It is the beginning of 2018 and every company in this world must think about their digital strategy for this year. More and more people are online and if you want to have more visitors to your website and more clients in 2018 you’ll need to have a digital marketing strategy for this year.
Because I know there are a lot of people thinking about “What are the 2018 digital marketing trends?”, I asked 20+ well-known marketing experts to tell our social media and marketing blog, what are their digital marketing predictions for 2018.
In the following weeks there will be two more articles about the top 3 social media networks recommendations for 2018 and which are the most important social media tips and top social media management tools for this year, from the experts’ perspective. We hope they can help managers, influencers, small businesses, and anyone else with an interest in marketing improve their strategy for success.
Big Thank You to all the experts who found a couple of minutes to send me their answers! Don’t forget to share this article if you like it because… sharing is caring!
What are the Most Important 2018 Digital Marketing Trends?
Social Marketing Strategist, MC/Host Brand Innovators Summits, and Co-Founder Prevailing Path
Ted Rubin is a leading Social Marketing Strategist, Keynote Speaker, Acting CMO of Brand Innovators, and Co-Founder of Prevailing Path. Ted is the most followed CMO on Twitter according to SocialMedia Marketing Magazine; one of the most interesting CMOs on Twitter according to SayMedia, #13 on Forbes Top 50 Social Media Power Influencers, and number #2 on the Leadtail list of Top 25 People Most Mentioned by digital marketers. Return on Relationship, ROR, #RonR, is the basis of his philosophy… It’s All About Relationships! His book, Return on Relationship was released January 2013, How To Look People in the Eye Digitally was released January 2015, and The Age of Influence… Selling to the Digitally Connected Customer was just released.
Social is moving to a prove it or lose it stage… so start thinking how Content IS the Ad. The importance of content in your SEO and middle funnel strategy will be critical.
President – PDCA Social
Neal Schaffer is a leading authority on helping businesses through their digital transformation through consulting, training, and helping enterprises large and small execute on social media marketing strategy, influencer marketing, and social selling initiatives. President of the social media agency PDCA Social, Neal also teaches digital media to executives at Rutgers University, the Irish Management Institute (Ireland), and the University of Jyvaskyla (Finland). Fluent in Japanese and Mandarin Chinese, Neal is a popular keynote speaker and has been invited to speak about digital media on four continents in a dozen countries. He is also the author of 3 books on social media, including Maximize Your Social (Wiley), and in 2018 will publish his 4th book, The Business of Influence, on educating the market on how any business can leverage the potential of influencer marketing. Neal resides in Irvine, California but also frequently travels to Japan.
Digital marketers will need to continue to take a holistic and omnichannel approach in order to best leverage the latest digital marketing trends. Some of the most exciting trends in 2018 will come from social media in the form of influencer marketing and the many digital marketing objectives it can help you reach, paid social with more advertising budget shifting to Instagram and new ad categories such as inside Instagram Stories placement, the overall use of visual (both static image and video) content, and finally the power of leveraging employee advocacy and the implications it has specifically on LinkedIn for B2B companies.
Author, Speaker, Agency CEO
Brian Carter has been a digital marketer for 18 years and a trusted influencer and ad agency owner for a decade. A bestselling author, IBM futurist and one of LinkedIn’s top 25 social media experts, he has over 250,000 online fans and students. Brian has built marketing programs and been a keynote speaker for Microsoft, NBC, Universal, Citrix, Marketo, Salesforce and more. His media appearances and interviews include Bloomberg TV, Inc, The Wall Street Journal and Entrepreneur Magazine. His hands-on business experience, cutting-edge insights, and background in stand-up comedy culminate in a keynote speaker and trainer who leaves every audience not only entertained but armed with powerful strategies and tactics.
Better data and how to use it. Data is simply how we listen to customers. The better you understand them, the happier you can make them. The happier your customers, the less vulnerable you are to disruption and bankruptcy.
ConversionMinded – www.conversionminded.com
Sandra Clayton is an online marketing expert who loves teaching entrepreneurs, creatives, and bloggers how to build a profitable online business that ignites their inner genius. She’s passionate about sharing everything she knows about online marketing to help people build a life and a business that they love.
2018 will be the year to prioritize return-on-investment over likes, shares, and comments. Social media sites are making it easier than ever to connect the dots between campaigns and direct revenue, which means that you need to attach revenue goals to every piece of content you share and track the campaigns that drive real returns.
Live and pre-recorded video will continue to be huge in 2018. Videos give prospective customers a way to know, like, and trust that goes beyond blogging. With tools like iMovie, Screenflow, and ContentSamurai, it’s easy enough to turn blog posts into videos and upload to YouTube, Facebook, and even Instagram.
Co-Founder and CEO
Digital Leadership Associates – www.social-experts.net
Tim Hughes is universally recognized as one of the world’s leading pioneers and exponents of Social Selling and he is currently ranked Number 1 as the most influential social selling person in the world.
He was responsible for a large-scale sales transformation within Oracle the result of which delivered in excess of $100m in sales uplift and he is currently leading the sales transformation programmes at Avaya, Thomson Reuters, and Pitney Bowes and is the co-founder of Digital Leadership Associates.
We have been talking for years that this will be the year that Digital Marketing changes. 2018 changes everything, with GDPR. If you are based in Europe or sell to Europe you now have to comply or face massive fines. Companies such leading pub group, Wetherspoons have deleted their email database and will communicate with customers through social media. Research shows that people expect 40% of companies to follow suit.
Marketers and Sellers are seeing that “broadcast” and “interruption” marketing are a thing of the past and brands and employees need to be where their clients are, on social media. Not interrupting people and annoying people with Ads, Cold Calling, and Email, but building trust and community.
This move to social is both external and internal to companies. For example,
I run the whole of my personal life on social, my 85-year-old parents the only people who used to email me, have now moved to Facebook Messenger. My business runs on social, I now get very few Business related emails. With 40% of the world’s population on social
media and 21% average year-on-year social media growth, the world has moved to social.
Author and Content Marketing Strategist
Pam Didner is a marketing consultant, author, and speaker, whose international book, “Global Content Marketing”, is the first to offer an accessible, comprehensive process to scale content across regions. During her tenure at Intel, she led enterprise product launches and worldwide marketing campaigns as a globally integrated marketing strategist. She now leads a boutique-consulting firm that trains, coaches and provides strategic guidance on audience development, messaging architecture, editorial planning, content creation and media outreach on a global scale. She regularly shares her insights at www.pamdidner.com.
How to leverage your digital marketing to create synergy with your sales enablement team. It’s time to proactively collaborate with sales to align sales and marketing strategies. Engage with the right prospects, at the right stages of their buying process and with the relevant value propositions and content.
Jamie Turner is an internationally recognized author, speaker and TV news contributor who has helped The Coca-Cola Company, AT&T, CNN, and other global brands solve complex business problems. He is the founder of 60SecondMarketer.com, a business blog read by hundreds of thousands of executives around the globe. And he is a regular guest on CNN and HLN where he provides insights on business, digital media, and leadership. Jamie currently runs SIXTY which is a marketing consultancy and advisory group that has worked with SAP, Holiday Inn, TransUnion, and others.
The most important trend is the complete and unrelenting move towards honesty, authenticity, and transparency. Digital marketers who are anything other than 100% authentic and honest will be outed by the population at large.
New Media Specialist, Author, Mentor and Speaker
Adel de Meyer – Top 100 Marketing Influencer, New Media Specialist, Author, Mentor, and Speaker. Adel is a New Media specialist with focused expertise in using Twitter and Instagram for business. She has a top-listed digital marketing blog and Adel is recognized as a leading Instagram and Twitter influencer on social media and business in Australia. She regularly writes articles and speaks at local events on influencer marketing, technology, and social media solutions. Adel works with global SMB enterprises, entrepreneurs, and personal brands by using social media and technology to captivate their audiences. She loves coffee and creative minds!
Video is projected to claim more than 80% of all web traffic by 2019 so 2018 is the perfect year to implement or increase video in your marketing strategy amongst other trends that will dominate the new year:
– Influencer Marketing
– Real-time content and shoppable media
We’re in an era where customer experience will drive more loyalty than points, discounts and reward programs.
Content Marketing Practitioner
The Social Media Hat – www.thesocialmediahat.com
Mike is a Content Marketing Practitioner, award-winning Blogger and Author in St. Louis, and the Chief Marketing Officer at SiteSell. He has been working with websites and the Internet since the early ’90’s and is active on all of the major social networks. Mike teaches a holistic approach to content marketing that leverages blog content, social media and SEO to drive traffic, generate leads, and convert those leads into sales.
The most important digital marketing trend right now, particularly for small businesses is Live Video. Nearly every social platform now features some form of live video, and as we all know, video consumption continues to rise.
This is an important consideration because Live Video is how many businesses & bloggers are now differentiating themselves from the competition. I know that statement is filled with marketing-speak, so let me break it down better.
As Facebook and other platforms continue to make it easier for businesses to “go live” and continue to feature live video content to users, more and more network users are going to expect video and live video from businesses. Will your business e the one that’s creating immediate connections and lasting relationships with your audience via video? Or will you wait and see how well your competition does with it before you jump in?
Millennial Keynote Speaker, Podcaster, and Founder of iSocialFanz
Change evangelist and growth hacker that focuses on helping brands embrace emerging technology through strategy consulting, hosting two podcasts (SMACtalk + FOMOFanz) and providing keynotes and workshops with brands around the world.
Strategy & analytics driving video content creation and collaboration for marketing with both live and produced video. With the explosion of live video in 2017 most marketing teams focus on creating a video for video’s sake. In 2018 to stand out from the noise and win customers with video brands will need to be more strategic with how and where the create video and when to produce a video and when to leverage live streaming. The analytics available for live streaming will make strategic video marketing not only more valuable but should empower those with a strategy an easy path for user acquisition, retention and growth with video.
Founder & CMO
Idea Girl Media – www.ideagirlmedia.com
I am the Founder and CMO of Idea Girl Media, an international Social Media Marketing Agency that works with business brands & public figures, providing customized marketing campaigns, online asset strategies, and social media training. My work earned back to back top social media marketing campaign awards for state tourism. I am humbled to have received a 2013 Small Business Influencer Honorable Mention Award, and a commendation for Outstanding Attainment in Social Media from the Senate of the State of Ohio. My insight has been featured in Social Media Today, SteamFeed, Search Engine People, and AOL Small Business, as well as Forbes and Business Insider. Non-fat lattes, travel & quick wit make me smile, and I am always enthused to meet new people!
Video, video, video. Live video, Stories video, 360, webinars, and live streaming with the goal of connecting with your audience. Those not including video – especially live video – in their social media marketing strategy in 2018 will take second place to their competitors that are utilizing it.
CEO of Arment Dietrich and Founder and author of Spin Sucks
Gini is the CEO and founder of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.
There are three digital marketing trends we’re following for 2018:
1. Begin to adopt artificial intelligence, chatbots, and/or virtual reality. Though many successful marketers have already adopted some of the new technologies, 2018 brings an opportunity to enhance the work they’re already doing–and do more.
2. Optimize your work by repurposing content. It’s always astounding to me how many marketers (most) don’t repurpose any content. They create something once and let it live in a silo. The most successful marketers do not do that. For everything you publish, there should be at least five ancillary pieces you can create. Optimize the heck out of your creations.
3. Consistently measure your work and tweak and improve as you go. Because I am a communications pro, I focus on PR metrics, but the things I push my team, our clients, and our community on our metrics every successful marketer uses. Study them, learn them, implement them.
Social Media Strategist Wacom
An experienced new media marketer and personal branding advocate, I work with both companies and individuals in developing, maintaining and leveraging their digital identity online. Connect with me on Twitter or view my social media video tutorials on Jacobcurtis.com.
I believe one of the most important digital marketing trends in 2018 will be further integration between CRM, social media, email and paid media. Being able to track referral traffic and customer journey through to conversion using UTM parameters will also be of increased importance and creating a seamless experience between offline and online brand consistency will be key.
SEO & Social Media Maven
SBN Marketing – www.sbnmktg.com
Stephanie Boyette Nelson is the owner and SEO/Social Media Maven at SBN Marketing, a Charlotte-NC-based boutique digital marketing agency. Stephanie’s marketing experience runs the gamut – print ads, print newsletters, event coordination, e-mail newsletters, paid search, SEO, and more. Currently, SBN Marketing specializes in social media marketing, content marketing, and on-page SEO for small businesses.
Mobile is going to continue to grow as the place people consume content – social media, news, websites, etc. So mobile optimization of websites and social media graphics is going to be really important.
I also see SEO growing. Business owners are going to want their dollars to go farther, so optimizing content marketing efforts on websites, social media profiles (like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram bios), social profiles (like Google My Business and Yelp business information) around the same keywords in an effort to take up more of the organic SERP results is going to become more of a “thing” in digital marketing. If a business also uses PPC, making sure paid and organic efforts are tied to the same keywords and search phrases will be as important, if not more so than it has been.
Business owners will also start to tie traditional marketing efforts to digital marketing efforts. Over 20+ years in the marketing industry, I’ve seen this work for large corporations pretty much since the dawn of digital marketing. Small business owners, in my experience, have had a little harder time coming to terms with a cohesive marketing strategy. It’s been a bit more “I want to advertise this in the paper, and that in my email blast, and this other thing on Facebook.” As tracking methods have gotten better, it seems that more and more folks are getting on board with offering the same specials across the board and having that feed into the adage that consumers need to see a message X number of times before it sticks with them. (Years ago, that number was 3 times. The last number I heard was a year or so ago, and it was up to 7 times.)
Senior Social Media Manager
My passion is to help companies harness the power of social media for their business.
From presenting innovative ideas to devising a winning strategy to staying in-the-know of the latest, I help companies utilize this technology in surpassing their business goals and keep them ahead of the competition. I’ve worked with organizations ranging from small businesses to global enterprises, and from a colorful array of industries including fashion, technology, and entertainment.
I’ve executed and presented social media audits, given group training sessions, consulted one-on-one, as well as helped monitor, drive, and report on activity for different brands’ social channels. Currently, I have the privilege of working in-house with Trend Micro to elevate their global social media presence.
Authentic, real, human, live experiences–however you can make your brand human, personable and approachable in the digital space.
Writer, Artist, Producer, Digital Strategy Consultant
Soluma Productions – www.brittmichaelian.com
Britt Michaelian has visited the red carpet as a social media correspondent for the Insider and Entertainment Tonight at events for Vanity Fair, the Daytime Emmys, and the Billboard Music Awards. She has partnered with select brands as a digital strategist, influencer and speaker at events for IBM Interconnect, New Media Expo, LTDLive, Social Media Marketing World, Cox Business and Inc. Magazine. She is currently working on her second novel while consulting with tech startups to build powerful, sustainable digital brands.
No matter what your goals and objectives are as a brand, 2018 is all about taking the story you told in 2017 and turning that into an experience for your audience in 2018. Brands have a lot to compete with online to get the attention of their audience, but everyone still wants to be inspired, entertained and informed. Make your audience a part of your story and give them an idea to make their lives better and you will always stand out in the crowd.
Chief Information Officer
Marketing Lancers – www.marketinglancers.com
Reginald is a serial entrepreneur and currently holds the position of Chief Information Officer for Marketing Lancers. He loves using technology to accelerate growth and productivity. During his free time, he works on his upcoming book and online courses.
Instagram will become mainstream and the most used social media platform (either on par or overtaking Facebook in terms of engagement.
Sherman Social – www.marjijsherman.com
Marji J. Sherman is an experienced social media strategist that has been featured in Inc. Magazine, The Growth Factor and numerous other podcasts and publications. She writes a successful blog (www.MarjiJSherman.com) where she relates real-life experiences to the ever-changing landscape of social media and has over 200K followers on Twitter (@MarjiJSherman) where she focuses on positive living and leveraging social media while remaining authentic.
Marji began her career on Madison Avenue where she consulted clients on how to develop their communications strategy to improve sentiment and reach of their PR initiatives. After her mother was diagnosed with cancer (healthy now!), she moved back to Miami and helped businesses form effective social media strategies tailored to their business goals. When asked to do consulting on the side, she created Sherman Social, a small agency that specializes in teaching small businesses how to use social media successfully. She has experience creating actionable strategies for national and global brands including KOHLER Co., Capital One, The Upper Room Ministries, Cancer Treatment Centers of America and the Anti-Defamation League.
Chatbots: Every brand with a customer service component, which technically is any brand with a social media presence, should invest in chatbots in 2018. Consumers are looking for fast, accurate ways to get their questions answered. On top of that, chatbots free up more resources for other essential tasks the digital marketing team needs to be focusing on. They are surely the answer for large brands who have struggled for years to find the right way to handle a huge amount of inbound questions.
Personalization: Consumers now see behind the automated curtain of digital marketing and are craving more one-to-one experiences. Personalization will be essential to marketing plans in 2018. Brands should think about every place within the consumer journey that they can make it a more personal experience.
Fewer Words, More Visuals: Consumers are transitioning away from blogs and articles and are looking for more of a visual experience online. They want to be able to quickly look at an infographic and have the information they need. Few even spend time reading the copy above ads on Facebook and other social media networks. Investing in impactful, show-stopping visuals will be a key to maintaining consumers’ attention in 2018.
Marketing Consultant | Speaker
Yosef Silver had dedicated his career to helping businesses drive traffic to their websites. Having worked both agency and in-house, Yosef has a die-hard commitment to supporting small and medium businesses through digital marketing. He takes a truly holistic, cross-channel approach to digital marketing. In addition to his experience and expertise in marketing, he is a recognized conference speaker in the industry. Yosef is VP Marketing at Search Interactions, a digital marketing agency that prides itself on blending search, display, and development to create effective marketing plans.
We’re continuing to see the influence of big data on content creation. As this convergence continues, we’re going to see big data and artificial intelligence become more and more mainstream.
Social Media Advisor, Senior Digital Officer, Social Media Freelancer, Blogger
Flo is a social media expert based in Brisbane, Australia. He has worked on groundbreaking projects for innovative brands and agencies in the education, insurance, social media, tourism, state government and environmental services industries. He is a Hootsuite Ambassador and the Senior Digital Officer for CQUniversity Australia.
The network impact of micro-influencers will be bigger than the celebrity influencer marketing. It can increase brand awareness and engagement with new consumers. Micro influencers (with less than 5,000 followers on Instagram) received 8% engagement levels, while celebrities and high-paid influencers with 1-7 million followers were found only to receive 1.6%. Stop paying the big bucks and start talking to these micro-influencers that will make the awareness job way better.
Organic reach is nearly dead but you need to have a social media advertising budget of some kind. Brands will need to look at increasing their budget such as Facebook to reach audiences you normally can’t.
Social Media Lead
TopRank Marketing – www.toprankmarketing.com
Debbie Friez is a Social Media Lead at TopRank Marketing, who helps plan, implement and manage social media and influencer marketing programs. Debbie is also a University of North Dakota fanatic and animal lover who wears a pretty impressive shark costume on Halloween.
1. Micro Influencers – Micro influencers are more likely to engage and promote your brand, plus they’re more likely to engage with their audience.
2. Chat Bots – The increased use of chat apps will lead to increased interactions between brands and their audience. I predict within a few years it may surpass social media.
3. Artificial Intelligence (AI) – AI will help us understand our audiences better, understand and analyze our campaigns better, and increase touchpoints with customers and prospects. AI is here to stay, so digital marketers need to learn how they can use it to move ahead of the pack.
Marketing Fellow at HubSpot, Digital Marketing Instructor at the Harvard Division of Continuing Education
Sam Mallikarjunan is an Executive Strategist at HubSpot and former Head of Growth at HubSpot Labs, the somewhat-secret experimental arm of the world’s #1 Sales & Marketing platform. Sam teaches Digital Marketing at the Harvard Division of Continuing Education and the University of South Florida’s Muma College of Business. He is also the co-author of the book “How To Sell Better Than Amazon” (which, thanks to the publisher, is ironically available for purchase on Amazon).
The increasingly thin line between technology and interactions with humans will make it even more important that marketers focus on a holistic user experience. Think more like product managers building an end to end experience for your potential and existing customers. Voice technology and “AI” powered chat technology will help us scale the individualized and personalized experiences that convert at a higher rate.
Miri Rodriguez is a Storyteller for Microsoft Corporation. She is a creative journalist developing content across key technology trends, designing activities and materials for IT. Prior to this, Miri led three social care teams responding to thousands of customer inquiries via social channels in Global English, Spanish and Portuguese. Her work was recognized as Best Practice at the annual Microsoft Think Tank Summit and won her a marketing award for effectively engaging partnerships with internal teams to drive a unified social voice and customer experience.
She was selected twice to participate in Microsoft’s prestigious program #MySkills4Africa where she volunteered her social expertise to train and coach Social Enterprise leaders in Swaziland and Morocco to effectively launch their social programs. Her award-winning career includes 15+ years of Marketing, Operations and Customer Experience. She is the mother of 2 boys and an American Bulldog. Her philanthropic work includes volunteering as a business consultant and student coach at Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, a board of directors membership at Trade+Impact social enterprise organization and personal brand coaching for professionals of all ages and backgrounds.
Most important digital marketing trends will be AI and ML integration for automation, live streaming and real-time marketing.
On AI and ML – Companies are starting to test these out but it will be a while before the “get it right” as right now they still feel, well, robotic, and customers are looking for more “human” experiences with brands so it may seem counterproductive. However, as intelligent algorithms and IoT advance, AI and ML will help brands be more strategic with content and have a more impactful feedback loop from customers.
On Live-streaming – this is just natural next step in visual engagement evolution we’re already seeing and brands need to start doing more and more of it. As AI and ML integrate into social channels for routine aspects like replying to a customer’s post, the brand will have more time to engage live with their audiences and making them part of the story. Real-time marketing goes hand in hand with live streaming as a means to providing customers what’s happening NOW. We’ve seen a lot of this during big events like awards and sports shows, but brands who make a concerted effort to align to any event (company, industry, social) and uses a creative approach to engage audiences during the events, will reap great results.