What The Experts Predict For 2018

As the dust starts to settle on the New Year, it's about time we start considering what to look out for in 2018. To help you understand what trends will be taking the digital marketing world by storm in 2018, some of our dedicated tutors and experts have compiled their predictions for the year.

Content Marketing

Creative Director and Founder of Vandal London, Social Media expert and IDM tutor in the IDM Award in Content Marketing Will Francis predicts how brands might use content marketing to stand out from the crowd.

As consumers get their content through ever more diverse means - watches, TVs, voice assistants et al - 2018 will challenge marketers to think beyond snappy videos and keyword-heavy blog posts (though they remain useful). Equally, live video and ephemeral content will challenge brands to open up to new formats and ideas, to let their audience in like never before.

Many brands will start to question their organic social media presences in 2018, reassessing who it is they're actually talking to, whether they're still there and whether the hamster wheel churning me-too content is even worth being on. And rightly so, we as marketers need to stay diverse in terms of owned and paid media channels, retaining control of our destiny and staying creative about how we inhabit these digital spaces.

In 2018 we will once again see that great content marketing starts with a brilliant idea, well executed. And there does appear to be a trend for higher investment in original content, particularly in video and audio. This is great for brands who are prepared to stand out, and a win for our consumers who ultimately want to be entertained, not marketed to.

Gain the knowledge and expertise to take your content to the next level in 2018 with our IDM Award in Content Marketing led by Will Francis.

Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO)

Dr Dave Chaffey, IDM course tutor, author of Digital Marketing Strategy, Implementation and Practice and Content Director of digital transformation advice site Smart Insights discusses the role of CRO in 2018.

We can expect an increase in use of Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) and, in particular, structured AB testing of websites by smaller businesses in 2018. I predict this since Google's Optimize launched out of beta in 2017 and offers free AB website testing where up-to 3 tests can be run simultaneously. This is a limited version of Optimize 360 which is a paid-support service used by larger organisations. It also offers simple personalization for company websites, so we can also expect that more companies will use testing alongside personalisation to determine the best combination of messaging, creative and offer to use in rules-based personalisation. Larger companies will harness machine learning /artificial intelligence to deliver more relevant, more granular targeting based on context than is possible with setting up manual rules.

I recommend this Digital Experience Personalization Pyramid as a simple way to review your digital experience capabilities.


Discussing everyone's four favourite words, the DMA's Director of Policy and Compliance John Mitchison lets you know they key points of the General Data Protection Regulation.

2018 will be the most significant year in the careers of all but the oldest marketers or anyone involved in data. GDPR will have wide ranging and as yet not fully understood consequences. The 25 the May when the regulation comes into force will not be the end of the process, in way it will be the beginning as people get to grips with the practicalities of the changes. 2018 will see guidance getting frequently updated and amended as ideas and our understanding becomes more fine-tuned. It will not be the end of the world, business will not come to a grinding halt. The ICO will not start dishing out fines like parking tickets, no one will get fined millions of Euros. The responsible marketing industry will continue to take on the challenge of the changes and become better and provide better services as a result.

Get prepared for the GDPR now with help from IDM Professional Certificate in GDPR.

The rise and rise of AI

Multi-award winning marketer and the IDM Educator of the Year Steve Kemish predicts how AI might go to the next level in 2018.

Without question we will see, hear and read more and more about Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the year ahead. But like all great shifts in a market, be ready and armed for both edges of the blade.

No doubt we will see even more of the good - the way IBM Watson crunched video to create highlights at Wimbledon 2017 or the way Phrasee is tearing up the book with system-generated and perfected subject lines for email marketing, we will also see a plethora of wolves in sheep's clothing.

AI has great potential for marketing and advertising. If harnessed properly it will become a powerful part of our arsenal, but be wary of the dubious suppliers of AI, the lookalikes and fakes. Much like "programmatic", AI as a term is already being banded around by many that have little or no idea what it really means.

My advice; get learning and get under the skin of AI early. Take the time to learn and understand the basic principles so as to ensure you back the right tech to help power your marketing in 2018 and so you can keep those wolves from the door.

Virtual Reality

Mobile marketing expert and found of mCordis Paul Berney deliberates whether or not 2018 is the year of Virtual Reality.

2018 will not be the year of Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality or Mixed Reality from a marketing perspective. The early attempts to introduce these solutions, Google glasses, Microsoft Hololense, Gear and the forthcoming Magic leap were and are taken up only by innovators always keen to try out the new and next. But as mainstream marketing tool, they have some way to go.

The Pokemon Go game demonstrated that there is consumer appetite for mixed reality gaming and we can expect more advances in gaming, entertainment and the adult industries (let's be honest here). The Steven Spielberg film Ready Player One set for release in early 2018 will also offer us a glimpse of the VR future. However, we can expect there to be gains with mixed reality in non-marketing areas like servicing and maintenance. A lot less sexy but with a stronger business case. That doesn't mean marketers can ignore AR/VR/MR; they should keep a close eye on developments to see if they play some part in in 2019 plans or three year plans set this year. A good starting point would be to read The Inevitable by Kevin Kelly or The Forth Transformation by Scoble & Israel.

Get prepared

So now you know what to look out for, how will these prophecies transform your marketing? To help you get up to speed with these potential changes, the IDM offer a full portfolio of digital marketing courses and qualifications in various key fields. Our Professional Diploma in Digital Marketing is specially designed for digital, data, direct and brand marketers to broaden their digital skillsets. To learn more, download our latest prospectus.

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