As we are ready to count our blessings for 2017, we must also keep a keen eye ahead. 2018 is just around the corner and, as business owners or marketers, you are surely asking yourselves: what will the coming year have in store for me?
It is true, there will be some changes in online marketing strategies, and most of them will be influenced by new technologies. Success in 2018 will greatly depend on how fast businesses can adopt these technologies, or at least embed a part of them in their marketing tactics.
We are on the verge of a revolution of kinds: the tools we are using in our work are getting smarter by the day. They are capable of working independently up to a limit and they have recently become capable of learning and expanding their range of actions.
How many of these changes will be influencing online marketing? Here are our top picks:
- Marketing Communication as an Immersive Experience
People are no longer satisfied to see and hear your messages and ads. They have got a taste for being “inside” films and games, and seeing products in their homes before they actually make a purchase. We are talking about virtual reality and augmented reality.
These related, but different, technologies have really taken off this year. Hardware for experiencing AR and VR is more and more affordable, and there is a wide choice of games, films and mobile apps to enjoy this experience. More and more businesses are developing shopping apps with augmented reality technology embedded in it. By 2018, such apps will become a norm – at least in the customers’ expectations.
- Chatbots Are Getting Smarter
Artificial intelligence is no longer something we see in sci-fi films. Only this year, the Facebook™ development team was forced to shut down two AI entities which developed within hours a language of their own and started talking to each other.
No need to worry about a Terminator-like scenario, but we have to accept that AI have developed tremendously and they will play an important role in marketing. In particular, chatbots will become even more advanced and will be capable of carrying on lengthy conversations with customers on your website and on Facebook™ Messenger.
- Machine Learning Will Take Marketing By Storm
Machine learning is somewhat different from artificial intelligence. Currently, machine learning is used in finance and banking, using real-life instances to teach computers to detect fraud and money laundering. For instance, PayPal uses this technology to improve security on its platform.
What if computers can be taught to “read” your website and social media analytics and predict what your prospects and customers are likely to do in the next 24 hours or the next week? This is a definite possibility, and it is expected to take shape next year.
- Dark Social Is Taking Over
Dark social is not a nefarious term, as is dark web. It simply means that people are switching to more private and more personal channels of communication, such as: messaging apps and native mobile apps, email and HTTPS-enabled browsing.
While it takes more time to do so, sharing by copy/pasting links rather than clicking on social media buttons has become more and more popular. First of all, because people are now social media friends with their bosses and co-workers. Secondly, because they are aware that website trackers are following their online activities. Therefore, businesses will have to devise ways to interact with their potential customers on the dark social.
- Micro Moments Gain Momentum
Most people make impulse online searches on their mobile phones. They get an idea, pull out the phone and quickly move through search results until they find the one satisfying their precise need. This is a micro moment. And it came into being thanks to super-fast mobile internet and increasingly powerful smartphones.
We are now talking about ditching 4G internet speed in favour of 5G. Once it becomes widespread sometime during next year, people’s micro moments will become even more impulsive, and their willingness to have patience with a mobile site or app to give them the information they want will decrease. This means that marketers will need to rethink the way they share their messages, the way they structure them and the type of content they include in them.