At the start of a new year, every digital outlet will take a punt on trends to watch out for for the coming year. We often take these things with a pinch of salt but this year we decided to curate our top five of ‘things to watch’ which might actually make a tangible impact on the way you market your business. We’ve done the hard reading so you don’t have to!

1. No More silver bullets

You may have heard of Neil Patel. In SEO circles he is like a God and in his article here, he suggests that we’ll all have to optimise to make super marginal gains. Patel talks about how companies like DropBox scaled through Peer2Peer and Quora did through SEO. The trouble is as the market saturates these channels become oversubscribed and everyone is vying for the increasingly time-poor and cynical set of eye-balls. Optimising all channels marginally will give you the competitive edge. So, if you are too reliant on SEO – try PPC and vis-versa and if you have discounted email before due to lack of resources, perhaps now is the time to think again.

2. Conversational Marketing

Smart Speakers and Chatbots are now ubiquitous. Voice search will become more and more prevalent as our devices get smarter and 5G drives the next wave of interconnectivity. If we think mobile, post-2007 as the web 2.0 the next wave of innovation will see a true paradigm shift. So, how will conversational marketing work in practice? The scope of experimenting with this type of technology will, invariably, be limited to brands with deep pockets, for now, anyway. Why? A.I of some description will be needed to trigger it. Air Canada, for instance, have experimented with the tone of voice for their search marketing with some compelling results:

3. No more shiny new toys?

Coca-Cola recently suggested that they would be slowing down their experimentation with new digital channels. Drinks giant Diageo also suggested the same. They would instead, focus on digital channels they know work. It would be a shame to see innovation slowing down at the start of a new decade but I suspect that larger brands now feel they have ‘done’ a lot of their test, learn and refining and are bedding in their decade long bank of knowledge to now truly optimise.

4. Social Gets Scrutinised

Cambridge Analytica may have been but it is not gone. Scrutiny over the social media giants influence over society will become more magnified, particularly if there is any more perceived interference or ‘dirty tricks’ in the US general election. If there is the erstwhile leader of the Lib-Dems, Nick Clegg may have his work cut out. We will watch with interest as to whether the UK government or the EU start to legislate over their influence.

5. Get BREXIT done.

An election-winning slogan but will BREXIT get done? Data sharing, especially when your economy is 80% predicated on services like finance is important so GDPR is an obvious thing to watch the news for. If you are a brand who runs an eCommerce store and advertises across Europe the BREXIT negotiation news could have a very real impact on your business. Moreover, a trade deal (and alignment) with the EU will be closely watched by many large corporates as according to many CEO’s investments in the UK is being withheld due to a lack of clarity.