If you ask that one single, crucial element which changed everything about the digital ecosystem in India last year, it was Jio.
The smashing entry of Jio and the way it disrupted mobile Internet is a case study to understand how aggressive businesses can transform an entire country. Jio’s dirt cheap plans enabled more and more Indians to use and embrace the Internet, and the facts prove that.
As per Google’s report in April, 90% of new Internet users are non-English speaking Indians, and the primary reason for this major transformation was the way Internet spread out across the length and breadth of India, courtesy Jio.
Free Internet and almost free 4G handsets enabled mass inclusion of previously disconnected Indians into the online world, and this has changed everything.
Overall, Internet penetration massively increased, as mobile broadband plans became cheaper and this is the reason that 730 million Indians would be online by 2020, even as e-commerce market will zoom to $34 billion.
Digital Marketing, whose base is the Internet and the way business happens on the Internet received a tremendous boost due to this explosion of new users, and this is the reason our Digital Marketing predictions for 2018 focuses on three important aspects: mobile, video and content.
However, along with these three, AI, automation and hold your breath, Blockchain became an important ingredient of Digital Marketing, even as Big Data become more mature, and Predictive Analytics became the hottest buzzword.
Without much ado, here are our 7 digital marketing predictions, which every entrepreneur – whether he/she is into online business or offline, should be aware of.
- 1 Ignore Mobile If You Want To Ignore Eyeballs
- 2 Videos Will Seep Deeper Into Our Psyche
- 3 Mind Capture Via Social Media (aka Marketing Of The Moment)
- 4 SEO Would Be Rejuvenated & Reformed
- 5 Emails Will Survive, Thrive & Become Even Bigger
- 6 Paid Advertisements Will Change Its Course
- 7 Dawn Of Blockchain In Digital Marketing
- 8 Predictions You Should Ignore
Ignore Mobile If You Want To Ignore Eyeballs
If you are selling a product, service or an idea in India or anywhere in the world, then ignoring mobile would be the biggest blunder of 2018.
2017 is a landmark year for mobile users, as India officially beat the US in terms of mobile handsets shipped, thereby becoming World’s 2nd largest user base of mobiles, only after China. In the third quarter of 2017, 40 million handsets were bought in India, a phenomenal record which showcases the importance and relevance of mobiles today.
As a direct result, consumption of content and media on mobile increased, mobile advertisements witnessed massive growth, and mobile slowly, but gradually became the cornerstone of digital marketing, for any business.
In fact, by 2021, mobile advertising will account for 62% of overall digital ad spend, as it grew by 87% last year.
In short, you simply cannot ignore mobile now. Especially in 2018.
Videos Will Seep Deeper Into Our Psyche
As a result of massive Internet penetration across all segments of the society, consumption of videos has witnessed an all-time high, across all niches. New Internet users are ditching their televisions faster than we imagine.
Almost 20,000 million hours of videos were watched on Facebook and Youtube last year, as 11 hours per month of video viewing has become the average.
In terms of video marketing, live video is the right now one of the most effective channels for brands and advertisers, as everyone is still trying to decode recipe for using videos as an effective marketing tool.
In short, focus rigorously on videos in 2018, as the moving frames on our tiny smartphone screens seep deeper into our psyche.
Mind Capture Via Social Media (aka Marketing Of The Moment)
Out of 3.7 billion Internet users globally, 2.7 billion are using Social Media. As if, the virtual world of social media has become a real world in itself, wherein users are spending more and more time. Compared to 4 hours on TV, Indians are now spending 28 hours on mobile, and more specifically social media apps.
If we talk about India, then we are the 5th largest user base of app usage, as close to 150 minutes are spent on apps per day, by a typical Indian user. And, social media is the category where maximum time is spent.
2018 will witness a new form of social media marketing, called the Marketing of the Moment, wherein brands and advertisers will closely follow the user behaviour on a social media app/portal and label every step of his ‘lifecycle’ on the platform.
Combining big data into the whole matrix, social media will become even more robust, and even more attractive platform for marketing. Note here, we are not talking about advertisements per se, but a whole integrated approach to social media marketing, which includes personalization, segmentation and optimization of ‘attention’.
SEO Would Be Rejuvenated & Reformed
In terms of SEO, the voice is the new buzzword, which will see a phenomenal growth rate in 2018. 40% of all adults who are online, will do at least one voice search per day; and as per Google’s own data, voice search has increased by 35 times since 2008, as 20% of all searches done on Google are now voice based.
With Google becoming even smarter, RankBrain has already become the third most important factor in SEO, as user experience becomes the pillar of search results on Google.
2018 is expected to witness a rejuvenated, and reformed SEO based on the users’ experience on a web properly, and fuelled by high-quality content and powered by quality backlinks.
In short, focus on SEO because SEO is here to impact your bottom line.
Emails Will Survive, Thrive & Become Even Bigger
The talks of email being dead has been going on for several years now, with no success. There will be around 2.9 billion email users next year, and out of them, 1 billion would be Gmail users.
Segmented, targeted emails still have an open rate of 14%, which can excite any marketer for any niche.
The usage of automation for emails will witness an all time increase in 2018, as more and more businesses will understand the fact that emails are still considered as a serious medium of communication, and despite social media apps and gaming apps consuming most of our times, emails will have a special place in the overall communication chain.
Spams are the biggest threat to email marketing, and companies like Google and Apple (which has 34% share in email clients, globally) will formulate special strategies to handle this menace.
Real-time, cross-channel personalization via email, social media and websites has already become the talk of the town.
Paid Advertisements Will Change Its Course
No doubt paid ads witnessed a new low in 2017, as some of the largest digital companies decided to act against it. Apple announced their new feature to stop retargeting and remarketing advertisements even as Google Chrome decided to include a pre-installed ad-blocker on their browser.
But, paid advertisements have been the backbone of Internet and content creators, and 2018 will witness a new form, a new way to show advertisements, without interrupting the user experience. In a way, advertisers will devise a way to circumvent ad-blocking technology, as some of the largest ad-block providers are themselves becoming a business to extract money from genuine advertisers.
The course of paid advertisement market will see a revolution in terms of delivery of ads, and understanding of the users’ behaviour for showing relevant, useful ads.
In short, paid advertisements will continue to grow, albeit in a new avatar, in a new form.
Dawn Of Blockchain In Digital Marketing
2017 be remembered for the stunning rise in the value of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, and the technology behind that: blockchain would become the force to reckon with in digital marketing as well.
As digital marketing becomes more cross-platform and more direct (thanks to Social Media), advertisers and marketers will find blockchain as an able technological platform to make the process even better.
If we talk about services industry in digital marketing, then blockchain can disrupt the equations by providing more transparency between the client and the agency; inducing more trust and providing more options for optimally utilizing the data.
IBM and Walmart have already partnered to use blockchain to optimize the supply-chain and to understand the end-users even better.
2018 shall be the dawn of blockchain usage in digital marketing, and the start has already been done.
Predictions You Should Ignore
Influencer Marketing Is Dead
Some reports indicated that influencer marketing is almost dead, as brands are not able to find the ROI for such initiatives. This is far, far from the truth.
In fact, 2018 will witness a new form of ‘micro-influencers’, who have hyperactive on social media platforms, and command a niche, dedicated tribe of followers. Due to the rise and growth of social media, mobile internet users and videos, more and more influencers would be born, and force the brands to take notice of them.
However, instead of being mere social media broadcasters, influencers will become the catalyst for engagement, branding and sales for the brands.
We predict that influencer marketing will actually become mainstream in 2018.
AI, Automation & Big Data Is A Fad
Artificial Intelligence, combined with Big Data will actually form the base, the foundation of digital marketing campaigns in 2018. Automation will take over the mundane activities, for which no creative inputs are required, and this will allow the humans to think more rationally and to devise better content.
Personalization and deep targeting will become stronger due to automated tools, as machine learning will seep deeperinto the overall campaign management activities and help us to understand the customer even better.
Overall, digital marketing and Internet usage is all set to create new, exciting opportunities in 2018, as brands, businesses and advertisers discover the true potential of this medium for bringing in more sales, more traffic and more customers.
Did we miss any predictions? Do let us know by commenting right here!
Here are our previous Digital Marketing predictions: