How social, GDPR, chatbots and predictive analytics will impact 2018

by | Dec 19, 2017 | Public Relations

This past year, 59 percent of marketers reported their top challenge as increasing open rates, up 8 percentage points from last year. To combat this challenge, email marketers are expected to incorporate additional tools and tactics into their current marketing program with 31 percent believing email landing pages would be the greatest ROI boost.

Campaigner, the email marketing brand of j2 Global, recently announced the results of its annual Digital Marketing Industry Report study, which indicates that in the face of emerging technology and digital disruption, email still prevails as the preferred communications channel for marketers. Signaling a shift in tactics, marketers plan to integrate a greater degree of predictive analytics into marketing programs while moving away from content marketing.

“We’re pleased to see that marketers plan to use emerging technology in their marketing strategies in 2018, though not as a replacement for email marketing,” said EJ McGowan, VP and managing director of Campaigner, in a news release. “While increasing open rates continues to be a challenge, the latest innovations in technology such as artificial intelligence and predictive analytics will allow marketers to craft relevant and targeted messages that capture subscribers’ attention.”

How social, GDPR, chatbots and predictive analytics will impact 2018

Facebook continues to reign supreme

Social media is becoming an integral platform for marketers, with 73 percent having listed it as a top strategy used in 2017. As social media marketing integrations become more seamless, this channel will likely build on its existing dominance. In fact, in 2018 62 percent of marketers plan to prioritize social media as a marketing medium.

Yet some platforms are more successful than others. For instance, social giant Facebook received the most support from email marketers with 48 percent planning to invest most in the site. Behind Facebook are Twitter and the less buzz-worthy professional networking site, LinkedIn; both will also attract greater attention from marketers, with 12 percent and 11 percent, respectively, planning to invest.

Conversely, social media platforms focused on visual content rather than text will likely see a decline in marketer investment. While Snap continues to innovate its platform with new tools designed to increase ad revenue, only a mere 1 percent of marketers will invest most in the social app, and only 8 percent are planning to invest most in Instagram for 2018.

Marketers don’t know what GDPR is—and this is a critical situation

The majority of marketers are not familiar with the European Union’s GDPR regulations, with 87 percent reporting unfamiliarity with the upcoming mandate. In fact, only 1 percent have listed GDPR compliance as a priority marketing goal for 2018—a serious problem for marketers who may unknowingly be noncompliant.

Compliance will be mandatory for all businesses collecting data or doing business in the EU beginning May 25, 2018. However, some marketers are still unsure whether they have emails from the EU residents in their email lists. In fact, 61 percent of email marketers report not having any EU email addresses in their systems, while 19 percent are unsure.

“It’s imperative that email marketers familiarize themselves with GDPR to ensure they do not mistakenly break the law,” McGowan said. “In order to truly understand how this regulation will affect marketing campaigns, marketers need to understand the basics. Little known to many marketers, implementing GDPR regulations can actually have widespread benefits to an email program, like increasing open rates and engagement.”

Age of high-tech: Marketers expect to see a more predictive 2018

With new innovations coming to the forefront of marketing this coming year, predictive analytics stand out. As adoption of this disruptive technology grows, it is on track to reach an inflection point in 2018. While only 5 percent of marketers implemented predictive analytics in 2017, 44 percent expect to see more of it in 2018.

Additionally, chatbots continue to rise in popularity, with 19 percent of marketers expecting to see increased usage next year. However, despite their market infiltration, 90 percent do not see chatbots as the biggest threat to email marketing.

“Marketers continue to have an overwhelming amount of confidence in email while they adapt to the changing market,” said Seamas Egan, associate director of revenue operations at Campaigner, in the release. “With an increased interest in predictive analytics, subscribers can expect even more personalized campaigns from marketers in 2018.”

As the new year approaches, it’s important for email marketers to consider new technology and determine whether these tools can help extend their brand’s reach and ROI.

The online survey was commissioned by Campaigner on November 7 through November 13, 2017. The survey sampled 506 email marketers from the Campaigner customer base, and the average margin of error is +/- 4%. See full survey data here.

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 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter


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