New Year, New Trends: 5 Digital Advertising Trends Sure to Shake Up 2018

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No matter the year, the goal remains the same in advertising: figure out what consumers want, how they think, and how they interact – not only with a brand, but with each other. The digital age is one of constant change, and it’s important to stay on top of trends and integrate them into your marketing plan. In this article, we will review five of the growing digital advertising trends moving into 2018 that can make your brand more visible and relevant to consumers: live video, voice marketing, user-generated content, streaming platforms, and targeting Gen Z.

1.    Live Video

A service that allows your brand to reach millions of people and can promote user engagement? Sounds too good to be true, but trust me, we’re not making this up. YouTube first offered live streaming in 2011, but it wasn’t until early 2017 that they launched YouTube mobile live-streaming – which has completely taken off.

Ever since Twitter acquired Periscope – a live-streaming mobile app – in March 2015, a domino effect has ensued: in January of 2016 Facebook introduced Facebook Live and in October of 2017, Instagram rolled out their very own live video feature.

We’re not saying you should ditch traditional videos all together, but it’s time to let your customers hear your company message firsthand. Consumers crave authenticity from brands, and there’s nothing more authentic than the vulnerability that live streaming offers. Live streaming creates an accessible, social environment with frequent engagement. In fact, research shows that live videos are 3x longer and receive 10x more comments than non-live videos – so why not use it!?

Bottom Line:  Live video is an extremely useful tool that will lead to immediate results. If it isn’t already a part of your company’s media plan – get on it! Here are a few ideas to start you off:

  • Show behind-the scenes of your office’s day-to-day activities
  • Feature holiday specials
  • Demonstrate a service you offer
  • Provide a tutorial for one of your products

2.    Psst…Listen to Smart Speakers

“Ok Google, how important are smart speakers in digital advertising?”

The answer? VERY important!

In the last few years, it has become clear that smart speakers, such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home, are taking the world by storm. Over 20 million were sold in 2017, and by 2022, it is estimated that 55% of US homes will have one.

Bottom Line: Psst…it’s time to listen up because the market for voice is about to get a lot louder. Learn to get comfortable advertising non-traditionally and experiment with these smart speaker systems. On-demand ordering has the power to encourage customers to spend less time comparing brands and more time purchasing. Start off small with an ad during a podcast, music streaming apps like Spotify, or on a navigation app like Waze.

3.    Content by the Content Consumers

It’s time to give your customer a chance to shine! User-generated content (UGC) is nothing new, but it is becoming more and more effective in an increasingly plugged-in world.

UGC is content created by people who are not paid to create it – usually fans – and generally refers to any picture, video, or blog that users create which are then used to promote a brand.

Some brands have had wild success with UGC campaigns because they add a level of authenticity that millennials and Gen Z crave. Content by the people, for the people doesn’t feel staged, and gets users more involved with the brand, making it an absolute win-win for consumers and brands alike.

Prime examples include Oreo’s dunk challenge and Starbucks’s white cup contest: Starbucks challenged their customers to draw on one of their classic white cups and submit a photo of it on Instagram or Twitter, and Oreo asked consumers to take and post a photo/video of how they like to dunk their Oreos in milk for the chance to win a VIP trip.

Bottom Line: Nothing is stopping you from doing the same as these other major brands! Think about what your company can do to engage consumers.


4.    Netflix, and Hulu, and Amazon – Oh My!

We’re all guilty of it; you open Netflix and start to watch that popular show that everyone has been raving about and the next thing you know, you haven’t eaten all day, it’s dark outside, and you’re watching the season finale!

We can thank streaming services for our ability to effortlessly binge watch. They have completely untethered us from the constraints of broadcast television, allowing us to watch any of our favorite shows, whenever and wherever we want.

This is a dream come true for viewers and a nightmare for TV advertisers, as more and more consumers are cutting the cord. Not only is online viewing convenient; the exclusive shows are high quality, dominating the 2018 award show season. Shows like Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, and Netflix’s Master of None came out on top, sweeping awards in several categories.

This shift in viewership presents many challenges, but just remember one thing – viewers ditching cable aren’t disappearing, they’re just relocating, and so can you.

Bottom Line: As more exceptional original programming is created online, the desire to cut the cord will grow. It’s your job to ensure that buzzworthy shows aren’t blocking your brand’s messages. Take advantage of the growing range of opportunities digital interfaces offer. And in the meantime, I recommend you check out all the shows mentioned above – they really are worth a watch!

5.    Generation Z – The New Kids on the Block

Is your brand ready to speak to Gen Z? Gen Z – people born between 1995 and 2009 – has lived through major technological advancements, graduating from Gameboys, to flip phones, to iPhones, to virtual reality.

Today, this group ranges from children to young adults, and Gen Z is developing their own ideas and brand loyalty. But remember, this is a generation that grew up with the internet and learned from a young age how to use it and communicate through it.

So, what’s the key to getting into Gen Z’s wallet? Getting into their smartphone!

You can’t throw just any type of content at these consumers, who are known to be savvy and interested in brand authenticity. Brands that support social causes and feature real people doing real things are especially popular. This is exactly why Gen Z has gravitated so strongly towards YouTube, where they are given the opportunity to find and watch normal, authentic people – YouTube stars, like @iisuperwomanii – to whom diverse audiences can relate.

Bottom Line: Gen Z has already spent years curating an authentic identity and they expect brands to do the same. How? Move away from static display ads and incorporate more videos! Not only are videos more interesting, interactive, and shareable, they give brands the opportunity to inject their personality into the ad. Learn to accept videos as the new norm and embrace #NoFilter.

The only constant of social trends is that they are constantly changing. If you haven’t already taken a closer look at your strategies – and even if you have – now is the time to talk to the experts. At Marketing Doctor, we don’t just keep up with trends; we help set them.

Get in touch to bring your digital advertising to the next level! Contact us to work with a marketing agency and we’ll conduct a free audit of your business’s marketing strategy.

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