Savvy organisations and marketers wishing to stay ahead of the marketing curve in 2018 know that digital marketing and e-commerce solutions provide the most effective way to reach consumers with brand messaging and consumer loyalty-driven initiatives. Connecting with customers via social media—making a company’s marketing about a human experience—has a far-reaching impact. Creativity, strategy, and even social issues play into the marketing campaign as businesses vie for the attention and loyalty of consumers in overcrowded markets.
Digital marketing strategies in the e-commerce business are more multi-faceted than ever and keeping up with the trends (as well as starting them!) puts even the most sophisticated marketing groups to the test. It’s a fast-paced, rapidly-changing world in social media and, in order to succeed, an organisation needs an equally fast-paced and dynamic approach.
In 2018, we will see a wide variety of marketing trends and initiatives focused on everything from personal connections to the latest and greatest social media technology.
Video Continues to Dominate
On sites such as Facebook and Twitter, more and more companies and marketers are utilizing video posts, which have been proven to engage and sustain the interest of users even more so than “standard” text posts. A well-crafted video segment can do much more to generate an emotional impact on the user than text alone and businesses are using this format to their advantage. Quality video content (in scenarios such as a YouTube video attached to a company’s website or social media) are proven to increase conversions and drive sales. Objective 1 recently worked with Bristol Aersospace to help drive visitors to the new attraction.
Word of Mouth and Why Reviews Still Matter
Customer reviews have certainly been around longer than digital media, dating back to the true “word of mouth” advertising that could make or break a small community business. Now all of that information is at our virtual fingertips, and we no longer have to wait for a colleague or neighbour to mention a fantastic customer service experience at a local print shop, or a dreadfully disappointing meal at a new café. Online reviews are a massively powerful tool for consumers, and businesses cannot overlook the importance of managing their own online review presence. This means more and more companies will be implementing programs and strategies to actively seek positive customer reviews in 2018. Google prioritizes positively ranked organisations in its search engine optimization, and poor reviews can have a significant impact on the bottom line for any e-commerce business. Though an overall note of caution remains with this strategy: reviews should be sought without incentive where possible.
Chatbots: AI on the Rise
Chatbots certainly isn’t new in 2018, but they will see more widespread use with more and more businesses implementing them as part of an overall digital strategy. Primarily used in a customer service function until now, chatbots have seen great AI tech improvements that will lead to more marketing-driven activity going forward. According to many polls, younger generations are more likely to use chatbots for online interaction, which means they will eventually become a standard in the digital world. E-commerce businesses without an established chatbot/social media bot strategy will need to jump on the bandwagon quickly in 2018 to keep up with this trend.
Making it Personal
Social media opens up our lives to other users and creates a platform for shared personal stories that can spread across the globe for any e-commerce business. Businesses are continuing to embrace the need to connect with consumers on a personal level through a content marketing strategy, and the “stories” feature on sites such as Instagram and Facebook will be utilized even more in marketing strategies in 2018. The “stories” features allow companies to stay engaged with users all the time, constantly adding new and fresh content (especially in the aforementioned video format that is proven to attract user attention).
It’s not enough for business to stick with the predictable text-based content in social media messaging and other e-commerce solutions of the past. In order to capture the attention of potential consumers, companies need to create fresh and innovative content in a variety of formats, even beyond videos. We will see more quizzes, polls, calls to action, and even user-generated content in e-commerce marketing in 2018.
Social Media Advertising Comes at a Cost
Organic outreach is on the decline and paid advertisement through social media marketing or other e-commerce platform is now the standard in any successful content marketing strategy. An organic strategy remains important, in the background to strengthen brand identity. But it cannot match the undeniable power of paid advertising, especially when it comes to Facebook. The inevitable result of more businesses using social media advertising is that the costs, and competition for space, will continue to rise in 2018.
The Power of Influence
Influencer marketing, which is widely used on Instagram, will continue to be a key component in many organisations’ digital strategies. The businesses who use influencer marketing most effectively present what looks more like social media content (and engaging content at that), versus an ad. This is no longer a time for a celebrated athlete to stand with a bowl of cereal in hand and a forced smile and gimmicky tagline; the content needs to be fresh, clever, informative, and even humorous at times. And it is important to note this is not a celebrity market only: “social media influencer” is well on its way to becoming a full-time career option for “ordinary” folk willing to make an online presence a full-time job versus an occasional hobby.
These are just some of the digital marketing trends on the rise in 2018 and we’ll undoubtedly see some true social media marketing innovators bringing fresh ideas to the social media table throughout the year. Or, perhaps we will soon reach the point where the ideas come from the chatbots...? There is no telling what tech advancements lie just around the corner in the world of digital marketing!