Executive's Corner
Published By:
7 Bold Predictions for Digital Marketing in 2018


Every year around this time I take a step back and to ponder some predictions for our field for the coming year. Some come to be, others are a few years early, and then there’s predictions I’m still waiting to come true years later. You can’t win them all, unfortunately. That said, the trends I’m following lead me to believe that the seven predictions below will become true in 2018. So without further ado, I present to you my seven predictions for next year:

1. Blockchain infiltrates paid media significantly

It’s the technological foundation for today’s crypto currencies. It has the ability to digitize, decentralize, secure and incentivize the validation of transactions. It’s the democratization of trust using distributed digital ledgers. Its impact will be significantly felt in the programmatic ad world – driving down costs, while eliminating waste and fraud. Blockchain companies like adChain, Bitteaser, Native Video Box and NEM have all entered the ad tech space.

2. Artificial intelligence transforms web analytics and integrates with more SSPs

We’re seeing artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and/or natural language processing being used in programmatic solutions as well as influencer advertising solutions. Many of the most successful demand side platforms (DSPs) have some form of AI already integrated. Next year will be the year supply side platforms (SSPs) will start to embrace AI en masse.

In addition, there’s a new wave of AI-driven analytics cropping up (DemandJump) in 2018. These solutions will completely disrupt the traditional analytics tools many are used to using. These will allow marketers to be more choosy with how they spend their time and ad dollars, thus, maximizing return.

3. Influencer marketing moves from a tactic to a strategy

I just finished a comprehensive case study on a small business that uses influencer marketing to power every aspect of its marketing. They only publish influencer articles on their blog and all of its ebooks and guides are from influencers. It features influencer content in all of its newsletters and its annual magazine. It even controls some of the social media accounts of some of its influencers.

This approach has led to a 35% increase in sales since last year. Influencer marketing can be so much more than a roundup post. I predict more companies will begin to adopt a strategic model like the one described above in 2018.

4. Media companies will start to take significant market share from agencies globally

Whether agencies know it or not, media companies (especially in Europe) are signing significant service contracts with brands. Historically, this budget went to agencies. The advent and rapid growth of native advertising has propelled media companies to create and build their own content studios (internal agencies).

Media companies have a distinct advantage over most agencies, too. They have their own significant audiences to tap into post content creation. This year we saw media companies branch out more by offering more than just creative services. From paid media to virtual reality, content studios are really beginning to look like full fledged agencies. The NYT has even built its own influencer marketing network. These trends will certainly be felt in the wallets of many agencies.

5. Net Neutrality elimination in the US will take a heavy toll on digital marketers

This is the one prediction I hope doesn’t come to fruition. If Net Neutrality get’s overturned by the FCC ISPs will be given the green light to create fast and slow lanes on the Internet. Potentially, this could mean that consumers will have to pay more to access certain websites and that certain websites will have to pay ISPs more for consumers to access their websites.

This literally will likely impact all of the work and tools digital marketers use on a daily basis. It also has the potential to create a massive barrier to entry for any cloud solutions – both consumer and cloud company. Imagine waking up tomorrow and not being able to access your social media accounts, analytics, Google Docs, Dropbox, Skype, GoToMeeting, and so on, and so on.

6. Native advertising agencies or agency service lines will begin to crop up en masse

To date I only know of seven agencies globally that specialize in delivering native advertising distribution of content. This is surprising given the fact that there’s over 360 native ad tech companies in this space. With native advertising spending predicted to surpass $85 billion globally in 2020, it would be shocking if we don’t see more agencies looking to get their share of it next year.

I’ve also been approached on more than one occasion by agency owners this year asking to help them create a paid content distribution team or native advertising team. This isn’t coincidence. I predict whole specialized service lines built around native advertising from agencies in 2018.

7. The native advertising technology landscape will surpass 500 vendors

This year alone we’ve seen the native advertising technology landscape move from 272 native ad tech companies to nearly 370. There’s no reason to believe this trend will slow down in 2018. In fact, on the contrary, it will likely speed up. If the Chief MarTech lumascape is any example, surpassing 500 vendors in 12 months is being conservative.

That’s my seven predictions for 2018 folks. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that number five doesn’t happen. We’ll know next month what our fate will be. Perhaps the biggest takeaway from this list is that we’re entering a new era of transparency with paid media, whether native or not. AI and blockchain will have a transformative impact on all paid media. If you think I’m off on any of the above or just have some predictions of your own, please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below. Until next year’s predictions, I bid you adieu.



Sponsored Resources

Want more resources

View all Resources



Our publication contributors combine decades of experience with unique insights into the content promotion and distribution industry.
Chad Pollitt Co-founder Relevance
Jay Baer Marketing Strategist, Speaker and Author
Gini Dietrich CEO Arment Dietrich
Jason Falls Social Media & Public Relations Thought Leader
Joe Beccalori CEO Interact Marketing
Douglas Karr Founder & CEO MarTech.zone & DK New Media
Brianne Carlon Rush Content Director Kuno Creative
Janine Popick Co-founder & CMO Dasheroo
Arnie Kuenn CEO Vertical Measures
Pam Didner Global Content Marketing Strategist & Author
Chirag Ahuja Head of Marketing WorkflowMax
Jayson DeMers Founder & CEO AudienceBloom
Erik Deckers Professional Writer Pro Blog Service
Bernie Borges CEO Find and Convert
Jessica Stephenson VP Marketing ExactHire
Michael Ferrari Marketing Consultant Pen Cap Online Marketing
Larry Alton Freelance Writer and Editor
David Tile Founder & Director Nimble Media
Kelsey Libert Marketing VP & Partner Frac.tl
Dan Steiner Co-Founder & CEO Elite Legal Marketing
Joydeep Bhattacharya Relevance Contributor SEOsandwitch.com
Jonah Bliss Founder CMO ContentIntent
Andrea Lehr Promotions Supervisor Fractl
Fernando Labastida Co-Founder Content Propulsion
Dan Moyle Creative Dir. Marketing AmeriFirst
Dennis Yu Chief Technology Officer BlitzMetrics
Arnaud Roy VP Marketing Augure
John Rugh Copywriter/Content Marketing Specialist
Justin Spicer Content Researcher, Producer & Editor
Michael Becker Marketing Support Spec. Teradata
Anna Johansson Freelance Writer
Amanda DiSilvestro Content Editor and Writer HigherVisibility
Sujay Maheshwari Founder & CEO Netcurate.com
Kelly Coulter Online Marketing Strategist
Taylor Radey Senior Consultant PR 20/20
Rodger Johnson Public Relations Leader & Consultant
Simon Penson Founder & Managing Dir. Zazzle Media
Danielle Wolter Nolan Co-Owner
Fernando Cuscuela Founder & CEO Everypost
Kelly Smith Content Manager CourseFinder
John McTigue EVP Kuno Creative
Yogita Arora Content Strategist Zoomph
Jordan Teicher Associate Editor Contently
Jonathan Crowl Digital Marketing Writer & Editor
Brian Honigman Marketing Consultant, Writer & Professional Speaker Skyword
Katherine Halek Content Strategist Signazon.com
Amanda Drinker Dooley Community Product Marketing Manager Netline
Anton Rius Digital Marketing Consultant More Than Metrics
Matthew Zajechowski Outreach Manager Digital Third Coast
Kevin Bailey Co-founder DigitalRelevance
Peter Chen Digital Marketing Consultant DigitalRelevance
Luana Spinetti Multi-Specialized Freelancer
Kyle Harper Writer Skyword
Elad Natanson Founder appnext
Maël Roth Content & Inbound Marketer Park7
Quin Woodward Pu Marketing Director Audienti
Greg Shuey Co-Founder Stryde
Jean Bansemer CEO My Web Writers
Owen Andrew Journalist
Luke Kintigh Global Content & Media Strategist Intel

In case you missed

Read more of the latest news and insights from thought leaders in content promotion and distribution.


Get the latest content promotion news and insights everyday.

Champion Sponsor

Relevance is proud to present our Champion Sponsor that helps make our site possible.

Cision Logo

© 2017 Relevance | Content Promotion News & Insights

Connect with RELEVANCE

Thank you for subscribing Your subscription has been confirmed.