Digital marketing is ever-changing, which means the terms and tends that describe it are as well. Here are 8 digital marketing terms you need to know for 2018. Some are older terms that are more relevant than ever, others are new concepts or technologies. Keep them in mind as you plan your 2018 marketing strategy.
#1. Multi-Channel Marketing
In 2018, every business owner from small local provider to international eCommerce needs to strategize in terms of multi-channel marketing.
This is a term that means what it says. Today, there isn’t a single marketing channel – not even just a couple. There are channels that range from search engines, native advertising, direct-response paid advertising, videos, all social media – just to name a few. Many businesses have to consider offline channels as well.
The chances are you’ll need several channels working in unison for you to get enough marketing exposure. Your best channels depend on your business.
Also consider channels that are complementary, particularly with digital marketing. For example, you have a campaign for brand awareness on Facebook, but that traffic feeds into your retargeting campaign. PPC and SEO are complementary search tactics. Offline branding efforts may lead to online conversions.
Various channels engage people as they move through your sales funnel. When you think marketing, think multi-channel.
#2. Mobile Marketing
Mobile marketing is a mainstay on lists of important marketing concepts and will stay that way for the foreseeable future.
In 2018, we are still in the throes of the mobile revolution. Generation Z (the cohort coming after millennials) is the first to grow up entirely with mobile internet as part of their lives.
Businesses have to make sure their mobile experience is exceptional. It’s essential to have a mobile responsive website design, but you also need to consider how consumers shop, search, and socialize on their omnipresent mobile devices.
(Tip: From a desktop or laptop, you can view any page webpage in its mobile layout by right clicking your mouse and clicking “inspect”).
Today, a lead might look you up anytime, anywhere. Their need may be immediate, or they may just be starting their research.
Google discusses mobile marketing in terms of micro-moments. People know that whatever their question, problem, or need, they have a resource with them, in the palm of their hand. A few taps with the thumbs or just asking the device and a solution is presented.
With mobile connectivity, there is almost no time gap between when someone realizes they have a need and when they can start looking up solutions.
Mobile concerns run from how you reach people with your brand on social to how someone goes through the checkout process or fills out a form on their phone. Make sure you understand your audience’s entire journey on a mobile device.
Of course mobile also ties into the immensely influential spheres of social media, our next term.
#3. Social Media Marketing
In 2018, social media is where the party will happen on the internet. Practically everybody’s on at least one platform, and many people spend most of their online time on their favorite social media websites.
Part of social media marketing is just being there. You set up your page and interact in the language of the platform. You share advice and curate content on Facebook. Put your best images on Instagram. Tell a daily story on Snapchat.
Your content can range from irreverent to serious, but most social media is best when it’s fresh, funny, and personalized. People like stuff about other people on these platforms.
The other part of social media is demographic targeting. Facebook is now a demographic and psychographic juggernaut. You can target life changes (moves, graduations, pregnancy, retirement), health conditions, financial situations, relationship changes – the list keeps growing.
If your offer strongly relates to a personality, lifestyle, life change, or demographic, you can target it specifically on Facebook.
Test these tools to see if you find a strong channel.
#4. Augmented Reality
This one is of particular importance for eCommerce websites.
Augmented reality lets shoppers experience your product on their device. They can put the vase they want on their table to see how it will look. They can try on make-up or clothes.
AR will take more of the guesswork out of online shopping. People can’t handle the product physically, but they can make it interact with images from their actual lives.
We are just at the beginning of AR and virtual reality adoption, but the technology is already quite refined. 2018 will see the beginning of strong usage trends with this technology. If you sell products online, position yourself ahead of the curve.
2018 will be the year that businesses which don’t have their online reputations under control will really feel the bite. A big part of gaining market share is getting people to talk about you and recommend you to their friends.
From review websites like Top Rated Local to the everyday conversations happening on social media, people will talk about your brand online, and much of what they say lingers in the digital world.
Consumers expect to be able to get “word of mouth” about a business online. Product and service review will have a big influence on whether or not people buy from you.
In 2018, get a handle on your reputation. Start with how you deliver your offer in the first place. Delighted customers are a marketer’s best friend.
But also, be proactive. Follow up with emails and calls. Ask your happy customers to leave you reviews and recommend you on social media.
A strong reputation is second to none in the online marketing arsenal.
Internet technology is doing more to increase the personalization of the experience.
Search engines remember what you searched for and know where you are (physically) so they can customize your results. Retargeting campaigns cookie your browser to show you ads related to what you’ve shown interest in already.
Facebook uses an algorithm that understands what you like so it can deliver more of it. Emails come in sequences that connect to the exact information you requested from a business.
All of this is leading towards more personalized, targeted advertising. Everything you do online leaves a digital trail, and the major internet companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon use that data to create an intimate portrait of who you are and what you want to see.
Marketing ties into this data to target ads. In 2018, your advertising should be more targeted to the people most interested in your offer than ever before. Likewise, you should be wasting less money displaying ads to people who are not really interested in your offer.
Personalized content delivery is a long-term online marketing trend. The better the internet understands who you are, the more content will be connected to your lifestyle.
#7. Automation and AI
The personalization we’re discussing won’t be possible without the growing technology that allows for marketing automation. Two keys for smaller businesses are CRM software (try our free CRM software for small businesses) and email marketing software.
When you consider the multi-channel, personalized nature of digital marketing, it becomes clear that it can’t all happen through manual tactics. CRM software lets you put various communication methods into place that happen in an automated sequence. You can categorize an audience, then design and deliver content through automation.
Likewise, marketing software takes the complex, multi-channel marketing landscape and makes it comprehensible for the average business owner. You don’t just need to track people’s behavior, you need to analyze it so you can create an action plan. Software puts the necessary elements in place.
Last, we have the growing predominance of artificial intelligence within the algorithms that dictate how content is delivered on Facebook, Google, and other platforms. Some argue that today there are no people who completely understand how Google’s search algorithm works. In 2018, marketers will have to contend between the efficiency AI offers and the control they have ot surrender to the technology.
While you can’t hope to understand the algorithms themselves, you can understand what they’re trying to do. The goal is to feed users an increasing diet of irresistible content that keeps them glued to their devices. As this behavior becomes ingrained, brand related material will become a native part of the message. Effective advertising in 2018 will be less recognizable; it will blend in with the content people enjoy.
# 8. Social and Experiential Marketing
2018 is part of a trend in marketing which is rooted in the digital experience. It’s the sum of most of the other trends we’ve noted here.
The digital experience is motivating marketers to adopt a totally new level of authenticity and transparency. It’s a paradigm shift where marketing is moving from telling people about products and services to contextualizing their message within stories, ideas, and lifestyles people care about.
We see this in the effectiveness of integrating social purpose into marketing. Given a choice (which consumers clearly have), people prefer to buy from companies that give back to communities and worthy causes. A marketing message delivered in this context can be more effective than a straight direct-response ad.
Younger consumers are developing a distinct aversion to manipulative ads, but are more welcoming of brands that they see as a fit for their lifestyles. This is facilitated by social media, where personalized, native brand material fits in with other content people share and enjoy.
In 2018, social media will grow as a platform for experiential marketing, where people interact and share brand material because it fits into the experience they’re already taking part in. This will be a kind of elixir for marketing, where distaste for forced messaging is replaced by acceptance of content that’s a welcome aspect of our lifestyles.
Digital technology is a remarkable tool for telling a story. It’s a story coming from many channels that converges on a small, mobile device. It part of our social life, but also a type of commerce that must prove itself. It can be so personalized to our tastes it’s uncanny, yet it’s guided by vast, artificial intelligence.
In 2018, use technology to create a bold brand that has a personality of its own. It cares about people, cares about the world. It has nothing to hide, and nothing to prove other than the certain value it delivers.
Digital technology connects us in unprecedented ways. Look at this list of terms and trends. They all connect. How that connection will take shape in 2018 is uncertain, but it may become a new term for the most important trend to watch for in 2019.