It’s here! ‘Enterprise SEO Platforms: A Marketer’s Guide’ is all new for 2018.

MarTech Today’s “Enterprise SEO Platforms: A Marketer’s Guide” has been updated for 2018. Compiled from the latest research, this 55-page report is your source for the latest trends, opportunities and challenges facing the market for SEO software tools as seen by industry leaders,…

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New Year, New Outlook: TopRank Marketing’s 2018 Integrated Digital Marketing Predictions

The new year is barely underway and already we’re already seeing significant shifts in digital marketing.

Facebook recently announced their decision to favor friends over brands in news feeds and YouTube has tightened the reins on what channels can be monetized. And this is just within the first few weeks of the year.

Undoubtedly, digital marketing tactics like content marketing, SEO, paid, influencer marketing and social media will all face changes in the coming year. Some of which we’ll be able to predict, and some of which we won’t.

However, today’s best marketers know that individual marketing tactics do not stand alone. Which means that integrated, “best answer” digital marketing strategies will reign supreme. That is why instead of focusing our team’s predictions on how individual tactics will evolve in 2018, we’ve uncovered how the role of each tactic will change as part of the overall digital marketing mix.

The State of Digital Marketing in 2018

Lee Odden
CEO

As we head into the heart of Q1 2018, marketers are just as overwhelmed with tactics as buyers are with content. This paradox of choice at scale incurs costs that range from dissatisfied customers to ineffective marketing programs.

With increasing demands, fewer resources and greater complexity in marketing that now includes smart speakers, VR/AR, IoT, AI and all forms of disruptive technology, marketers are looking for the universal truths that will keep them on track and effective.

In my book, Optimize, I talked about a customer centric approach to digital marketing that emphasized search, social and content. The truths about how customers engage content to make decisions outlined then are equally true in 2018 and for nearly any kind of platform.

Those content truths are: discovery, consumption and action.

Discovery: Where do buyers look for solution information? What do they say to their Echo or Google Home device? What do they search for on their phone or tablet? What sources do they subscribe to for updates on their smart watch? Of course laptop, tablet and mobile search and social media behaviors are still relevant.

Consumption: What are your buyers’ preferences for engaging with the content they find? Do they read/watch/listen on the discovery platform or save/subscribe for later? Are there preferences for experiencing or interacting with content vs. simply read/watch/listen? Images vs. videos vs. audio vs. interactive on various devices is still relevant.

Action: What triggers will inspire action? Do buyers need content personalized on the fly or are they willing to exchange contact information to be fed personalized content? What will it take to motivate share, subscribe, inquire, transact or refer? All still relevant.

Marketers in tune with truths about how customers find, engage with and take action on information will reveal whatever technology, platform, media format and experience buyers need. As part of an ongoing effort to optimize marketing with a customer focus, these truths can help architect successful marketing programs in 2018 and for years to come.

Content Will Experience a Shift in Focus

Nick Nelson
Content Strategist

There’s a distinct movement taking place in content marketing, with the focus increasingly shifting from quantity to quality. With so much volume out there, it only makes sense to spend our time creating fewer assets that will truly stand out, as opposed to larger amounts of unremarkable material. Since content is already integrated with basically every aspect of a comprehensive digital marketing strategy (or should be at least), I foresee this change in mindset applying to every corner — social, paid media, lead nurturing, data analysis, and so forth.

The Impact of Artificial Intelligence

Ashley Zeckman
Director of Agency Marketing

For years marketers have been talking about the importance of customer experience. And for years, marketers have struggled to uncover the information that makes it possible to create a stellar customer experience.

The game changer in 2018? The emergence of Artificial Intelligence.

In 2017, AI finally began to become more mainstream which allowed platforms to begin harnessing its true power for marketing. In 2018, it will become essential that marketers use data collected by AI to make smarter marketing decisions that will allow them to personalize content, create more data informed social media marketing plans and better target SEO keywords.

SEO & UX Will Overlap

Joe Manier
Digital Advertising Manager

What does UX and good design have to do with SEO? Good UX keeps people on the page when they arrive to your site. The same holds true for good copywriting. It’s a one-two punch as people’s search process involves quick scans of copy and page design as they’re determining which result will best serve them.

This is all due to RankBrain, which has been around for a while, but it’s sinking in just how important it is being the 3rd most critical ranking signal. So in 2018, look for SEO to further overlap with UX teams and copywriters as they team up to boost the two main RankBrain components of page dwell time and SERP CTRs.

The Integration of Influencers & Sales

Rachel Miller
Influencer Marketing Manager

I think influencer relations will take on an increasingly bigger role affecting not just marketing but also sales and support. Partnering with the right people gives businesses unfiltered and holistic feedback that when combined with other key data points makes planning and decision making more effective. This increase in importance will require influencer marketing tools, tactics, and practitioners to bring nothing but their A-game.

Content Will Bolster Existing Relationships

Caitlin Burgess
Senior Content Marketing Manager

From compelling ad copy to best-answer blog posts to video on social media — content is the foundation of any digital marketing strategy. Period. And I think we can all agree that won’t change anytime soon. But one thing I see on the rise for content marketing in 2018 and beyond is a refocusing on developing content that aims to bolster and grow existing client/customer relationships.

We’ve all heard the stats on just how much it costs to acquire a new customer versus keeping an existing customer, but content marketing has largely been leveraged to move prospects through the funnel and get that first sale. I think it’s high time marketers developed more robust strategies to nurture after the first check clears. After all, more often than not, B2B and B2C companies alike are more than just one product or service offering—but many of your current customers and clients may not know just what you’re capable of. So, show them.

The Ad Viewing Experience Will Have to Improve

Stephen Slater
Senior SEO & Digital Advertising Manager

Ad blocker adoption grew 30% in 2016 (numbers for 2017 aren’t out yet, but I’m sure they will show continued adoption) and even browsers are getting in on the action.

So, instead of killing display ads as a whole, I predict that this desire to block ads is going to actually help the industry and drive display ad spend. Projections show that display ad spend should grow by about $ 5 billion in 2018.

Why would people spend all of that money on display ads that will possibly be blocked by their audience? Two reasons:

  1. Targeting is drastically improving. Programmatic targeting, account based targeting, interest and affinity targeting, and retargeting are all improving and driving more qualified impressions and clicks at a much lower CPC than search ads and most social platforms (for now).
  2. Display advertising placements have to/and will stop being so awful and intrusive. Publishers that offer ad space have to do better. If they don’t they run the risk of losing traffic. In January 2017, Google penalized sites that have “intrusive interstitial ads” and Google’s amp project is already shaking up ads on mobile devices. If publishers don’t comply they run the risk of losing traffic and losing ad revenue.

So what does this all mean? Even though users will attempt to block ads the CPC, targeting, and improved ad viewing experience will allow display ads to become a bigger piece of the digital marketing mix in 2018.

Content Will Fuel Digital Marketing

Anne Leuman
Copywriter

Content marketing, if it isn’t already, will be driving the digital marketing mix in 2018. After all, the foundation of the internet and the genesis of search were both inspired by content. With this in mind, each component or tactic within the digital marketing mix will need content behind it. This includes influencer marketing programs, social media campaigns, video, events, etc. and anything else you might be adding in the year ahead. Each piece of the mix needs content to fuel it.

Instead of asking how does our content fit in the mix, we’ll be asking how the mix supports our content.

The Combination of Influence & ABM Strategies

Amy Higgins
Strategic Account Manager

The root of influencer marketing is “influence”. You add marketing to the mix, and it leads to how can someone influence a person’s buyer behavior.

I believe that in the next year, we will begin to see that signal of influence move down the funnel and into ABM strategies. Currently, influencer marketing addresses mostly top of the funnel marketing initiatives. In order for this change to happen, marketers need to look at their influencers as extensions of their teams, more community based with deeper collaboration and strategies that benefit all sides of the equation — from the customer to the company, and to the influencer. Influencer marketers will begin to use community growth and acquisition strategies in order to see the largest benefit from their network of influencers. For example, influencer exclusive events influencer newsletters, and community forums are just a few of the tactics that marketers will use when approaching influencers. After all, influencer marketing is a two-way street.

Social Media Can’t Be an Afterthought

Debbie Friez
Influencer Marketing Strategist

First of all, if you don’t have social media as an integral part of your overall digital marketing mix, you need to start now.  You can no longer afford to make social media an afterthought.

Social media will share a place at the table with the other areas of the digital marketing mix.

  • Influencer Marketing. Everyone wants to do it, but to do it effectively, you need to interact with your influencers on social media. If you are jumping into influencer marketing, you will need to step-up your social media performance.
  • Lead Generation. Looking to increase conversion rates? More marketers will utilize Facebook and LinkedIn paid offerings for driving more leads. They have a key advantage, because people like to stay on their preferred social channels.
  • Content Marketing. Successful digital marketers will utilize social media in creative ways to drive traffic to their optimized content.  
  • SEO. Looking to really drive traffic to your website? Integrating social will be necessary to get the most from you overall strategy.

Getting noticed in the digital age can be hard. Social Media is consistently offering new ideas and avenues to stand-out. Let’s see what 2018 will bring us!

What Is Your Digital Marketing Prediction for 2018?

What each of these predictions tell us is that every digital marketing tactic is essential, and has its place. But we’re beyond the point in time where integration is a want, and is now a necessity.

Which of the digital marketing predictions above do you think will have the biggest impact on your 2018 marketing strategy? Tell us in the comments section below.


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2018. | New Year, New Outlook: TopRank Marketing’s 2018 Integrated Digital Marketing Predictions | http://www.toprankblog.com

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Digital Marketing News: 2018 Creative Trends, Organic Facebook Dead, YouTube Tightens Up

Creative Trends 2018

2018 Creative Trends – Shutterstock’s data and creative teams analyzed their customers’ billions of searches for images, footage, and music search and download data to discover the biggest year-over-year increases. What are the top trends? Fantasy, New Minimalism, Space, Natural Luxury, and Punchy Pastels among others. – Shutterstock

‘Organic reach on Facebook is dead’: Advertisers expect price hikes after Facebook’s feed purge. If any brands haven’t already shifted their Facebook strategy entirely to paid, then they may have to soon. Facebook is changing its news feed to prioritize what friends and family share, which will reduce the amount of content that users see from brands and publishers. Open up those wallets folks! Digiday

One in three people—2.48 billion—worldwide used a social network in 2017 – Last year, 74.7% of mobile phone internet users worldwide used their device to access social media. Where are they spending their time you ask? In 2017 nearly 594 million people worldwide used Instagram. 62.2% of all social network users (1.54 billion), went on Facebook at least once a month in 2017.  eMarketer

Majority of Consumers Want Brands to Take a Stand on Social and Political Issues, According to New Study – Most consumers want brands to weigh in on social and political issues, according to a new survey by social media management and analytics company Sprout Social entitled “Championing Change in the Age of Social Media.” Two-thirds of consumers responded that it was either “Somewhat Important” or “Very Important” for brands to take a stand on social/political issues. AdWeek

Influencer Marketing Report – A few highlights: Influencer marketing ad spend is poised to reach between $ 5 billion and $ 10 billion in 2022. The average influencer engagement rate across industry verticals is 5.7% compared to 2-3% for brands. 40% of influencers believe that overly restrictive content guidelines are one of the biggest mistakes brands and agencies make when working with them.  Business Insider

Financial institutions have a growing interest in influencer marketing – Financial services institutions are known to shy away from social media due to strict industry regulations. But a growing number of consumer-facing banks, insurance companies and personal finance apps are looking to create promotional content with individuals with large followings on social media, in order to add personality to their brands and cater to the 18- to 34-year-old cohort. Digiday

Influencer Marketing Stats and Trends (Including Petfluencers) – Collective Bias compiled statistics from B2C influencer marketing research they conducted into an infographic featuring insights on both consumer and influencer behaviors. For example, 10% of 18-24 year olds are likely to purchase a product promoted by a famous pet influencer. 86% of influencers say Pinterest is the platform of choice for food ideas. MarketingProfs

CVS Vows to Stop Altering Beauty Images in Its Marketing – We couldn’t agree more: Starting in April, CVS Health Corp said it will stop “materially” altering the beauty imagery in its marketing materials that appear in its stores and on its websites and social media channels. CVS is also asking brand partners—including Revlon, L’Oréal and Johnson & Johnson—to join the effort. Wall Street Journal

TV drives search

Google Adds AMP Testing Tool to Search Results – Google has released its most significant update to the AMP testing tool since 2016. In addition to accessing the tool at its usual destination, you can also test AMPs directly in search results. Search Engine Journal

YouTube tightens rules around what channels can be monetized – Channels will need 4,000 hours of annual viewing time and over 1,000 subscribers to make the cut to make money on their video content.  The Verge

The Brand-Content Preferences of Different Age Groups – HubSpot surveyed over 3,000 consumers 18+ to understand which types of content consumers of various ages want to see more of from brands. Over 50% want to see more videos from their favorite brands. Only 22% of consumers age 18-24 value emails from brands they support, compared with 68% of consumers age 55+. This is highly useful insight if you want to optimize for content engagement and action. MarketingProfs

More Than 1 in 3 Millennials Would Like to Go Viral – However, overall, fewer than 1 in 5 American adults would like to become viral on social media or famous on the news for a short time, according to a recent YouGov survey. Also, men (57%) desired fame more than women (48%).   MarketingCharts

On the Lighter Side:

Blockchain Bandwagon

  • Blockchain Bandwagon by Tom Fishburne
  • Google’s Algorithm Says The World Is Flat – MediaPost
  • ‘Milkshake Duck’ is a dictionary’s 2017 word of the year, and damn right – Mashable

TopRank Marketing (And Clients) In the News:

Lee Odden – The Future, Presented by LinkedIn with Help from Top Marketing Thought Leaders [Videos] – LinkedIn Marketing Solutions Blog
Lee Odden – What Does The Future Of CX Look Like? Here Are Some Of The Most Promising Predictions – Brian Solis Blog
Congratulations to our client Masterson Staffing
– Celebrating 50 Years in Business – Masterson Staffing Blog
Congratulations to our clients LinkedIn and SAP – Both were named as a “Best Software Company in 2018” by G2 Crowd

What was the top digital marketing news story for you this week?

We’ll see you next week when we’ll be sharing all new marketing news stories. Also, be sure to check out the full video summary on our TopRank Marketing TV YouTube Channel.


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2018. | Digital Marketing News: 2018 Creative Trends, Organic Facebook Dead, YouTube Tightens Up | http://www.toprankblog.com

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7 Influencer Marketing Trends That Will Rule 2018

Influencer Marketing Trends 2018

Influencer Marketing Trends 2018 While influencer marketing boomed in 2017, it’s been on the rise for a full decade. In fact, we first posted about it in 2008 after we attended a session at SES San Jose on social media analysis and tracking. Ten years later and influencer marketing has evolved from a rising trend into a proven marketing strategy, causing more and more B2C and B2B companies to start influencer programs of their own. As influencer marketing has gained steam, it’s earned a more dedicated spot in the digital marketing mix and become more approachable in the eyes of marketers. As our own CEO Lee Odden, a longtime advocate for influencer marketing, regularly says:

Everyone is influential about something.”

But as marketers dive deeper into the influencer marketing waters, they wonder how the tide will change and ultimately force them in a different direction. Having executed influencer marketing programs for both B2B and B2C brands for the past several years, we’ve had a front row seat to the evolution of influencer marketing. To give you a glimpse into where influencer marketing is already heading and help you stay on top of your influencer game, here are seven influencer marketing trends that are taking over 2018.

#1 – Full steam ahead for influencer marketing programs.

We touched on it briefly earlier, but as influencer marketing becomes more approachable with tools like Onalytica, Traackr, BuzzSumo, and others, it will also become more popular. For 2018, this means that more and more brands will come online with influencer marketing programs, including both B2C and B2B brands. But what does this mean for your influencer marketing strategy? It means your competition could soon be doing their own influencer marketing campaigns, making it all the more important that your campaign sets itself apart from the rest. Through unique influencer relationships, helpful insights, and new media types, you could take your influencer campaign from “first” to “best.” Or both. Both is good. Read: 20 Inspiring & Actionable Influencer Marketing Tips for The Modern Marketer

#2 – Brands are looking to be bold, loud, and different.

With more B2B and B2C brands amping up their influencer marketing, brands are thinking of new and innovative ways to differentiate their campaigns. With great content serving as the foundation for any campaign, brands are hoping to stand out by offering unique, bold, and intuitive user experiences, generating an added level of excitement and further engaging audiences. To level up our own influencer marketing user experience, we created an interactive infographic featuring 15 quotes from digital marketing influencers to generate awareness of our agency prior to the Digital Marketing Summit in Minneapolis this past summer. This not only helped engagement with our audience, but it also helped us create something that our influencers were proud to contribute to and share. Interactive Influencer eBook Example

#3 – Brand focus on business results.

At the beginning of its time, influencer marketing was all about reach and awareness. By tapping into an influencer and leveraging that relationship, you could gain the ear of an entirely new audience. Multiply that affect with the number of influencers you work with, and you have a rapidly growing audience. Influencer marketing is no longer just about audience growth, though. Brands are and will turn to influencer programs to drive conversions and engagement, too. What will that look like? From our vantage point, you’ll see an influx of influencer and brand hosted webinars, live stream Q&A’s, endorsements, and other bottom of funnel influencer content. [bctt tweet=”#InfluencerMarketing is no longer just about audience growth – @aleuman4″ username=”toprank”]

#4 – Influencers turned brand ambassadors.

What’s one thing brands are missing when it comes to influencers and their relationships? Oftentimes, it’s exclusivity. Having an influential thought leader all to yourself is a promising premise as it means you are their sole partner in your industry. Well, brands are realizing that this opportunity exists and are getting ready to establish more long-term relationships with influencers. No longer seen as a one-off campaign strategy, brands will start to reach out to influencers for more long-term partnerships. This will result in influencers adopting the role of “brand ambassador” and serve almost as an extension of your internal marketing team. To do this within your own influencer programs, you need to develop your relationships with influencers instead of just reaching out when there’s a need. For example, you can create a VIP program or hub where your influencers can come together and collaborate, share ideas, and become a bigger part of your brand. With this continued nurturing and collaboration, influencers will become more like spokespeople, representing the brand at events, in videos, and through their own content. [bctt tweet=”#Influencers will adopt the role of brand ambassador and become an extension of your internal #marketing team – @aleuman4″ username=”toprank”]

#5 – Campaigns with more money, more capabilities.

Remember when we said that influencer marketing is popular, forcing brands to up their influencer marketing game? One surefire way brands can try and elevate their campaigns is through an increased influencer marketing budget. In fact, you can bet on it. In our Influencer 2.0: The Future of Influencer Marketing research report, 55% of marketers reported in that they plan to increase their influencer marketing budget in the coming year. With deeper pockets, brands can invest more into developing their influencer relationships and in creating more high-quality content. For example, brands have more freedom to offer gifts to their influencers in an effort to strengthen their relationships. Plus, an increased budget allows brands to create more “expensive” content like a video series, interactive eBooks, motion graphics, and more. Read: 5 Examples of Influencer Marketing in Action Across the Full Customer Journey

#6 – Influencers are being strategic with their own brand.

As the influencer marketing bandwagon continues to roll, influencers have the ability to be more strategic in aligning themselves with different B2B and B2C brands. With more brands approaching them for their contributions, they can be more thoughtful with the partners they choose to work with and how the partnership will help them grow their personal brand and network. Because of this, your programs will need to be custom-made for the influencers you want to work with. For example, one of our clients was looking to target C-suite leaders at law firms, which lead to the creation of a customized influencer eBook campaign that featured influencers in the legal profession, and delivered extremely thoughtful and relevant to our audience. Niche Influencer eBook Examaple If there isn’t a perfect fit or relevant value that you’re bringing to the table, your ideal influencers will move on to another brand that does. The influencer has the power of choice in this scenario, so make sure to research your influencers beforehand to create a campaign they can’t say “no” to.

#7 – Influence transcends platforms.

Now that influencer marketing programs are beginning to expand in size, budget, and tone, brands are also looking to expand their programs onto new platforms and channels. This helps extend the reach of their influencer marketing programs, enabling brands to engage new audiences that were otherwise lost to them. What kinds of channels are we talking about? Periscope, Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube, and others come to mind as it can be challenging for brands to build up audiences on them — especially if your brand voice is more sophisticated.

Become Influencer Marketing Royalty

As you head off to execute your influencer marketing programs using the trends above, take advantage of these top influencer marketing tools to track your influencer relationships, performance, and more.

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Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2018 Google doodle honors Dr. King & his dream for a better world

The image was designed by guest artist Cannaday Chapman and created in collaboration with the Black Googlers Network. The post Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2018 Google doodle honors Dr. King & his dream for a better world appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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4 Top Trends in Customer Centricity to Drive Digital Marketing Success in 2018

Consumer Trends Marketers Need to Know

Ask any digital marketer if they’ve been able to set their strategy on autopilot over the past decade, and I bet you’ll get a laugh or two—as well as an emphatic “No.” If we’ve learned anything it’s that the digital landscape is simply too fast-changing to keep the business as usual mindset.

But while the global rise of the internet, the explosion of social media, and the development of mobile technologies and other digital tools and platforms are undoubtedly “to blame” for the constant state of change we operate in—it’s really the everyday use of these innovations that requires our flexibility and attention.

Simply put, thanks to these modern essentials, our behavior, expectations and attitudes as consumers have changed—and they’ll continue to. The mobility and network access enabled by mobile phones and tablets, coupled with the incredible amount of content now available (thanks content marketers), means consumers now have the majority stake in developing their own customer journey.

In fact, last year comScore reported that users spend an average of 69% of their media time on smartphones—and other research shows that the great majority of people use the internet and mobile technologies to research products before they buy.

But what’s the next stage of evolution in consumer behavior? And how can digital marketers adapt their strategies to fit with consumers want and expect?

Below we highlight some of the consumer trends that will have (and are already having) a big impact on digital and content marketing in 2018 and beyond.

#1 – Voice-activated personal assistance will continue to shape consumer behavior.

While voice-command technology began to emerge in the early part of the century, it’s taken on new life over the past couple years thanks to the emergence of mobile personal assistants, and the birth and increasing adoption of tools like Amazon Echo, Cortana and Google Home.

To put it simply, these voice-activated technologies just make life simpler. According to Think with Google’s research, the top reasons people turn to voice-activated speakers are:

  1. It allows them to more easily multitask.
  2. It enables them to do things faster than other devices.
  3. It empowers them to instantly get answers and information.
  4. It makes their daily routine easier.

What does this mean for brands and marketers? Google says their research also shows that people welcome brands to be part of their experience, and they’re open to receiving information that’s helpful and relevant to their lifestyle.

Think With Google Stats on Personal Assistants

Image Credit: Think with Google

As a result, brands and marketers have the opportunity to explore digital advertising opportunities in this arena. But, perhaps more immediately important, optimizing for voice search is critical.

According to Gartner predictions, 30% of all web browsing sessions will be done without a screen by 2020. Some voice search optimization tactics include focusing on featured snippets, using more conversational keywords and content structure, and adding structured data markup to help search engines better understand the context of the content you’re providing.

#2 – Consumers want to experience a brand, product or service before they buy—and video is the conduit.

I think it’s safe to say that video is no longer an emerging or rising marketing trend—it’s part of the now and the future. According to Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and MarketingProfs’ 2018 content marketing benchmark reports, 72% of B2B marketers and 76% of B2C marketers use pre-produced video as part of their strategies.

It’s certainly not difficult to see why video has taken off. Humans are visual creatures by nature, and as the internet, social media and technology have evolved, consumers are spending an increasing amount of time in front of the screen—elevating video as a preferred engagement medium.

But a bit of change is in the air. Consumers don’t just want engagement these days. They’re also looking for an experience—especially when it comes to products they’re interested in.

According to other research by Think with Google, video is straight up changing how people shop. In fact, in the past year, 40% of YouTube users turned to the platform to learn more about a product before they purchased it. In addition, the watch time of “Shop with me” videos—where viewers actually follow video creators as they shop—has increased a whopping 1,000% over the past two years.

YouTube Research by Consumers Statistic

Image Credit: Think with Google

Essentially, consumers are going beyond third-party review sites and word-of-mouth referrals, and looking to video content to learn the good, the bad and the ugly about the products they’re pondering. This means it’s time for B2B and B2C brands alike to elevate the stories they tell using video. Here’s what Think with Google had to say:

“Since many users aren’t going to be able to physically touch a product before they buy it, brands need to come up with creative ways to help people ‘experience’ it online. Think of ways to bring your product to life online so it stands out—like using virtual reality or augmented reality—such as L’Oréal’s Makeup Genius app that lets users virtually try on makeup.

“There’s a whole community of creators testing and evaluating products, including yours. That means users will be validating any claims you make, so make sure your product can live up to them.”


Consumers are looking for an experience – especially when it comes to products they’re interested in. #digitalmarketing #videomarketing @CaitlinMBurgess
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Read: Report: What Marketers Need to Know About the ‘State of Video Marketing’

#3 – Consumers are growing more curious—as well as more impatient.

To say the least, 2017 was an interesting year socially, environmentally, and—of course—politically. As the year unfolded, it’s no surprise that people turned to the internet and search engines to get a better understanding of what’s happening in their communities, countries, and around the world.

From Google’s perspective, the wide world of search in 2017 also unveiled new consumer behaviors. In yet another recent Think with Google piece, 2017 saw a “new super-empowered consumer” take shape.

“We found that people are more curious, more demanding, and more impatient than ever before,” the article said. “We saw evidence of this throughout 2017, and it will be critical for marketers to understand these new behaviors as they move into 2018.”

Essentially, people are getting more specific than ever in their searches—and they expect and demand useful, relevant information quickly. The takeaway for marketers here is that long-tail search term variations will expand—and perhaps even become a new normal. As a result, there’s no better time to double-down on creating—what TopRank Marketing likes to call—best-answer content.

What does best-answer content look like? In a nutshell, best-answer content is:

  1. Addressed to a specific audience
  2. Addressed to a specific query
  3. Substantial
  4. Comprehensive, addressing complimentary queries and crosslinking
  5. Not blatantly promotional

As our CEO, Lee Odden, so eloquently once said: “Stop creating content. And start making answers.”

This should’ve always been part of a marketers mission, but it will be even more critical in the years to come as search and consumer preferences evolve.

In addition, use the data and insights at your fingertips (and pursue new sources) to get a deeper understanding of audience needs, wants and attitudes, develop more holistic consumer personas, and create content and messaging that is highly-personalized. Personalization will be key for meeting consumer demand and expectations.


Stop creating content. And start making answers. – @leeodden #contentmarketing #BeTheBestAnswer
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#4 – Distrust is at an all-time high—which calls for more transparency and authenticity in marketing.

We’ve know for a while that consumers are becoming increasingly weary of advertising and brand messaging. But over the past couple years, the general state of trust across the globe has “imploded.”

The 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer Survey—an annual trust and credibility survey—showed the largest-ever drop in trust across the world’s four major institutions: business, government, media and NGOs.

2017 Edelman Trust Barometer

In the Executive Summary, the opening note is actually titled “The Implosion of Trust,” and it cites major social, economic and political upheaval—and rising “fake news” speculation—as the unsurprising culprits. But the good news is that Edelman’s findings also show that business is the “last retaining wall” of trust.

As a result, it’s more important than ever for brands and marketers to commit themselves to transparency and authenticity in all that they do. From embracing both positive and critical consumer feedback on public forums and social media, to losing the jargon and developing a more human voice—transparency and authenticity need to be baked into your strategy, rather than being afterthoughts.

One way to add both value, authenticity and credibility to your marketing efforts will be through the use of influencers. Influencer marketing has exploded over the past couple years, and it’s not going anywhere in 2018. Regardless of the type of content, there’s always an opportunity to include credible voices and opinions that will touch and resonate with your audience.

Read: Our Top 10 Influencer Marketing Posts of 2017 Plus Thoughts on 2018

The Only Constant is Change

As you move forward in 2018, now is not the time to set and forget your digital marketing strategy. On the contrary, you need to be at the ready to make meaningful change.

The fact of the matter is that consumers are playing an increasingly powerful role in their buying journey—and brands and marketers need to embrace this if they’re going to survive and thrive into the future.

Content is at the core of every digital marketing strategy. What other trends do marketers need to be on the lookout for? Read Content Conversations: Content Marketing Predictions for 2018 featuring insights from Ann Handley, Joe Pulizzi, Chris Brogan, Alexandra Rynne, Tim Washer, Dayna Rothman, and Chris Moody.


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2018. | 4 Top Trends in Customer Centricity to Drive Digital Marketing Success in 2018 | http://www.toprankblog.com

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Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®