Nital Shah

Nital Shah

Nital is a strategic and composed Entrepreneur. His confident marketing approach and excellent management skills have helped him make his dreams come true as a smart business leader.

As we enter 2018 many businesses and digital agency are finding themselves reminiscing about past events and quantifying the result of their efforts and investments from last year. Primarily so they can adjust and reset for the year ahead.

Between budgets, holiday campaigns, and plans for the upcoming year, savvy businesses are focusing on what’s ahead of them.

We can all agree that 2017 was an interesting year that brought numerous changes to the digital marketing industry. You may be wondering what 2018 has in store for you.

Research by Smart Insights illustrates that big data, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and content will have the biggest impact on businesses in 2018:

One thing that we can say for sure is that you can expect to see new exciting digital trends emerging, such as intelligent chatbots, new ways of native advertising, and wearable technology.

Let’s explore each in detail and learn about what digital trends you should keep your eye on in 2018.

1. Messenger Ads and Chatbots will become mainstream

2017 saw an important milestone for Facebook advertising. Not only can companies now use Messenger to send ads to their target audience, but they also have access to an intelligent chat bot that helps them communicate with prospects in real-time.

Now, instead of having to call a customer support rep or wait for an answer from your company, prospects can start a conversation with a business almost instantly.

You can expect to see more and more companies choosing chatbots and messenger ads instead of the regular communication channels, and for a very good reason:

  • Higher conversion rates. It’s easier for users to get the information they need directly in their messenger app, than having to redirect to a website or fishing through their email;
  • It’s easier for users to engage with the ads directly – and they are more likely to do so;
  • They illicit real-time interactions, rather than a delay that can result in significant drop offs;
  • It will result in better, and more premium customer support;
  • The interactions feel more personal and will make potential customers more trusting – at least initially.

Below is a cool example of a highly-personalised messenger ad from Command Burger:

Image Source: Aesthetic Digital

2. Wearable technology will deliver personalised ads in real-time

Fitbit, Apple Watch, Google Glass, and other smart wearable technology have already been gaining significant traction throughout 2017 as great digital trends, but we are likely to see a considerable spike in their popularity in 2018 and beyond.

Research by IDTechEx suggests that wearable technology will accelerate in popularity over the next 10 years:

These intelligent devices offer multiple marketing opportunities for businesses if they can adequately harness their potential.

At first glance we can notice three main pros of wearables:

  • Better market research. These products can collect more reliable data (both qualitative and quantitative) from their users, and without a lot of extra work;
  • Easy integration. As consumers are already interested in such products, new additions to the market won’t be hard to promote;
  • Better team productivity. Yes, you can think of the benefits of wearables also in terms of your team wearing them to improve their work.

Perhaps the biggest game-changer when it comes to wearables for businesses when it comes to digital marketing is the likelihood of highly personalised, real-time, and unavoidable ads.

3. Location-based offers will revive the retail industry

Location-based offers (LBOs) can pinpoint a user’s location and send offers that are most relevant to them, based on the user data retrieved. LBOs will skip the waiting period of having a potential customer stumble upon a company’s services or products, and take that information directly to them.

This technology allows business to expand beyond the traditional digital marketing strategies and provide their target audience with genuinely useful information. LBOs increase the chance of engaging existing customers and gaining new ones, which in the end may lead to a noticeable increase in spontaneous sales.

Imagine for a second that you are walking down the street and as you approach the local Apple store an alert pops up on your phone for a deal on the latest iPhone. Scary…. But very much a reality in waiting.

Department story Barneys, in New York, is known for its sophisticated LBOs. They use beacons and a dedicated app to deliver push notifications, product updates, and real-time offers to customers.

4. Ads will become even more personalised, powered by data

Though behavioral advertising isn’t exactly unheard of today, we’ll be seeing more of it as one of the major digital trends in 2018. Marketing companies nowadays use a lot of online tools to collect information about their audience’s browsing activity, in an attempt to deliver them relevant ads. In 2018, we will see this data more effectively mesh with offline behavior and user data, meaning even more personalisation and relevance.

That means a digital agency has access to meaningful insights about their prospects, such as the things they are interested in, their online and offline behavior, purchase history, the trains they catch every morning, and so on. By collecting this data, we will see an increase in personalised ads that, in combination with the LBOs, will be able to predict which are the users more likely to buy.

5. Paid influencer marketing will continue to grow

We live in the age of social media. Online celebrities, such as Instagram or YouTube stars are arguably more influential than numerous actors or singers. Even Facebook paid influencers to use their Live Streaming Video service when it was first launched to increase its popularity.

Since it has proven its effectiveness time and time again, you can expect to see more and more companies using influencer marketing strategies to promote their products. The main benefit this type of advertising has is that people consider it to be more genuine than traditional marketing.

Because they trust the influencer, prospects are more likely to follow their advice and purchase the products they recommend. In 2018 we will see paid influencer campaigns expand to new platforms.

6. Native content advertising will find new platforms

Online users use a variety of tools to block unwanted communication, which is why native content advertising has grown so much in popularity.

This concept focuses on creating ads that fit perfectly into a website’s content. So much so that sometimes it doesn’t even come off as an ad.

Here’s an example you may be familiar with: imagine that you are reading an article about the women’s prison system when you come across a subtle text-based advertisement for the Netflix hit show Orange Is the New Black. This type of advertising is more likely to grab your attention than a banner ad or popup video.

But this type of native advertising isn’t new. In 2018 you will see this grow, but you will also see the concept of native advertising finding its way to new platforms – not just news sites and blogs.

One example of this new platform native advertising in action can be seen from Patron Tequila on Twitter, with their Margarita of the Year campaign:


When it comes to digital trends, change is the only constant.

Technology is continuously taking the game to a new level, and only those who keep up have a chance of succeeding.

Sure, staying updated can seem like an impossible task, but with these six tips, you can start the new year on the right foot.

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