Marketing trends – what to look out for in 2018

We're now a month into the new year and eagerly anticipating the latest in emerging marketing trends. With budgets being discussed and tied down for the next 12 months, now is the optimum time to consider alternatives to more traditional marketing strategies.

Here I take a look at the top four trends for 2018, which gained speed last year and look set to alter the marketing landscape over the upcoming months.

Augmented Reality

Augmented reality (AR) is already prevalent in digital and social media use today. However, in 2018, expect a significant upturn in the applications of this already growing medium, with projections of AR markets reaching $7 trillion by 2027.

Where brands strive for increased customer engagement, considering AR as part of their marketing and content strategies would be prudent. Involving customers with pertinent, relevant and (where possible) tailored content in this way has proven records of delivering higher engagement and brand recall as a result.

Think less headset-wearing, but more on-screen amplification where AR is concerned. Ikea Place already allows you to visualise how a piece of furniture will look in-situ in your own home before making a purchase. Dulux Visualizer lets you see how a shade of paint will appear in your own lounge before you spend hours decorating. Pokémon GO sparked a trend by superimposing illustrated, capturable characters onto our real world.

Navigation can be enhanced by automatically showing information for petrol stations, coffee shops and restaurants whilst en-route, with contact information close to hand and showing price ranges for quick and convenient decision-marking.

AR Language apps will allow your phone to hover over real world text and signage to provide instantaneous real-time translation direct to your screen.

As the parameters are tested, expect a rise in the use of AR in particular markets including retail, entertainment, education/training and the military.

The key to the sustainability of AR within brand and marketing strategies, is including it in a way that adds real value to the end-user. Avoiding gimmicky, flash-in-the-pan AR solutions, but rather building in lasting functionality that the end user couldn’t be without.

Instagram stories

Generation Z (those born between 1995 and 2016) are just starting to enter the workforce with a spending power to the tune of $44 billion. Learning how to engage with this powerful audience is key for brand success.

Defined as being excellent multi-taskers, with shorter attention spans than millennials, the advent of ephemeral content has proven highly successful in engaging Generation Z. Instagram Stories launched in August 2016 and has gained huge popularity among brands and influencers alike on Instagram.

Lasting just 24 hours, and tending to feature more real, less-polished content, Instagram Stories provides an instant window into a brand, ideal for showcasing behind-the-scenes, how-to content, signposting to blogs, and offering limited-time promotions.

Whereas an Instagram profile provides a curated view into a brand or influencer’s life, Instagram Stories can offer a more human, authentic perspective and can provide genuine connection and involvement with a brand – which is just what Generation Z is seeking.

Video content

The facts are in, video content sells. And not just video; live streaming is the trend that keeps on growing. Back in 2016, Facebook tweaked their algorithm to rank live videos higher when they are live than when they are no longer live.

Facebook noted that “People spend more than 3x more time watching a Facebook Live video on average compared to a video that’s no longer live”, plus engagement is much higher on live video.

It’s important to also note that, Facebook is predicted to comprise 100% shared video content as early as 2019. But with the latest announcement from Facebook – reducing the amount of passive content, and prioritising posts that encourage engagement and people-to-people interaction – it’s clear that businesses and brands will have to adapt to the changing landscape of this social platform.

Reposting content with a video can also result in huge boosts in engagement, as Buffer found when recycling content, tweaking it ever so slightly.

And it’s not just on social media. Websites are incorporating moving images, animation and film content for an enhanced online user experience. According to studies, the average viewer remembers 95% of a message when it is watched, whereas only 10% when read. Great for improving brand and product recall. And video acts very well as an accompaniment to other content too, for example embedding video content on a landing page can increase conversion rates by 80%.

Remarketing and targeting

The stats speak for themselves: remarketing campaigns see a 4x lower cost per acquisition compared to standard display targeting. Rather than waste valuable marketing budget trying to identify and acquire new customers, it’s now a lot easier to capture data and retarget potential customers who have already interacted with your brand or product in some way.

In the realms of social media, Facebook remains the most powerful audience targeting tool to date. The ability to narrow down your target market, and almost guarantee higher return on ad spend, continues to be honed. Instagram makes use of these powerful algorithms, as proven in many success stories over on their business blog.

And while this shows great promise for cost effectively acquiring new customers, the opportunities for effortless cross-selling of services or products as a result of more accurate targeting could have hugely positive implications on marketing budgets and ad spend going forward.


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