As we look forward to what the future may hold 2018, it’s important to remember that the marketing landscape is always shifting. We rely on technology to be able to reach our audience and get our message out to the world, and what previously worked won’t necessarily hold true today.
In this constantly changing landscape, knowledge is power. Getting on top of the latest trends and what they may mean for the future is key to getting ahead of the game and developing a marketing strategy that will put you in a position to succeed in 2018.
Here are some marketing trends that we’ve identified as key to what will work next year and in the years to come.
Social Media as a Publishing Platform
We’re used to thinking about social media in a particular way: a tool that can amplify our content and put it in front of the eyes of our audience. Knowing where to reach what audience, and what will appeal to them, has always been the key to making a message that connects and resonates with the people that we’re trying to reach. The difference for 2018 is that we need to start recognizing that these channels themselves are increasingly effective as a place to host all the amazing content that we create in order to get our message noticed.
The main takeaway here is that social media shares are no longer the be-all end-all of an effective content marketing strategy. While your blog and other hosting resources are definitely still a useful tool in the toolbox, customers are increasingly looking for a seamless experience when they interact with content online.
Facebook Instant Articles is leading the charge, offering a robust suite of tools to help you make your content shine in a format that is native to Facebook and create a great experience for your audience. It gives you access to tools to make your message really shine, with interactive and immersive tools that blur the line between writing and video to create an amazing mobile experience. As more and more users shift towards engaging with content exclusively on mobile, expect marketers to jump on this trend.
Additionally, both Snapchat and Instagram have pioneered ways to integrate their own proprietary content experience with external links that are incorporated into the user experience. This lets you create content specifically for those platforms that is actually actionable, giving you the ability to send someone directly to a customized landing page that makes it easy to convert your audience.
While traditional social media amplification still has a big role to play, it’s important to look forward and think about how you can leverage these new tools to make sure your message gets the attention and engagement you’re looking for.
Growing Marketing Automation
Marketing automation was definitely a key area to watch in 2017, and it only figures to be more important in 2018. “On average, 49% of companies are currently using marketing automation, with more than half of B2B companies (55%) adopting the technology,” according to these stats from CMO.
The power of marketing automation is vast, and it will only grow as we’re able to sink our teeth into even more new and exciting forms of data. The fact of the matter is that we have access to more information than ever before about the people who are interested in our brands and visit our sites. The secret of marketing automation is that it allows us to tap into that data and turn our insights into something actionable.
As we move into 2018, marketers will look to get even more granular about who they target and how they connect with those groups of customers. The right platform will let you segment your audience, make customized, targeted campaigns that deliver the right content to the right people, and help you keep track of what worked and what didn’t. By identifying key targets that have a high chance of conversion, you can make marketing campaigns that have a high ROI even with a relatively small number of leads.
Even More Video
As mobile increasingly begins to take over the digital landscape, marketers will look to pivot to create content in forms that drive engagement, which means moving more to video. According to Smart Insights, 82% of consumers surveyed said they prefer live content over other types of social posts.
Live video is still in its early adoption phase—and it’s a great way to bring customers inside your business and give them a front row seat for anything and everything that you get up to. Some examples include new product demos, company events, or a quick workshop on a particular topic in which you have a lot of knowledge. Your creativity is the limit when it comes to using live video as a way to reach out and engage with your audience.
Machine Learning and Chatbots
Customers are looking for simpler and more personal ways to connect with brands, and in 2018 machine learning promises to deliver. Creating a chatbot without writing a single line of code is free and easy, and as we are able to integrate more and more of what we know about customers into the programming of these conversational UIs, we’ll be able to make these experiences even more personal.
Chatbots are amazing because they go where customers already are, on mobile and on messaging platforms, but are robust enough to allow them to access many of the features that they’d otherwise get through your website. Your products, frequently asked questions, information about what your company stands for and why: all of it can be accessed via a chatbot and delivered in a conversational, personal way. Expect this to be applied in new and exciting ways in 2018.
What You Can Do Right Now
While it can be easy to dwell on the successes of last year, it’s important to always keep one eye forward when you’re thinking about marketing for your business. Between publishing on social media, leveraging video and chatbots, and taking full advantage of marketing automation there’s a lot to look forward to. Here are our takeaways:
Social media is growing not just as a sharing platform, but as a content publishing platform.
Marketing automation will become even more crucial in 2018.
Video is becoming one of the most important tools in any content creator’s kit.
More and more businesses will leverage machine learning and chatbots.
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