Top Online Marketing Trends For 2018

Online marketing is a dynamic landscape, and so are consumer desires. There is need to keep ahead of the curve and keep up with emerging trends. Here are the top online marketing trends that will shape your 2018.

Videos Are In Demand

Today, social media marketing is highly driven by using quality video content. Marketers are now using more videos to catch our attention. Recent studies indicate that over 80% of social media users prefer watching live videos to reading blogs. Videos are also known to have the best returns on investment (ROI) as compared to other marketing strategies.

Did you know that Facebook users watch over 8 billion videos each day? On YouTube, the statistics are no different. Viewers consume 1 billion hours’ worth of videos every day.

However, it is worth noting that most users view the videos on their mobile devices. Consumers have a limited attention span. This is why Facebook and YouTube rolled out six seconds ads to get the message across fast and reach billions of people at once. This goes to show that active marketing can be achieved in such a short span of time.

About 65% of marketers all over the world plan on focusing more on video marketing. A mobile marketing approach this year will see an increase in the budget for mobile ads by most brands. This will see an increase in voice searches and mobile-first sites which will focus on providing instant information to consumers upon request.

Augmented Reality (AR)

After so many years of speculation, 2018 is the year AR takes shape. You may have used AR for online games such as Snapchat’s dancing hot dogs and Pokémon Go. However, marketers are now taking advantage of the potential benefits of using AR for online marketing.

Augmented reality works by integrating the habitual user’s environment with digital information to create something new. Consumers can now know how much a product will benefit their lives before purchasing it. For instance, you can now place virtual furniture in your home to see how it looks before the actual buying. Stores like IKEA are already using the technology as part of their online marketing strategy.

We are yet to know how much AR will change the online marketing landscape. We can only wait and see how the common brands utilize the technology to reach a wider audience.

EU Policy on Data Collection

The General Data Protection Regulation is set to be launched this year on May 25th. This is a clear indication that the European Union is serious about protecting its consumers against fraudulent marketing.

The new policy will ensure that companies get full consent from consumers before collecting any data. European Union citizens will gain extra control over their private information. The regulations also state that companies should explain how they plan on using data collected.

Did you know that the GDPR is not limited to firms in the European Union only? It applies to any company that collects data from an EU citizen. Most businesses are already catching on. Over 84% of US companies and about 75% of European companies will be compliant by May.

Companies that don’t comply are liable for a hefty fine; 23 million USD or four percent of their global annual turnover.

The Rise in Social Media Influencers

Influencer marketing is gaining rapid popularity, and taking over the traditional programmatic and banner advertising. Influencers reach out to target audiences more efficiently by giving an authentic voice to brands.

Marketers should expect more competition this year as influencers only want to work with reputable brands. However, there are some issues that could arise as a result of the popularity. Some influencers have been known to ‘buy’ followers to land endorsement deals. Brands will have to be vigilant during the hiring process, as consumers can now spot fake influencers from a mile away.

Chatbots Taking Over

Chatbots have seen significant AI improvements over the years, forming part of data-driven marketing. This is the year that most brands focus on social media bots, with millennials as the target audience.

Over 61% of chatbot interactions with consumers are based on customer service related queries. Marketers can now use bots for enhanced customer support, and marketing automation. Moreover, there will be an 85% increase in customer-chatbot interactions by 2020.

While brands will primarily use bots to enhance marketing, there have been significant concerns raised on how comfortable consumers are working with machines given their limited flexibility. Even with the divided opinion on their potential impact, chatbots will undoubtedly take over online marketing in 2018.

People spend so much time using messaging apps such as WhatsApp, iMessage and Facebook Messenger. This is an indicator that advancements in AI are rapidly changing the conversation, with more time spent using social media apps.

An Increase in Social Media Stories

Social media stories from popular platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat are gaining rapid popularity.

Snapchat was the pioneer of these ‘stories,’ but other online platforms are now following suit, each one with unique features and presentation. We have also seen the emergence of WhatsApp stories and YouTube ‘Reels’. Marketers cannot merely ignore how compelling the stories are when it comes to online marketing.


Consumers keep demanding more from brands with each passing day. Although content personalization was a standard marketing practice last year, there are no signs that it will slow down. Brands will now reach a wider audience by offering a unique online experience, based on their interests, behaviours and preferences.

Whether it’s customizing a fully personalized website or simple landing pages for consumers, personalization is more beneficial than general marketing. This is regarding click-through rates, conversions, and open rates.

Wrapping Up

Effective marketing requires acquiring more leads while spending the least amount of money. We have taken you through a few trends that you should keep in mind, as you prepare your marketing strategy for 2018. Some of these online marketing trends may trigger a digital revolution, with some forming part of the new marketing reality.

About the Author

Hemant is a digital marketer and blogger. He is an engineer and loves online marketing. He loves sharing his thoughts in the technology space.

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