As new focal points emerge daily in the ever-changing world of digital marketing, advertisers are constantly searching for new ways to excite and engage customers. From short videos to branded mid roll ads, from marketing cloud to news feed advertising and audio marketing, the industry in 2017 has been keeping up with changes in the environment and the consumers by constantly reshaping itself to present its consumers with a brand-new look.

For two consecutive years, leading digital marketing technology company AdMaster has surveyed hundreds of advertisers to forecast next year’s market and ensure brands receive higher returns from advertisement investments.?Two weeks into 2018,?AdMaster, in conjunction with TopMarketing, is pleased to present the “2018 Digital Marketing Trends Report”, which will provide placement guidance for advertisers and industry professionals.

The Focus of Advertisers: Content-first, Data-driven

Short videos, content-first, data-drive, artificial intelligence, context marketing, measurement and anti-fraud will continue to be the focus of marketers in 2018. Particular attention will be paid to content and data.

Brand content is being spread in unprecedented ways worldwide and valued by consumers. Content quality is more important than ever in increasing consumer stickiness and encouraging consumers to actively spread content. Content marketing and content-drive media buys are both increasing.

After years of discussing “big data”, its significance and value are gradually becoming more specific. Answers to questions such as: Which range of data does corporate marketing require? How can isolated “islands” of data be connected and how can operations be performed on them? What value can be gained from data? How can data be integrated into marketing and the entire business chain? Are finally growing clear.

18% Growth Expected in Digital Marketing Spends; Will Continue to Incline to Mobile

Digital marketing is flourishing. According to AdMaster’s data, 70% of advertisers have indicated that they will increase their digital marketing budget for 2018. The average budget will grow by 18% and almost 60% of brands will increase their budget by 10% or more. Approximately 6% of advertisers will shrink their budget, a slightly higher number compared to 2017’s 3%.

Regarding marketing budget allocation, advertisers will continue to lean towards mobile devices. 87% of advertisers indicate that they will increase their mobile marketing budget. On the other hand, PC placement has shown a continuous decrease each year: over 60% of brands have chosen to reduce advertisement placement or even not place at all.

CTV advertisement placement is a polarizing issue for brands. While 36% of brands will increase placement, another 38% will not choose to place. Advertisers are now more cautious about CTVs compared to last year.

As medium fragmentation increases and new technologies emerge, advertisers have an increasingly diverse selection of platforms to choose from. 40% of brand marketers will increase spending in “other smart devices”.

Major Placement Channels: Social and Video Platforms

AdMaster data indicates that, whether on mobile or PC, major placement always centers on social and video platforms. Social platforms are the primary channel for mobile placement, and video websites for PC placement.

Content Marketing to Focus on Web Variety Shows, Web Series, and Sports

Web variety shows and web series will become key arenas for content marketing. Regarding content marketing, 41% of advertisers will invest in web variety show placement, 41% in web series, and 31% in sports. All grew significantly compared to last year.

Social Media Marketing to Focus on KOLs and Short Videos/Live streams

Today, KOLs are as influential as traditional celebrities. AdMaster data indicates that 71% of brands will increase spending in social media marketing (SMM); on average, spending will increase 21%.

67% of brands indicated that they would focus on KOL promotion. As the influence of “we media” grows, KOLs’ popularity and influence are expected to increase as well. Utilizing a combination of internet celebrities and KOLs will become standard procedure in SMM.

As short videos and live streams flourished in 2016, major brands were quick to join in. 62% of advertisers will focus on short videos/live streams for SMM in 2018, a major increase from last year.

Aside from promotion, the retention and conversion of users are also critical. Therefore, official WeChat account operation and social media CRM will be key tasks in SMM.

DMP and AI to be Key Technologies

According to AdMaster, 54% of advertisers stated that among various digital marketing technologies, they would be most interested in DMP in 2018.

In the digital age, corporations require both large amounts of data and the ability to manage it.?A?DMP (Data Management Platform) enables companies to connect and integrate data from various sources and create commercial value from the vast amount of internal and external data “islands”, even in the face of rapid technological evolution. AdMaster believes that the connection between brands and consumers will become highly intelligent, and DMPs are the “brain” that will make this a reality.

In the past year, Alpha Go brought AI into the public eye, reminding society that AI wasn’t far away from daily life, and Alibaba’s design AI product Luban, capable of designing 8000 banner ads per second, was released. So far, AI has been ubiquitous in voice recognition, medicine, transportation, and metropolitan life. Possible marketing applications may be endless.

The marketing industry is undergoing an?evolution. In the next few years data and intelligent technology will be key. AdMaster CEO?Calvin Chan?says: “When data becomes a necessary component of marketing, when brands’ needs are based on business, there will surely be more?innovations?and radical?changes. By using data and technology ahead of the curve, we have always aimed to help brands maximize marketing ROI and help corporations optimize every link in their connections with consumers and create commercial value.”