Digital Assistants Become Marketing Machines

Since the introduction of voice-automated devices like Siri on iPhones or Alexa on Amazon Echo, brands have been able to adapt to this technology and develop apps that enable users to consume information about their brand using only their voice. Although Amazon has stated that Alexa will remain ad-free for the foreseeable future, many companies are present on the system with “Skills,” which are apps that brands develop to help consumers utilize or purchase their products or services through the device. Companies such as Domino’s and Ford have created applications that enable you to do anything from ordering pizza to unlocking your car with just a shout to your device. Although there is no blatant advertising, there are subtle hints that are well targeted. For example, if you tell Alexa to re-order a product that you have previously purchased, you may get a response that suggests trying other similar products in the same category. Companies have also been working to establish “audio logos,” which is a sound or jingle that people associate with your company such as Intel’s infamous chimes. More brands will be creating these as a means to have customers recognize their brand on audio-centered devices like Alexa that don’t include visuals.


Mobile Marketing

Cell phones have quickly become the primary electronic devices for people all over the world and have replaced traditional computers, cameras, MP3 players, navigation systems and many other items to become the ultimate all in one. For this reason, it is no surprise that brands have been focusing on ways to optimize websites for advertising on mobile devices for the past few years. One of the main solutions in which companies are focusing their resources is developing custom apps for both iPhone and Android. Custom apps allow customers to learn information about a company, receive messaging and special offers, and streamline service offerings. Many companies will also focus on improving the load times of their websites in 2018. Research has proven that 53% of websites are abandoned if it takes over 3 seconds to load. This poses an issue since the average load time is a whopping 19 seconds on a 3G network! Cutting down the time will maximize website views and increase overall ad revenue.


Shifts in Social Media

In 2017, one of the most popular social media platforms, Twitter, decided to abandon their iconic 140-character limit to extend to a longer 280. This comes following a 5% loss in revenue and decline of users in 2017. The change allows users to share double the amount of information in a single tweet, which takes away from the previous challenge of having a limited amount of characters to get your message across. The past year also saw an addition of advertisements on platforms that had previously been ad-free since their initial launch. Both Snapchat and Instagram began posting sponsored content on their apps, including custom branded geofilters and features that allow you to link posts to e-commerce sites. Brands have utilized these new features in conjunction with influencer marketing so that customers can easily locate the products or services that are featured in the ads.


Go Au-naturel

To paraphrase Kendrick Lamar, “I’m so sick and tired of the Photoshop!” We are too, and so are many companies such as clothing retailers Aerie and ModCloth, who have taken vows against using Photoshop on their models. Other parts of the world, like France, have developed laws that require brands to disclose whether their ad has been digitally altered. Girls and women are negatively impacted by the use of Photoshop, as they represent an unrealistic standard of beauty that they feel they should adhere to, which can affect the reputations of brands who are caught using this dangerous technique. Many celebrities have spoken out against this faulty advertising strategy in response to seeing altered pictures of themselves in magazines or on the internet. In 2018, we will see more companies moving in a more realistic direction with photography, embracing the natural beauty of models and showing people and products for what they truly are.


Influencer Marketing is the New Celebrity Endorsement

When influencer marketing began to boom last year, many brands started to shift their advertising spend making a go at this more targeted, measurable tactic. Traditionally, brands would choose a celebrity who is well-liked by the general public to advertise their product and become part of the branding strategy. Since social media has grown in popularity, anyone can become as famous as a celebrity simply by posting content online and gaining followers. Since these “influencers” are normal, everyday people, they hold a more genuine relationship with their followers and tend to be more trustworthy. This is a form of advertising that is safe from ad blockers and will help you to target the exact demographic that you are looking for. Many companies specifically use YouTube stars that focus on a niche topic to advertise for them, so that their followers who are already invested in the topic or industry will be interested and engaged. Brands will typically commission influencers to mention the company’s name and products in their content, or send them free products in hopes that they will mention them on their platforms. At the end of 2017, it was reported that 41% percent of businesses are only spending 5% or less of their advertising budget on influencer marketing. In 2018, these numbers will grow as more companies adapt to the benefits of using influencers as a marketing tool.


What advertising trends are you predicting for 2018?