12 Popular Digital Marketing Trends for 2018

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Digital marketing, like anything else on the internet, is fast-developing.

With new trends emerging left, right and centre, it’s often hard to identify what’s ‘in’ and what should be left in 2017!

To help you discover the top methods that will best promote your company, we’ve put together this list of the most popular types of digital marketing that you need to consider so that you remain up to date in this digital age.

Here are the most popular digital marketing trends in 2018.

1. Personalisation

This form of marketing has become essential in 2018.

Think back to the personalised Coca-Cola bottles or the Nutella jars with your name on them. You probably ran to get one, didn’t you? I know I did!

Many B2C brands are establishing personalised material, and this has been proven to both boost sales and increase interest in their products. In fact, the ‘Share a Coke’ campaign resulted in a 2% increase in soft drink sales, growing Coke’s consumption rate from 1.7 to 1.9 billion servings per day, according to the Wall Street Journal.

You’ve also probably noticed all those personalised emails flooding your inbox lately, too? That’s because many brands have started to pay close attention to all the small details in their email marketing campaigns to ensure they’re more personal and have moved away from sending out mass emails that recipients will instantly delete.

2. Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing content delivers 11 times higher ROI than businesses adopting traditional forms of marketing.

This type of marketing typically involves the hiring of a well-known celebrity or social media influencer to sell or promote your product or brand. For example, you will often see the likes of Kylie Jenner or Megan McKenna from The Only Way Is Essex promoting detox teas, clothing brands or even their own businesses.

Influencer marketing has become a true staple in the world of digital media, with more companies assigning a larger budget to influencers than ever before!

3. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

In the simple words of marketing guru Neil Patel, SEO is the process of optimising your online content so that a search engine shows it as a top result for searches for a certain keyword.

And a carefully put-together SEO strategy can put your website in a tremendously advantageous position that will attract an audience that has the right intent. In fact, 61% of marketers say that improving SEO and growing their organic presence is their top inbound marketing priority.

4. Chatbots

Chatbots are the latest craze, taking online marketing to new heights!

They are the friendly pop-up blocks that appear and interact with you in real time, providing expert answers in next to no time, eliminating the need for hour-long phone conversations and unnecessary interactions.

They have the ability to meet the growing demand for the type of high-level customer service expected on any website and can often be more helpful than actual human beings (if their algorithm is correct).

For example, businesses like Uber and Spotify interact via Messenger to allow you to order a ride or share new songs and playlists between your contact list.

5. Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC)

Apart from the widely known PPC advertising options, you can exploit from popular search engines.

Almost all social networks offer the opportunity for pay-per-click advertising now, and for a good reason, too.

Pay-per-click can generate fast traffic based on interests, keywords, locations and even device usage. It lets customers see your ads first, allowing you to attract targeted visitors, which can convert into sales to keep your business growing.

So, by incorporating PPC with social media algorithms, businesses in 2018 can target their ideal consumer to ensure that their marketing efforts maximise sales. 

6. Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is one of the most popular methods to date. But what’s changed over the past year is the investment in these platforms.

With so many businesses maintaining a strong online presence, it’s hard to compete on platforms like Instagram and Facebook, which is why they now choose to pay for advertisements to generate growth.

Paid marketing alone won’t result in returns, though; you must ensure you have a strong social media strategy, which involves sharing information and engaging with followers, fans, partners and competitors. This type of activity is vital for long-term online success to build and keep your audience engaged.

7. Artificial Intelligence and Algorithms

Artificial intelligence has become one of the leading trends in marketing over the past year.

AI analyses consumer behaviour and their search patterns, utilising data from social media and other platforms to identify what the consumer is looking for and how they are searching for it.

Search engines, social media platforms and other websites then use this information for their algorithms, which is why recently searched items will appear on your Instagram feed and see your closest friends’ posts first on Facebook.

8. Content Marketing

Content marketing is the art of using storytelling and engaging information to increase brand awareness with the goal of gaining profitable consumer action.

In 2018, without quality content, you’ll be fighting an endless battle. People are yearning for more in-depth and informative and pieces of information.

It is important to create different content for different platforms.

For example, people are looking for interactive content on social platforms and sites. Think of Instagram polls, blog quizzes and Q&As.

This type of marketing can be combined with a few of the other methods listed here to help you attract an audience that will engage with your brand.

9. Mobile Marketing

With most of us using our mobiles for literally everything, it makes sense that all websites and social posts need to be optimised for mobiles, ensuring that they are fully responsive and interactive.

On a similar concept, many marketers have taken advantage of the mobile craze by focusing on mobile marketing, which is any information received on a mobile device through apps or SMS. Just think back to the 25% off coupon you received by text from Pizza Hut and the sale notification that popped up through your Amazon app!

More and more department stores have adopted this practice, sending information directly to their customers via SMS or WhatsApp rather than email.

It can be effective for any business, and it can instantly grab the attention of your subscribers.

10. Video Marketing

With the enormous growth of YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and other video platforms, it’s only natural that the rise of audiovisual content has become even more popular.

In 2018, the focus is on creating captivating stories that are available for a limited amount of time, creating a FOMO (fear of missing out) feeling for your audience.

These videos should provide a real identity of your brand, which could be behind-the-scenes clips, stories of your day-to-day life or stories about individual staff members.

As Instagram, Facebook and YouTube have moved to a live feed, you can share real-life happenings at the simple click of the button, helping your audience get a real feel for your business.

11. Inbound Marketing

This can be a very powerful form of online marketing. It involves creating relevant and valuable content, optimising it and distributing it across a variety of channels. The aim is to attract new audiences to increase brand awareness.

According to the 2018 State of Inbound report (PDF), 69% of marketers admit that their top challenge is to generate enough traffic and leads.

If an online consumer is finding your product on a number of sources, it will boost the brand’s credibility, and they are more likely to trust you and return to your page in the future.

12. Affiliate Marketing

Making money while you sleep can seem almost impossible, but affiliate marketing can make that dream come true!

The way it works is that, as the marketer, you will get a small percentage of commission per sale that you make through your recommendations. The revenue is monitored through a personalised link that you’ll share on your platforms.

This form of marketing has been around for a while, but in 2018 there’s been an increase with social influencers and bloggers promoting more and more products on their pages, so they too can earn money while they’re offline!

There is no one-size-fits-all best practice when it comes to digital marketing. Many of the types listed above interlink with each other and will work together in optimising your online appearance.

But if you can strategically select the right types of marketing to focus your efforts, you’ll be able to expand your reach and bring in a more targeted customer base.

And once your users trust you as a source of information, they can be converted into lifelong customers and users of your brand.

Have you used any of the methods above? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


This article is an updated version of an earlier article originally published on 22 August 2017.