Unbelievable as it may seem, 2017 is almost done and we’re heading into the ‘late 2010s’. But before we wave goodbye to another decade, let’s take a look at what’s on the digital marketing horizon for the forthcoming year so we can all keep a few steps ahead whilst planning our 2018 strategies.

Here’s a rundown of what’s going to be big for digital marketers in 2018.

Chatbots

Chatbots are being adopted by businesses at almost warp speed and, according to Gartner, it is reckoned they will drive 85 per cent of all customer service interactions by 2020, saving businesses more than $8 billion per year by 2022.

Chatbots are effective in enhancing the buying experience through boosted engagement as well as proving invaluable as customer service tools. They are intuitive, artificial intelligence (AI) driven automated computer programs that conduct conversations in almost human fashion. Chatbots, labelled ‘the new apps’ by Microsoft’s CEO, collect information as they interact making them indispensable for marketers.

Chatbots are intuitive, artificial intelligence (AI) driven automated computer programs that conduct conversations in almost human fashion.

Social Media

It’s been a crucial part of our digital marketing campaigns for a while now, but social media is set to become even more important in 2018. Instagram users are on the rise, with around 800,000 now using the platform. LinkedIn is also predicted to become more central to B2B marketing strategies in 2018, backed by a recent user interface upgrade and other platform improvements.

‘Dark social’ – the practice of sharing content via private channels rather than publicly – is also becoming more popular and is an ideal way for brands to target specific demographics.

Social media trends for 2018 is actually quite a topic in itself, so we’ll explore that in its own right in our next post.

Social media is set to become even more important in 2018.

GDPR

Yes we’ve mentioned it again! The countdown is on to the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation, which makes it of key importance to digital marketers in 2018. By May next year you’ll need to adhere to a whole host of new rules if you’re going to avoid significant fines, and these rules are set to govern how you plan your marketing campaigns over the coming months.

If you haven’t already, have a read of our GDPR guides:

GDPR 1: Digital Marketing and the New Rules on Consent

GDPR 2: The Right to be Forgotten and Processing Data

GDPR 3: The One You Need to Read if you do Email Marketing

By May next year you’ll need to adhere to a whole host of new rules under GDPR.

Personalisation

It’s a topic we’ve covered before, but it remains of key importance and will continue to develop as more and more essential for marketers in 2018.

Right at the start of this year, we looked at now the Internet of Things (IoT) was set to become a key phenomenon for 2017. We talked about the importance of personalisation in marketing and how it gives marketers the power to reach out to and engage with audiences. According to a study by Mailjet, personalised email influenced more than 40 per cent of UK internet users to click through for more information and had the greatest influence on click through rate over timing and design.

Increasingly, social media platforms are becoming aware of the importance of personalisation. Facebook for example has developed Facebook Pixel, designed to make it easier to track, optimise and remarket. It tells you what happened as a direct result of your Facebook advertising campaign; allows you to automatically bid for conversions and remarket to everyone who visits your website.

Video and Live Streaming

We’ve watched as video has gradually come to the fore as one of the most important and beneficial marketing tools and it’s set to dominate social media in 2018, something we’ll take a closer look at in our next post.

More than 50 per cent of marketers worldwide are of the belief that video content delivers the greatest return on investment. Looking at Facebook again, earlier this year the platform introduced 6-second ads to engage customers and YouTube soon followed its lead.

Live streaming though is thought to be facing a huge upsurge for 2018, in particular with audiences at the younger end of the spectrum. According to research by Facebook, viewers spend three times longer watching live streams than they do a pre-recorded video. It is no wonder then that the platform gives greater prominence to live video. Twitter, Facebook Live, YouTube, Snapchat Live Stories, Periscope, Meerkat and YouNow all showed growth in user numbers between June and November 2016.

Live streaming is thought to be facing a huge upsurge for 2018.

Live streaming is one of the best ways to engage with an audience and provides the ideal opportunity for true personalisation. It’s a revenue driver, and the market is growing at a seriously rapid rate with growth projected to more than double by 2021. 81 per cent of internet users viewed more live streamed content in 2016 than in 2015, so this is a medium that marketers really do need to incorporate into their strategies.

Are you Ready for 2018?

The digital marketing landscape is a rapidly evolving one and it’s crucial for marketers to be aware of the latest trends and developments in order to maintain that all-important competitive edge.

If you’d like some help incorporating the latest digital marketing trends into your strategies, why not talk to Figment? We’re on top of all the latest developments, and really excited about where they are going to take us!