Ah, the end of the year: a time to reflect on the previous 12 months and a time to look to the future.
2017 brought us changes like screenless SEO (thanks, Alexa) and augmented reality.
Given how quickly the world changes, and especially the internet world, we probably shouldn’t be making predictions for what 2018 will bring.
But damn, does it make a good blog post topic, so we’re doing it anyway.
Read on for our digital marketing trends predictions for 2018.
1. Voice search advancements
Voice search is going to shake us all up, but that probably isn’t a bad thing. It’s going to be a challenge to optimize for voice search, but challenges are what digital marketers thrive on, right?
So, what do I mean exactly by “voice search?”
Every time you say “Hey Siri,” “Ok Google,” or call out Alexa’s name, you’re searching with your voice.
Think about how you talk out loud versus how you type. You’re probably going to speak in a full sentence rather than in a choppy keyword.
If you’re asking Alexa or Siri a question, you’ll ask something like “Alexa, how do I change a tire?” instead of “how to change tire.”
People are using their natural speech to search the internet and the internet understands!
It’s easier, more user-friendly, and often faster. People who don’t type well don’t have to struggle anymore and there’s no need to navigate through confusing site menus.
55% of teens and 41% of adults use voice search at least once a day. That is a lot of voice searching and it’s only going to grow as more and more people get comfortable with asking a little speaker to order toilet paper or what the president is up to today. It’s also going to keep growing as children who are raised around voice search grow up to buy their own voice assistants and devices.
This could change how we optimize our pages. Maybe we target more voice-friendly keywords as well as ones that are typically typed. Maybe a new voice assistant algorithm will be launched in your friendly neighborhood Google.
It might vary client to client, but especially if they’re a local SEO client – just imagine how searches for “sandwich shops near me” and “where can I get lunch today?” in a voice assistant will change the local SEO landscape.
Keep an eye out in 2018 for changes in the digital marketing space when it comes to voice search in 2018.
2. Augmented Reality
We’ve been living in an augmented reality for a while now, so this isn’t a Brand New Thing™.
Wait – back up. My reality isn’t augmented. What are you talking about?
Well, do you watch football on Sunday nights? Because despite what I thought in high school when I watched a game with my dad, that yellow line on the field that moves around with the line of scrimmage isn’t real.
It’s augmented reality!
Or like when you use Home Depot’s app to see how a paint color will look in your house.
Snapchat filters all the young’uns are using lately?
You got it – augmented reality.
Augmented reality is just the ability to integrate digital data into a real-time experience.
And it’s the future.
Imagine wearing AR glasses at a meeting with people you don’t know and being able to look at someone’s face and see their names, jobs, hobbies, etc.
Or pointing your phone camera at a shoe ad and being able to see a 3D rendering of those shoes on your screen before deciding to buy them.
It sounds very James Bond mixed with a little bit of Star Trek.
There are so many different ways to use augmented reality, but the big two are for entertainment and for practical functionality.
Customers will get to “try on” a product before buying it. Finding a new lipstick color or buying a new suit on the internet could become more user-friendly if AR lets you try those things on before you add to cart.
Or see how your office furniture will fit in a new space so you can plan better.
The number of AR users is projected to hit 200 million in 2018. That means that advertising spending on AR is going to increase and brands are going to work quickly to integrate it into their marketing strategies next year.
At this point in the internet’s life, I think everyone is aware that companies can collect your data and use it to their advantage.
It’s not necessarily a nefarious scheme that will lead to identity fraud. It’s mostly just to sell you stuff they know you’ll like.
That’s why when I spent a few days looking for some nice headphones, ads for the ones I look at the most followed me around on my social media.
They were little nudges saying “hey, did you still wanna buy these?”
“Hey, do you still want headphones?”
“How about now? These ones are nice, aren’t they?”
And I’ll be honest – I bought the headphones.
But personalization in marketing is likely going to get even more personal in 2018 and beyond.
It’s the intersection of data and human behavior and it’s marketing gold.
Emails with a personalized message are opened at a rate of 17.6%, compared to 11.4% without a personalized message.
That’s a huge difference that could change the way email marketers approach their newsletters.
People get bored really quickly on the internet. Our collective attention span is no bigger than a gnat’s, so it takes a lot of work to hold someone’s attention.
If you personalize your email or your Facebook ad, you’ll capture their attention and hold it for longer.
Talk about things they care about, say their name, and know exactly who your audience is and what they’re looking for – and then offer them those things.
I’m excited to see where personalization takes us in 2018.
I know that I’m going to be on the lookout for emails with my name in them or noticing ads for things I was scrolling through at 2 AM.
A lot could happen next year and we’re doing our best to expect the unexpected. Thinking about starting a marketing campaign for your small and medium business next year? Contact us for a free consultation.