As 2017 fades in your rearview, you’re probably already planning your business strategy for 2018. As the affiliate marketing industry is projected to be worth $6.8 billion in the U.S. alone by 2020, earning opportunities are abundant, as long as you stay on top of the best ways to meet your audience where they are (and with what they need).
Looking forward to the road ahead, here are the top affiliate and digital marketing trends we’re watching to help you put the pedal to the metal in 2018.
1) It’s business – and it’s definitely personal.
Thanks to data segmentation, artificial intelligence and automation, among other advances, it’s getting easier and more affordable to personalize your visitors’ experience with your site and other digital interactions. We’re right there with you; in 2017, we restructured our 1+ billion listings in large measure to give customers more personalized shopping experiences. Looking forward to 2018, customization will become even less of a nice-to-have feature, and more of a consumer expectation. Now’s the time to make it personal, if you haven’t started doing so already.
Take action in 2018: Use Smart Placements to accelerate your conversion rate with personalized, retargeting display ads. These customizable and dynamic banners identify your visitors as they enter your site and update the items displayed to match each individual’s browsing history. You’ll get the same retargeting signals that we use in eBay’s other marketing channels.
2) Voice search is no longer just talk – and it’s crucial to your SEO.
Don’t bother looking into a crystal ball for the explosion in digital assistants; with a simple glance at this year’s top holiday gifts, you’ll see Google Home devices, Apple products featuring Siri, Cortana on new PCs, and more. What the digital assistant does best is provide tailored recommendations for the best resources in a particular niche or location, so it’s not surprising that Google reports 20% of mobile search is voice.
Take action in 2018: Revise your keyword strategy; it’s got to be more conversational and best reflect how people speak and ask questions verbally. Voice search queries are also usually longer than typical text keyword search queries. It’s also helpful to use structured data on your site, which makes it easier for search engines to accurately parse your content and understand its context.
For structured data schemas: http://schema.org
3) Make mobile your go-to.
Did you know that 60% of search is done from mobile devices? Over the last few years, mobile search has surged past desktop for the most-used search devices. In response, Google has started shifting to a mobile-first index – which experts predict will fully roll out in 2018.
Take action in 2018: Mobile is all about instant access and accessibility, so focus on your site speed and user experience (UX). Also check to be sure the mobile version of your site is accessible by Googlebot and is verified with Google.
4) Viva video!
You’ve been hearing how important video is in your content mix, and if you haven’t hit record yet, make 2018 your year -- especially since experts predict that as much as 82% of online content by 2020 will be video. From YouTube (the second largest search engine in the world) to Snapchat, Instagram stories, and Facebook Live, you’ve got plenty of options to engage people in real-time, capturing their attention and interaction.
Take action in 2018: Your video doesn’t have to be perfect; focus on delivering a good quality, short video with a keyword or phrase in the title to help make it searchable AND clear to your audience what the video is about.
The New Year is already shaping up to be a dynamic, exciting one, chock-full of more digital possibilities than ever before to connect with and convert your customers effectively and cost efficiently. Before you start popping bottles, though, make sure you’ve strategically set up for earnings success in 2018.
Let us know in the comments what you have planned, and keep your eyes peeled all year long for expert insights, tips and tools to make 2018 your best – and biggest – earnings year yet.