2018 will be the year expectation becomes reality. The world of marketing has been waiting for the ‘next step’ of many things this year – and in 2018, it is finally going to happen.
My predictions this year involve search, intent data and consumer confidence – familiar areas, but aspects of our world which, in 2018, I expect to evolve more than ever before. Search will become pervasive and hence smarter than we’ve previously experienced, brands will be stepping up to the mark in response to consumer demands for a more authentic-driven purpose, whilst intent data will become gold dust for marketers.
My top three predictions for 2018 are…
- Search matures – even more
In 2018, the role of search will have the biggest part it’s had to play in the marketing process for some time. Search will create the potential to unveil even more consumer truths and opinion than currently possible, providing brands the deepest ever insight into the people behind the searches. Particularly with the economic and political events set to impact our society in 2018, such as Brexit, search behavior will act as a brilliant, real-time reflection of what is on people’s minds and reveal where they are seeking out information. Brands are now fully cognizant that today they are expected to go further and give something back.
Throughout the year there will be a relentless online interest in what is happening – and, what is likely to happen. For publishers, in particular, the opportunity lies in understanding consumer’s real-time visit behavior on articles and stories, compared to the competition. Examples such as Brexit will strike political intrigue and next year, brands should keep their eyes and ears open to economic indicators driven by online behavior across the UK.
- Consumer confidence continues to grow
In 2018, consumer confidence and loyalty towards brands will dramatically improve. Brands are now fully cognizant that today they are expected to go further and give something back. As a brand, understanding your audience is crucial here in order to make sure you are championing authentic content that will resonate with those who engage with you. Brands can use these insights to improve and retain relationships with their audiences and will ultimately build more authentic content in 2018, promoting brand transparency – then, they must begin to reassess their audience’s loyalty in terms of trust and longevity of the relationship.
However, with the effect of GDPR on consumer’s data availability, the brands which will garner the most consumer confidence will be those that respect the value of each consumer and interact accordingly. Trust and confidence are harder to gain and even easier to lose. Therefore, to build trust, brands must use audience insights in smart and informed ways, to better their relationships with customers.
- Intent grows more important
In 2018, there is a strong possibility of the pound weakening versus other currencies. 2 sectors in particular which are likely to get hit are the travel and auto industry. With thinner margins driven by economic uncertainty, brands will need to work harder to attract audiences to their offering.
Consumer purchase behavior is changing, meaning during 2018 search and internet visit data will remain a crucial indicator of consumer intent, acting as a source of insight to help identify new audiences. Brands must stay alert to this from the off, drawing on behavioral patterns, website visits, and search intent, to adapt to consumer demands and ensure they both support and retain their audience through turbulent times.