Online Marketing Trends Business Owners Need to Watch for in 2018

New Ad Formats for PPC and Social

Marketers always need to be on the watch for new ad formats in social media and in other forms of pay per click advertising. New formats come out all the time and while some disappear quickly without fanfare, some become extremely popular and are effective ways to raise revenue or awareness.

Facebook and Google have both previewed new ad formats over the past few months that will be rolled out to larger audiences in 2018. Many of these changes are designed to make advertising more effective on mobile screens. With more and more of the online experience being dominated by mobile formats, business owners should experiment with these new ad formats to see what works best.

Tighter Platform Rules for Content and Advertising

For a variety of reasons, people in 2017 took extra notice of the power and potential of digital media. Social media platforms found themselves criticized for being used to spread misinformation campaigns. Similarly, Google faced criticism for times when people use their algorithm to spread false information.

Tech companies are taking a greater responsibility for the content distributed it on their platforms. While they will stop well short of full censorship, there will be an increase in rules about what advertisers can and can’t do. This can take a lot of different forms. For example there may be more rules regarding the art of advertising images, bans on certain kinds of links, or removing ad targeting parameters that could be used discriminatorily.

With the rules constantly changing, business owners and marketers need to be careful that they are abiding by the terms of service for the platform to avoid being penalized in search results or not being able to run ads on all social media.

More International Regulations on Data Usage

In response to the issues mentioned above, many countries around the world have created new regulations on the way digital media works. This can affect everything from data collection to advertising.

In Europe, the General Data Protection Regulation will go into effect in 2018. Companies that conduct business overseas will have new requirements for how they collect and handle the data they get from customers. There are a lot of rules designed to give consumers more control over their data, but in practice, it may be a headache for companies. Business owners with international clients need to take the time to familiarize themselves with the new digital rules.

While GDPR covers the whole of the E.U., there are still further regulations coming from individual countries, like England, which has tighter rules for social media platforms. While there’s nothing so major as the GDPR on the table in the U.S., federal agencies are being more strict about certain reporting rules, such as declaring when a firm is working for certain international interests. Business owners need to make sure that they are compliant with all the current rules and regulations in the countries where they operate.

Larger Online Advertising Budgets

Online advertising budgets have been increasing steadily for years, but there’s good reason to expect their growth to be larger than usual in 2018. The recent tax cuts for corporations will provide businesses with extra resources that many will use to promote their businesses (which will potentially lead to increased sales and a need to hire more employees). This means that competition will be fierce for the best keywords and target audiences. Marketers can expect higher bids for clicks and an increased cost per impression.

Marketers should be prepared to spend a little more on ads in 2018 and be willing to experiment with the new formats. New formats normally have lower bid costs at first, since few advertisers are using them yet. And despite being new, the new formats may provide innovative and effective ways to generate revenue.

2018 promises to be an exciting year for online advertisers and marketers. Taking time to learn about changes and issues before they become problems or missed opportunities is necessary to have the most success in the new year.

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