So, in no particular order, we identify the key trends we see making the biggest impact in 2018, trends we think warrant consideration now to bring in the results…
Surveys show people prefer video to text and that a website with video will lead to higher sales conversions. A fact proven by three of the most popular sites on the web:
- Twitter – over 80 percent of users watch video on its site or app
- YouTube – every day users watch a billion hours of video
- Facebook – every day its users watch more than eight billion videos
Not only is video preferred, but it demands more attention than any other medium giving you more opportunity to get your message across. There are no limits to creative potential when it comes to video either, good content will keep engagement, lead to sharing and help people get to know your company, its values and voice.
The vast majority of video views come from mobile devices, so small details such as video orientation and subtitles must be considered when planning a video campaign to ensure its success.
Social media influences everything we do now, from political elections to healthy lifestyles. It therefore makes sense that people from all walks of life and all industries have carved out extremely lucrative careers by establishing credibility through the use of consistent and charismatic content.
These ‘influencers’ have developed large audiences and followers by connecting people like never before, and that’s why the competition to work with those at the top of their game is fierce. The focus will shift and settle on building more long-term, sustainable relationships with influencers who would naturally use their products, promoting them in a more organic way. Consumers now, particularly younger consumers, can easily spot the unnatural sponsorship by an influencer and this becomes counterproductive. The more authentic and natural the relationship and the endorsement is, the more effective it is going to be.
We also see there being a shift away from teaming up with an influencer just because they have a huge number of followers to using micro-influencers – those with less of a reach, yet more engagement with their followers.
Stories are what made Snapchat stand out, and as a result, Instagram and YouTube have all jumped on board with the interactive concept.
The temporary nature of stories gives them an exclusive feel and more personal feel. They’re usually short and quick to digest, and are often more candid and not as staged as a video or a photo shoot, giving viewers an intimate peek into someone’s life.
With WhatsApp and Facebook picking up the technology, storytelling is only going to get bigger in 2018 and should be considered as part of a strong marketing strategy. It’s an approachable and friendly way to give your audience an insight into you and your business.
Chatbots and optimisation of voice
Recent Artificial Intelligence (AI) improvements have significantly improved the realism and effectiveness of chatbots (bots) and they are on the rise in 2018. At the moment, they’re mostly used for customer service to solve general queries, issues and for closing sales. They’re popular because their response time is usually much faster than emailing an actual customer service team.
Due to improvements bots are getting more and more believable, often indistinguishable from a real human. You may be surprised by how many of your live chats with a company have been with bots!
The use of bots is also seeping into other areas such as social media to improve engagement with potential customers, plus they’ve proven to have a far higher open rate than traditional emails, another sure sign they will only continue to grow in popularity.
Some analysts have estimated that in 2018 around a third of our interactions with the technology we use will be by using our voice, with that number rising as the optimisation of voice technology improves and purchasing rates continue to fall. Several of the big tech players are investing heavily: Apple’s Siri, Google Voice, Amazon Echo, and Microsoft’s Cortana.
Back in 2016 mobile web usage overtook desktop for the first time and it’s highly unlikely this will change any time soon.
Since then, Google has shifted to indexing websites based on their mobile rather than desktop performance. This means that elements that only impact mobile versions of websites now need to be thought of from ground level when building or reviewing a website. Does your site:
- Load quickly, as a responsive design?
- Have buttons that work on touch screens and are easy and clear to touch?
- Render photographs and text correctly and eliminate the need for zooming?
The speed regarding page load is a crucial factor – not just the direct eyes of search engines timing you, but the knock-on effect it can have on the users experience and therefore site behavior. DoubleClick research states that a page taking longer than 3 seconds to load can create +50% bounce rate* – a lost visit before even presenting your page!
Considering mobile is now no longer just an option. It must be a primary factor at the top of your list, if you want to succeed in 2018.
The number of reviews you have has a direct impact on search engine rankings. The more reviews you have will dramatically increase your web traffic and boost SEO rankings. And it’s not just quantity when it comes to reviews, quality counts too. Google can check reviews and prioritise those that are better over those are not so favourable.
Of course, it’s not just rankings they effect, research shows that 50 percent will or won’t buy something based on a review they have found online. Encouraging customers or clients to leave a review should be a part of any marketing strategy.
Alignment of UX
You can have the best marketing in the world, but a slow, painful user experience is only going to impact negatively on sales. A quick, easy and intuitive UX will drive sales and inspire confidence in the company. There’s no doubt that integrating the two maximises sales.
We appreciate this brings with it a lot to take in. Whether you have one of these things to look at, or all, or perhaps it’s an overall digital marketing strategy you’re after, whichever it is we’re here to help. Contact us here…