Big data, AI, Vertical Videos. These digital marketing trends were all set to radically change marketing in 2017.
And in many ways, they did. Oodles of analytics from web traffic allowed us to suss out clearer details about our Ideal Customer Profiles than we’ve been able to do before. AI integrated into customer service through chatbots reduced time-in-queue for B2B companies in 2017 and vertical videos were unarguably a runaway success with an audience more empowered than ever to consume multimedia content on the internet.
As we start 2018, the question on everyone’s lips is “What will be big in digital marketing this year?”
The following are a mix of five tactics, channels and concepts we expect to affect Nigerian businesses in 2018.
Video will remain huge
This goes without saying; video started its run as a core marketing puzzle piece in 2015 and has remained on an up-and-up since then. In 2017, vertical video asserted its prominence as the video dimension of choice. It’s expected that video will remain relevant in 2018 – with as much as 25% growth in mobile video consumption. A more democratised access to data among Nigerians – data consumption in Nigeria hit an all-time high of 31, 000 terabytes per month as at August 2017 – also means, brands producing video content that buyers and clients are looking for will not be in want of an audience ready to gobble up their content and brand messages.
AI Chatbots will play more significant roles in customer service and marketing
2017 was a good year for AI in Nigeria. The year saw a lot of Nigerian companies deploy bots as digital concierges.
Eat.Drink. Bot served up contextual restaurant recommendations in Lagos. Over in transportation, Lara.ng bot caught airspeed last year providing granular hyperlocal directions for people moving about Lagos with public transport.
Over at Wild Fusion, the year saw us deploy an AI-powered chatbot for a legal brand that allowed the brand cut down on a significant back-log of unattended customer complaints and concerns – replacing those with happier customers instead.
With the lower cost of executing AI and the potential rewards, we predict more companies will integrate chatbots into their processes this year, getting that much-needed edge in streamlined customer experience – another important trend for 2018.
More companies will be adopting customer experience marketing
Customers are spoilt for choice. They will not suffer companies who can’t deliver 110% on their brand promises in 2018.
According to a Salesforce survey, about 65 percent of business buyers said they’ll switch vendors if a seller doesn’t personalize customer experiences.
Isabella Andersen writing for Social Media Today writes:
“Customers see your business or brand as the sum of experiences they’ve had with you. This could be anything from in-store customer service to finding your local listing online or seeing one of your business’s ads on Facebook.”
Beyond digital ads and streamlined online presence, brands need to ensure every customer touchpoint – both online and offline – aligns with their overarching customer engagement strategy.
Live streaming will play a more prominent marketing role
Like regular videos, live videos will get a larger piece of the marketing pie this year. Facebook Live caught its stride last year. It played a role in documenting a rash of violent incidents and played host many infamous pearl parties – QVC-type live-bidding for pearls. But look beyond these unpopular application videos and you will see that the new crop of audiences loves Facebook Live videos. Live videos are watched 3X longer than videos that are no longer live. Users comment on Live lies at 10X the rate of regular videos.
The stature of live videos extends beyond Facebook Live to Instagram live streams and Periscope.
Across these platforms, in 2018, companies can leverage to drive and sustain brand engagement.
Voice searches go mainstream
Digital assistants are not new. Siri and Blackberry Assistant were the first to step into the scene before Google came with its own digital assistant in 2015. Amazon joined the fray with Alexa in 2016, forcing everyone into a cut-throat voice innovation arms race. For a long time, it was easy to maintain that people enjoyed typing on their phone rather than speaking to it. But this is 2018 and things have gone 180% – mostly owing to the series of upgrades tech companies are pushing out.
As early as 2015, search on virtual assistants jumped from statistical zero to 10 percent of overall search volume globally. As at mid-2017 up to 40% of adults use voice search once per day.
What does increase in voice searches mean for your business from an SEO perspective? Your brand needs to optimise for voice search.
The rule of thumb is to think like a human. Brands will have to do more than focus on some generic keywords, and instead, concentrate on phrases that people would naturally use in a speech search.
We are already in step with these trends at Wild Fusion and are ready to delight our clients with these ideas in 2018.
Do you have some digital marketing predictions for 2018? Why don’t you share with us in the comments?
This article was written by Gbenga Onalaja. Gbenga is an oatmeal-powered Content Strategist at Wild Fusion, Africa’s leading Digital Marketing Agency. He specializes in long-form content, email marketing, SEO, and writing compelling brand stories.
Featured Photo by Edho Pratama on Unsplash. Adaptation by Gbenga Onalaja.