Here are some digital media trends we think are going to be big in 2018.

Mobile will dominate again in 2018
Mobile was big on the marketing agenda for 2017 and this will follow through in 2018. If you need any convincing, in Australia alone there are 19.4 million mobile users in a population of 24,511,800 (at March 2017). In addition, there are more mobiles in use than there are people, which means a segment of the populous now uses more than one phone.

With our increasing reliance on mobile devices for work and socialising, it makes sense that more than 50% of people today are visiting sites via their mobile device. For businesses that aren’t mobile friendly, that’s got to hurt. In fact, a 2016 report by Ericsson revealed that “delays in loading web pages and videos lead to increased heart rates and stress levels” for consumers. Google has already considered the ramifications of a frustrating consumer experience and gives precedence to sites that are already mobile ready. These facts alone should be enough for brands to make the switch to mobile friendly sites in 2018.

Targeted marketing campaigns will trump a generalist approach
It’s not enough to create unique and engaging content complete with SEO. In 2018, marketers will continue their quest to implement more targeted strategies that capitalise on great content. Gone are the days where marketers blasted out an email to their entire database hoping to snag sales. Hubspot revealed that “ … targeted calls-to-action had a 42% higher view-to-submission rate than those that were the same for all visitors.”

The rise of more personalised campaigns where consumers are nurtured throughout the purchasing process based on their individual behaviour will provide businesses with more ROI.

Video content will be king
In the last few years, video content was one of the digital trends tipped to make a huge impact on the consumer landscape and it has delivered. According to Google: “On mobile alone, in an average week, YouTube reaches more adults 18+ during prime time than any cable network does.”

Meanwhile, Snapchat’s daily video hits are estimated at around 14 billion and Facebook, which recently reached 2 billion monthly active users, has forecast that video will be a critical part of its marketing strategy moving forward.

In a Hubspot report on content marketing, the research found that 55% of those surveyed consumed video content thoroughly, taking the coveted top position in content marketing. With this, video advertising (including live streaming) will continue to be a huge drawcard for businesses. However, brands are warned not to rest on their laurels. With a large percentage of millennials – one of the top groups to consume videos – expecting more from brands in the way of ethical or sustainable practices, video content needs to convey trustworthy messages. Today, transparency is more important than ever before.

Digital solutions will be the bedrock of operational efficiency
Sometimes the tools marketers and creatives use to better plan and manage their work takes a back seat to the fun stuff. Needless to say, these quiet achievers will continue to build in momentum in 2018 with the likes of ad agency software and marketing project management software, among other categories, increasing productivity and ROI across the industry. But don’t expect the magic to happen if you dine out on a smorgasbord of tools.

“Marketers are on average are using more than 12 different tools, and some are using more than 31 tools to manage campaigns and data … that’s a dizzying amount of tools and programs to learn, use, and keep track of on a daily basis.” Hubspot.

With the ever-expanding selection of marketing and advertising software, experts are warning businesses to beware of the pitfalls of juggling multiple tools with cross-functional features. Instead, consider implementing one comprehensive tool that offers a range of features that streamline your operations.

Smaller digital agencies are the ‘go to’ professionals for specialist skills.
The last few years has seen brands shifting away from larger agencies to smaller, more nimble outfits. With marketing content having to satisfy so many different streams today, brands will continue to bring on board smaller agencies that offer specialised skills and less of the bureaucracy that goes with their larger counterparts. Faster turnarounds and agility speaks volumes today.

We’re really only starting to tap into the potential of artificial intelligence (AI), but experts are predicting that more businesses will invest in chatbots in the coming year and beyond.

“By 2020, the average person will have more conversations with bots than with their spouse,” predicts Gartner, the worlds leading research and advisory company.

While this prediction is a little startling, chatbots have the capacity to automate a range of marketing and sales activities, from customer service and delivering content to gathering vital customer feedback. In fact, a range of businesses “have seen an increase in sales, bookings, and productivity as a result of Facebook Messenger bots.” Perhaps chatbots be the dark horse of 2018?