We have been talking to different folks and looking into our crystal ball to uncover some of the key marketing trends for 2018. Here’s what we see coming down the tracks:
Video will continue to dominate – The phenomenal growth of video shows no signs of slowing down. By 2019, it will represent over 80% of all internet traffic. In fact, the internet will support over 3 trillion video minutes per month in 2020, which equates to 5 million years of video per month, or about 1 million videos every second (source Kuno Creative).
You don’t need the talents of Stephen Spielberg to make marketing videos but it helps to have certain skills. If you don’t, it’s worth talking to a videographer or creative agency. They will be able to put some videos together for you that can be used on your website, social media channels and in presentations or pitches.
We have used video to great effect on certain projects, a good example being the website we did for St Canice’s Credit Union. St Canice’s is an amalgamation of 8 credit unions in the Kilkenny/Laois region. We produced the website and commissioned the video which appears on the homepage. It uses drone camera footage to showcase local landmarks. See for yourself https://stcanicescu.ie/
SEO will still matter hugely – According to Wordstream, 72% of consumers who search the internet then visit a shop within five miles (source: HubSpot). This insight is not revolutionary but it does reiterate just how important it is to have an optimised website and digital channels. Google or other search engines are the first port of call for most people when deciding what to buy.
The internet is a very crowded space and while it has never been easier to put your content out there, getting it noticed is a different ball game. A digital strategy that is firmly integrated within your overall marketing strategy is the first step you can take to ensure that your business is appearing in searches.
For example, we work with quite a few medical professionals. The sector as a whole has been slow to embrace digital marketing but there are some who are beginning to jump on board. We completed a branding and digital project for the Heart Clinic recently and SEO was very important. In fact, we challenge you to search for ‘cardiology Waterford’ in Google. Their website nearly always comes first.
Online reviews will become increasingly important – 92% of customers read online reviews (Source: Revlocal). This means that word of mouth is very important, as it has always been. The rise of digital has given more power to the consumer. Brands and businesses cannot afford to be complacent when it comes to their customers because if they are, the internet enables any negative experience to become widely known very quickly.
Reviews tend to be more relevant to B2C businesses than B2B businesses. At the end of the day though, it is all about reputation management and needs to done online as much as offline. The odd post on social media when you have time is not sufficient. You need to plan and capitalise on relevant events or news stories in a way that is appropriate while responding to customers who have complaints and taking their feedback into account.
Clean and bold website design will rule – Users are seeking an ‘ultra-modern’ experience and clean presentation of content. It is true that there are many ways to create your own website for free however great design needs a lot of thought and a mix of skillsets to bring it to life. Design is crucial for ensuring a positive experience for visitors to your site. The easier and more enjoyable it is for them to navigate, the higher your chance of converting them to a lead or sale.
Knockanore Cheese and Touching Hearts are two website projects we completed during the year where design played a key role. In the case of Touching Hearts, we needed people to empathise with the charity’s plight and donate to the cause. This was achieved by telling their story in a visual and interactive way. In the case of Knockanore Cheese, it was important that their product range, and the story behind their success, be presented in an attractive and engaging way.
GDPR will be the talk of the town – If you haven’t already heard about GPPR, don’t worry, you’re going to hear a tonne about it in the next 12 months, as it’s going to have a significant impact on a lot of marketing activity. We’ve already written a number of specific blog posts about what it means and how to prepare for it. You can catch up here:
‘Dark Social’ will continue to rise – Social media is not just hashtags and snapchat filters. The rise of ‘dark social’ hammers this point home quite clearly. The term ‘dark social’ was coined by the former deputy editor of The Atlantic, Alexis Madrigal, and refers to when people share content through private channels such as instant messaging apps and email. Prime examples include Facebook messenger and WhatsApp.
According to the Digital Marketing Institute, dark social is reported to be responsible for 84% of outbound sharing. Other statistics indicate that 46% of consumers aged 55 and older share via dark social only, compared to those aged 16 to 34, where only 19% do so. This trend is only set to grow next year, so you need to be aware of it in your marketing strategy for 2018.
Solely organic Facebook strategies will soon be over – The day has arrived where potentially 5% or less of our Facebook following is actually viewing our posts unless of course you are willing to pay. Staying purely organic will work if all you have to share are pictures of your dinner or holiday photos. However, if Facebook is a component of your marketing strategy and a tool you need to reach your target audience, you are going to have to start allocating budget to creating ads or boosting posts.
Ready, set, go – Hopefully we’ve learnt something new from our 7 marketing trends for 2018. It’s important to note though, that while there will always be new trends, the most important thing will always be to talk to your customers in a clear, cohesive way that accurately reflects your brand identity. If you would like to chat to us about your marketing plans for next year, we would be happy to listen. You can email us firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 051 580 969.