It’s looking like its going to be a big year for digital branding. I look forward to the various changes, movements, and trends that businesses and individuals soon will adopt. Knowing what to look for will be half the battle so keep reading to get my eleven digital branding trends to watch out for in 2018.
The influx of a new, younger audience is a motivating factor in many of the digital branding trends that will take root in 2018. If your brand is looking to excel in the digital space, you must keep an eye on what how our youth are connecting with brands in the digital space. Most of the aforementioned trends will drive from youthful behavior, savvier consumers, and outdated digital marketing tactics.
Digital Branding Trends to Watch Out For in 2018
Staying ahead of digital branding trends is imperative if you want to stay relevant in the digital space. I’ll outline what you can look forward to in the coming year. Take these trends and incorporate them into your digital branding strategies.
Digital Branding Trend #1: Focus on Generation Z
The oldest members of Generation Z are 22 years old now. They’re beginning to enter the workforce and will only be increasing their buying power. This means that brands will have to shift their digital branding strategies to reflect this change.
Although millennials are arguably just as tech-savvy as their younger counterparts, the members of Gen Z seem increasingly interested in using the technology as a purchase platform and a method for engaging in brand conversations. Consider that 29% of “older Gen Z” members listed the most influential method of marketing as seeing or hearing about a brand on social media, compared to just 12% of “younger millennials” who hold that same belief.
In addition, 81% of Generation Zers report watching at least one hour of online videos a day. This may be why you can expect to see bigger investments into Snapchat and Instagram in the coming year.
Digital Branding Trend #2: Influencer Marketing Growth
Influencer marketing has been determined by its users to be a successful platform for getting their brand out there. Companies like North Face, Hubspot, and Rolex are already using social media-based influencer marketing to connect with their audience and to create new audience members.
Traditional advertising can lead to an inability to connect with social media users. Millennials are already advancing in their careers, with Generation Z following quickly behind. This means that an enormous population’s purchasing power is increasing rapidly. These two groups combined comprise most of the world’s population and are more influenced by influencer marketing than by traditional advertising efforts. This trend is only going to grow as Generation Z continues to age.
Digital Branding Trends #3: Surge in Chatbots
The need for instant gratification has only been growing. People want answers to their questions right away, or they’ll lose interest and move on to something else.
Before you respond too quickly with a host of mistakes or freeze like a deer in the headlights with the pressure to get information out fast, consider the increased satisfaction with chatbots.
Chatbots are even available through Facebook Messenger. They can give your digital brand the opportunity to interact quickly with your audience on a more personal level.
With chatbots, you can send personalized content with your customized brand voice directly to your audience. Already there are around 100,000 active chatbots on Facebook messenger with over two billion messages exchanged between brands and their audiences every month.
2018 may be the year to test chatbots for your business if you haven’t already.
Digital Branding Trends #4: Overlapping Social Media Channels
Instagram Stories is still growing, but it has over 200 million people using it every month already. That is 50 million more people than those that are using Snapchat. Instagram Stories uses 28% higher open rates than Snapchat as well.
The popularity of these features has seen a trend in similar platforms offering timed videos and visual content. You’ll have to be very selective about which platform to invest your brand in. Taking advantage of analytics and reporting features will help you decide which one will give you the best return.
Digital Branding Trends #5: Video Growth
Using Instagram Stories and Snapchat, brands can create video content and share it right away. Creating your own video content with a strategy to connect it to the written content on your blog will be vital moving forward in 2018.
Videos are undeniably popular to online audiences. Videos drastically outperform all other forms of content in every study. With such an upward growth already, it’s easy to say that videos will continue to be big in the coming year.
Digital Branding Trends #6: Facebook Going Mobile
Facebook is one of the last social media sites that wasn’t originally designed for mobile use. In 2012, Facebook made the leap to transition their site from desktop to mobile friendly. Now, five years later, their efforts are a success. It is hypothesized that by 2020, 59% of Facebook users will only use the site through their cell phone.
Savvy marketers have been using mobile optimization for their industry for a while now. With Facebook so close to being dominated by mobile use, brands will need to stay away from creating content that’s not optimized for mobile.
Digital Branding Trends #7: Increased Relevant Content
Consumers have become fed up with reaching a website only to find content that has nothing to do with their interests.
Consumers have been pretty consistent and clear in their feedback, the way to avoid alienating them is to give them what they want — personalized, relevant content using their data in a responsible and transparent way.
Audiences want targeted personalization. Analytics tools on social media platforms are morphing, becoming more detailed and valuable for your brand. You’ll have the data to give insights into crafting more personalized content for your audience. Use this data!
Digital Branding Trends #8: Social Listening
Examining what people are saying about your digital brand is a great way to determine brand performance.
Research has shown that in one month 14,000 people searched ‘Can anyone recommend?’ and 30,000 people searched ‘Where can I buy?’. 60% of these questions were never answered by the businesses they were addressed to. What a waste!
Take advantage of the social mentions of your brand. This will give you great insight into the challenges and pain points of your audience. Social listening can give you valuable information on your audience and your competitors that will give your brand an advantage going forward.
Digital Branding Trends: #9 Rethinking Twitter
A big change is coming to Twitter, even if they don’t realize it yet. Twitter failed to have any significant growth in 2017, and even lost the rights to stream NFL games to Amazon. LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram have all seen more growth than the stagnant Twitter.
Because its growth is the slowest of all the social media platforms, Twitter is going to need to make some major changes to stay relevant. These changes may include selling the company to private investors, revamping the advertising options, or including a subscription option.
If we don’t see any major changes soon, you might be better off focusing more on Facebook and Instagram.
Digital Branding Trends #10: Publishing on Social Media
Social Media platforms have been pushing the limits to give users the option to move beyond just sharing content and into publishing their own content.
LinkedIn has been establishing their credibility as a publishing outlet this year. Companies like B2B marketing have been using the platform to publish their influential articles.
Not to be outdone, Snapchat and Instagram have been changing as well. They are working to create linking features that allow users to simply swipe to read articles.
Facebook is also offering a similar feature with Facebook’s Instant Articles. This has become increasingly popular with content creators to publish their content directly to the Facebook App.
Digital Branding Trends #11: Purpose Driven Marketing
With the changing demographics, digital branding is turning to connect on an emotional level. This is a big change from just sharing news or unveiling a new product. Consequently, brands are using purpose driving marketing to target their audience based on shared need and interests.
Millennials and Gen Zers are also more interested in supporting good causes. 91% of Millennials say they would switch brands in order to be associated with one with a cause.
Your brand can partner with nonprofits, charities, or even create a ‘give back’ program to give your brand a stronger presence. This change can give your brand a stronger presence by aligning your purpose with the values of your audience.
Instagram is thought to be the social media platform that will best enable these changes in 2018.
Final Thoughts on Digital Branding Trends for 2018
Digital Branding is facing some major changes in the coming year. The trend to focus on social media influencers are going to elicit some drastic changes that some brands may not be able to keep up with.
Remembering to utilize chatbots, videos, nonprofit campaigns, and mobile websites will help to keep your brand relevant in the year to come.
What digital branding trend will you adopt this year? Post a comment in the section below…