We asked our award-winning team to share their thoughts on the digital marketing industry in 2018.
Louis Venter, CEO
‘Stop selling yourself short as a digital marketer this year’
This year, I see measurement being revamped with more brands moving away from pure last click and towards a more blended approach. We see that last click underreports at least 30% of conversions when compared to linear or other methods, and it has a clear effect on direct. Planning for this must become part of the strategy as we’re consistently selling ourselves short as digital marketers.
Brand health is also a key area that needs to be improved from a measurement perspective, with certain display and paid social campaigns devoted to improving brand perception and presence. It may not be measured from a conversion perspective, but it has a clear effect in terms of brand demand which is often overlooked as a key metric.
Channel wise, I expect Facebook to get even more of the pie, especially as organic reach is to deteriorate even further. Creating campaigns that captivate the audience and executing them well across all digital channels will continue to beat the solid approach hands down. Coupling this with better attribution models to show impact will be key in the coming year.
Search will continue to be the best place for return on investment as the intent is very difficult to replicate within other channels. Display has an interesting year ahead where agencies need to stop talking about transparency and actually deliver it. If your agency isn’t delivering transparency, you need to question why and what they’re making out of it.
Rishna Patel, Head of Client Services
‘It’s time for strategies to become more agile’
The benefits of merging media tactics are increasingly being understood and 2018 will see a rise in the importance of an integrated media strategy. Traditionally, it was common to keep media efforts separated, starting with offline and online being planned and bought separately. More recently, the digital sphere is being further fragmented with the rise of new channels.
The groundwork has begun, but 2018 will see more advertisers asking for strategies that take advantage of data, and budget efficiencies that come with unified media plans across channels. Digital budgets need to be fluid and digital strategies need to be agile in order to respond to audience behaviours in real time and show the right message on the right channel that contributes the most towards conversion.
Jack Felstead, Head of Paid Search
‘I expect a shift in Google and Bing’s search real estate’
During 2018, I expect shopping to take up more of Google & Bing’s search real estate. We’ve seen a significant increase in traffic and revenue from this channel year on year, with Google carrying out some pretty dramatic changes, increasing the presence and need for the shopping channel even further. This is something I expect they will continue to monetise.
Mobile is also rapidly gaining search share vs. desktop and tablet devices, meaning it’s essential for any online brand to have mobile optimised landing pages and a specific strategy.
Read our latest case study: Can Bing Ads can be more profitable than Google AdWords?
Marius Badenhorst, Head of SEO
‘It’s time to start prepping for the impact of voice search and AI’
Voice search, responsive design and/or mobile optimisation will be key trends in the coming year. I read a study recently that revealed that, on average, 40% of adults now use voice search at least once a day. We see platforms such as Amazon and Netflix now all integrate voice search as part of their services.
45% of those who have used AI personal assistants said they’ve used Siri, 33% have used Google Now, 27% used Microsoft’s Cortana and 10% have used Amazon Echo or Alexa. You can imagine how this will affect not just SEO, but Digital Marketing as a whole in the coming years.
Jodie Harris, Head of Content & PR
‘Expect to see data mashups from content featured by digital PR teams’
In the last couple of years after the explosion of ‘outreach teams’, clients found it hard to differentiate between a traditional PR agency and a Digital PR team that works within a digital marketing agency. Now, with years working in harmony, lines are less blurred. There is certainly more awareness and clarity on how they can work together and share budget rather than compete for it. Digital PR has always been crucial for any marketing strategy, but more people are seeing its value and how it affects the brand’s bottom line.
This year, expect to see smart analysis and data mashups from content teams featured by Digital PR teams. We should also see Digital PR integrating with some clever paid display work.
On the content front, consumers are demanding and will only become more so in 2018. They no longer want a blog to read from – they want an experience. It’s therefore likely that site build will be at the forefront of all content marketing plans for 2018.
As brand consumer profiles expand, so will their content portals. Content in 2018 is going to include more insights from SEO and CRO teams and, if fully integrated, a site will be the last place you will see the content.
Expect to see great partnerships with smart paid social ads and Google posts. Short form content is going to be a focus for Instagram Stories and Snapchat. We’ve seen titles like Girlboss and The Wing do this really well and brands are starting to catch on.
Speak to us for advice on your digital marketing strategy.