Over the last couple of weeks, leading marketing blogs released their projections for 2018 – Which trends will dominate the market? Which topics will remain hot? Which trends are about to die? It’s no secret that the best way to get to accurate projections is via the ‘wisdom of the crowd.’ So, we selected 50 articles by the top influencers and blogs, mapped their projections and analyzed which ones repeated most. It led us to the following list.
Meet the methods, mediums and tool types you’re most likely to start using in 2018:
The year of AI – 35 out of 50 bloggers project this trend
Everybody is betting their chips on AI, machine learning, and bots. Most of the other trends on this list are already a big part of our day to day, but AI is the hottest trend, and it doesn’t yet affect most marketing methods.
Let’s take a step back from the ‘buzzwords’ and see how it will likely change our day to day work.
- The most significant change projected is in the advertising space. The two leading advertising channels, Facebook ads, and Google Adwords, both require in-depth understanding to build successful campaigns. Both seem like perfect use cases for AI and machine learning. The consensus believes that in 2018 we’ll be able to optimize our campaigns using AI and in subsequent years we’ll see AI taking the place of agencies. This leads to the big question: why haven’t we seen Facebook or Google take any steps in this direction?
- More Bots. In 2018 we’ll definitely see more Bots. They are going to get smarter and help us create more options for converting users and optimizing the funnel.
- Behavioral marketing powered by machine learning. Segmenting your audience and building the right messaging and funnel for each is one of marketing’s holy grails. Today we lack the tools to have an in-depth understanding of individual users, and we also lack tools that would provide us with the ability to build different experiences based on this data. Using machine learning to identify top behavioral patterns and optimize funnels to correlate with these finding would be the ultimate game changer.
Here are some marketing tools which already use AI/ machine learning that you may want to check out.
Machine learning tools for Advertising: Smartly.io, Acquisio
Marketing Bots: Mobile Monkey, Drift, Chatty People
Machine learning/ AI analytics tools: Oribi, PaveAI
More videos. And even more live videos – 25 out of 50 bloggers predicted this trend
Video has been a key trend over the last few years and yet, each year we still see a significant increase of using videos to reach audiences. This year will be no exception. You should jump on the bandwagon stat and start producing more, if not most of your content as video. According to Facebook’s stats, live videos get 3X the views than recorded videos. Since Facebook’s methodology is to promote live videos more than any other type, we are assuming this stat is somewhat exaggerated vs. stats that may come from different platforms. But don’t discount it, live videos are definitely advantageous. And while most bloggers agree that we’re going to see more live videos, there’s no consensus about the quality. Some viewers find live videos more appealing due to their authenticity, while others project that in 2018 we’ll start seeing more professional and better produced live videos.
Influencer marketing will still rule, especially ‘micro-influencers’ – 22 out of 50 bloggers projected this trend
While relying on influencers to spread the word about your product is one of the oldest tricks in the marketing playbook, the term ‘Influencer Marketing’ and a clear methodology around it are relatively new. A top method many of the bloggers pointed out was focusing on a larger number of relatively small influencers. The terms ‘Niche-influencers’ or ‘Micro-influencers’ usually refers to people with 1K-100K followers. Getting top influencers and celebrities can be a challenging and expensive task. But, reaching out to a few smaller influencers can have the same impact. This trend is especially popular for younger audiences, and Instagram still leads this trend.
Read more about niche-influencer marketing here and here.
Tools to help you find the right influencers and contact them: BuzzSumo’s influencers and outreach tool, BuzzStream and Tapinfluence
Voice-optimized content is on the rise – 18 out of 50 bloggers projected this trend
This year, Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant went (almost) mainstream. Over 20 million units of smart speakers sold in 2017. Voice-based interaction has increased dramatically over the past year accounting for 20% of searches. In 2020, that statistic is predicted to grow to 50%(!). How will using more voice interactions affect your marketing strategy?
- Moving from text to voice-search changes how people define their search. It has a broad impact on SEO. Current changes indicate we’ll be seeing more long tail searches. See how voice search is already changing the SEO landscape.
- Voice search will hurt Adwords. There aren’t any concrete predictions about how advertising will look as voice search becomes more popular.
- Voice is changing how we do content marketing. With the popularity of podcasts increasing, we see how voice has impacted the content marketing landscape. As the trend rises and other voice-based content has entered the market, bloggers are getting a run for their money. This has also raised many questions regarding how to best measure conversion rates of voice-based content and how to use them optimizing it for conversions. This trend is going to change the way we advertise, convert leads and analyze engagement. We also predict that voice coaches will see a significant increase in their niche business 🙂
Data-driven marketing – 15 out of 50 bloggers projected this trend
Continuing the trends from years prior, this year we’re likely to see more advanced analytics, BI, and visualization solutions. While the days that marketers measured page views are long gone, there’s still a long way to go until we can take data-driven decisions into all fields. New trends such as bots, AI, and voice, as well as existing trends such as content and influencers’ marketing, all bring new challenges in determining the correct KPIs and how to measure them. Over the last few years, we’ve seen larger companies integrate custom marketing analytics solutions, and mobile ads and app downloads have become easier to measure. Here are some of the large gaps we’re hoping to see narrow in 2018:
- Marketing analytics solutions are still unreachable for SMBs. Google Analytics is still the go-to analytics tool for SMBs. But when GA is used without multiple customizations, the data it offers is pretty basic.
- While content marketing has become a ‘must do’ the last few years, it’s still challenging to measure results.
- New technologies like bots or voice are not supported by any analytics solution and, even podcasts can’t be adequately measured.
Privacy protection is going to change the rules – 18 out of 50 bloggers projected this trend
While other trends are about to expand your options, privacy laws are going to limit them. Using cookies, tracking your users’ data and saving their sessions is a basic part of most advertising platforms and marketing tools. In 2017, the European Union passed a new law, the GDPR, which protects the data of businesses and individuals. Apple changed the way it handles cookies with the release of the Safari 11’s “Intelligent Tracking Prevention” which automatically deletes cookies after a short while. In 2018, we’re probably going to see more of this trend, which means retargeting users and analyzing user behavior will not be as apparent as before. This trend contradicts the AI and machine learning trends. AI and machine learning both rely on analyzing a massive amount of data, based on users’ interactions and blocking access to prior user sessions is going to affect the results.
Some of the ‘2018 marketing projection’ posts we used include Forbes, Entrepreneur, Social Media Today, HubSpot, Inc.com, Digital Marketing Institute, Smarts Insights, Neil Patel, QuickSprout, MarketingProfs, Contently, Marketing Land, The Economic Times, Search Engine Journal, Small Business Trends, Marketing Insider Group, Business 2 Community, Bizible, Infusionsoft, Econsultancy, Wishpond, Brandwatch, Content Marketing Institute, Act-On, Digital Agency Network, Marketing Dive, CMO, Skyword, circle S studio