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Digital trends in 2018

by  David Dwyer on  01/01/2018    71 Reads

Grandparent’s are indomitable, aren’t they? Never backward in coming forward with constructive advice on your hair style/length, or an opinion on fashions today.

It won’t surprise you then to learn that more than half of the over 74s in the UK are already online (53% in fact.) …Grandparents are on-trend.

It just goes to show that the internet – and the myriad devices we use to surf it – is now an all-pervasive part of how we all communicate.

In fact, more than 94% of ABC1 households confirm they have internet access in the home, according to Ofcom, so chances are you did Skype someone in the family this Christmas.

76% of UK adults now own a smartphone: that’s higher than laptop ownership (64%) and tablets (58%) – and Santa is unlikely to shift that distribution in the UK.

So, the good news is that the investment you made in making your website responsive was money well spent. (If you haven’t done that yet, call us. Now!)

No I mean it… NOW!

In my blog on web design trends to expect in 2018, I had video down as my first tip. I’d like to claim I have a gift for seeing the future, but that one’s a given. According to comScore, YouTube had a cross-platform reach of 42 million users in March 2017, and UK viewers logged an average of 18 hours each that month!

So, to capture attention next year, integrating video will be a brilliant hook.

Online ad spend

As a Google Partner, it also comes as no surprise to us that digital advertising growth is being driven by advertising that targets mobile devices. In the UK, in 2016, 44% of all online ad spend was targeted at mobile surfers. (That’s £3.9bn!) And mobile display advertising stood at 51% of all internet display advertising in the same year. Programmatic ad buying – the algorithmic trading of ads powered by data – accounted for 72% of all display advertising spend in 2016.

Given that the total spend on online advertising is double the amount now spent on all TV advertising, you should plan to pay to promote your website online next year.

e-commerce

Another trend that indicates what’s to come, I predict, is the popularity of finance-related apps among 18-24s. 80% of this demographic used one during the fieldwork period for Ofcom’s research (March 2017). And among the over 54s, usage already stood at 46%.

What I take-away from that is that people are now comfortable that they can shop online securely. In the same period, 23% used their mobile phone at least once to make an online payment or money transfer.

If our willingness to use smartphones and the internet for personal financial transactions is going to grow, the impact of GDPR, coming into force in May 2018, you must act now to ensure you have taken all necessary precautions to protect your customers’ data – even if you use a third-party provider for this functionality.

Other highlights perhaps depend more on who your primary audience is.

B2C

If you are a B2C business, talking directly to your consumers, then you’ll need to reflect on the fact that 40% of UK adults confirm their smartphone is now the primary device they use for surfing, even at home. Only one in ten say it is a desktop computer, and this is only because one in five of the over 55s use a desktop device at home. Among younger ages this is already down to single figures!

 

B2B

For a B2B site, there remains a greater likelihood that your site visitor will be desk-based – for now – but even among business users, smartphone browsing is a growth trend, particularly for browsing while commuting.

Overall, in March 2017, the average time spent online by smartphone internet users was 65.3 hours, compared to 34 hours for desktop users. Bottom line: whoever you are, whatever your business, investing in your online presence will be vital going forward.

 

Return on investment

At Inspire, we’re determined that it is an investment – not a cost.

One that delivers you a return.

We can’t promise it will always be as quick as one client in 2017. This trade customer trusted us with their site after we analysed their user traffic data and discussed their key business objectives. Within 35 minutes of the new site going live they were asked to quote on (and subsequently won) a piece of business that paid for their new website in one go.

 

One for the Dentists, GPs, Chiropodists and Health professionals

This was interesting: within 7 days of the Ofcom fieldwork, 22% of UK adults had gone online to look at health advice.

In conclusion, your UK online audience in 2018 spans more than 50 million people in the UK alone, so don’t ignore them.

As at March 2017, they were online for an average of 83 hours a month. Your customers are among them, so focus on your online presence and what it is set up to achieve.

But a word of caution. You need to work out how you can grab your site visitors’ attention quickly; this article from the BBC indicates that this is within 8 seconds. [Ed: Anna (one of our User Interface/User eXperience (UI/UX) designers tells us that during her MSc UI/UX degree course the current academic teaching is that this is actually 3 seconds.] If not, they’ll be off to another website.

Getting your content to be ‘sticky’ will be another challenge to consider in 2018. (That’s content that will hold their attention during their visit, get them to return to your website, and spend longer when they do come back.)

Gaining their attention initially, can come down to online advertising.  I’ve already mentioned our Google Premier Partner status, but I can’t finish without sharing one other finding. Google Search was used by 40 million users in the UK and more than 30 million used Google Maps. We can help you make the most of this amazing doorway onto your target audience, using Google Adverts strategically, optimising your Google site profile, or exploiting the latest options in geo-targeting, using IP geographical locations to promote adverts.

It’s all part of our work as your web consultants, not just your site designer.

It’s why, as a website client of Inspire, we invite you to two planning meetings each year, where we’ll continue to update you on the latest internet trends, and keep your online investment on-track.

 

 

Continuous Professional Development, Digital Trends, Digital Trends 2018, Frequently Asked Question's, Google Mobile Certified, Inspire Web Services, Internet of Things, Responsive Web Design, Sticky Websites, The Evolving Web, UI, User eXperience, User Interface, UX Design, Web Consultancy
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