When the head person of the biggest social network comes out saying the network is shifting focus in a way that will decrease time spent on the network and user engagement, the world listens.
Maybe not the whole world, but publishers and marketers surely noticed Mark Zuckerberg’s “the year ahead” post. For some, it was business as usual. Marketers understand that the two routes for successful marketing on Facebook — developing extremely good content and paying for ads — are likely to remain untouched. For others, it was a sign it is time for a more diverse social media spending.
But why stop at social? There are interesting things happening online all the time. Technologies that were super-niche are becoming mainstream, and they are more than likely to affect everything digital, including marketing. Social networks are constantly developing new products, giving marketers new tools to engage their audiences. So the question that remains is — how to spend your digital marketing money in 2018?
What Are the Marketers Saying?
Putting your finger on the pulse of digital marketers will show that the majority of them — more than nine in ten — will increase their digital marketing budgets. Some will make a large increase, others not as much, but the overall confidence in digital marketing remains high.
The top five digital marketing tactics in terms of effectiveness will be social media marketing, content marketing, marketing technology, search engine optimization, and email marketing. Marketing technology, content marketing, SEO, and social media marketing are also among the top five tactics according to the difficulty of execution.
The list seems standard, apart from martech’s prominent third place. Marketers will want more of the same. That does not mean, however, that they will be employing these tactics the same way they always did. Paid advertising, the sixth on the list, is not the top priority. When you look at the tactics that are, it is obvious what they have in common — content.
Content in 2018 — It’s all Moving Pictures
It has been a while since low-value, easy-to-produce content was the norm in marketing. Google did its part in making shoddy content go away, one update after another. Social networks also did their part by curtailing organic reach. We have seen long-form content become a trend in blogging, and there are reasons to believe the more you invest in your written content, the better it performs.
But the hottest type of content at the moment is video content. It works well with every other digital marketing tactics. You can post great videos online without having to upgrade your VPS package because social networks will host your content for you. In fact, most social networks today have at least one type of video service you can use. You can also embed your video content in blog posts and emails. Best of all, people want you to make videos because they love watching videos — more than half of them will view videos beginning to end. Content in general and video, in particular, is where some of your digital marketing bucks should go in 2018.
Martech — Choosing the Activity with the Highest Impact
The other field where you should consider spending some more money is marketing technology. There is a huge demand for it right now, and the number of companies that offer different solutions is skyrocketing. In 2011, there were around 150 martech companies. In 2017, there were around 5,000. The field is spreading like wildfire, and so is the variety of the solutions the companies offer.
The growth of martech is great because it allows you to find tech solutions for any marketing tactics you use. Having troubles with SEO? Why not use an AI-powered martech SEO solution. Want your email marketing campaigns to perform better? You can use automation tools to make them more efficient. Martech is also incredibly important in the personalization of marketing, which is one of the most significant trends of marketing currently. Looking into AI-powered solutions is a sound strategy for 2018. Just be sure that you use the tools that will complement your other marketing efforts.
Putting all of your eggs in one basket is a bad strategy for most things, digital marketing included. The parts of your digital marketing plans that deserve the most attention — and money — in 2018 are those that provide the best returns. However, it pays off to be mindful of new data that might give you insight into new areas where you should invest some of your marketing budget. In 2018, those areas are content, with an accent on video, and marketing technology.