5 Digital Marketing Trends Catching On In 2018

Digital marketing is changing at rapid pace everyday and businesses that fail to keep up will lose their competitive edge and eventually shut down.

What worked yesterday might not work tomorrow.  While you are busy trying to master one strategy, a new one comes up.

To succeed you’ll have to keep a close eye on emerging trends and adjust your online marketing strategy accordingly. In this post we will explore five new developments you have to watch out for and latch onto to stay relevant and competitive.

#1. Omni-channel marketing

While omni-channel marketing isn’t new it’s trending because only 8% of brands feel they are succeeding with their omni-channel strategy.

With the typical consumer using six or more connected devices daily, omni-channel marketing is no longer a nice-to-have — it’s now a must-have. Your business must follow consumers as they jump from channel to channel otherwise revenue will plummet.

Today’s sensitive customers want total convenience in terms of where they buy, how they buy, and when they buy.

Naturally, the more channels you add to your funnel the more you earn. On average, multi-channel marketing and selling increases revenue by 38%, 120%, and 190% with each additional channel.

omni channel marketing

These are eye-popping figures. Plus, companies with omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain on average 89% of their customers, compared to customer retention rate of 33% for companies with weak omnichannel customer engagement. Businesses should strive to provide consumers with a seamless and meshed customer experience as they switch from channel to channel.

These days the buyer journey is complicated. A prospective buyer may start her journey on one channel but end it on a different channel. You have to make sure you maintain the conversion momentum as consumers don’t differentiate between their phones, tablets, and laptops.

A positive experience on one channel can be nullified if the interaction on a different channel is negative.

TUI, a travel agency upgraded their in-store technology by introducing table-size touch screens to allow customers to research their holidays via powerful search functions. Sales tripled in their Bluewater flagship store and average spend also increased due to smart integration between digital and physical channels.

If your business doesn’t have a nimble multi-channel marketing strategy, it’s safe to say you’ll soon go bankrupt. For your business to make it, you should provide your clients with a consistent immersive experience across channels.

#2. Chatbot marketing

Another trend is the explosion of artificial intelligence based marketing. Chatbots in particular have taken digital marketing by storm.

Brands are turning to AI-driven chatbots to cut costs and provide more efficient service to their customers. Because chatbots can do a wide range of tasks fast and with great precision, it’s no surprise that their future in online marketing is growing brighter and brighter.

Here are some jobs pre-programmed chatbots can do:

  • Automate repetitive tasks
  • Qualify and sign-up leads.
  • Do customer support.
  • Conduct research.
  • Personalize user experience on your site.
  • Sell your products or services.

With all these capabilities, no wonder their use continues to rise. Way back in 2011, Gartner predicted that by 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationship with a business without interacting with a human.

Where chatbots shine is in customer support. Chatbots are tireless sales assistants that answer customer queries promptly 24/7 unlike humans who get tired and grumpy. Business Insider reported that 67% of consumers worldwide used a chatbot for customer support in the past year. People love the instantaneous responses they get from bots around the clock.

According to Convince and Convert 64% of Americans say the ability to provide 24 hour service is the best feature of a Chatbot. Millenials have gladly embraced Chatbots. A high 58% Generation Ys have used a chatbot before and 71% say they would try interacting with a chatbot from a major brand.

Referral marketing company Reward Stream reported that their Leadbot achieved an impressive 30% conversion rate within the first month and a half.

chatbot marketing

With up to 47% consumers saying they wouldn’t mind buying items through a chatbot it’s time you built your first or next chatbot. More and more businesses are turning to chatbots for better conversions, 24/7 customer support and sales.

#3. Social selling

Social messaging apps are not just for keeping in touch with friends and sharing the latest celebrity gossip scoop. Businesses are beginning to take advantage of the business value of social apps.

These staggering numbers show why it makes business sense to leverage social messaging apps to grow your business:

  • Over 1.2 billion monthly users are active on Facebook Messenger
  • 2 billion messages are sent between people and businesses on Facebook Messenger every month (Facebook).
  • WhatsApp has over 1.2 billion active monthly users.
  • YouTube has over 1.5 billion monthly users.

social media marketing

These startling figures show the awesome opportunity for businesses to follow their customers to these channels and market to them were they hang out. Social apps are so popular that 46% of people now prefer to get in touch with a business via messaging apps rather than email and 49.4% prefer messaging over phone calls.

Through messaging apps businesses can:

  • Allow customers to create official accounts.
  • Automate and leverage Chatbot usage.
  • Glean valuable data on customer behavior and preferences.
  • Leverage broadcasting abilities of some of the apps.
  • Sell goods and services directly.
  • Automate and improve customer relationship management.

Fashion brand, ORO Los Angeles saw a 29.3% lift in MoM revenue after rolling out the Instagram native selling feature on their Shopify POS.

Don’t miss the messaging apps wave. Ride on it so your business soars to greater heights.

#4. Video marketing

Video is the closest medium to face-to-face interaction so it’s not surprising that more and more marketers are turning to it to reach their target market. In particular, ephemeral (24 hour lifespan) videos and live streaming have taken the online marketing world by storm.

It’s immediacy, intimacy, and strong emotional appeal makes it a powerful selling tool. These stats show the video craze is no fluke.

  • Marketers who use video grow revenue 49% faster than non-video users (Vid Yard).
  • Viewers are 64%-85% more likely to buy after watching a product video (Kissmetrics).
  • Up to 50% of people search for videos related to a product or service before visiting a store (Think With Google).
  • Video is projected to claim more than 80% of all web traffic by 2019 (Forbes).
  • Adding a video to marketing emails can boost click-through rates by 200-300% (Forbes).
  • Embedding videos in landing pages can increase conversion rates by 80% (Forbes).
  • 80% of people would rather watch live video from a brand than read a blog (Live Stream)

Online marketers can use video to:

  • Produce appealing content.
  • Announce new products.
  • Conduct product demonstrations.
  • Host interviews.

Three platforms stand out in video marketing: Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. The stories feature on Instagram has gained traction especially because brands with 10k followers can add links to stories to drive traffic and sales. Don’t forget to optimize your videos for seo.

Live broadcasting through Facebook Live or YouTube Live can help brands interact in real time with their customers and make powerful and authentic connections in the process.

Tour company Like A Local Tours used video marketing to bring in 3X as much from tour bookings as they had during the same time the previous year.

Become more aggressive with video marketing in 2018 onwards. You’ll reap the rewards.

#5. Big data & personalization

To delight and convert more customers in 2018 and beyond, marketing savvy brands are using big data to come up with highly personalized campaigns. Such campaigns are hard to resist and produce better ROI.

The plethora of tools available today makes it easy to collect customer data from business apps, social media, and online stores. This data includes demographics, psychographics, purchase history, consumer behaviour, and more. Marketers then sift through the data and identify their target market’s trends and preferences and then adapt their marketing.

Big data can be used to:

  • Create custom content that moves buyers down the funnel faster.
  • Personalize emails and boost open and click through rates.
  • Personalize ads both copy and channel for higher conversions.
  • Customize shopping preferences for customer convenience.
  • Anticipate prospects behaviour and fine-tune your strategy.

The days of blanket marketing are officially over — segmentation and personalization is the name of the game now.

Personalized content and marketing generates more — more engagement, more conversions, more sales. Personalization gives customers and prospects red carpet treatment. They feel valued and so are more likely to take the desired action whether it’s downloading a report, clicking through to see a landing page, taking up a free trail offer, or buying a product.

Marketers agree: targeted personalization works. For instance, personalized emails get 29% higher open rates and 41% higher click-through rates than those without personalization. Plus, personalized marketing typically increases sales by 19% on average.

Sales enablement software company, Brainshark used a campaign of personalized messages and saw a 150% increase in signups for a trial of their paid product.

Jump onto the data-driven marketing bandwagon. Use big data insights to turbocharge your marketing through hyper personalization.

Capitalize on the rising tide of trends

Stay ahead of the curve by quickly adopting new digital marketing developments as they arise.

As an early adopter you’ll gain a competitive edge and rake in the profits. By the time your competitors wake up, you will be way ahead.

However, fast adoption is not enough — adaptation is crucial if you want to succeed. Trends are simply buzzwords for what’s working right now, for most people. But your business is unique so you have to tweak and test these strategies and see what works for you.


Now that we are almost halfway through 2018, it’s time to play catch up. Here are five hot digital marketing strategies trends you should have mastered by now. Latch onto them today and turbocharge your online marketing and rake in the profits.


About the author

Qhubekani NyathiQhubekani Nyathi aka The Click Guy is an irresistibly handsome (wife’s baseless claims!) freelance copywriter and long-form content strategist. He helps SMBs rapidly grow their income and impact through actionable long-form content that ranks high, builds authority, generates tons of leads, and drives sales.

He is a contributor to top blogs like Crazy Egg, Tech Wyse, Conversion Sciences, and SEO Chat.

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