In the year that started off with a BANG, Facebook’s CEO and co-founder, Mark Zuckerberg announced that his company will change the way the Newsfeed is viewed by it’s 2 billion+ customers. You better believe that will will set a trend for all advertisers across all platforms that are Digital. One year after a major political upset, the world has questioned what is real thanks to giant pushes to and from media platforms and our elected leaders. Now, more than ever, your marketing dollars need to focus on generating an impact from people you want to reach, and never spend a dime wasted on those who could care less about your products and services. Here are my predictions for 2018. Some of these trends are well on there way, while others I foresee could make major leaps, coming from the bushes into the spotlight by the end of the year.
This one is obvious, but if you haven’t caught wind yet, mobile is here to stay. As desktop ads are on the decline, you should segment your marketing creative specifically for mobile advertising. For example, retail and restaurants have the ability to “call” or “get directions” to the location. This removes the extra step of looking up addresses or trying to Google the correct street address. Combine this with allow your location to be shared, and you’ll find the closest restaurant to feed your hungry friends. However, do not think of mobile as just your phone. As you continue to read, you will find out that that I think we are moving away from physical phones in the generations to come. I bet you Mobile ads will top out this year and we will find that Advertising dollars start to go into Non-Visual forms like Home Speaker Devices (Alexa, and Google Home etc)
There’s a saying in the ad world that “Content is King” and this cannot be more true than right now. In a world where content is being generated by computers automatically and fake news sites pop up faster than they can be removed, your content is the cream that can rise to the top. It’s more than just an SEO benefit. From blog articles to Videos to webinars, if you are generating valuable content with rich topics, then people will take notice. Not everything needs to “go viral” and sometimes that is chasing down an endless rabbit hole. Your brand, product or service could always benefit from consistent content. That is they key. Keep it coming as a steady flow and your fans will follow you and grow, just from your content generation alone. I bet you that if you are not generating content by the end of this year, Google will rank you so low that you will not exist.
Bots, machine learning and AI are in the news as of recent, but this will be the breakout year. Now you can have bots responding to customers, and in some cases they can lower your internet bill. Even now a small business owner can create a bot to answer the most common questions that come in. For example, if someone keeps asking what your lunch specials are, or if you have a specific shirt in their size, all of this can be answered by bots. Apps are taking advantage of this as well, by creating intelligent experiences based on your consistent activities. AI has already built into your phone software. You will see AI dominate the news not necessarily as the headline, but it will help medium size companies take on larger enterprise operations and win big! Advertisers can take advantage of this as well to identify underperforming campaigns. I bet you SmB’s will be able to autopilot tasks like Accounting or Marketing using AI by the end of this year.
Repeat business is easier than trying to get a new customer. So Marketers are focused on creating better experiences for past customers to generate a greater LTV. Marketers are trying to figure out your behavior before and after the purchase. When they are better able to predict when you are likely to make a purchase, expect to see a discount code show up in your email. Creating a personalized remarketing campaign can make you feel appreciated. Going from browsing to first time purchase and repeat customer is the goal. Finding ways to engage, delight and provide loyalty benefits can be traced back to proper behavioral campaigns. You will find smart businesses can pinpoint that virtual “Point of Purchase” moment where you are hovering over the Buy it Now. Unlocking this will be your keys to success in 2018. I bet you that behavioral marketing will beat out traditional demographic style “shotgun” methods by the end of the year.
Augmented and Virtual Reality
Last and not least is my favorite. The potential for AR and VR is huge in Marketing. Enterprise companies have already taken advantage of 1st to market. Now SmB’s are finding affordable ways to have fun with things like business cards that interact with AR glasses to websites, movies, etc. If you think QR codes were big, now you can hide anything in plain sight and have it be Augmented with the proper eyewear. In fact, your phones may slowly but surely go away in favor of AR/VR glasses. This prediction runs beyond 2018, but it’s the biggest stand out for 2018. It will be what changes the face of the year of marketing. I suggest you find opportunities to interact with this new technology before you miss the boat. I bet you Augmented Reality will become mainstream this year, in fact you will see it in movie theaters or perhaps see a movie launched directly to VR headsets.