Jackson Experts Weigh in on 2018 Digital Marketing Trends

The Forbes Agency Council, a group of creative, media, PR and advertising executives from around the country, recently revealed its top digital marketing trends for 2018. The trends predict a shift in digital marketing fueled by emerging technologies and consumer demands for a more integrated online experience.

We asked our own Jackson experts to weigh in on the top five trends. We’ve included what the Forbes Council had to say, followed by our in-house assessments.

1. Augmented Reality Integrated Through Social Media
Forbes: As our mobile devices become more powerful and social apps better integrate with AR, brands will use AR to better engage with consumers. For example, using your location, brands could trigger sponsored AR content, which can only be accessed at that spot, at that time. Pokémon Go was the pioneer with this idea, and I feel Instagram and Facebook will soon be integrating this tech into its platforms.

blake-ross-croppedBlake Ross, Jackson Lead Front-End Developer
Yes, I think this is a matter of putting two and two together. First, it is certainly the case that augmented reality is poised to become a dominant digital medium for developed societies in the coming years. That surge will continue in 2018 as major tech companies and myriad startups continue to vie for a slice of the AR pie. Second, it is certainly true that social media companies—namely Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram—are vying to become the dominant augmented reality social content platforms. So, in a sense, this is a no-brainer because, of course, those two streams will converge!

Yet it is worth saying that this is a groundbreaking area of marketing. Progress is being made, but no one is building glorious skyscrapers yet. It feels like we’re still doing work at the ground level, and the big, beautiful buildings are still forthcoming. For those of you with your ear to the ground in the marketing world, ask yourself: can you recall an instance of a company in 2017 that effectively used a social media AR platform to produce a powerful, memorable campaign with good ROI? Perhaps you can’t right now, but my guess is that by the end of 2018, we will all be familiar with several stories of pioneers in this area. Or, staying with the construction metaphor, we may move on from breaking ground to actually starting to see a skyline take shape in the coming year.

2. Collapse of The Influencer Market
Forbes: Brands pour millions of dollars into influencers now; but by and large, they’re either not measuring or not seeing the results they could get from alternative marketing spends. The market will collapse as brands zero in on a few select individuals who drive results or move to organic grassroots promotion, and away from high-cost, middle-tier influencers who drive awareness but little ROI.

Jackson-Alissa-RicciAlissa Ricci, Jackson Media Supervisor
I agree with this, in part. Measurement of ROI will play a key role for influencer campaigns in 2018, as we’re already seeing this with our clients here at Jackson. It makes sense that, as a result of this measurement, brands would zero in on influencers that are delivering ROI. However, I don’t believe the influencer market will “collapse.” We may see a dip in this type of promotion as brands try to figure out how to better focus and measure in this area, and some drop out because they can’t figure it out. But we believe this will continue to be a key area for smart brands who have figured out how to do it right.

3. True Understanding of Customer Journey
Forbes: Data-driven marketing is a powerful tool, but how that data translates to the customer journey will be paramount in digital marketing success in 2018. Strive first to use data to know where your consumers will be on every step of their purchasing path, learn what appeals to them, and design your marketing to touch them all along their journey.

SCBiz-Chris-BradyChris Brady, Jackson Interactive Services Manager
Customer journeys are ever evolving, so it’s not a “one-and-done” exercise. Once you have the data to support where your customers are and what they’re looking for, focus on creating a cohesive end-to-end customer experience. Don’t get lost in the minutia of attempting to ensure a positive experience with each touchpoint, but focus on the bigger picture goals. Test your messaging, measure the effectiveness of different messaging strategies based on conversion data and always be ready to refine your marketing efforts to continue to focus in on exactly what your customers want.

4. More Targeted Ads with Specific Purpose
Forbes: People already have minimal attention spans and get served with so many ads on a daily basis. I think ads will become more singularly purposed in nature, with a very specific goal and goal conversion place in mind, whether it be a mobile or desktop experience. I also think that the mobile ad platforms will show major growth in 2018, including Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.

Jackson-Alissa-RicciAlissa Ricci, Jackson Media Supervisor
This has been the trend in advertising, especially digitally, for some time now and I agree that it will continue and grow in 2018. Several of our clients, B2B and B2C, are already moving in this direction with ad campaigns designed to generate specific actions or user experiences. Whether it be form-fills, content downloads, selector or search tools, our clients are looking for specific, measurable results and choosing the KPIs to measure that will directly impact their business. Therefore, ad plans and even the ad creative are designed and geared specifically toward achieving those specific conversions.

5. Professional Live Video
Forbes: Video will continue to be a trend in 2018, but not just video—professional live video. Every social media platform is jumping into live video and adding new features monthly to their platforms. Live video is a great way to connect with your audience, and the shaky, holding-a-phone-in-your-hand live video won’t be acceptable anymore. Video is becoming the most popular and influential form of digital content for businesses today and if done right, it can have a very positive impact on your business. As our attention spans decrease, marketers are heavily relying more and more on creating video content to boost search engine rankings, increase engagement and website traffic rates, as an example.

John-MiningerJohn Mininger, Jackson Video Producer/Editor
When your brand steps in front of a live camera, it’s critical that it’s done right. Based on the situation, your brand must appear knowledgeable, put together and most important, authentic.
You can lead in the arena of live video if you have the correct amount of preparation, on-target messaging, and of course, the correct tools for execution. Today’s mobile tools are quickly evolving, but simply setting up your iPhone isn’t a solution. I’m not suggesting that you must recreate a TV studio, but you shouldn’t go into live half-baked.
The best way to put extra polish on the production side without losing authenticity is to incorporate multiple cameras. Cutting away to close-up shots, for instance, is something most people aren’t doing at present. Doing this yourself can result in trouble, but when you pull it off, it’s an excellent result.