January can be a sluggish month for digital marketing; consumers are tapped out from the holidays and many businesses prefer to get through Q1 before committing to their strategy for the next 12 months. However, it’s not too late to get ahead of the curve and plan for 2018’s marketing trends – here are 5 digital marketing trends to watch out for in 2018.

Influencer marketing

Influencer marketing isn’t new; in fact, it has been the mainstay of many a successful marketing strategy for the past few years, but 2018 is set to see it move up a level. Even Amazon is getting in on the act by launching a self-service tool for social media influencers to build a page on Amazon with a personalised URL to show their followers the products they recommend.

This will probably work well for Amazon but as audiences grow more aware of endorsements and product mentions in their feeds, for most brands the focus will need to be on setting clear objectives and building meaningful connections with influencers.

Social messaging apps

Link sharing is at its highest but the growth in visits and audiences isn’t coming from websites, blogs or social media. It is now coming from private messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Slack, and more.

Cross-platform content sharing is how digital marketers can adapt to this shift in link sharing habits. Businesses that want to grow their audience and improve their click-through rate must design their content to be shared on messaging channels as well as social media channels.

Marketing automation

This will be a massive year for marketers. Increasing a brand’s online presence will be paramount to their success and changing consumers habits will increase the demand put on marketing departments. Thankfully, automation means marketers won’t have to work 5 to 9 to get the job done.

Advances in marketing automation tools are helping marketers keep up with growing demands as modern strategies require more frequent posts, dynamic content and comprehensive building and tracking of customer journeys. The focus should be on high-quality, micro-scale marketing as well as increasing tried and tested strategies like search engine optimisation.

If you invest in the right tools, marketing automation can do a lot for you and really squeeze those returns for all they’re worth.

Micro moments

Mobile phones have overtaken laptops and desktops as the most popular device for getting online and it is expected that 2018 will see more than 50% of internet users using mobile devices for online activities. As mobile activity overtakes larger devices a new opportunity for marketers has emerged dubbed ‘micro moments’.

Micro moments are the small, real-time moments when someone picks up their phone to access the web or research a product or service. In those moments shoppers are more open to impulse clicks and buys and capturing the attention of your audience in that small window of opportunity should be a priority for any successful 2018 marketing strategy.

In fact, Google has announced that it will be launching a mobile-prioritising algorithm soon as they prioritise indexing mobile content to rank results.

Video marketing

Video marketing, including live video, will continue to grow at an incredible rate in 2018. Users love watching video, especially on their mobile devices. Video consumption is predicted to decline ever so slightly on desktops and laptops in 2018 but mobile video consumptions is expected to grow significantly.

Video is a huge part of social media and advertising in videos is growing exponentially. Short 6–15 second ad blasts before and during videos ensure brands get their message seen without users navigating away from the video they want to access. Planning a mobile video marketing strategy for 2018 is not only good for your content marketing but it’ll also make a difference to your SEO.

Looking forward

Like all marketing trends, these will be influenced by new technologies, improvements and evolution in platforms and marketer uptake. As it stands, digital marketing is set to become a broader, more analytical science in 2018 as new platforms and mediums emerge, but what will influence it all is the continued focus on high-quality content.