Now that the holidays are upon us and 2018 is just around the corner, it’s time to predict some game-changing marketing trends that we can look forward to in the new year.
For many of us, artificial intelligence (AI) already impacts some aspects of our daily lives. Think about the rise of virtual assistants such as the Amazon Alexa, self-driving cars, or YouTube’s use of machine learning to provide video recommendations.
Artificial intelligence took center stage in 2017, and it will continue to make major strides in 2018. An earlier study by Forrester Research predicted that investments in AI would triple in 2017 as firms worked to convert customer data into higher consumer engagement.
Investments in AI are expected to remain high throughout 2018. Forrester’s study, Predictions 2018: The Honeymoon For AI Is Over, reveals that 70% of enterprises plan to adopt AI over the next 12 months, up from 40% in 2016 and 51% in 2017. This is the year that we will begin to see more businesses moving on from the hype of AI, to actually implementing it.
Check out these key statistics that reveal what we can expect from AI within the next year:
- The percentage of marketers planning to prioritize AI over the next year is up 17% since 2016: Newbase
- 60% of marketing leaders expect AI to improve campaign analytics, digital asset management and insight collection: Salesforce
- 58% of US marketing and advertising executives expect to deploy automated personalized content in 2018: GumGum
- By 2021, more than 50% of enterprises will spend more on bots and chatbot creation than traditional mobile app development
- Gartner found that by 2021, brands that redesign their websites to support visual and voice search will increase digital commerce revenue by 30%
It is important for brands to continually evolve in order to better serve their audiences. Those that implement their AI strategies now have the opportunity to gain a competitive advantage over the competition.
Increased Investments in Influencer Marketing
The collaboration between big brands and influencers dominated 2017, and we expect this trend to continue into 2018. According to influencer platform, Linqia, the top benefits of influencer marketing include the creation of authentic brand content, driving brand engagement, and increasing website traffic.
- According to a Nielsen study, influencer marketing delivers 11X higher return on investment than traditional forms of digital marketing.
- Nielsen’s Global Trust in Advertising finds that 83% of consumers trust recommendations from people they know, and 66% trust other consumers opinions posted online.
- 39% of marketers plan to increase their influencer marketing budgets in 2018.
- 52% are planning to leverage multiple types of influencers (celebrities, bloggers, micro-influencers).
- 36% will integrate influencer marketing content with e-commerce to drive product sales in 2018.
Influencers will continue to take center stage in 2018, but not without challenges. Determining the success of influencer marketing campaigns is not always simple. 69% of marketers stated that their No.1 challenge in 2017 was determining their ROI from influencer marketing campaigns. We predict that the process of tracking influencer marketing KPIs and ROIs will become even easier with the growth of influencer marketing management platforms. The better you are able to measure the results of your influencer marketing campaigns, the more effectively you will be able to reach new audiences and generate higher results.
In 2018, it will be key for brands to make sure they find an influencer that fits into their niche and is as productive for their brand as possible.
Continued Growth in Video
Over the past several years, the demand for online video has grown at an incredible rate. Video has been a digital marketing trend for years now, and it will continue to evolve in 2018. Consumers view video content as more credible, authentic, and engaging. It is expected that by 2021, 80% of all Internet traffic will be video.
- According to eMarketer, US digital video viewers will grow from 221.8 million to 239.2 million between 2017 and 2021.
- There will be nearly 1.9 billion Internet video users by 2021
- Between 2017 and 2021, it is estimated that US digital video viewers will increase from 221.8 million to 239.2 million.
- 80% of internet users surveyed would rather tune into live video than read a blog post
More Personalization and Micro-Moments
Micro-moments is a concept coined by Google, stating, “People had started to expect an immediate answer in the moments they wanted to know, go, do, and buy. The concept of micro-moments was perhaps as truthful, observable, and relatable a consumer behavior trend as any marketer could wish for.”
Delivering useful, personalized experiences for consumers will be paramount in 2018. Consumers have come to expect relevance. For example, if someone is searching for a local business on Google, they do not always include “near me,” because they have come to expect the results to be relevant to their location. In fact, over the past two years, restaurant-related Google searches have increased, while including a zip code in the search has declined.
According to Think With Google:
- Mobile searches for “best” have grown 80% in the past two years
- Compared to a year ago, smartphone users are significantly more likely to purchase from companies whose mobile sites or apps customize information to their location
- Nearly a third of all mobile searches are related to location
- 96% of users reach for their smartphones to research something on the spot.
Our Takeaway: It is vital for marketers to have a deep understanding of their audience at every step of their journey. Marketers that will be successful are those that provide the right information at the right time for consumers. By leveraging data and bridging the gap between online and offline experiences, there is a huge opportunity for brands to win over loyal customers in 2018.
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