The most successful marketers have one thing in common. They find a way to gain an edge over their competitors. Marketers who can analyze the trends and prepare for the future have the best chances of setting their companies up for success. You don’t want to be the last one to jump on the bandwagon. Let’s look at  the top 3  marketing trends for 2018.

1. Live video streaming

Social media platforms paved the way for the live video trend. Instead of using social media for posting pictures and videos, you now have the ability to stream live stream live content. Take a look at how marketing experts are expecting live video to rise over the next two years:

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If you weren’t using live video to interact with your customers in 2017, it needs to be a priority for you in 2018. Studies suggest 80% of consumers prefer watching a live video from a brand as opposed to reading a blog. And 67% of people are more likely to purchase a ticket to events like a concert after watching a live stream of a similar event.

Some of the most popular live video platforms include:

  • Facebook live
  • YouTube live
  • Instagram live
  • Twitter
  • Periscope

 

2. Artificial intelligence (AI)

Artificial intelligence will continue to rise in 2018. If you’ve been to any marketing conferences or events in the last year or so, you’ve probably seen at least one session on AI. AI tools are used to analyze consumer behavior. Once the behavior is analyzed, these robots can make decisions according to how they are programmed. AI robots can start to take over some basic human roles, which will allow your team to spend more time on assignments that require actual human insight.

An example of AI you may be familiar with is a chatbot. These computer programs can have conversations with your customers. I’m sure you’ve been on a website where a “customer service representative” popped up to start an instant message conversation with you. That’s an example of a chatbot. With artificial intelligence on the rise, marketing executives feel unprepared for this trend.

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Now is the perfect time for you to educate yourself on the use of AI to improve different areas of your business. It will give you an edge over your competitors who aren’t prepared.

 

3. Micro influencers

These are people on social media who have relationships with companies and get paid to promote products on their personal profiles. It’s a legitimate marketing strategy. When it comes to social influencing, to be considered a celebrity, one has to have over 1 million followers. People with 500k–1 million followers and 100k–500k followers fall into the macro influencer and middle influencer categories, respectively. Micro influencers have between 1k–100k followers on social media.

Brands are reaching out to these micro influencers because it’s easier for people to relate to them. Let’s be honest. Not many people can connect with celebrities. Plus, it’s obvious when they’re promoting something on their profiles. You may even have doubts that those celebrities use the products they’re pitching.

But it’s much easier for the average person to relate to a micro influencer. Why? Well, for the most part, these people aren’t actually famous. They have normal jobs and live regular lives. But they happen to be popular on social media.

Take a look at how micro influencers are perceived by consumers: 

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In this case, less is more. Notice the difference in user engagement between influencers with 1k to 4k followers and influencers with over 100k followers. Consider finding some micro influencers to represent your company on social media.