What’s your new year’s resolution? Hitting the gym more? Eating better? Saving more money? Living out fewer eye-rollingly obvious stereotypes of new year’s resolutions?

Sure, sure. But what about being a better digital marketer?

With digital sucking up more marketing dollars than ever before (forecasted to exceed $100 billion worldwide by 2020, according to eMarketer.com), innovation is the driving force. Never before have new media existed so rapidly, forcing marketers to simultaneously be experts in past platforms and students of new ones.

In 2018, that means wise marketers will understand what areas to keep on top of and what’s worth studying up on in the coming 12 months.

Stay On Top of the Basics

We’re talking content marketing, SEO and analytics. These have been core tenets of digital marketing for years, and their viability is not diminishing. The fundamentals will likely remain the same in 2018, and your most important skills will be staying on top of them.

SEO and content marketing go hand in hand, and search engines (hello, Google) are constantly changing the way their algorithms work. By checking in with your targeted keywords and SERPs, you can adjust your own work to reflect any possible changes coming up in 2018.

Keeping minute records of your analytics will help, too. In a world where slight fluctuations beyond your control can cost you search and social presence, the only safeguard you have is to understand your own situation, KPIs and past performance numbers.

Next-Level Social

Social media companies are constantly changing, and just like with the basics of search and content marketing, you’ll need to stay on top of your social analytics to figure out what’s still working and what’s not.

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Keeping on top of your Facebook analytics is critical for success on the platform.

Just look at what’s changed in social media in 2017: Twitter doubled its character count; Instagram introduced e-commerce ads; Vine officially folded; Facebook changed its algorithm and advertising structure something like a thousand times; a hundred new social platforms probably came out that we’re not even aware of.

Integrations with newsletters and Google Analytics are literally changing on a monthly basis. Redesigns mean old image placements can become obsolete. Influencers are being outed as racists with surprising frequency.

So when you’re talking to your social media manager, be sure to accommodate for the fact that their landscape is changing more rapidly than anywhere else in digital marketing. It’s what makes the job exciting—but also challenging. Who knows what 2018 will bring?

Video’s No Longer Just Video

Brands of all stripes have consistently shown what an asset new tech can be. Virtual reality, 360-degree videos, live streaming and sharply edited bite-sized social videos have proven a hit for brands across the web—none of which existed to this extent four years ago.

digital marketer

Remember her? Brands wish they had this kind of authenticity.

It’s no secret that the social media platforms love and prioritize video in their algorithms (it keeps people viewing their platforms longer), so lean into that and make video a priority in 2018.

Looking for inspiration? Consider low-effort, easily uploaded videos with minimal editing. Facility tours, new product showcases and goofy holiday notes are just a few examples of things you could shoot on your phone that would delight your social followers. If you’re comfortable, going live on any of them can cut back on editing time and boost your social numbers, too, by showcasing your video to all your followers immediately.

If your budget allows, go bigger with video projects and invest in a 360-tour of your agency or a VR campaign you can take on the road. Even a tightly written, well-edited five-second video can work wonders for you on YouTube, if the quality is high enough.

But these bigger investments take time and money, of course. If you’re new to video, make 2018 the year you dive in deep. If you’re already convinced, now is the time you should dive deeper.

The Future is Now: AI Isn’t Creepy Anymore

Well, not as creepy, anyway.

As chatbots have slipped into our daily customer-service routines, their sophistication is growing at a rapid pace. Chatbots can help small businesses with small staffs in particular; when you’re growing a business, it can be extremely helpful to have something automate responses to general queries and help customers find what they’re looking for.

Of course, Artificial Intelligence goes beyond chatbots, too, and is everywhere from Google Assistant (or Siri or whomever you prefer to hang out with) to machine-learning algorithms, market research and speech-recognition software. Finding out how best to utilize it for your digital marketing skills in 2018 will be up to you, but finding a way will keep you ahead of your competitors.

So what are you waiting for? This is the most futuristic-sounding year we’ve lived in yet. Welcome to 2018.