As the sun gets ready to set on 2017, most companies are busy planning their marketing budgets for 2018. Although budgets vary substantially throughout organizations and industries, research by eMarketer and Forrester Research indicates that companies will likely spend between 30–45% of their overall marketing budget on digital marketing in 2018. Gartner also released its CMO Spend Survey 2017-18 recently highlighting increased investment into digital advertising.

According to the Communications and Marketing Survey 2017/18 by integrated communications and marketing agency Cognito, more budget is expected to go into digital marketing – SEO, SEM and email (57%), social media (54%), marketing and communications technology (52%) and digital advertising (48%). On the other hand, 52% of those surveyed stated the budget for corporate communications will remain the same over the next 12 months.


It’s helpful to know where industry leaders are spending their marketing dollars. The majority of the findings aren’t very surprising; businesses are continuing to invest in social media platforms and marketing professionals heavily. But, you may be surprised to see how much certain sectors are allocating towards research and analytics.


Top Digital marketing trends in 2018 by Unliche

Marketing Expenses by Industry

The continued rise of Content

Spend on Content Marketing continues to see a healthy and steady rise. According to 2016 BuzzSumo content piece, the future of content is more, not less. Platforms like The Washington Post publish thousands of posts each day, and Google increases its number of indexed pages by the millions each year.

Across the web we are seeing significant content growth, the number of Google indexed pages has grown from 1 trillion to 30 trillion in the last 7 years, which is immense.

Marketing Technology

Martech continues to account for a significant proportion of CMOs’ spending power, with 22% of the total marketing expense budget allocated to technology. According to’s Scott Brinker, marketers had nearly double the number of marketing technology solutions to assess and vet last year than the year prior. The challenge CMOs are facing today is where to focus and where to invest for sustainable growth.

IDC predicts that CMOs will drive marketing technology spending to $32.3B by 2018. Data is king and If you have the right data, then a professional digital marketer can understand the exact customer behavior and what it takes to deliver the best efforts. Especially this year when the trend of providing real-time responses to consumers in becoming increasingly crucial, associating data with the right tools will be very vital.


According to Gartner’s annual CMO Spend Survey, the strategic priority of marketing analytics for CMOs has been evident for some years. This priority is backed by firm spending commitments by companies. Out of 13 marketing capabilities, CMOs allocate the most, 9.2%, of their total marketing expense budget on marketing analytics. Marketing analytics jumps ahead to the No. 1 area of spending compared with last year, when it came in at No. 4 behind the website, digital commerce and digital advertising. The emphasis on marketing analytics comes as marketing leaders must eke every cent out of existing programs and refocus on ROI by centering efforts on the right customers.

Top 5 digital marketing trends in 2018 by Unliche

The increasing pressure to justify spend, optimise return on investment and evaluate different channels and content is boosting investment in smart measurement and analysis.


Businesses are seizing every opportunity to differentiate their brand in the competitive industry and there is always an attraction to video. With a video, people tend to accept and attach on a much deeper level due to the usage of visually-rich and interactive elements depicting a proper message or story. And, as a consequence, audience is tempted to take considerable action in terms of likes, shares, etc.

Mobile users are spending more time than ever with their smartphones, with the excitement to watch videos online being proportionate as well. It is clear from the following stats that online video trend is growing rapidly in popularity.

  • YouTube registers more 18 and above years-old audience during peak TV hours than any cable TV network.
  • Advertisers on prime time broadcasting TV could gain 56% more audience of 18 to 49 years-old through advertising on YouTube.

Mobile video advertising is expected to grow significantly, from $6.72bn in 2017 to $9.90bn in 2018.

Native Ads

According to Business Insider, Native advertising will drive 74% of all ad revenue by 2021.The reason is that brands simply see higher brand lift and engagement through native ads. As brands understand the shift to a mobile-first consumer behavior, they have to create strategies which focus specifically on this channel. The point of native advertising is to put the right information in front of the viewer when they actually need it.

In US alone, native digital display ad spending has grown from US$16.21bn in 2016 to US$22.09bn in 2017 and is expected to grow to US$28.24bn in 2018 (Source: eMarketer study, March 2017).

So, what is right for you?

It is different for every business. Ultimately, it comes down to understanding your business needs, what is the desired impact and who your target audience is. It’s also important to monitor your competitors and their marketing activities, what are they doing there and how does it impact your business?


Measure, Analyze & Optimize

One of the most important tasks is to measure your efforts. If something isn’t working, change it. Then measure it again. And repeat. A Successful digital marketing strategy is not “set it and forget it.”


Our Recommendations:

  • User Experience: Start with your website or app and ensure you are delivering a rich experience.
  • Digital Marketing: Invest in digital marketing including a combination of content marketing, native advertising and social media marketing.
  • Media Selection: Choose appropriate digital media and native ads based on your goals. Broaden your reach with display advertising, video, remarketing or meta search advertising.
  • Analytics: Strong analytics will ensure you are meeting your goals effectively. Make sure you include at least one tracking & analytics tool in your marketing budget.
  • Martech: Maximize the ROI of your martech investments. Build a martech roadmap that captures business requirements and use the roadmap to identify opportunities, to rationalize and refocus tools that deliver overlapping functionality or redundant capabilities


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