A look at the digital marketing trends poised to shake things up in 2018

The one constant in life is change. It may be an old and somewhat overused cliché, but that doesn’t make it any less true.

And in a world where marketing and marketing-related initiatives are being shaped by digital technology at a pace that couldn’t have been imagined even a decade ago, it’s more important than ever to understand what’s on that digital marketing horizon.

It’s no surprise that for institutions of higher education, marketing budgets remain tight. At the same time, it’s crucial to milk as many inquiries, applications, acceptances, deposits, and enrollments as possible out of every marketing dollar spent.

So as the end of 2017 nears and budget planning for 2018 moves ahead, here are some things to think about in terms of digital marketing trends and tactics that could impact your bottom line.

Talk to Us

We’ve all seen them. The quizzes, polls, and puzzles on Facebook and other social media platforms that will tell you which celebrity you were in a former life, or what European city is the best fit for you, or whether you’re in the top 1 percent of all humans who are able to see a particular shape in a picture first. It’s called interactive content, and it’s a great way of actively engaging readers or visitors to your website. Think about ways to incorporate interactive content into your digital marketing efforts, such as a personality quiz to determine the best healthcare career for you, or a survey about campus technology.

Mobile, Mobile, Mobile

There’s no denying it—the use of mobile technology continues to rise and it’s not going to change anytime soon. Couple that with the fact that everything is trending toward video, and it becomes clear that mobile video will continue to rise in popularity. In fact, many reports indicate that while video consumption on computers and laptops has started to decline, video views on phones and tablets will rise by 25 percent. So whether it’s a video about a particular academic program, learning facilities, student outcomes, or whatever, make sure it’s properly rendering on mobile devices. And if you’re not taking a “mobile first” approach to your digital content strategy, it’s time to start.

Stream It

As video continues its powerful presence across most social media platforms, expect more and more users to want, and in fact expect, live video content. Not only did video streaming constitute a solid majority of all internet traffic in 2017, studies show that viewers will watch live streams three times longer than pre-recorded video content. Look for events and activities around campus that would make for good live streams, like athletic events, social gatherings, extracurricular activities, visiting speakers, etc.

How Can We Help You?

Forging an immediate, personal connection with viewers and visitors to your website and social media channels should be a high priority in anyone’s strategic marketing plan. One way of doing just that is through artificial intelligence (AI) tools and chatbots. And all indications point to the use of this type of technology gaining steam. Chatbots are ways for a school or business to interact with visitors in real time, helping to personalize the experience of its interface, and direct them to information that’s most relevant to their needs right then and there. This technology is being used by schools currently; look for it to become even more present and to offer expanded capabilities.

If You Hack It, They Will Come

There’s a good chance your institution has already engaged in growth hacking, a digital marketing tactic that will continue to help organizations shape their online presence. One of the more common forms of growth hacking is search engine optimization (SEO), which is all about increasing the odds that someone who’s already expressed interest in your offerings will find his or her way to your digital interface. Other examples of growth hacking include offering incentives for someone to spread the word on your organization. Creativity is the name of the game in growth hacking, and that game is about increasing your brand awareness across a broader audience.

Get to the Point

This one isn’t necessarily limited to digital marketing, but it’s too important to ignore. There’s power in brevity, especially when it comes to your audiences and the amount of time they’re willing to devote to your messaging. When it comes to your mobile content—whether that’s website copy, photo captions, or videos—it’s crucial to keep it short.