digital marketing megatrends

Digital Marketing Megatrends for 2018 – Breaking Taboos & Norms

Farewell 2017, we’ve had a blast!

It’s that time of the year again when we look back at 2017, gaze at the things that impacted the digital marketing scenario, and look ahead into what the future holds. We predict that 2018 will bring bigger, bolder changes to the world of digital marketing.

Break taboos and norms with our 10 digital marketing megatrends for 2018. Check them out, and you might have a chance of survival in the digital marketing “sharktank”.

Megatrend #1 – Mobile adoption on the rise

Do you plan on increasing mobile marketing spending in 2018? If so, you should know what the future holds for mobile marketing. We’re currently looking at an unstoppable mobile revolution. According to a report done by Radicati, mobile adoption will grow from 9.5 billion in 2015 to 14.8 billion by 2019.  

  • More than 50% of internet searches are performed on mobile
  • 80% of Facebook’s daily active users are on mobile
  • The app fever continues – 90% of mobile media time is spent in apps
  • Google drives 96% of mobile search traffic, followed by Yahoo at 2% and Bing at 1%
  • The number of smartphone users will go from 2.1 billion in 2016 to 2.5 billion in 2019
  • As of March 2017, 80% of Alexa’s top websites were mobile-friendly.    
  • Mobile devices make up 61.9% of paid-search clicks in Google – an 8.9% increase from 2016.

Megatrend #2 – Digital Ad Fraud – A Big Thing in 2018

Ad fraud leads the news headlines in the world of advertising. Some people take ad fraud seriously; others claim it’s “no big deal”. Bots make money through traffic sourcing, aka paid traffic acquisition.

The good news is savvy marketers acknowledge the power of today’s brainy chatbot.

Do you have what it takes to adapt to the fluid ad fraud landscape and prevent the poisoning of all areas of optimization, including brand safety, performance, and viewability? Do you know how many of your website visitors are actually bots? The following numbers and statistics should open your eyes and convince you that digital ad fraud is more than a buzzword.

  • Advertisers might lose an estimated $19 billion on ad fraud in 2018
  • Sites built for bot fraud — aka “cash-out sites” — account for 20% of all domains
  • 24.3% of bots are impersonators that bypass security solutions by assuming false identities
  • A survey performed by Imperva Incapsula on 100,000 domains, highlights that 94.2% of those website got attacked by at least one bot over a 90-day period
  • “Bots for rent” are a thing. Now anyone can rent up to 200k bots and engage in fraudulent advertising
  • On average, there are 8 main types of ad fraud. CPC (search ad fraud) is one the most popular one.

Megatrend #3 –  Chatbots & the Rise of Conversational UI

The chatbot is better described as an automated messaging service that runs on artificial intelligence (AI). Users interact with chatbots via different websites, platforms, and social media channels to receive support on different matters or guidance when purchasing products and services.

Chatbots “live” on platforms like Facebook and Slack, but they also operate as a standalone interface. Conversational interfaces pertain to using messaging and chat systems to invite prospects and customers to interact or engage in a conversation with a chatbot.

  • Chatbots will save businesses more than $8 billion per year by 2022, a huge increase from the $20 million estimated for this year
  • leverages the power of AI to craft customized websites. Website designers have nothing to fear. At least, not yet!
  • A Grand View Research report estimates that the global chatbot market could reach $1.23 billion by 2025
  • A survey performed by Oracle on different marketing specialists in France highlights that 80% of respondents have already used chatbots for business, or are planning to do so by 2020.  

Chatbots Virtual Assistant = Conversational UI. 30% of digital marketing professionals are estimated to leverage conversational UI to engage with customers online in 2018.

Megatrends 4# – Digital marketing automation gains momentum

The digital marketing scenario continues to advance in 2018. As we switch from traditional business models to business automation systems, it’s safe to say that digitizing your processes gains momentum. Next year we expect even better tools to populate the digital marketing scenario in an attempt to streamline the way we advertise online. Marketing automation without artificial intelligence (AI) is like dancing without music. It works, but it doesn’t have the same effect.

With more advanced tools comes great responsibility, which means the time to prepare your marketing team for a digital transformation is NOW.  

  • From $220 million in 1992, digital marketing automation is worth $1.65 billion today
  • According to a market share analysis done by Datanyze on Alexa’s top 1k websites, Marketo is the best marketing automation software, followed by Adobe’s Marketing Cloud and Eloqua
  • Introducing Buffer for Video, the first platforms that allow native video scheduling
  • Social listening tools powered by Natural Language Processing (NLP) technology improves customer service by 21%
  • Email marketing segmentation continues to rule email marketing campaigns by 80% in 2018
  • 73% of businesses are already prioritizing email optimization for mobile

Megatrend #5 – Machine learning, AI & deep learning technology

The launch of RankBrain, Google’s new machine learning tool, left us wondering what impact would machine learning have on SEO (search engine optimization). Together with AI (artificial intelligence) and deep learning technology going mainstream, it’s no wonder the digital marketing scenario will change in 2018.

  • In 2018, content-rich campaigns and customer journeys will be better defined by AI-powered personalization platforms like Blueshift
  • PPC advertising goes AI in an attempt to find the best paid channels to deliver ads to your selected target audience. (image, or screenshot with AI Frank)
  • By 2018, Gartner predicts, 20% of all business content will be authored by machines
  • Marketing automation drives a staggering 14.5% sales productivity thanks to AI – which can understand who your prospects and customers are, and where they come from
  • With over 3.25 billion photos/day sent across the most popular social media channels, the demand for AI-powered image recognition software continues to increase.

Megatrend #6 – The death of banner ads & the birth of native ads

In 2018, we expect traditional ads to go extinct. A recent study done by Hubspot highlights that 64% of people use adblock services to prevent annoying ads from interfering with their browsing experience online.

The online advertising industry, together with publications that rely on ads to generate revenue are compelled to rethink their options for next year. It all depends on consumer behavior. The key to combating ad blockers lies in the “pay to play” type of ads, aka native ads. ShareThrough gives a very simple, yet comprehensive definition of native ads: “a form of paid media where the ad experience follows the natural form and function of the user experience”

  • In partnership with AdBlock Plus, Hubspot issued a report that highlights: 51% of people use ad blockers to be in full control of their online browsing experience
  • By 2020, ad blockers might cost advertising organizations that refuse to adapt a whopping $35 billion/year
  • According to a survey done by the Native Advertising Institute, the key to fighting ad blockers lies in native ads
  • Business Insider estimates that native advertising will drive 74% of all ad revenue by 2021

Megatrend #7 – Social media content, the backbone of your digital marketing strategy

It’s been 20 years since Bill Gates predicted that content will be king on the internet. And yet, some still underestimate its importance in the digital marketing realm. According to Altimeter, 70% of marketers still don’t have a consistent content marketing strategy set in place. The good news is, the remaining 30% are savvy businesses. They acknowledge that the only way to bridge the gap between the top and the bottom of their marketing sales funnel is with transparent, customer-centric content.

  • Social media content amplification – the key to successful native advertising
  • According to SmartInsights, storytelling is the key to a successful content marketing strategy
  • And yet, only 20% of average consumers read the full text on a web page.
  • Visual content is 40 times more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content
  • Ephemeral content takes social media by storm. Instagram Stories hits 240M daily active users
  • Efficient user-generated content generates 6.9x higher engagement than brand-generated content on Facebook. Airbnb is one of the many companies on Instagram that relies in proportion of 99% on user-generated content.

Megatrend #8 – The Age of the Customer. Cherish THY Customer!

A digital marketing megatrend for 2018 has the customer at the forefront. According to Forrester, by 2020, 80% of a customer’s buying process will happen online. Next year, the interest to delight the customer will increase by 42%. The main reason businesses invest and manage customer experiences is to improve customer retention.

  • Customers will have even bigger expectations from brands by 2018. According to Salesforce, 75% of consumers expect a lively, consistent experience every time they engage with a website/brand online or on social media
  • To improve customer journey efficiency, 53% of marketers use customer personas
  • 2017 was the year of micro-influencers. 2018 will be the year of integration. Integrated influencer marketing strategies will set the bar for average and top-notch digital marketers
  • By 2018, Gartner predicts that more than 50% of organizations will redirect their investments to customer experience innovations.

Megatrend #9 – Analytics 2.0

Measuring the efficiency of a digital marketing campaign is a marketer’s core challenge. 46% of companies argue one of their biggest concerns is to prove their marketing activities have a viable return on investment. The problem with “digital analytics” is that most marketers associate them with metrics tools, such as Google Analytics.  This is about to change in 2018. Even though web analytics provide you with sufficient data and insights into your website’s performance, it pays to dig a little deeper and understand that the data you need to estimate the impact of your marketing campaigns has to be more in-depth.

  • 51% of the world’s marketers expect that the IoT will revolutionize digital marketing by 2020
  • 2018 will mark the “death of organic reach” on social media. Content optimisation accompanied by a smart paid social strategy will be the key to a successful digital marketing campaign on social
  • Real-time analytics and marketing automation will prevail in 2018. Brands will have to automate their processes for a faster connection with buyers on social
  • The battle for the best social media analytics tool continues
  • 42.9% of social media managers are currently buying social media monitoring tools to engage with customers on a more personal level
  • As social media platforms evolve, their business-specific features and analytics tools will become more detailed and valuable to brands

Megatrend #10 – Video marketing goes mainstream

Video marketing is expected to go mainstream in 2018. One of 2017’s best examples of video marketing done right was GoPro’s idea to turn live videos into genuine works of art.

  • In the digital marketing scenario, a video is estimated to be worth 1.8 million words
  • According to Wyzowl, 63% of businesses use videos as marketing tools
  • 92% of people who consume mobile videos are more than willing to share them with other people
  • Simply Measured argues that video is shared 1,200% more than both links and text combined
  • On average, organizations publish 18 videos/month. In 2018, there will be pressure on in-house video marketing teams. 85% of business will need in-house staff & marketing resources to compete with the best
  • With 85% of Facebook videos being watched without a sound, soundless video content is an interactive content marketing strategy that gains dominance.


With digital technology increasing in sophistication, the core scope of brands and businesses should be to engage and interact with their audience on a more personal level. 2017 brought tremendous change in digital marketing. But as the year comes to an end, it’s time to think of the future. Dream less, do more. The time to incorporate digital technology into your strategic planning process is NOW.

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