With technological advancements permeating every aspect of our existence (hello, Sophia, driverless vehicles and Tesla solar panels), it’s only natural that this unstoppable rise also dictates the trends in the realm of digital marketing. Add to that the changing tides in the predominant audience and the increasing numbers of Millennials and Gen Z shaping social media preferences and shopping decisions, and the face of digital marketing is about to get quite a makeover.

If you wish to update your in-house practices, or you’re looking for marketing experts offering the most innovative solutions, the following will be some of the key elements to boost your 2018 strategy.

Influencers front and center

As if they haven’t been stealing the online spotlight for quite some time now, digital influencers will become even more impactful in the upcoming months. As we’ve seen thus far, the Internet is already brimming with well-known personas collaborating with many brands, and so many “wannabe” influencers doing their best to reach the top.

From the marketer’s point of view, it’s becoming essential to have a real-life voice outside of the company endorsing a brand, a product or service, to have someone officially giving the green light to other potential customers: yes, we can trust this brand. As time goes by, if you don’t find your own online influencers, you risk becoming invisible.

Voice and video on the rise

Digital is looking for ways to be as real, relatable and personal as possible, and what better way to bridge the gap than to give your brand an actual voice, character and charisma, and to introduce live video feeds into your social media campaigns? Remember that 82% of Twitter users watch videos on the platform, and by 2019, a staggering 80% of all online content will be in this format.

Since we already spend most of our time communicating via devices, not face-to-face, technology is going in the right direction with the voice activation and smart devices to make them more appealing, starting with Siri, and all the way to Google’s own Assistant. As for live videos, social media platforms are the best way to make yourself known, and your followers get an instant notification that you are “live”, making it a more personal, real-time experience than just posting images and pre-recorded videos.  

A new wave of storytelling

Remember when Snapchat was not the coolest kid on the block, but their “stories” idea suddenly received unparalleled traction on all social platforms? This simple but incredibly popular feature where you can compile a series of images and videos during your day and post them temporarily is becoming a must-have among all social platforms – hence, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube follow suit.

The fact that they last only 24 hours gives them that “must-watch” vibe, and every brand can utilize this short-lived content to establish a deeper connection with their audience. This level of creative expression weaves well into the general branding direction many companies will need in 2018 – more fast-paced, impactful, imaginative and authentic.

Privacy as the top priority

The promise that online shopping is a safe journey has become even more crucial for the customer in 2018, and especially after several major data breaches across the world. Customers now also become more vigilant in their shopping decisions and they will only place their trust in brands and companies who invest heavily in creating secure shopping circumstances.

Consequently, Europe has introduced a new set of rules and regulations that aim to give a new layer of protection for the online consumer as well as brands, and get a better control over how they utilize the gathered private information. However, the movement is not limited to Europe, but spans globally to impact all companies with a digital presence and their operations.

Augmented and virtual reality

Another way technology is rushing to make itself a more personal, human experience is the implementation of augmented and virtual reality into social networks, completely altering the way we communicate. From Facebook Spaces, their augmented reality camera, to Snapchat’s World Filters, they are all looking for ways to mimic what Pokémon Go introduced a while back.

With growing ways to introduce AR and VR, they are also becoming a way to elevate the customer journey and take brand presentation to a whole new level of unique. A great example is that your favorite brand can create AR-content specifically designed to pop up on your phone when you’re near the brand’s store (with the help of location tracking), communicating with you real-time and creating content that has greater value to each individual customer.

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Emma Miller

Posted by Emma Miller