Digital marketing is a constantly evolving process. It seems like every month there’s a new avenue or form of media that you should take advantage of to grow your brand or business. The key to successful online marketing is knowing what the trends are and how to take advantage of them without being too trendy. Let’s preview what 2018 has in store for digital marketing and how you can use trends to your advantage in the new year.

5 Digital Trends Altitude Wants You to Look Out for in 2018

The Chatbots Are Here to Stay

Over the past couple years, you might have seen a new trend on websites: The chatbot. The chatbot is a program implemented on a site that can answer simple questions and help customers or browsers execute simple tasks. Chatbots talk to your website users as if they were live staff.

Chatbots came out clunky and reliable, but the new wave of chatbots are smart, responsive, and efficient. You can use this smarter programming to plugin chatbots on your site to assist customers around the clock. If you are going to use a chatbot make sure you invest in a high-quality program and test with several queries before using it on your site.

Have You Heard About Dark Social?

Any digital marketer with a brain knows the importance of social media, but dark social is a can of worms that could be opened in 2018. Social media networks are rich in user information and data, and while some of this data is already available, most of it is not.

Here’s the catch, social media giants are only holding onto your information in good faith right now (or so they say), but that could change soon. If social media companies start selling user information pilfered from messaging apps and other data, there could be a sea-change on how marketers target and direct ads to individual users. This is all rumor at this point, but the dam could burst in 2018 and should be something you’re ready for.

Video is the New Picture

It’s still commonplace for a company or brand’s social media pages and websites to be loaded with high-quality images, but the video is quickly gaining ground on still pictures as a better way to market your product. Traditionally social media video has been used to create original and organic content but will be used much more heavily for paid advertising in 2018. You may balk at the paid video when you can promote your content for free but pay attention to trends.

Video ads on YouTube, Facebook, and other platforms might become a large opportunity for advertisers and marketers alike in both written traditional video advertising and live marketing promotions. It’s no secret that Facebook is pushing Facebook Live and other video content. Take advantage of using video and consider a bigger investment in video in 2018, that’s what the major outlets are doing.

Always Remember the Search Engines

If you know what’s good for you and your business, you’re already running a search engine optimization campaign to aid in your organic search engine traffic. It’s great to put in place an SEO campaign, but like other forms of digital marketing, SEO is constantly evolving, including the major search engines themselves. Google needs to keep up with user’s needs, and you need to keep up with Google.

The new trend in 2018 will be voice-search with items like Google’s assistant and Alexa, Apple’s Siri, and Amazon’s Echo. Early data already shows that customers using voice search tend to use longer queries and long-tail keywords. You want your site’s optimization to be ready for these types of searches in 2018 so talk to your digital marketer about how you can address this need in the new year.

Google Lens Makes a Splash

Google also recently unveiled Google Lens in October of 2017. Google Lens allows users to point their camera at a movie poster, clothing label, or other physical item to get search results relevant to that item. This could be a major shift in online search, a shift you need to prepare for in 2018. Staying on top of what search engines are doing 2018 is the most important factor to stay ahead in digital marketing.

Whatever you learned about digital marketing a couple of years ago you might as well toss out as the dynamic, goals, and strategies of online marketing are constantly shifting and evolving. If you want to be ready for 2018 you need to consider the importance of video, consider implementing chatbots on your site, keep the opportunities of dark social in the back of your mind, and be ready for the next big search engine update or shift. It’s a lot to keep in mind for one year but the earlier you get started, the more you stand to earn.