5 Digital Advertising Trends to Expect in 2018

The world of digital advertising never stands still. Change is the only constant, so it’s no surprise that 2018 will hold a number of important updates your brand should plan for.

Preparation is key. If you don’t know how both advertising capabilities and audience expectations change, your brand will not be able to take the necessary steps to stay ahead of the curve. So without further ado, here are 5 digital advertising trends to expect in 2018 and beyond.

1) Mobile is the New Normal

Chances are you already emphasize mobile audiences in your existing advertising strategy. In 2018, you may have to take the next step. Mobile ads will account for half of all digital ad spend, reflecting audience trends toward increasing online content on their smartphones and tablets.

That trend is nowhere more obvious than in the search engines. Google is scheduled to release its Mobile-First Index sometime next year, which will treat all searches according to mobile parameters. Fail to account for that fact in your SEO strategy, and your relevant keyword rankings will be drastically affected.

While optimizing your mobile website experience is essential, let’s no forget about the advertising campaigns themselves. Mobile advertising campaigns have the ability to become interactive, sales driving tools that at the bare minimum create brand awareness. Having customers engage and become engulfed in your brand’s “story” will become a key element of any mobile advertising campaign. Despite Google and Facebook garnering the majority of mobile advertisements, take time to consider looking into other outlets for 2018, and especially alternate means of delivering your content (Hint: Videos!)

2) Video is no Longer Optional

Looking to succeed in 2018, you better make video a central part of your digital advertising strategy. You might already know about its properties as a vital advertising tool; garnering more attention, engagement, and conversions than any other tactic. Combine that with increasing possibilities for moving images, and this becomes one of the most obvious 2018 trends.

Your audience knows about the importance of video as well as you do. In fact, almost half of your potential customers want to see more video from advertisers and marketers. Short, social content that is tailor-made for Instagram or Snapchat is as important as live content on Facebook and Twitter.

With so many people watching streaming content on the web today, it is imperative your brand employs some form of video advertising in 2018. As highly engaged viewers search for premium video content on a daily basis, brands must capitalize on this increase of video consumption. The streaming service Hulu recognizes that “surrounding a curated list of must-see shows as a sponsor has a positive effect on the advertising that viewers consume.” This is only one example of the countless ways in which top brands can capitalize on the increasing viewership across social media, streaming services, and more

3) Digital Spend Overtakes TV

The age of TV is not necessarily over, but the landscape is beginning to change. Advertising spend is still growing, though that growth is beginning to slow down and even stagnate. In any case, it’s not keeping up with digital ad spend.

By 2018, the American Marketing Association predicts that digital advertising will eclipse TV for the first time. As a result, simply focusing on digital will no longer be enough. Instead, marketers need to compete in an increasingly competitive environment.

New digital opportunities will undoubtedly arise, and many of them are covered below. But to be successful online, advertisers also have to optimize their existing strategies to successfully cut through the noise and get audience attention.

4) AI Enters the Mainstream

In 2018 and beyond, look for new technologies like artificial intelligence to finally catch on. We are already seeing experiments with this technology; and its most obvious applications, chatbots and machine learning, will only become more central to brands and audiences alike.

A personalized service experience is becoming increasingly vital to audiences across industries. Chatbots help brands achieve that experience, and the technology is finally becoming authentic enough to be successful. According to Business Insider, 80 percent of brands expect to integrate chatbots into their digital strategy by 2020. By placing ads in applications such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and even Uber, brands can expect their reach to drastically increase due to the high quantity of users on these platforms. In-chat advertising is still a new territory to be explored, but it is worth exploring if your brand wans to grow its exposure and awareness through non-traditional advertising means.

Machine learning is less obvious, but just as vital. When implemented, it allows brands to turn hard data into smart data. Through automated and predictive analytics, brands will be able to more easily forecast audience behaviors and maximize advertising and marketing spend. One way in which machine learning can benefit brands looking to advertise in 2018 is the way in which it can help target potential customers. Algorithms can be created to match specific audiences based on look-a-like features such as what they like, who they follow, and things they are interested in. Whether they know it or now, potential customers are always leaving behind clues of what they do online, and it is up to advertisers to decode this information into usable data that can help in creating highly targeted and successful campaigns.

5) Digital Storytelling

We’re ready to declare it: the age of content marketing will be over in 2018. The concept is ready to evolve to its next iteration: digital storytelling.

Stories are detailed and thought-provoking. They relate directly to your audience, focusing not on tangible value but an emotional connection. Given our tendency to make decisions based on emotion, that connection can be invaluable. As consumers of digital content are hungrier than ever for good entertainment, brands can connect with consumers in numerous ways in 2018. Digital media is being seen from everywhere and on every device. Digital stories can be woven across multiple platforms, media outlets, and devices. A successful digital storytelling campaign will translate brand relationships into compelling and engaging online experiences.

Despite “digital storytelling” being a relatively new form of digital content advertising and marketing, it is worth exploring the benefits it can have for your brand in 2018 and beyond.

So, is your brand ready for 2018? Understanding and preparing for the top digital advertising trends of 2018 is important for any brand looking to expands its reach. With almost a month until the turn of the New Year, now is the time to evaluate, adjust and prepare your online strategy. From AI to video advertising, digital advertising is becoming more sophisticated – and it’s up to brands to make the necessary adjustments to be successful when reaching digitally connected audiences.

By: Frank DePino

Frank DePino is Principal and Founder of Mediaboom. Since 2002, Frank has led Mediaboom’s award-winning staff of creative and technical professionals building the most effective marketing and advertising solutions for its clients.

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