Trends are difficult to keep up with. Just as we find ourselves comfortable with one, another pops up. And another, and another. As we settle in to 2018, popular trends have solidified their presence, and have lingered long enough for us to wrap our heads around. Below are some of the top digital advertising trends of 2018 that you and your business should know about.

1. Mobile, mobile, mobile

As of January 2018, approximately 33% of online traffic in Canada was generated from mobile phones. Think about it. How many times a day do you check your phone? Twenty? Thirty? Apple found in a recent study that iPhone users unlock their phone an average of 80 times a day. We use our phones for pretty much everything, and have come to expect certain things when we do:


When we search the web for information, we want that information ASAP. According to HubSpot, 40% of users will leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load. So, do your customers (and your business) a favour, optimize your website for mobile.


Today, not only is search engine optimization determined by keywords, but also by design. How many times have you given up on a website because it was hard to navigate? Exactly. DO NOT simply downsize the desktop version of your website to fit on mobile. This will only result in frustrated users!

Local Optimization

You’re on your way home from work and craving pizza. You type “pizza” into your phone’s browser. The results that come up are all for nearby pizza joints or Italian restaurants. When we search on our phones, we expect the results to be local. If you’re building your business’s website yourself, follow these tips to make sure your business is ranked effectively in local searches.

2. Video advertising ​

It is expected that video will represent 82% of all internet traffic by 2021. But keep your videos short! According to a study from Microsoft, the average attention span of a goldfish is nine seconds. The length of a human’s? Eight.

Video ads also lead to higher conversion rates—using video on landing pages can increase conversion by as much as 80%!

3. One size does not fit all

In this digital age, it is becoming increasingly important to tailor your ads to a specific audience. Customers expect personalization, and want to know how your product will meet their individual needs. Luckily, platforms like Facebook and Google are making it easy for you as the advertiser to define and target specific audiences.  

4. Search engine marketing or social media marketing?

Social media marketing has been a popular choice for many marketers. But recent changes to major social networks has forced businesses to rethink their approach.


In January 2018, Facebook announced a change to users’ newsfeeds—more content from friends and family, and less from businesses. What does this mean? Organic reach for businesses will be harder to achieve. Not good news for smaller businesses who relied on organic reach as their primary promotion source.


As of July 2018, users and third-party apps will no longer be allowed to post the same content to multiple accounts. Twitter hopes this new policy will keep the platform “safe and free from spam.” Whether this will work or not remains to be seen, however it does mean that some businesses will need to rethink their social media strategy.

As social media marketing becomes more challenging, businesses are turning to search engine marketing. It was reported that in 2018, businesses will commit more than 41% of their marketing budgets to digital marketing—with the largest part used for search engine marketing (SEM) strategy and campaigns.

5. Customers talk

Most of us are well aware of the power of reviews. According to Search Engine Land, a staggering 88% of consumers now trust product reviews as much as advice from friends and family. But did you know reviews can affect your search rank on Google? Google looks at your Google reviews, Facebook reviews, Yelp reviews and more. The more reviews your business has, the better. But that’s not all, the quality of the reviews also matters. Why would Google want to prioritize a business in the search rank that has a one-star rating?

Reviews don’t only play a role in search rank, they also play a crucial role in your buyer’s journey. According to a study by the Pew Research Centre, 50% of adults under the age of 50 read reviews before making a purchase. A positive review could be the deciding factor in whether a customer follows through with their purchase or not.

Provide your customers with an easy and obvious way to write reviews for your business. But be sure you are asking them and not incentivizing them (this could get you into trouble with the Federal Trade Commission).


While not all of these trends may be applicable to your business, keep them in mind when planning your marketing strategy. Most important however, is to remember the common denominator between them all—digital. In 2017, Advertising Age reported that digital advertising spends surpassed TV for the first time. Digital is the present and the future, and those that don’t realize this will soon get left behind.


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