Towards the end of each year, we look back on various marketing trends and put our heads together to predict what may happen in the next year. Way back in December 2017, we looked at ‘what will happen to digital marketing in 2018’, and now the year is over, we can see if we were right! Is it time to pat ourselves on the back, or continue to think about certain changes for another year, wishfully?
Life as an agency
What did we predict? Our wonderful Head of Strategy, Lee Dobson, predicted that 2018 would be another excellent year for all agencies. His main points were:
🗣️ Agencies will be pushing to increase exposure, especially through blogs and case studies.
🗣️ Agencies will be creating more outstanding proposals and reports to distinguish from the rest of the market.
🗣️ Agencies will need to increase their online presence – investing in a new website especially.
Were we right? It looks like we were! As competition and demand for help outside of office operations grows, agencies need to fight for their spot in the limelight. 2018 saw agencies becoming more innovative than ever; the amount of interesting and remarkable content that blessed our screens was mind-blowing.
We took Lee’s wise predictions into account throughout 2018 and worked on the quality of our content more than ever before. Our digital marketing blog has gone from strength to strength this year; have a read through for all the latest tips and inspiration. As well as this, we’ve got an ever-growing catalogue of case studies which are shining brightly on our website.
Not to mention we also launched our new website in August 2018 which had a huge positive impact on our performance!
Big day for @BulldogAgency with the launch of our new website!
— Lee Dobson (@LeeDobson) August 8, 2018
Looks like we should listen to Lee more often…
Changes for SEO
What did we predict? Next up, we have our Senior Relationship Manager, Andre Pierrie, and his predictions. Andre decided to focus on changes in SEO, making three bold statements:
🔍 Voice search will continue to evolve, and SEO’ers will need to start thinking about changing the way they do keyword research in order to prepare.
🔍 Businesses who do not yet have a mobile-optimised site will need to make this priority in 2018, with more than 50% of all Google searches coming from mobile devices.
Were we right? Andre took the safe route with his predictions and avoided cementing down any specific changes. However, each point he made was very accurate, and 2018 further confirmed this!
✅ Voice search continued to be a huge (pardon the pun) talking point in 2018, and a report stated that 58% of consumers used voice search to find information within the last year. That’s a pretty high stat for something that is supposedly up and coming.
✅ In 2018, it was found that 61% of mobile searchers are more likely to contact a local business if they have a mobile-friendly site. That’s far too high of a percentage to ignore and would have most certainly pushed businesses towards making the update!
✅ As well as this, Google officially announced page speed as a ranking factor for mobile results, putting another big tick right next to our algorithm predictions.
What did we predict? Olly Hawkins, our PPC Analyst, predicted a few excellent turning-points for the PPC world in 2018. He suggested the following:
🔍 There will be less attention on keywords and more emphasis on audience targeting.
🔍 Plenty more features to be released, including ‘Google Optimise’ which Olly is most excited for.
🔍 Our clients PPC campaigns will continue to sky-rocket thanks to all these new features!
Were we right? All in all, we have another right prediction! While keywords still play a huge part in the optimisation of a PPC campaign, there is no denying that campaigns are now steering towards audience targeting. Google proudly announced that their AdWords platform was to become Google Ads mid-2018; creating a simpler experience for users. Why else would Google remove the ‘words’ from the platforms name?
While we made it our mission to help our clients paid search campaigns skyrocket, it’s great to look back and see what we achieved through our case studies. As you can see, the PPC team knuckled down and got the all-important results Olly predicted!
Link building remains strong
What did we predict? Over to our Head Of Outreach, Buzz Carter, who used his years of experience and skill to make some straightforward predictions for 2018:
🔍 Link building will still be one of the most important parts of any SEO campaign.
🔍 More focus will be on building strong, high-quality links.
Were we right? Of course! Link building has continued to be one of the most important techniques to utilise in order to boost online presence. As we all become more aware of blackhat techniques, only the content of the highest quality will make it to the rankings.
Social media: fight or flight?
What did we predict? Back in 2017, our Digital Marketing Executive, Emily Wilson, picked apart the four major social media platforms; to see where they were heading in 2018:
🔍 More fun content will be created in 2018, focusing on video creation in particular.
🔍 Facebook and Instagram will be the platforms to watch, whilst Twitter and Snapchat start to fall behind.
Were we right? We’ve recently published a blog post all about the biggest moments in social media from 2018, which is certainly worth the read if you’re social-obsessed and looking for things to look out for in 2019. Good news – some key takeaways from this blog fall in line with Emily’s predictions perfectly!
Video became a huge talking point in 2018, with Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook all hosting the ‘stories’ format. As well as this, Instagram and Facebook now both have live streaming platforms to cater to the fast-growing world of video.
As it stands, Instagram is the third-largest social media platform behind YouTube and Facebook. As predicted, Twitter and Snapchat started to decline in 2018; will they pick themselves back up in 2019?
The evolution of content marketing
What did we predict? Many aspects combine to make the perfect content marketing strategy, whether it be from a designers point of view or writers point of view. Here’s what Ryan Toomey, our Head Of Design, plucked up:
🔍 Video content is going to become more popular; not just on social media.
🔍 More interactive content will be used.
🔍 Content needs to be optimised for all types of devices.
🔍 VR (virtual reality) will be something to keep an eye on in 2018.
Were we right? ✅ As mentioned previously, 2018 was a huge year for the progression of video – we even got on board and began our very own video series called Behind The Bulldog! Not only has this been great fun, but it’s got people engaged in a way that wouldn’t have been possible without video. We recommend jumping on this bandwagon.
✅ As well as video, 2018 saw a rise in interactive adverts, in particular. Nothing gets an audience more excited than choosing their destiny whilst watching an advert!
✅ As mentioned previously, 50% of all Google searches are coming from a mobile device – need we say any more about optimising all content for mobile?
❌ Unfortunately, VR didn’t take the content marketing industry by storm in 2018 as much as we hoped. However, we haven’t lost all hope, as some teasers have kept us wanting more. Watch this space!
So, can we tell the future?
It’s very reassuring to see that the majority of our predictions for the digital marketing world in 2018 were correct! Yes – our ego’s are sky high right now. The world of search is fast-paced, making it extremely difficult to predict. However, if you analyse the latest trends and watch what works well, it’s pretty easy to get a forecast of the foreseeable future.
What was your favourite digital marketing trend in 2018? Have you made some predictions for 2019? We’d love to know!