Top digital marketing trends to adopt in 2018

Advertisements are likely to enter new mediums, become more analytical and incorporate new technology

A Hyundai Motor Co. next generation fuel-cell electric sport utility vehicle (SUV) powertrain system is seen on an augmented reality (AR) monitor during an unveiling event in Seoul, South Korea, on Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017. Hyundai said that electric vehicles will underpin its push into environmentally friendly cars, the latest automaker to embrace battery-powered vehicles after earlier bets on hydrogen fuel-cell cars. Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg
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With 2018 right around the corner you're probably on a vacation or trying to finalise your business plan for next year.

It's never too late to adjust your marketing plan to incorporate next year's biggest marketing trends. Here are seven digital marketing trends you'll want to watch out for:

Augmented reality with social media

Pokemon Go was a pioneer of this idea when it launched last year. But we can expect to see more of it. Augmented reality (AR) solution studios, such as Holition in London, are working on providing such concepts to their retail clients. What this means is that as social media becomes more integrated with AR software, more brands will be using it to integrate with customers. For instance, if you will be at a certain location, then brand X's content will only be accessible there. The content will differ depending on the location.

Influencer marketing

One thing I constantly hear from my clients is how investing in influencer marketing results in more brand awareness. From a personal business perspective, I am seeing businesses invest more in a few selected social influencers, even if they have to pay them more versus middle-tier social influencers. I believe we will see more of that across the market, and businesses will invest more in organic grass-root advertising campaigns.

This takes us to the next important point.


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Targeted advertisements

People have shorter attention spans for sure, and we are bombarded by various advertisements on desktop and mobile, and in order to have an effective message and to be heard amid the noise, brands will need to ensure their message is tailored to a device or platform. We are seeing more of this across social media platforms. In addition, since more people are relying on their mobile devices to receive information, we will see more ads designed with mobile in mind. For 2018, the majority of my clients are depending solely on mobile advertisements whether they're using SnapChat, Instagram, or Twitter.

Video is king

As my agency creates and produces different forms of content, video is the most preferable and effective medium to receive information for our customers. I believe we will be seeing more sophisticated and professionally produced video content in 2018 not only by brands and businesses but also by social media influencers. The Kuwaiti fashion influencer Ascia Al Faraj, one of the leading influencers in the GCC, has taken her video content to the next level by sharing professionally shot video content on her social media platforms. I believe that we will be seeing less-shaky videos by influencers and more professional curated content.

Live video viewership

Live video is nothing new, but it's growing exponentially. Different social media platforms from Instagram to Facebook provide it, and it's increasingly popular. This is also a popular marketing tool for businesses as they work with influencers to take their viewers live through an event, or behind the scenes. For the Victoria's Secret fashion show that took place in China last month, the brand worked with social influencers from across the world, including a couple from Dubai who took their viewers behind the scenes where they interviewed the models and talked about fashion trends. Travel social media influencers also use the tool to show their viewers the destination or the hotel property they are staying in. 

Focus on algorithms

It's not enough to just get the message out there, but you want to measure who has seen it when and who is currently live on your page, and what are their preferences, likes and dislikes. Google provides those metric tools, as well as Facebook and Instagram. More and more businesses are demanding such algorithms for measurement especially when investing in social influencers. 

‘New’ TV advertising

As Hulu, YouTube, Amazon, Apple TV, and Netflix are becoming the go-to TV for viewers worldwide with their exclusive shows and content, this means that more and more brands will be considering those outlets for advertisements as opposed to old school local television show commercials.

This will mean that platforms like Netflix which have no commercials, will be seeing more and product placements embedded.

As it stands now, marketing is likely to become more analytical, more targeted, entering new mediums, incorporating new technologies and focused on organic growth.

Manar Al Hinai is an award-winning Emirati writer who manages her branding and marketing consultancy in Abu Dhabi