5 Key Trends to Inform Your 2018 Digital Marketing Strategy

The new year is fast approaching, and marketers are already looking ahead to determine the direction of their digital marketing campaigns when we enter 2018.

As the digital world is constantly changing, many marketers are wondering if their best move is to stay on their 2017 trajectory, or chart a different path forward.

To help you out, here are five key trends you should consider when developing your 2018 strategy.

Micro-Moments

What are “micro-moments” you ask?

A strikingly familiar action with a less-known moniker. Google defines this term as something “that happens when people reflexively take out a device.” Basically, it’s when you pick up your phone, real quick, acting on this compulsion to learn or discover something. It’s that need to figure out just where you know that actor from, whether a spider is poisonous, and so on.

It has proved that mobile gadgets are major influence in customer engagement and interaction with brands. Countless micro-moments stimulate the impulse to reach out for our mobile phone, from looking up how you might achieve your goal of purchasing a home, to finding out if your local market carries a specific item.

Most of us do this regularly, but research has shown that most people quickly Google information they aren’t sure about. In fact, about 96% use their smartphones to quickly learn new facts or discover key pieces of information.

By providing the right information at the right time to customers in need, successful brands can accurately pinpoint when a micro-moment might occur. The thought here is, that anticipating these needs, no matter how small, can have a lasting impact on customer relationships.

Influencer Marketing

Okay, before you roll your eyes and say, “influencer marketing was huge in 2017, how is this a trend?” Hear us out. Yes, influencer marketing was extremely popular in 2017. For the uninitiated, this term refers to the use of Instagram (and others) influencers to expand the reach of a brand’s messaging.

Capitalizing on the power of word-of-mouth marketing has led to positive results for brands, According to Collective Bias, 70% of millennial consumers are influenced by the recommendations of their peers in buying decisions. The same survey found that 30% consumers are more likely to buy a product recommended by a non-celebrity blogger.

Some industry pundits feel that influencer marketing is losing its luster, in part due to the prevalence of fraud or fake followers. The large payment required by some influencers exacerbates the effect of this. That said, advancements in artificial intelligence are helping to identify fake accounts and, as these techniques scale, influencer marketing should continue to gain momentum.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence is getting a lot of buzz and won’t be ignored by marketing. According to the Content Marketing Institute, we’ll be seeing AI creep into a long list of marketing applications. As this area continues to mature, here some ways we’ll see an impact sooner rather than later.

Here are a few examples:

  • Email

Email marketing is changing, too. With AI on our side, marketers will be able to do a better job with things like email-personalization, A/B testing, and more. While we’ve been able to pull names and data for a while, AI will soon take our efforts a step further, potentially helping us figure out which messaging is working, and which can be improved upon.

  • Website Personalization

Website personalization takes it a step further, by examining users’ history in your website. From there, it can provide them with relevant content, for wherever they are in the buyer’s journey.

Brands should start experimenting and need to look at AI solutions for marketing right now.

  • Your Digital Assistant

Artificial intelligence can be used to enhance sales, marketing, and customer support.

Brands who adopt early may find AI provides capabilities for cutting costs, accelerating growth, or making things just run more smoothly. Long story short, better to jump onto this next wave in innovation before your competitors

The New SEO

SEO is changing all the time–with the one constant here being change. While new optimization trends are on the horizon, as usual Google’s latest algorithm updates will shake things up for marketers.

Keywords, for example, will require a greater emphasis on natural, long-tail key phrases, optimized for the increasing popularity of voice search—which, as you might imagine, works more like how we actually talk.

Think, “what are the key digital marketing trends coming in 2018?” Versus, “marketing trends 2018.”

Technology is shifting from voice recognition to voice understanding as voice search becomes less frustrating and much more user-friendly. SEO elements like search history, keyword research, location data, and more, will all be affected by this change.

Additionally, search engines are getting a lot better at figuring out what people are looking for when they enter a query into the Google search box.

More users type full queries into search engines, so data and heuristics are collected, giving more targeted results. This year, it’ll be far more important to get into the head of your target audience. Figure out what questions people are asking, and going after those questions with your SEO strategy.

Ad Blocking

Because something like 63% of millennials use ad blockers, marketers must be prepared to allocate their budgets to working around ad-blocking technology.

Because ad blockers are, you know, blocking ads, marketers will need to gain more intel on their customers’ ad viewing habits. A way to kick-start this would be to conduct research with customers to learn whether or not existing ad strategies are effective.

Workarounds include things like social media and influencer marketing—mentioned above, as well as inbound. Embracing inbound practices may be your best bet in getting around ad-blockers altogether.

Advertising with networks like Facebook, Google, Twitter, and even LinkedIn, is a must. All of these platforms are “doing some of the best advertising at the moment” according to HubSpot.

HubSpot notes “each time you index a new page is a new opportunity for search engines to find you,” so blog posts and articles still work to improve the SEO of a website.

Marketers will find that success if possible, despite the popularity of ad blockers. Google has already been filtering out ads they deem annoying to web users—and marketers must do an audit to learn which efforts are no getting through to their audience.

Customer relationships are likely to improve as annoying ads are phased out in favor of better content marketing and engagement, getting rid of disruptive ads that hinder our online experiences.

Closing Thoughts

The scope for different brands and businesses to interact and engage with their target market is as boundless as ever, with digital technology like AI raising its profile. The five key trends outlined above show that much of what lies ahead builds upon existing trends—getting savvier about ad blocking, leveraging influencer profiles, and more.

‘Neo’ Magnets May Capture Half The World Market For Permanent Magnets By Ad 2000

THE ‘movers and shakers of modern technology’, magnets attract little notice. Now a quiet revolution is underway, with the discovery of new materials that could provide greater magnetic potency in smaller packages. The discovery of ‘neo’ magnets by Sumitomo and General Motors in 1983, strongly influenced modern technology. Made from a compound of iron, neodymium, and boron, these levitating magnets are 10 times more powerful than ferrite magnets, and over 100 times as powerful as steel magnets.

The development of neo magnets is the latest step in a series that stretches back to the time of Plato. The only material known to humans at that time was lodestone, or magnetite, an oxide of iron with the formula Fe304, Magnetite continued to be used as a material for permanent magnets until the early 18th century, when strong magnets made from carbon steel were first produced in the UK. Advances in steel-making in the 19th and early 20th centuries led to the discovery of alloy steels. Steel magnets were surpassed in the 1930s by iron- based magnets and hard ferrites were introduced in the 1950s.

But the most exciting advance was the introduction of rare-earth magnets in the 1970s and 1980s. The unsur passed coercivities and energy product of these materials meant that small magnets could do the same job as the much larger ferrites. Applications of these magnets in motors and other devices began to grow rapidly. Still, the high cost of these early rare-earth magnets limited their use mainly to military applications. They also found a niche in small commercial products such as wrist watches, where the amount of material needed is so little that manufacturing costs predominate over raw material costs. A typical quartz watch, for example, contains a rare-earth magnet of barely two to three millimetres in diameter.

When used in conjunction with magnetically sensitive electrical elements, these magnets make possible a variety of systems for monitoring position, velocity, torque, and other aspects of automotive, aircraft, and industrial control systems. A car’s cruise control, for example, relies on such magnets. By retaining information about the direction of a magnetising field, tiny magnetic particles store most of the world’s data including personal information on credit and ATM cards, movies on video-tape, and information on a computer’s hard disk.

Neo magnets are now rapidly replacing the earlier cobalt-samariurn rare-earth magnets in many applications. They are also opening up new applications for permanent magnets, such as in high-power electric motors, that had previously relied upon electro magnets. The dramatic rise in coercivity and energy production has allowed substantial reduction in the size and weight of motors and speakers.

The technology on which neo magnets have probably exerted the greatest impact is that of electric motors. Neo magnets have allowed the construction of efficient 1,000 hp motors that are five times lighter and smaller than traditional motors of the same power. In magnetic resonance imaging systems, the best permanent magnet so far is the neo. Generating a magnetic field of 0.2 tesla requires 21 tonnes of ferrite magnets but only 2.6 tonnes of neo magnets. However, neo magnets have their short-comings, such as a low resistance to corrosion, a rapid decrease in performance as temperature rises and a relatively high cost.

Where material cost remains the dominant consideration, ferrite magnets are used. But for a rapidly growing fraction of magnet applications, neo magnets are being chosen to do the job. The production and use of neo magnets has grown rapidly. If the trend continues, neo magnets will account for close to half of the permanent magnet market by 2000. The multitude of magnets that enhance our daily lives remain hidden. Yet, magnets are ubiquitous, providing the steady magnetic fields that exert force on current- carrying wires to make electric motors spin and loudspeakers blare. Magnets are thus literally the movers and shakers of modern technology. And neo magnets will be more often doing the moving and shaking from now on.

Digital Marketing Platforms Entrepreneurs Love

In the modern digital marketing landscape, there are countless tech tools and platforms you can use to reach your advertising goals. It’s not always easy to choose the best ones, so we asked eight entrepreneurs to weigh in on the following question:

What is your favorite digital platform for advertising and why?

1. Facebook

As a digital marketing expert, I have been using Facebook advertising for my clients’ businesses for several years. I always go back to Facebook because the platform has very granular targeting to find your ideal target market. No other marketing platform allows for such in-depth capabilities as Facebook. Plus, Facebook is constantly making improvements to have a better user experience.

2. LinkedIn

I like Linkedin for B2B advertising because you can customize the ad and make it highly targeted to a buyer persona. What makes Linkedin unique is that you can target the ad to people’s profession instead of simply what they like on Facebook. This helps B2B companies stay top of mind to the executives they are aiming to target.

3. Quora

We have received a high volume of qualified leads through Quora as they tend to be great, top-of-the-funnel leads at a great price. When combined with remarketing through Facebook and Google, it’s a great way to fill the top of the funnel with inexpensive leads, and then push them down the funnel through remarketing.

4. Google AdWords

Google AdWords is ubiquitous. There’s no way to get serious about digital advertising without going through Google AdWords and many of the lessons you learn from running a tight AdWords campaign will serve you well on other digital advertising platforms.

5. The Google Ecosystem

The reporting and attribution integrations make Google’s advertising products second to none. Many platforms don’t play well together for attribution. Google has unified audience targeting across their stack of products from search display to video so you can understand every customer touch-point and apply the different tactics within the platform.

6. ShareASale

Creating an affiliate program on the ShareASale platform has been one of my favorite ways of advertising. Bloggers and content creators can then make a commission from the sale of my products, motivating them to write about my products and recommend them to their readers.

7. Instagram

Instagram has made its way to be the best advertising platform for sales. It’s all about influence and marketing. If you know who your audience is and there is a product/market fit, then Instagram will help you target that audience and increase your engagement, unlike any other platform. The other platforms require huge ad budgets and give you very little in return.

8. Our Blog

Content marketing has a slow, slow burn. Over time though, it can become the most valuable lead gen source out of any of your marketing mix. All of your content pieces from case studies to white papers build up into a snowball of traffic and leads that continues to perform week over week, month over month, year over year. Good content is at every level of a well-crafted marketing funnel.

Golden Age Of Software Development

Software, as Marc Andreessen says, is eating the world. Everything we do is mediated through someone’s code — running on a smart thermostat, a smartphone, the old familiar PC, or as a microservice in an ever-expanding cloud.

We’re finally delivering on the decades-old promise of a ubiquitous computing world. But more than that, from the developer’s standpoint, the tools available to us are better and more sophisticated than ever. We’re also seeing monolithic applications break apart into services and platforms, ready to become part of your applications.

At the heart of the current wave of change are new design patterns suited to a highly distributed, asynchronous computing world. Yes, we’re still building n-tier MVC and MVVM apps — and we’ll carry on building them for a long time to come. But new micro-service-focused design patterns give us a new set of tools to help us build highly salable, concurrent applications that can handle the eventual consistency that comes from working with asynchronous services.

Languages like Erlang embody many of these principles, as do PaaS tools such as AWS’s Lambda or Microsoft Azure’s Service Fabric. You can also roll your own actor-based micro-services using the open source MQTT messaging framework and the Seneca micro-service toolkit for Node.js. Micro-services are ideal for implementing actors, as they are at heart switching engines that take in inputs, process them appropriately, then send the results on to other services.

That’s why Node.js is one of the more important technologies underpinning modern software: It gives you that switching engine, with deep support for REST and JSON APIs. Node.js offers a cross-platform environment, too, with support for most common operating systems (and soon with a choice of JavaScript engines). As JavaScript moves to a yearly update cycle via ECMAScript, there’s additional scope for rapid evolution and support for new language constructs coming from JavaScript-derived languages like Google’s Dart and Microsoft’s TypeScript.

Node.js is only one example. The darling of disruptive technologies, Docker, was developed using Google’s Go, a modern systems language from some of the same developers who originally created C. Like many new languages, Go has features that are designed to help manage concurrency and to support parallel computation, helping developers take advantage of current processor architectures as well as distributed computing models.

Let’s not forget the cross-platform tools and frameworks that make it easy to build apps that run on, well, nearly anything. Some, like Apache’s Cordova, are hybrid HTML environments that use a runtime to deliver near-native performance. Others, like Xamarin, provide tooling that compiles familiar code into native applications on multiple OSes, while others like the iOS and Java tooling built into Microsoft’s Visual Studio make it easier to manage your code in a single environment and a single project.

Even the infrastructure on which all this runs has become software defined. IaaS has become the foundation of the modern application platform, with containers becoming a key deployment mechanism. Tools like Jenkins automate build and test processes, and they increasingly integrate with familiar IDE’s. Existing build tooling is also being extended to support these scenarios, as well as offering cross-platform builds. Microsoft’s Visual Studio Team Services implements the company’s new build tooling, with support for delivering code to Apple hardware for iOS builds.

At the same time, configuration management tooling makes it possible to programmatically manage your underlying infrastructure and manage those descriptions through your source control services. We live in a world where you can inject a Chef agent into an Azure VM that’s created from a recipe that’s stored in a GitHub repository. The shift to devops is changing the way we think about both software and hardware.

Combining software-defined infrastructure with modern build and deployment technologies, as well as with the cloud, makes a lot of sense. It also changes the end state of a build. I recently spoke to a major U.K. consumer service that does a build weekly, and as part of the process delivers its entire virtual infrastructure — switching IP addresses between the new build and the current service once testing is complete (and keeping the old infrastructure in place as a backup in case of problems).

That’s where containers come in to play. They encapsulate services and application components, providing a means to deliver isolated units of an application and deploy them quickly onto physical and virtual servers. Container technologies like Docker are able to work with thinner, more focused server OSes such as CoreOS, helping to reduce risk by offering smaller attack surfaces and increased process isolation.

It’s not only born-in-the-cloud services that take advantage of these new technologies and approaches. Some of the most enthusiastic adopters are organizations that have a very conservative IT history, including government bodies. One U.K. government agency has shifted to do a service push every three weeks, using tools like Ansible to help manage applications and servers.

The other side of the story is an explosion in development tools and services. New programmers’ editors like GitHub’s Atom and Microsoft’s Visual Studio Code make it easy to start programming fast and enable you to use common frameworks, development platforms, languages, and even documentation services.

There’s never been more choice for developers of all skill levels in languages, tools, services, and platforms. If you want to build a modern app, pick a technology that seems right for your project — and start writing code.