker recently used augmented reality to give customers the opportunity to view and configure a realistic 3D model of the new X2.
#5 Video content
If Mark Zuckerberg’s prediction that 90 per cent of Facebook’s content will be video based in 2018 turns out to be true, digital marketers cannot afford to ignore video as a vital social media marketing tool. The success of Facebook Live is also turning brands into live broadcasters.
Your Monthly Stats Round-up
Digital advertising is going mobile, content creation drives SEO, marketers ask whether social media is showing a return on investment, Google loves long-form blog articles, and infographics are shared more than any other content.
Your Monthly Digital Marketing Must-Read
Mobile Marketing vs In-store Sales: Help! What’s the Correlation?
In this insightful whitepaper, the Digital Marketing Depot, reveals how to reach consumers on the go as they increasingly turn to their smart phones to carry out product research or find services near them.
It explores the connection between online and offline marketing across multiple channels, and reveals how to drive foot traffic while measuring the key metrics that drive your digital search marketing, organic search, social media and digital advertising campaigns.
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