7 Digital trends that will change how you market in 2018
by DRUM Media, 17 Jan 2018
2018 is already rushing out of the gate—and, at DRUM, we have our fingers on the pulse of what’s coming. Read on to discover our predicted marketing trends for 2018.
1. AI + SEM- Katherine Jianas, VP, Director of Paid Search
Artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), programmatic…all of these have been recent buzzwords. And while AI has been commonly known as a tool used in display and video media buying, it has now entered the world of search.
Google has, not surprisingly, been at the forefront of SEM innovation. In last year’s emerging trends post, we reported on enhanced Google audience targeting capabilities; moving forward, these will be taken to a new level vis-à-vis machine learning. Google recently launched In-Market Audiences for Search, allowing SEM experts to target users based on purchase intent signals—essentially allowing us to bid for better qualified traffic.
Recent studies show average conversion rates for In-Market Audiences are 10% higher than average. In addition, by having at least three ads in an ad group, each with differing messages, Google’s algorithm can now serve the most appropriate message for the right searcher at the right time. And, by layering Data Driven Attribution into bidding strategies, we now have a better understanding of what keywords, ad groups and campaigns have the greatest impact on results and can better optimize for them. Finally, Google also offers Smart Bidding capabilities such as Target CPA, Target ROAS, Maximize Conversions and Enhanced CPCs, where, in real time, the algorithm can bid appropriately based on ML in addition to contextual signals, such as device, location, time of day, demographics and more.
Google isn’t the only one using ML to power bidding strategies; several providers offer additional audience and intent targeting solutions. For example, we can use zip code level audience data, such as demographic, financial, behavioral, attitudinal, psychographic, purchase and firmographic, and layer in zip code level bid adjustments on top of any manual or automated bid adjustments we are already using. Essentially, we would be bidding on potential customers before they even get to our site. And then there are automated business intelligence providers that monitor your business data and notify you when unexpected changes occur, allowing you to act swiftly. We can only expect these capabilities to grow in the coming year, and we’ll be following along!
2. AI and IoT + SEO- Greg Lee, Director of SEO
SEO is not the ever-changing black box people claim it is. Yes, Moz tracks 500-600 algorithm changes each year. Yes, there are new IoT consumer products with built-in search like vehicles, appliances and assistants. And, yes, Google has a black box AI called RankBrain, among other technologies discussed above, that decipher search intent and the meaning of queries.
But when you look at the big picture, it’s really a slow-moving end goal. Remember the old Gretzky quote, “Skate to where the puck is going, not to where it has been.” Because the end goal moves very slowly, the best SEO strategies almost never change and the best SEO tactics slowly evolve.
Just look at SEO portions for our last five yearly digital trends:
- 2013: Local SEO will continue as a top priority as mobile usage soars
- 2014: Mobile SEO will require you to feed the Google experience (tactics mainly focus on local signals and structured data)
- 2015: SEO (focuses on user intent and device experience) will require tracking across multiple devices
- 2016: Optimizing SEO for user intent will become increasingly important
+ marketers will use local SEO to build authority signals
- 2017: Content and integrated marketing (focuses on content marketing for SEO with an integrated, or more aptly, unified marketing approach)
SEO for 2018 is a culmination of the past. Plug holes in past tactics, which are your must-have foundation for SEO. These must be buttoned up just to be in the running for a top ranker. Next, optimize for RankBrain AI and IoT voice search by filling your content gaps. Be sure to research competitors who rank highly, so you know which SEO signals RankBrain is weighting for your target users’ search intent. Create content that covers a concept, not just a keyword. RankBrain ML looks at click-through rate and dwell time on that page (similar to how Adwords Quality Score works) to understand how well a page satisfies the user intent. If you did it right, you will see a halo effect in queries that drove traffic and a steady build of organic entrances, like this client page below.
Blog post we created for a client. We reverse engineered SERP competitor top rankings to capture a concept—and comprehensively satisfy user intent. It gradually took over top rankings for more and more searches related to the concept, becoming the highest organic traffic driving page below the homepage.
3. The Rise of Amazon- Vladimir Bradic, Associate Media Director
It’s hard to ignore the massive growth of Amazon this year, with articles discussing its ascent almost daily. Both from a search and a display perspective, Amazon’s size in the advertising industry is starting to rival that of Google and Facebook.
There are three strategic factors to keep in mind when considering Amazon as a channel in 2018:
- Consumer’s intent to purchase
- Amazon’s growth
- Programmatic demand side platform
According to a 2017 UPS survey, when a consumer searches for a product, Amazon is their prime online destination and, subsequently, Amazon’s ads have the highest likelihood of converting consumers into customers when comparing to Google or Facebook. On the other hand, while it’s true we can’t compare search volume on Amazon’s single-digit billion-dollar revenue platform to the two giant search platforms, according to eMarketer, by 2019 Amazon will hold 3% of all digital ad spend while sustaining double-digit growth.
AAP, Amazon’s programmatic demand side platform, is quickly becoming a familiar partner in major media brands’ digital plans. According to Digiday, during Amazon’s third-quarter earnings call, they announced its advertising business grew 58%year over year to $1.12 billion. With its immense data collection of customers and what they’re in the market for, Amazon can deliver a relevant brand to a potential customer currently in the funnel, creating a successful prospecting campaign for retailers.
4. The Impact of Hackers and Data Breaches- Debra Wang, Associate Media Director
With each announcement of yet another data breach, it’s hard not to think this is the new normal. While financial institutions and healthcare providers bore the brunt of the first wave of attacks, it’s been increasingly hard to predict the next target. Most notably, in June 2017, WPP, a British multinational advertising and PR company, found themselves victims (along with unrelated companies like FedEx, pharmaceutical company Merck and others) of the same malware attack that locked users’ computers and demanded payment in Bitcoins.
Money isn’t the only motivator. Advertising agencies can be attractive targets because of the source of their latest targeting advancements: the collection of millions of bits of data for audience profiling (Source). While most DSP data collection anonymizes the data and/or uses third parties that create an added barrier of protection from any real identity association, agencies can’t assume this information will exploited in isolation. Layered upon databanks of other stolen information, it could be a piece of a larger puzzle for a hacker’s ultimate prize.
So, in the face of this new normal, advertisers and marketers need to address this growing trend by being proactive, investing in cyber security services like Secureworks, and maybe even creating a ‘digital extortion decision tree’ as suggested by Jeff Pollard, principal analyst at Forrester (Source). Protecting business will always be costly, but as cyber-crime continues to become more sophisticated, it will be everyone’s responsibility to stay one step ahead.
5. The Rise of Image Search- DRUM Media
According to eMarketer, 75% of U.S. internet users search for visuals before making a purchase. So it’s no surprise that Pinterest is jumping in on the search game, offering advertisers the ability to create visual search ads, with many of the same targeting capabilities Google and Bing offer. You can bid at a keyword level, only paying when a pinner actually clicks. Exact, Phrase and Broad match types are also available, alongside negative matches. These targeting options can be combined with placement targeting that allows you to have more control over where your ads serve on Pinterest. Just keep in mind that people search differently on Pinterest, as their queries typically include terms tied around ideas.
In addition to search ads, you can also use your shopping feed to test into Pinterest, without having to create ads. Pinterest pulls from your feed to dynamically update ads based on inventory, and their system will create a Product Board and generate Promoted Pins for each item in your feed. Considering 72% of pinners say Pinterest introduced them to new brands or services, the platform should be a viable option for uncovering new customers.
6. Social Video Will Explode- DRUM Media
Mobile video will continue to be a big focus in 2018. With Mark Zuckerberg’s prediction that Facebook will be mostly video by 2020, and Cisco estimating that video will account for 69% of all internet traffic by this year alone, marketers are beginning to notice and invest accordingly. In fact, 70% of media companies said they would increase video spending in 2018. No longer just an awareness play, social video has been shown to influence purchase decisions, and even drive last-click sales.
But with this growth comes challenges. Marketers will need to strategize around video length, placements and in which social platforms to invest their social ad dollars. Below are some top trends to watch for:
- Shorter video lengths: As attention spans continue to decline and competition increases in newsfeed, shorter ads will gain more currency. Google challenged advertisers to tell their story within 6 seconds with bumper ads on YouTube, and Facebook recommends frontloading the most important video takeaways within the first 5-10 seconds.
- Facebook Live and midroll ads: Facebook has been pushing live video, prioritizing live content in feeds and incentivizing publishers and celebrities to post live video. Now, with the rollout of midroll ads within publisher content, advertisers will have the opportunity to run within live videos as well. This presents a great opportunity to reach users who are already heavily engaged with the content.
- Vertical Video: Snapchat and Instagram stories will see significant growth in 2018. And, with even Facebook mobile video being best optimized for a slightly vertical (9:16) orientation, marketers should plan ahead to develop vertical formats when developing new assets.
7. The Rise of Connected Devices (Internet of Things)- Jerelle Gainey, Chief Technology Officer
We're on the cusp of a tectonic shift in digital marketing. The boom in IoT technology will soon allow us to analyze, predict and respond to consumer behavior in almost every market possible. IoT devices generate unprecedented amounts of data, so every customer interaction allows marketers to capture consumer intent, behavior, needs and desires. This makes it possible to serve contextually relevant messages at the most optimal place and time.
As more devices are added to the IOT ecosystem and the adoption of these technologies continues to spread, the role and skill set of marketers and agencies will evolve. New avenues to reach our consumers are being introduced every day—from internet-enabled refrigerators to connected vehicles built from the ground up—with new data sources to evaluate. According to the Ericsson Mobility Report, IoT devices and sensors will exceed mobile phones as the largest category of connected devices in 2018. This evolution in cross-device media planning/execution presents new challenges around how we continue to connect our offline/online worlds, and still maintain the privacy/security expected in the digital media universe. Remember when we were just worried about connecting print and digital?
While the rise in potential brand to consumer touch points may seem slightly scary, it only means more efficient and relevant messaging for consumers. General Motors is taking a major step with their introduction of “Marketplace,” an in-vehicle app that will allow drivers to pay for goods, such as gasoline or coffee, and schedule service through their infotainment systems. Through partnerships with major retailers such as Dunkin’ Donuts, Shell, IHOP and ExxonMobil among others, GM will be on the forefront of connecting consumers with brands through the IoT. Imagine driving down the road and realizing your car needs an oil change, only to be served an ad from a nearby service center for 15% off your next oil change. Talk about right message, right person, right time!
All of these 2018 marketing trends are a lot to consider—but you don’t have to go it alone.
Want to get ahead of the curve and start putting the newest strategies to work for you?Contact us!
Get updates; just enter your email below. Simple as that.
The Top Three Tips to Make You King of the SERP This Black Friday and Cyber Monday
by Margaret Davis, 20 Nov 2018
Voice applications and natural language are bigger than the kitchen.
by Bryan Knouse, 29 Oct 2018
Are you ready for Amazon advertising?
by Debra Wang, 25 Oct 2018
Even Mighty Amazon Can’t Deliver on Grocery Delivery
by David Randolph, 15 Aug 2018
Google’s ready for Its face-lift
by DRUM Media, 25 Jul 2018
Why it’s important to invest in non-branded paid search
by Kelsey Chadwick, 27 Jun 2018
Why paid search should be your go-to media
by Katherine Jianas, 18 Jun 2018
Why Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal makes me thrilled for the future of content marketing
by Ben Heiser, 21 May 2018
YouTube for Nonprofits
by Virginia Doty, 15 May 2018
Takeaways from MarTech 2018
by Michael Cruz, Chief Content Officer, 15 May 2018
Which do your consumers prefer? Inbox or Mailbox? (Infographic)
by DRUM, 14 May 2018
Get smart with Google smart bidding
by Hailee Sosnowski, 27 Apr 2018
The amazing power of personalization
by DRUM, 19 Apr 2018
Beyond once upon a time: dialogue and the art of storytelling 2.0
by Michelle Gunn, PhD, VP/Creative Director, 17 Apr 2018
SEM 101 for Nonprofits
by Jay Reyes & Chase Bender, 12 Apr 2018
How to inspire workplace creativity
by Stephen Steger, 03 Apr 2018
Local SEO for brands and franchises: Top 3 tips from 15 SEO experts
by Greg Lee, 02 Apr 2018
Next steps for advertisers after the Cambridge Analytica Facebook breach
by Traci Hendrix, 26 Mar 2018
Are you ready for the GDPR? A guide for advertising agencies
by Jerelle Gainey and Debra Wang, 15 Mar 2018
Q&A: Experts dish on the future of paid search
by Chelsea Huston, 06 Mar 2018
Why content moments are the key to understanding content marketing
by Ben Heiser, 28 Feb 2018
Why bad advertising is a form of bad manners: lessons from a Ugandan storefront
by Scott Johnson, 20 Feb 2018
Retailers and the lower funnel trap
by David Randolph, 06 Feb 2018
What’s the body language of your content really saying?
by Zoë Courtman-Smith, 31 Jan 2018
10 things to look for in enterprise SEO software: 2018 tool review
by Greg Lee, 30 Jan 2018
The top 3 PPC marketing search engines of 2018
by Debra Wang and Vladimir Bradic, 26 Jan 2018
How new changes to Google Grant will affect your nonprofit
by Shelby Huckeba, 19 Jan 2018
Latest Giving Tuesday campaign ideas from marketing-minded nonprofits
by Adam Binkley, Jay Reyes and Ruby Wustrak, 18 Jan 2018
State of Social in 2018
by Ashley Reed, 17 Jan 2018
Top 7 posts of 2017
by Jamie Wigington, 17 Jan 2018
How should SEM experts prepare for voice search? [INFOGRAPHIC]
by DRUM, 17 Jan 2018
What advertisers need to know about Apple's intelligent tracking prevention
by Jerelle Gainey, 06 Oct 2017
Using direct mail to reactivate online customers
by Rosann Bartle, 22 Sep 2017
Bing shop ‘til you drop
by Hailee Sosnowski, 14 Aug 2017
Finding a web design process that works
by Todd Chambers, 02 Aug 2017
3 Commandments for creating incredibly engaging content
by Ben Heiser, 02 Aug 2017
Twitter ads and targeting techniques that work
by Annie Green, 27 Jul 2017
5 benefits of paid social advertising
by Karina Khemani, 14 Jul 2017
Oh snap! Snapchat just upped their ad game
by Traci Hendrix, 12 Jul 2017
Dying is easy, comedy is hard
by Scott Johnson, 10 Jul 2017
Marketing and the meteor test
by Scott Johnson, 05 Jul 2017
The value of local SEO (Even when your customers aren't)
by Gregory Lee, 23 Jun 2017
The best Facebook ad types and targeting options for driving sales
by Annie Green, 15 Jun 2017
Linking online marketing to offline consumer behavior
by Heather Roach, 08 Jun 2017
To push a nonprofit's mission, you have to push with passion
by Nicole Bendel, 05 Jun 2017
7 ways B2B marketers can find success in social media
by Traci Hendrix, 31 May 2017
Google’s data-driven attribution: what you need to know
by Kimberly Honore, 23 May 2017
The skinny on Yahoo's native search retargeting feature
by Shelby Huckeba, 15 May 2017
Why you should always include brand search in your digital strategy
by Katherine Jianas, 04 May 2017
How to use content marketing to finally unify marketing strategies
by Gregory Lee, 16 Apr 2017
5 things we learned at Google’s “Search in 2017 & Beyond” event
by Kimberly Honore, 05 Apr 2017
To sell to the ego, you gotta talk to the id.
by Zoe Courtman-Smith, 04 Apr 2017
Social listening inspires smarter business strategies
by Alicia Trahan, 03 Apr 2017
Brand safety: how programmatic partners protect our clients' brands
by Brittany Altman, 31 Mar 2017
How inactive subscribers can affect deliverability
by Billy McNair, 27 Mar 2017
5 reasons to insist on 1st party data for CRM targeting
by Samantha Halpin, 22 Mar 2017
Conversation, not content, is king
by Scott Johnson, 15 Mar 2017