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What should brands focus on in 2018?

Global internet reach has grown at an astounding rate. In 2005, there were around one billion users, while last year this surpassed 3.5 billion – approaching half the world’s population.

The growing internet population makes digital marketing increasingly important, but it also makes standing out from the crowd a challenge – how do you avoid becoming a needle in a haystack? And how do you ensure that your digital marketing investment delivers the best value for your money?

We’ve identified four focus areas for your digital strategy this year.

1) Prioritise mobile

Bump mobile experiences up to the top of your list. The proportion of mobile-based internet usage is growing rapidly – by the year 2021, smartphone traffic will exceed that of PCs. In line with this, Google’s ranking systems are changing towards mobile-first indexing – so sites which optimise mobile UX will see better performance.

Also, since mobile internet exceeds desktop-access in many developing nations, this is a vital platform for businesses seeking to expand their market in these areas. Is your web development agency taking a mobile-first approach?

2) Be more data-driven

More data was created between 2015 and 2016 than in the past 5000 years of humanity combined – and this rate is still climbing. With an ever-greater understanding of what makes people tick, businesses now have an unprecedented opportunity to fine-tune their communication to their market. Harnessing the power of data analysis is vital; but what tools should you look for in a digital agency’s kit?

Google analytics lets you analyse data about website interaction. It allows you to understand website visitors’ demographics, what sources or keywords brought them there, which pages grab or lose attention (bounce rates), and whether these things – among many others – differ on mobile and desktop access. This allows you to optimise your spend.

A related strategy is split testing. This allows you to split traffic to different versions of a page or ad (for example, with different headline or colour scheme) and compare performance on various metrics, such as traffic generated or conversion rates. While very simple in theory, strategy is important. If you make multiple changes at once, you can’t tell which change made the difference (which requires multivariate testing) without a lot of traffic. Analysing one change at a time (A/B) requires fewer site visits, but each test still takes substantial traffic to ensure variation isn’t due to chance. The trick is testing smartly.

Choose a digital agency that can develop a strategy with you, supported by Google analytics to increase data-return on each test.

3) Shift your focus from social media to social community

In 2017, more than 70% of internet users, and around a third of the world’s whole population, used social media. With 70% of Facebook users and 59% of Instagram users logging on daily, 6 the potential for interactive marketing is clear.

However, the landscape is shifting, and your strategy needs to shift with it. Facebook recently announced that it is changing the nature of its News Feed, and will prioritise posts from friends and family as well as groups an individual belongs to. While public posts (such as from a brand’s page) will decrease, those that create meaningful social interactions – longer and more personal comments, connecting friends and family, and so on – will be prioritised. We’ve covered this in more detail here.

Just getting a “like” doesn’t cut it anymore – you need to move beyond simply being relevant and connect your business with people’s lives – creating content that people care about, that sparks conversation and inspires. This can take many forms, including blogs which share helpful and meaningful information or video that captivates people.

Seen with the fact that 81% of people have closed a browser or webpage because of a pop-up ad, 7 these changes indicate a larger trend: businesses need to create content that is desirable to interact with – it needs to leave people feeling something other than bothered!

4) Video-content: harness the power of senses and emotions

With the ever-growing number of businesses out there and messages being relayed, how do you set yourself apart – what does it take to be memorable?

When experiences are linked with powerful emotions, we pay more attention to them and our memory of those experiences is vastly improved. Similarly, when information is conveyed through multiple mediums (such as combining audio, visual, and written text), memory is also improved.

Video’s vivid multimedia format is ideal for harnessing this potential – and social video, especially Facebook and YouTube live, create an especially effective way of communicating. 89% of all users watch a social video at least once a week and 64% at least once a day. And they’re doing more than just watching. A recent study showed 59% of people had been influenced to make a purchase by a YouTube video and 64% by a Facebook video.

The recipe for success
As any good chef will tell you, having the right ingredients is only one part of making a fantastic dish: how they’re all put together is a key part of the process.

When deciding what to focus on 2018, remember to think holistically – about the whole recipe. Your brand’s design and development, and the various parts of your digital marketing strategy, should all fit together. This doesn’t mean that they should be uniform – use different formats, experiment, and figure out how to suit the tastes of your diverse audience – but each part works together to complement the others.

Kri8it can support you in developing a fully integrated, results-driven digital marketing strategy. Chat to us now.

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