I’m always wary of ‘digital marketing trends’ pieces, especially when they’re written by companies or organisations set to benefit from the trends they lay out as the ‘next big thing’.
However, it’s true that, year to year, certain shifts in digital marketing undeniably impact where the dollars are spent and how us marketers reach our audiences. With that in mind, and a grain or two of salt, here are three noticeable digital marketing shifts I think we’ll see in 2018.
Dark social comes into the light.
Dark social is when you engage in social media-type behaviours (sharing a link with a friend, commenting on an article with a group etc) but not doing it in the open. Instead, you’re most likely using a chat app like a Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp, where, traditionally, marketing has not been present.
Messenger and chat app use has been on the sharp incline for two years, along with dark social posting (in fact, 84% of sharing is done this way) and marketers have yet to come to grips with this space.
2018 is the time when digital marketers get serious about this space and learn so much more about their audiences. This will likely start with rudimentary chatbots and you’re probably ; you’re likely already seeing this kind of thing in your chat apps. Sure, this isn’t an overly sophisticated approach, but companies like Aussie startup Stackchat are already seeing the marketing need and building rich, deep chat experiences for marketers to get stuck into right now next year.
Marketers get demanding with video
Facebook dropped the hammer in May last year when it announced Facebook Watch, its video-on-demand platform. Launching to US users in September, it’s been described as ‘a sub-par cable channel’ by some, but Facebook is now saying it’s tipping up to 1 billion dollars into original content during 2018 and that’s just for starters next year.
What does this mean for marketing? Firstly, it’s more ‘noise’ for us to cut through. But, perhaps most importantly, it opens up the opportunity for marketers to get a much larger audience for the branded video content they’re already producing. If you’re a brand like Marriott or Tourism Australia where online video is a cornerstone of what you do, then Facebook may well give you a massive boost when it comes to finding that big audience for your video content.
Marketers struggle to find their voice in search
In May 2017 this year, Google’s CEO said voice search queries were already at 20% of overall volumes and a Tractica report has predicted half of all searches will be voice searches by 2020. Search is the fundamental way we interact with the internet and it’s our oldest digital behaviour, yet digital marketers are still in a holding pattern on this, waiting on Amazon, Apple, Samsung and others the Amazon’s and Apple’s of the world to get it right.
I think that’s a big mistake and I think marketers should be working with tech companies to make sure these platforms are well suited for marketing messages. In fact, here in Australia, local agencies like Versa are already helping to shape the voice search experience for marketers and consumers which is great timing because 2018 is the year that voice search goes mainstream and mega; digital marketing has the next 12 months to set up this platform for long term success in what will become the dominant form of digital interaction in the 2020s.
Andrés López-Varela is a digital marketing consultant experienced in the development and execution of strategies for major local and global marketing initiatives. He has more than a decade experience working with brands such as Tourism Australia, Coca-Cola, Pfizer, Commonwealth Bank and more.