With a new year right around the corner, small business owners everywhere are planning their digital marketing strategy for 2018. Old techniques that may have worked this year could be gone next year. Search engines and advertising channels are constantly changing, forcing business owners to adapt. So, what kind of digital marketing trends can you expect to see in 2018?

Automation

One trend that’s sure to take off in 2018 is automation. Rather than performing every marketing task manually, small business owners are now using software and systems to automate these tasks. Customer relationship management (CRM) software, for instance, often contains built-in tools for automating the delivery of emails. This is a huge benefit that saves time and resources, allowing you to focus on other aspects of your business.

Live Video

Another digital marketing trend you can expect to see more of in 2018 is live video. Also known as streaming video, it’s becoming an increasingly popular advertising method for small businesses. According to a report by Cisco, live video traffic is expected to grow by 1,500% from 2016 to 2022, attesting to its popularity.

Facebook Ads

There’s also a growing interest in Facebook Ads, and for good reason. According to HubSpot, only 2% to 6% of non-paid, organic Facebook posts are seen by users. What does this mean exactly? It means that unless you pay for traffic using Facebook Ads, most of the content you publish on the social media giant won’t be seen, nor will it help you accomplish your digital marketing goals.

Visual Content

While text content isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, many small business owners and digital marketers are acknowledging the benefits of visual content. Whether it’s video, photos or infographics, content is becoming more visual.

User Experience

For search engine optimization (SEO), you should focus on creating a positive user experience. Granted, search engines will continue to look at your site’s backlinks (both quality and quantity), but user experience now plays a larger role in SEO. If visitors leave immediately after landing on your site, it tells search engines that they didn’t find what they were looking for. On the other hand, if visitors stay after landing on your site, it signals a positive user experience, in which case you’ll probably achieve a higher search ranking.

Big Data

Finally, Big Data is becoming a fundamental tool used by small business owners in their marketing campaigns. Statistics show that more than 6 billion devices will be connected to the Internet by 2018. Small business owners can use this to their advantage by collecting data and applying that data to their marketing campaigns.