How did digital marketing behave in 2017? What to expect from online marketing in 2018? All your answers lie here! Our online marketing experts have covered all the major happenings of 2017 along with the forecast on the upcoming trends in 2018.
2017 has been a remarkable year for digital marketing and Internet industry. The year witnessed the rise of several game-changing trends, whether it’s implication of AI into customer support or the launch of Google’s Analytics.
Can 2018 be even bigger for online marketing?
It would be too earlier to answer in plain yes or no, but the year is going to be definitely excited for digital marketing if you take a look on the predictions made by our industry experts.
Before speculating how digital marketing will behave in 2018, let’s have a look at the major happening in digital marketing throughout 2017.
In the starting of 2017, everyone was busy searching for top SEO trends that will dominate in 2017.
In January 2017, Google officially denounced the use of link: operator, a command that was used to find pages linking to a specific URL. Google told that the feature is no longer available, and using it will lead to “irrelevant results”.
Meanwhile, Google launched Ads Added by Adwords Pilot to create new text ads based on the landing page content such as headlines, description, ad extensions or information found in advertiser’s ad landing page.
With the calendar moving to February 2017, Google and Bing teamed up with the UK government to demote websites in UK search results allowing users to download pirated content. Both search engines entered into an agreement with the UK government to implement a code to prevent websites that have received copyright infringement notices several times.
February also marked the launch of new ranking signals by Facebook to serve more authentic and timely news to the audience. It was looked at the FB’s respond to the fake news claims during the 2016 presidential election which was a huge setback to its reputation.
In March 2017, Google introduced new system to prevent offensive and upsetting content from appearing in its search results. The “new system” would let the users to tag offensive content like racial slurs, strong language, fake content or the content promoting hate and violence against any specific group. Google also ensured that it would use humans to rate the content, rather than relying on the algorithms. The content marked as “upsetting-offensive” wouldn’t be any longer on the top ranking.
In the same month, DMOZ, one of the most trusted web directories, was closed after 19 years. The site went offline from 17th March 2017.
In April, Google took a step against fake listing as it found that 0.5 of local searches are directed towards “bogus” listings on Google Maps. The search engine also stated that its Possum update has made proximity a leading ranking factor for local search, encouraging companies to create fake listings to get more exposure. Google suspended nearly 74 percent of all the listings found majorly in India and the US.
Apart from that, Google brought good news for recruiters with its new service, Google Hire. According to Google, the recruitment service has been designed to help “small to medium businesses efficiently identify, evaluate, and hire the best candidates.”
In May, Google came up with a new filter option for the mobile version of image search. Placed under the search box, the new option has been designed to give users filter links for the latest images, clip art, colors, copyright and GIFs.
Google removed its landmark Instant Search, a feature that used to load suggestions and search results as a user typed, in July 2017. Dubbed as the advanced search option in 2010, Instant search feature was “ditched” by the search engine as mobile devices were heavily used to make searches.
In mid-August, a warning was released by Google that Chrome would mark the use of forms, login fields and other input sections on the HTTP website as “not secure”. Google also announced that it would improve the speed and visibility of the ads being displayed on AMP.
Next month saw Google Chrome on iOS being equipped with the feature to scan barcodes and QR Codes. Placed above the keyboard, a user is required to tap on the icon to perform the scanning function. Facebook announced that Messenger would no longer display the Instant Article version of a link when opened within the messaging app. In the last days of September 2017, Google search box was in SERPs was made disappeared by bug which was fixed later in October 2017.
On October 17, Twitter introduced new video ad unit called Video Website Card for increasing website visits. The tool would facilitate advertisers to auto-play video to engage the audience. It also allows advertisers to add a call to action to drive viewers back to their website, their mobile app or any platform they want to send traffic to. In the same month, Google opined that it is better to improve the low quality content rather than deleting it.
Google came up with some major announcements in November 2017. One of them was to show the data for YouTube search, Google Shopping, Image search in Google Trends. Besides, Google added an audiobook option to its book search feature to be operated with an audiobook app.
December was special for SEO industry for many reasons. First one is that Google increased the length of a displays snippet, a brief description of the page below URL, in the search results. Secondly, Bing Ads started supporting call conversion imports to help advertisers manage and optimize the campaigns according to call performance.
So these were the key highlights of 2017 that defined SEO practices.
Let’s have a look at the predictions made by our experts how SEO industry will go in 2018.
- Speed of Website will Determine its Ranking:
To ensure the better user experience, Google has been considering the load time of the websites for a long time. So websites with the fastest speed may top SERPs.
- Rich Snippets will Be Important:
If you don’t care why your rich snippets are not appearing in SERPs, you must be serious this time. This is because they can be turned into a major ranking factor in coming time. Rich snippets are an important factor to enhance the user experience by giving them a brief info in the SERPs.
- Voice Search is a Next Big Thing:
With the ever-increasing popularity of Google Voice search on PCs and smartphones, one can say that voice search is going to be a popular market trend. Therefore, advertisers should be ready for that while creating keyword strategy.
- AMP will Continue to Develop:
AMP accelerates the speed of your web pages. And Google prefers the websites with faster speed. Therefore, AMP can be a crucial ranking factor in SERPs.
- Micro-Moment Searches Can Give You Edge:
Micro-moment searches are increasing rapidly for local businesses because of the massive shift in users’ behaviour. For example, people want to get information immediately as they search. Some of the examples of micro-moment searches are “right now” “Open Now” “Store hours” “Near me” “Same day” “today” “tonight” and “where to buy”.
- Video Marketing will Gain Momentum:
Videos are engaging and captivate attention longer than other content types. From YouTube, animated content to embedded videos on websites, there are many options to choose from. Businesses incorporating videos in their marketing strategies will stay ahead in the competition.
Social Media Highlights in 2017
Social media is a dynamic field and “never stays the same” for years. Each year, popular platforms like Facebook and Twitter try new strategies based on the changes in consumer behavior. In an interview with Mark W. Schaefer, founder, and author of a blog “Grow”, he said “I think Facebook is naturally the go-to channel right now but I would watch Snapchat”.
One of the biggest SMM trends in 2017 was the rise of influencer marketing. It is the type of marketing to engage the audience with the successful and popular people. It has been a proven technique to boost the ROI. No wonder that budgets allotted for IM were double in 2017 than 2016.
Chatbots also gained dramatic popularity in 2017 as they could interact with the customers like a human. We also saw how digital hangouts emerged as a popular form of socialization among the tech enthusiasts.
(WAIT a MINUTE! LET US REMOVE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING MYTHS)
Social Media Prediction for 2018:
“Expansion of live streaming, Facebook Spaces will Make a Mark, Increasing popularity of Instagram Stories and Growing Impact of Influencer Marketing.”
Expansion of live streaming:
The use of live streaming has emerged as an effective strategy to capture the attention. In 2018, more businesses will start experimenting with live streaming and will integrate with their marketing plan.
Facebook Spaces will Make a Mark:
Facebook wants to go beyond live video streaming; they are expected to launch their project called Spaces, which will allow the community to connect in VR. Considering that Facebook has Oculus, a VR device, the social media giant is setting a platform to utilize this new technology.
Increasing popularity of Instagram Stories:
Instagram Stories has gained a cult status with its 200 million active users each month. So, it is expected that nearly half of all Instagram users will be using Stories by the end of 2018.
(RELATED: Why People Don’t Like Your Instagram Post?)
Growing Impact of Influencer Marketing:
As we have told you earlier that influencer marketing has been the major trend in 2017. More companies will use it to connect with more people, especially those who are not easily attracted towards traditional marketing content.
Content Marketing Highlights in 2017
Content has been the king since the inception of WWW. Over the past few years, the definition of content has gone beyond text to graphics, videos, and animation. The new types of content have proven to boost the traffic of the website. The reason is pretty simple—animation and videos are more engaging and retain a visitor for longer.
Content marketing experts has been stressing the importance of “problem-solving” and more personalized content. However, make sure to free your content free from mistakes that cost your content audience, no matter if you are using videos or simple blogs.
Content Marketing Prediction for 2018:
Lets see what our content marketing experts say about the content role in 2018:
Echo of “Talking Content”:
Artificial Intelligence and virtual assistance will take the content off the screen. There are many programs which respond to your voice command—think about Siri and Amazon’s voice service, Alexa.
Search Engines’ Preference to User’s Intent over Keywords:
Search engines will be more focused to display the content based on user’s intent rather than on a keyword or phrase. So, content marketers should take care of the value and importance of the content rather than worrying over keyword repetitions across the blog.
Easy and Digestible Content will be Key (like it always has been):
Given that consumers continue to put stern research in their efforts to determine the best information for them, readily available and easy digestible content will continue to be an important part of content marketing. The strategy is also effective as web users have a short attention span (they just scan the content).
Web Development Highlights in 2017
Needless to say websites are an important corporate asset in this digital age. A website is considered good if it is user-friendly and has fast loading speed.
The landscape of web development was dotted with various new trends in 2017, whether it’s the impact of Angular JS or invasion of AI. We have also noted how AI intelligence revolutionized the app developing practice to make their inventions more “humanlike”. Many businesses, especially those belong to real estates, incorporated virtual reality in their websites (think virtual home tour) to deliver better customer experience. 2017 also marked the impactful comeback of “Ruby on Rails”.
Predictions for Web Development in 2017:
Our Development team thoughts on web development in 2018:
Chatbots will Make a Difference:
Given that web industry will be more interactive and customer-centric, the role of chatbots is going to be crucial in web development. Chatbots or oral conversation software facilitates a website to connect with the visitors daily, at any time, without having to maintain a customer support department. The rise of chatbots has empowered them to answer the most common questions, redirect the visitors to info or web pages, or help them in the transaction.
Popping Up of Website Notifications:
Like in case of mobile apps, notifications can also work with websites. It ensures greater customer engagement without the added cost of developing a separate mobile app.
Static Websites will continue to be a “Practical Choice”:
Known for basic and simple HTML coding, static websites will be a step ahead than their dynamic counterparts. These websites are secure and load quickly, besides being cheaper. That’s why they are a right fit to budget-conscious projects in future.
Flash will Go Out of Scene:
Flash lets developers add animations and other movements. It has been popular for years, but it is now something that should be replaced with something advanced. The top reason is that Adobe has made it clear that Flash will be no longer updated or released after 2020. Besides, it is not suitable for most of the smartphone technology. HTML 5 can be a good replacement and will be accepted as a universal format soon.
Web Designing in 2017
2017 in web designing was all about creating hybrid designs to bridge the gap between technology and reality. The other eminent elements were flat and material design, animations, video headers, bootstrap, CTA buttons, Hamburger menu and parallax scrolling. 2018 will be more focused towards enhancing user experience and site functions as well.
Web Designing Prediction for 2018:
Flat design hasn’t gone obsolete amidst the roaring popularity of flashy and artificial designs. Being the user-centric design, it is here to stay for 2018 and beyond. These designs are light and don’t affect the speed of a website.
In 2018, hand drawn sans-serif fonts can rule the web pages as they are personal, artistic and give professional vibes at the same time. Besides, the designers may experiment with the gothic fonts that give the impression of European history, churches and dungeons. Then, these fonts can be enhanced using hover effects.
Animated Logos and Scroll-Triggered Animation:
Given that animated contents are proven to capture audience attention, web developers may think to use them in logos. Besides, the use of scroll-triggered animation will be on the rise as they don’t require amounts of data to download to the device or browser to look attractive. This method is easy for smooth transitions and demonstrating the products.
It is more than a “mobile-first” design. It makes websites load faster and look engaging on mobile. In 2018, our experts are expecting this design form go beyond news portals to e-commerce and other websites.
Business Development Highlights in 2017:
In 2017, business development practices were more focussed on personal branding, sales and content marketing and the collaboration of business intelligence and online marketing.
Predictions for Business Development in 2018:
Social Learning will be Preferred Over Remote Learning:
With the ever-increasing number of professionals working remotely, businesses are keen to find creative ways to keep the employees connected and use their skills out of the premises. This can be a reason why corporate training programs are more inclined towards social learning. Social learning is useful to learn through peer social interaction as people share ideas and walk away exploring a little more in the process.
Community is as important as Buyers:
It has become important to serve the community, no matter if someone is your customer or not. This is because it strengthens your reputation as the “business with value”. Therefore, a prospective customer is likely to go for your services without having to ponder much over your quality.
Live Streaming Video Content:
Customers prefer real people when it comes for support, education and guidance. That’s why live video is the most effective way to engage with the audience. Many businesses are using live video to establish real time human interactions with their customers, whether its product launches, webinar, Q and A session or product reviews.
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After going through the things happened in 2017, and things expected to take place in 2018, you must have got an idea that what online marketing be like in 2018. It is better to plan the strategies ahead of time to make the most of the upcoming trends in digital marketing.
I really hope you liked this article. Do share your valuable thoughts in the comment sections. Happy New Year!!