What Did We See This Year? A Look at the Best Marketing Trends of 2018

top digital marketing trends 2018

Are you looking back on your 2018 marketing efforts?

You aren't alone. The New Year gives every business owner a great opportunity to assess the previous year's successes and marketing ROI.

It also offers a chance to change up current advertising schemes. After all, the most successful marketing campaigns are flexible ones.

So what did we see this last year in terms of advertising?

Quite a lot! 2018 experienced several key trends that are still ongoing in 2019. 

Here's a close look at the marketing trends 2018 brought forth. Read on for insight!

1. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial intelligence has been on the horizon for quite some time. But 2018 saw its full entrance into the marketing arena in the form of chatbots.

Chatbots are AI components that function as basic customer service representatives on websites. They typically "pop up" as a chat window a few seconds after a visitor navigates to a site.

In some cases, chatbots are actually linked to live customer representatives. Others function as funnels, designed to field select customer service questions and direct visitors accordingly.

Chatbots aren't likely to go away in 2019. They do a lot for a website's professionalism.

They also automate part of the customer service process, giving business owners and employees more time to take care of human-hand-dependent tasks.

In fact, automation of key marketing processes may be one of the most important 2019 advertising trends.

2. Video, Video, Video

Video content surged in 2018, making it one of the most viable forms of digital advertising content. If you use video in your advertising campaigns last year, you know what we mean.

Consumers became pickier last year about the ads they chose to engage with. (Hint: they are still just as picky in 2019.) 

Marketers sharply felt consumers' demand for engaging, high-quality content. They met this demand by using video content.

This was most notable on social media, what with Instagram's use of ephemeral video content via "stories" and Facebook Live. Marketers can now incorporate multimedia ads into news feeds, boosting customer engagement immediately.

Yet video has also become an important part of non-social media platforms, such as websites themselves. Video backgrounds transformed the world of web design, for example.

And video blogs have given marketers a chance to convey key information to audiences from just about anywhere.

Marketers who failed to jump on the video bandwagon may have felt the pinch in profit margins or, at the very least, customer engagement. If this summarizes your situation, make sure to knit video into your marketing strategy for 2019.

3. Mobile-Friendly Content

In March of 2018, Google announced it would be rolling out mobile-first indexing. This means that Google now checks out the mobile versions of sites when it assigns rankings.

This was a big deal for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) campaigns everywhere. 

2017 definitely saw an emphasis on mobile-friendly content, given the number of smartphone owners in the world.

But Google's announcement stepped up the game even further. Marketers are likely to still be catering to this new form of indexing in 2019.

They will do this by releasing 100% mobile-friendly content. Responsively designed websites were more competitive in 2018, for example; now, they will be the only sites that visitors navigate to.

Marketers spent a lot of time in 2018 generating content easy to consume from any device (including video and blog posts). 

Take a minute to think about the mobile-friendliness of your online content. How would a mobile user fare when visiting your site? 

If you spent much of 2018 thinking of your mobile audience, you likely experienced a significant return on your investment. If not so much, you know where to focus your efforts this new year!

4. Data Protection and Brand Safety

In 2018, consumers everywhere learned more about the value of their own data. They became more wary about brands they didn't automatically trust.

They also developed caution when using social media platforms and sharing data online.

Data governance thus entered the marketing scene last year. As a business owner, you likely experienced this in some capacity.

Marketers had to work harder last year to both protect customer data and acquire market insights. This meant following the push for transparent, brand-strong content.

It also meant honing data governance practices. 

Consumers are still anxious to protect their data and to trust safe brands. Keep this in mind as you build your campaigns for 2019.

5. Long-Form, Educational Content

Content marketing has been slowly emerging in the last few years. In 2018, we saw the great value of high-quality content and its ability to impact marketing efforts.

For one thing, Google emphasizes the value of useful content in its guidelines to a Google-friendly site. SEO marketers are likely familiar with this stipulation.

For another, rich long-form content tends to rank more highly in search results. In 2018, marketers thus produced blog posts, articles, and other ads longer than 500 words.

The most competitive of these were long-form articles pushing 2000 words! What's more, these articles were (and are) deeply informative, designed to educate rather than "sell" visitors on key topics.

This is still a viable component of digital marketing in 2019. The more you can demonstrate your authority to potential customers, the more likely you are to experience conversions.

6. Outsourcing

Many business owners have recognized the value of deferring to professionals for marketing purposes.

This is especially the case when it comes to digital marketing, which keeps changing as technology advances.

What's more, digital marketing can be tough from a DIY perspective! As a business owner, you may simply not have time to devote to self-made campaigns.

One of the biggest marketing trends of 2018 involved outsourcing principle advertising campaigns. Read more about efficient outsourcing here.

Marketing Trends 2018

Many of the marketing trends 2018 experienced are still valid in 2019. AI, for example, is likely to keep evolving in the coming year.

Video and mobile-friendly content will still be competitive, particularly when it comes to social media campaigns. The same goes for long-form content across digital platforms.

Business owners are also still likely to consider outsourcing marketing efforts as 2019's demands for fabulous, high-converting content increase.

Curious about where content marketing will take us in 2019? Learn more here!

Bootstrap Business Blog Newest Posts From Mike Schiemer, Partners, And News Outlets