By Katie Zupancic Wymer

2017 is the year of Facebook Live video, omnichannel communications, Instagram Stories, and personalization. We’ve seen the introduction of hip buzzwords like Chatbots, and we’ve explored email trends and social media trends to help keep our clients at the forefront of marketing.

As we start November, planning is well underway for 2018. In fact, for many of our projects, we’ve been planning for 2018 since July. Now that we’re wrapping up 2017 digital advertising efforts and are kicking off 2018, what learnings should we take with us?

Because your team is busy executing 2017 events, wrapping up 2017 marketing efforts, and is likely deep in planning/launching 2018 marketing efforts, we’ll keep this short and sweet: here are the top four digital advertising concepts that need to be part of your 2018 plan and the questions you should be asking your team to make them happen.

Use video in your paid strategy, especially on social.

It’s no secret that video is everywhere in digital marketing – Facebook alone gets over 8 billion average daily video views. With strong conversion rates and the Facebook algorithm’s blessing, videos need to be a part of your paid advertising plan. Videos give you the opportunity to visually tell your event’s story and why your mission is important to potential participants – all while also incorporating a registration call-to-action. PRO TIP: Videos can be a great asset to a lead generation campaign.

Questions to ask your team:

  1. Do we have video content, or do we need to capture it at our remaining 2017 events?
  2. Are we equipped to build videos, or do we need to loop in a production company to help us?
  3. If we have video, have we considered testing square videos, vertical videos, or Instagram stories?

Take an omnichannel approach.

Whether one person, one team, or ten teams dictate your marketing efforts, your advertising needs to be omnichannel. Omnichannel marketing is about hitting your target audience at the right time on the right place/platform with the right ask. This should be across emails, ads, organic social media, and even direct participant cultivation. A seamless message and look and feel can’t be limited to only one platform – everything needs to be in sync to effectively recruit new and returning participants to your event.

Questions to ask your team:

  1. Are we planning our marketing across teams, or is each platform team (organic social, paid social, paid display, ecommunications, direct cultivation, etc.) working in a silo?
  2. Have we synced up promotions and sales across all advertising platforms and teams?
  3. How will we check in throughout the year to make sure each team is aware of the other team’s priorities and needs?

[Re]Identify your social media audience.

When you look at your social media content, who are you writing for and who is engaging with your posts? Make sure that you’re not just “entertaining” current participants and brand loyalists. Social media is a place to educate, cultivate, and engage desired participants, too. Ensure that your social media team is aware of your recruitment goals and that they aren’t working in a silo. (Did we mention taking an omnichannel approach?)

Questions to ask your team:

  1. Who (demographics, psychographics) are you talking to on social media now?
  2. Who do you want to attract to your event as a new participant?
  3. How is social media helping both of these audiences along their participant journey?

Start building a chatbot.

Chatbots live within a messaging portal for users to chat with to answer questions or to receive special offers and content. Chatbots have huge potential to help educate and support your participants and to streamline your participant support process. Not sure where to begin? Check out this post to get up to speed.

Questions to ask your team:

  1. What kind of content would educate and help current and desired participants?
  2. How does that content evolve once they register?
  3. Who can build and implement the chatbot?

Our team is feeling invigorated by the 2017 digital advertising trends moving into 2018, and we’re excited to help our clients continue to take advantage of “the next big thing” in digital marketing. Feeling overwhelmed by 2018 planning? We can help.

Katie Zupancic Wymer (LinkedInTwitter) is the Senior Manager, Consumer Marketing at Event 360. She manages digital marketing strategy, social media strategy, and sponsorship for MuckFest® MS, the FUN mud run in support of a world free of multiple sclerosis. She also manages digital marketing for other fundraising events like Bike MSNewly Minnesotan, she enjoys exploring her new home with her tiny dogs, Annie and Charlie.

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