Our 2018 digital marketing predictions cover data, funnel analytics, o2o and the one metric that will be as important as profits – if not more so.
Now that we’ve offered our 2017 year-in-review retrospective, here are our 2018 digital marketing predictions, covering the top marketing trends for 2018 that will likely dominate next year’s conversation.
2018 Marketing Trend #1: Data – The new frontier
Projections already suggest that data production by companies will increase 4300% by 2020 and that mismanaged data will cost businesses $3.3T by 2020. As a paid search professional, you already know that this applies directly to you now that AdWords has doubled the daily budget cap – which will underscore the importance of having a historical data infrastructure. To avoid this challenge, marketers will increasingly feel the need for a data structure that captures, connects and leverages all relevant marketing data. This will empower them to accurately predict high-traffic periods that will stretch your budget, and ideally, also predict optimal budgets against projected customer lifetime value (CLV).
2018 Marketing Trend #2: The importance of full-funnel insights
Marketing spending has been increasing for years, only reaching a plateau for B2B companies of an 11.3% increase in 2017 compared to a 12.1% increase in 2016. Still two-thirds of CMOs plan to increase investments in digital advertising, while 63% plan to pause or cut budget through old-media channels. What does this mean? Marketers are more ROI-focused than ever, and because they’re not always seeing ROI commensurate to their increasing spend, they need full-funnel visibility to see exactly which parts of their funnel are returning value, and more importantly, which ones aren’t.
2018 Marketing Trend #3: Continued growth of o2o
When you’re already the biggest online retailer in the world, how do you continue to grow? By going offline. Amazon made headlines this year by acquiring Whole Foods and by opening more than a dozen brick-and-mortar bookstores. It’s not the only company doing this. Other retailers are building out offline presences to offer local inventory, directly shape customer experience on the ground and mitigate the burdensome costs of return shipping by using brick-and-mortar locations as return centers. These include eyeglass retailer Warby Parker, which plans to eventually run 800+ stores and Athleta, a previously online-only athletic apparel outlet, which has 140 stores and counting as part of its new parent company, Gap Inc.
2018 Marketing Trend #4: The new profit margin? Relevance.
2017 is almost over. 2018 is right around the corner. Here’s a 2018 digital marketing prediction that will explode back into prominence sooner than any of us think: the built-in ad blocker for Chrome, which is still the world’s most popular browser. This new feature will join the continued adoption of third-party ad blockers, which have already seen 30% increased usage over last year. If your messaging isn’t relevant, sorry. That’s the end of the road for your ads. In the meantime, the increased AdWords budget cap means that bidding on highly relevant long-tail keywords may fall further out of reach for advertisers that don’t have a good solution to calculate optimal bids. The long-tail represents the most relevant keywords for deep-funnel customers who are about to make a purchase, but because they’re so data-poor, bidding properly for them is a challenge, and may simply not be an option for advertisers whose budgets have already been blown out of the water. A predictive advertising optimization solution that can accurately and efficiently make winning long-tail keyword bids will mean closing more sales and will put those advertisers significantly farther ahead of competitors who still can’t get their long-tail keywords to work.
In 2018, marketers will need to take strategic control of their operations for bidding and their full customer journey. The path to this control lies through data-driven insights that help them accurately forecast budgets against future performance, and through relevant messaging that captures interest from customers at all stages of the funnel.