2018 Digital Marketing Trends

Who is your most valuable audience? Your digital strategy should lead them directly to you. But the landscape changes quickly. How do you keep up? Here’s our take on actionable insights you can (and should) incorporate into your marketing strategy, including advances in online display targeting, content marketing and video.

Fruit Company Offered Finest Products, but Lacked Measurements for Success

With zero ability to measure ROI on marketing initiatives and zero integrated digital marketing strategy, Shoreline was operating at a disadvantage. Though their website effectively meets the needs of direct visitors, Shoreline Fruit was missing a vital component – a holistic marketing strategy designed to expand their audience, reaching those still steps away from the “visit a website” piece of the customer journey. They had built the piece, but the audience wasn’t coming. We dug into the data-driven realities of Shoreline Fruit’s ideal and targeted audience. Using this market research data and our understanding of the stages of the customer “path to conversion,” Advance 360 fashioned a comprehensive campaign. The campaign focused on identified targets as well as other targets determined during our collaboration with Shoreline Fruit. Next steps involved converting this knowledge into action.

“One of the things Advance 360 will be helping us with specifically is social media. Since January, our Facebook likes have already grown 116% and our LinkedIn followers are up 146%.”

fruit-stats2 Fruit Company Offered Finest Products, but Lacked Measurements for Success

Total App Downloads Outpace Goal

Smart strategies and swift optimization create engagement beyond expectations.

 

We all have dozens of apps on our phones. How did we learn about them? What’s the difference between those we use everyday and those that we barely touch, yet refuse to delete from our device? And how does the originator of the app influence us to download or purchase their app over a competing one?

In this case study, you’ll see that the special blend comprised Google App Ads, Paid Search, Social Media and Display impressions, but the clear winner was social media.

PREMIUM APP WITH A ONE TIME INVESTMENT OF $12.99

B-app1 Total App Downloads Outpace Goal

FACEBOOK ADVERTISING RESULTS IN ONE MONTH

B-app2 Total App Downloads Outpace Goal

In the two months represented by this data, 334 total downloads were made from the social channel. Using targeted social ads led to a dramatic increase in purchases from this space.

IOS APP ANALYTICS: 2 MONTH RESULTS

B-app3 Total App Downloads Outpace Goal
B-app4 Total App Downloads Outpace Goal

Reduce Spend in Search, Improve Results

A national e-learning company was falling short of e-commerce revenue goals and experiencing a negative ROI on their marketing strategies and campaigns. Advance 360 was able to develop a digital marketing strategy that efficiently allocated budget dollars to turn around this trend within a four month time period. The end result was increased on-line revenues as well as a decrease in SEM spend.

How to decide “Should I bid?”

Many marketers struggle with the decision to bid or not to bid on brand keywords through paid search. It can be a daunting decision.

At Advance 360, we first analyze businesses and their competition to determine if we should bid on brand terms. If competitors are bidding on a business’s brand term, we want to bid to the top position to outrank the competition.

If we do not find competition bidding on brand terms, we want to take our research a step further. Our Search Engine Marketing (SEM) team can run tests in specific geographies and analyze the cost versus the cannibalization of organic traffic as outlined in this article. With the results of this research, our clients feel a definitive answer regarding bidding on their business’ brand terms and we deploy a plan.

For more, check out this article which explores determining when it’s worth it to bid and when it’s better to let organic do the work.

Recruiting International Students

According to the Institute of International Education, more than one million college students studying in the U.S. are international students, and 47% of those are from China or India. Due to limited funding, more than half of these students elect not to make a campus visit before starting classes. The US has always been the destination of choice for international students, making your digital marketing strategy around an international audience even more necessary.

We’ve outlined some strategies below to help universities marketing to prospective international students:

SEO/SEM

If you were an international student, how would you go about searching for universities in the United States? You would probably search for something like: “programs for international students in the United States” or other similar phrases. Having your university’s web page appear on the first page of that search’s results will enable you to be visible to international students. If you are a very small university it may be hard to compete with larger ones through organic search results, which is where paid search can help. 

Digital Content

Digital content is all about knowing who your audience is and writing for them. Use relevant and useful content to attract prospective international students, like rates specific to international students, as well as information, and answers to frequently asked questions to help make their decision easier. By providing as much relevant information as possible, you will be a step forward ahead of your competition. Remember, your content strategy will elevate your SEO rankings, too.

Mobile

study by UVersity.com showed that international students use their mobile device to visit websites, download university apps, take a virtual campus tour, and view university social media. Having a mobile-friendly website that is engaging and has a fast response rate will allow you to make a good impression on international students. But before you have prospective international students looking at your website university, you need to get noticed. Mobile marketing will allow you to reach the audience you have intended while getting your university’s name out there for prospective international students to notice and research.

Social Media and Other Grassroots Strategies

International students want to communicate with admissions counselors, international services, and students during the admissions process.

  • Use your international alumni to intrigue prospective international students. Create testimonials that you can quote and refer to on your social media accounts. You can also use your international alumni to create a page on LinkedIn. Invite current and former international students to join the page so that perspectives can view it and find someone to connect with that went to college abroad and can give them valuable advice.
  • Use your social media account to promote materials that are important to international students. You can promote materials about the number of international students there are on campus if they are relatively high, or you can promote materials about clubs/organizations that are on campus to help international students feel acclimated on campus.
  • A picture is worth a thousand words. Using Instagram is second nature for current teens which is why utilizing your university’s Instagram and advertising on the platform will help increase your university’s brand presence with international students. Posting pictures of campus and students will give international students a feel for campus life without physically being there. Keep in mind that generic photos of campus are no good, make sure the pictures capture candid moments.

SEO Priorities

Every year, Hubspot assembles the “State of Inbound,” a comprehensive report that examines the challenges, priorities, and strategies of more than 3,500 marketers and sales professionals from around the world. The report covers just about every topic in the inbound marketing world, but some of the more interesting statistics revolved around SEO and SEO strategy.

SEO remains relevant and important, but it’s changing dramatically. In 2016, 69% of marketers described prioritizing SEO growth in their strategies. If you are like those marketers, the full report may be reflective of your own thoughts, or may give you a fuller understanding of how this component is expanding among your other efforts.