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10 trends in online promotions that will dominate 2018

by | Dec 29, 2017 | Marketing, Public Relations

During 2017, the paradigm of online ads and marketing changed rapidly—mostly because of quick developments on social media networks. Instagram established itself as the social network with the most impact and growth, while Facebook offered continuous changes that have come to define it as a great online ad network, and YouTube became an important platform thanks to video domination and video marketing strategies.

Digital campaign management firm Easypromos predicts that in 2018 we will see these trends blossom, which make up an expansion and diversification of the online relationship between brands and customers. Digital marketers will utilize all the effective promotion and ads tools to create this highly interactive experience, while quickly discarding the actions that aren’t showing good results according to their planned goals.

In this context, Easypromos has prepared a forecast of the top 10 booming trends that will dominate promotional marketing in 2018.

1. Less display ads and more interactive ads

Display ads are not achieving as good a conversion anymore nor are they being well received by the audience, as a study of the state of online advertising from Forrester shows. Customers seek more long-lasting, close and interactive relationships with brands and that’s why branded content and native advertising are gaining ground.

The trend points to using digital advertising to seek interaction with the user and that way achieve more effective advertising. The aim is also to catch the attention of the target audience and encourage them to perform some action to get to know them better. In this manner, online promotions can be the channel that allows the user to interact with the advertising campaign. The trend is campaigns with different formats where the ad banner is the gateway to a more active and entertaining promotional action. Features like the new ‘poll’ option on Facebook and Instagram are part of the same trend.

2. Lead capture contests connected with CRM and DMP

In 2018, the periodic use of competitions with an organized entry form will continue to expand, as an effective inbound marketing tool to attract leads. Likewise, integrations with systems such as CRM (Customer Relationship Management), DMP (Data Management Platform) and marketing automation tools will not only grow in usage, however will be a focus of rapid development and improvement as the gathering and use of audience data continues to become increasingly important.

3. Giveaways to grow on Instagram

The unstoppable growth of the Instagram community, both by personal users and companies, has generated an accelerated evolution of online promotions on this social network. Brands applied prize draws in their posts even before the Instagram API allowed the extraction and monitoring of the participants. The fact that many brands have switched to business profiles, along with the new version of the Facebook API, has allowed brands to manage their Instagram activity far better. This by itself predicts a progressive and constant increase in the number of giveaways and contests on this social network for 2018, and previously noted throughout 2017, but a wave of even higher growth will be attributed to the implementation of new links on Instagram seen in sponsored Stories.

4. Creative sweepstakes to activate Facebook community

The social network par excellence is more limited in terms of the requirements to participate in sweepstakes and promotions. This aspect, added to the constant loss of organic reach, makes brands look for more creative and effective ways to promote their posts and work their community. Increase the gamification of the draws on Facebook, using more dynamic formats such as gifs and videos, and combining them with small games to achieve interaction with the community, entertain the audience and retain it longer on the page.

The goal is the same—to achieve viral reach and brand awareness—but the creative and economic effort must be superior to achieve a good performance. The prize is important to attract the attention of the users, but the action will be much more attractive if the game component is added.

5. Prizes based on promotional codes

Promotional codes are confirmed as an effective action to reach the target audience on social networks and encourage purchases in both online and physical stores. Among its benefits are that they are easy to track and measure conversion in sales and physical visits. In addition, for the brand it becomes an easy way to distribute prizes. Marketing professionals devise more original and creative ways to offer these promotional codes as prizes; dynamics that transfer traditional offline actions to the online world such as ‘scratch and win’, ‘winning codes’ or instant win’ are sought after. In 2018. the gamification actions in the distribution and validation of online promotional codes will intensify.

6. Continuing growth in video contests

For a few years now, the consumption and production of video is gaining ground among Internet users, especially thanks to the expansion of smartphones that make it easy and convenient to watch and create video content. The use of video contests is increasing among companies that have a strong online strategy because they allow brands to obtain UGC in video format. This type of content is more readily accepted and believed by a brand’s potential audience far better than traditional ads. One of the goals of this type of contest is to encourage participants to share their videos on social networks, thereby turning customers into brand ambassadors.

7. Contests on Youtube, Facebook and streaming videos

Studies like one done by CISCO foresee the increase of video consumption until 2019, reaching 80% of the total content consumed on the Internet. Given this trend, Video Marketing is the clear path to providing super relevant content to one’s target audience both for imparting a brand’s product information and gaining feedback from their audience. This is why all social networks prioritize videos, and brands take advantage of contests and sweepstakes within videos to get more engagement, viral reach and interaction from viewers. These promotions are already being observed in brands and influencers’ videos on Instagram, YouTube, and in posts and live videos on Facebook.

8. Increase in the volume and ways to use hashtags

For years now, hashtags have been widely used on Twitter and Instagram, and the use has been passed on to Facebook, although this network does not allow intensive tracking of hashtags because it only retrieves the relevant ones disseminated on public pages. Instagram is testing the possibility of following hashtags, in addition to following profiles or brands, and this opens up for even more use of hashtags. Hashtags have already become the natural way to filter content on Twitter and Instagram; it is also used to relate brand content, and to monitor the content generated by the user that is linked to an event, a brand, a theme, a holiday or other types of celebrations. An increasingly global use of hashtag contests and sweepstakes is predicted to boost online communities and generate brand or product awareness.

9. Contests as recurring actions in inbound marketing strategies

Marketing professionals who work with inbound marketing verify that sweepstakes, contests and promotional apps help attract traffic, capture leads and qualify them. The use of these resources within this field of marketing is increasing at the same pace as inbound strategies are acquiring more supply and awareness. They work both from social networks, as a way to generate visits to the website and capture data, as embedded in the blog or website to turn visitors into leads. In 2018, this area will continue to develop rapidly.

10. Instagram Stories and instant message platforms, new booming channels for dissemination of promotions

The evolution of social networks has also been modifying the channels used by both brands and participants when it comes to disseminating promotions. The rise of Instagram and its limited ways to spread external links has generated the intensive use of Stories to disseminate promotions and giveaways, and direct traffic to the place where users can get more information. Also naturally, participants have been intensifying the use of instant messaging apps to disseminate promotions and their participation in sweepstakes and contests. It is expected that this use will increase and it is predicted that the ways these actions are shared can be further diversified.

Maybe they will not be a trend in 2018, but next year we will also see some promotions that integrate or use aspects that are new in online marketing such as bots, the intensive use of audio, geofencing, the competitions integrated in Whatsapp or the new survey systems of Facebook and Instagram.

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Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richardc@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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