We asked several experts from the analytics and digital marketing world to share their forecast of how their field will evolve this year. It’s no big surprise that data privacy is shaping up to be THE big topic in 2018, but it’s not the only subject we’ll see this year… Discover what the weeks and months to come may hold, thanks to these 100% natural predictions, with no added algorithms, made by humans for humans!
Every strategy will require a strong, demonstrable ROI
It would seem obvious that 2018 will be a distinctive year. Firstly, omnicommerce and customer-centric analyses will be major challenges for advertisers, and secondly, the GDPR hasn’t yet revealed all its secrets… 2018 will be the year of rationalisation! Whether innovation comes from AI, IoT, or segmentation, marketers will need to change their habits and involve the DPO (Data Protection Officer). The further projects evolve, the more technically complex they become. In 2017, certain advertisers attempted some risky IT projects, but in 2018, brands will have a much more exhaustive list of use cases and will therefore be able to base their actions on concrete examples. Each strategy will require a strong, demonstrable ROI to thrive in 2018. The underlying principle of analysing marketing’s contribution to the customer journey will remain one of marketing teams’ main concerns in 2018.
Co-founder & Head of Solution Consultants at Mazeberry
Being data-driven is no longer enough, analysing market context will be key
In 2018, companies will need to change the way they make decisions by deepening their analysis of their own digital ecosystem, and that of their market. Many companies have started to analyse their digital data to boost their business. Being “data-driven” is great, but it’s no longer enough. A lack of context can lead companies in the wrong direction. Today, it’s essential to specifically understand how users behave online to develop your business. By adopting a market intelligence strategy in 2018, companies can improve their understanding of the market. It will be necessary to monitor your digital ecosystem on a daily basis, identify risks and opportunities, and ask teams to analyse competitive strategies to implement the ones that will enable you to grow your market share. In sum, by combining market intelligence and analytics strategies, companies will be able to carry out more efficient marketing operations, topped off by higher turnover.
Field Marketing Manager Europe at SimilarWeb
Making data work for personalisation and UX
In a context where acquisition channels are increasingly costly (SEA, display…) or random (SEO), more than ever, advertisers must focus on personalising the customer experience by making the most of their data capital. The main challenge lies in reconciling the customer journey as points of contact multiply (web, mobile, smart objects…). When facing these issues, an agile approach is essential to obtaining a quick ROI.
Founder of Empirik agency
We will increasingly interact with machines using voice, and it will be more and more “natural”
Despite the hype of AI, the reality is that applications come at a much slower pace than most might expect. AI and deep learning are complicated and hard to build, implement and maintain. There is still a general lack of talent in this area (and who except the biggest tech giants can afford these types of AI experts today, anyway?), and deep learning platforms still need to be significantly simplified and productised (and made cheaper to run).
But one aspect of AI which is mature and scaled up at a commercial level is speech and text recognition. The penetration of chatbots has grown immensely in the past two years: In 2015, only 25% of companies had even heard of them, while in 2017, 75% had plans to build one. As Alexa and Siri have invaded our everyday lives, conversational interfaces are increasingly common, both in private and business environments. Natural language generation and processing algorithms, based on deep learning, get better and better at not only understanding us, but really communicating with us. If you have a chance, check out the latest generation of artificial voices created by Google: You can’t differentiate them from real voices anymore! Conversing with robots will become more and more natural to us. In fact, my 7-year-old at home commonly has conversations with Siri on his iPad (also, let’s face it: Siri is still plain stupid).
In a business context, voice-enabled interfaces will penetrate the market, and by the end of 2018, you will be able to simply query your reports and dashboards in some systems by voice.
Dr. Sébastien Foucaud
Data Scientist & Strategist, Co-Founder & Managing Director of certace
Companies must reinvent themselves and guide customers through GDPR compliance upgrades
In 2018, with the GDPR, privacy will finally claim its place as a fundamental right, as stated by the European Convention on Human Rights and recognised by the Constitutional Council (France). The stakes are immense for everyone: Digital players who have built lucrative business models at the expense of user privacy will need to reinvent themselves. And all others will need to guide their customers though this compliance upgrade which will impact our entire society.
CFO at AT Internet
Crawl budgets should be watched and optimised in 2018
The idea of a “crawl budget” was highlighted in 2017 following John Mueller’s declaration that it would be even more important to watch and optimise in 2018. With increasingly massive adoption of AMP and the unification of mobile and desktop indexes, it’s essential to be able to measure whether this budget is really being spent on your top-priority pages which generate the most traffic. Google has already announced several verticalised search engines, such as Google for Jobs. The new search console will offer specific information on sites positioned in these verticals. The use of structured data will be key to making the most of these verticalised search engines. So if you’re thinking of cheating Google’s semantic analyses, take heed. Finally, I think we will see the release of more applications and integrations for vocal assistants. We’ll witness a shift as big as when the App Store reached maturity. In such a case, the winners are often the early birds. I also think we’ll witness the pivoting of many chatbot applications toward vocal assistants.
CEO of OnCrawl
Artificial Intelligence at the service of marketers
After a show of force from tech giants, we’re now entering a phase of very concrete AI usage which promises to revolutionise a multitude of professions, notably those in digital marketing. 2018 will be a key year for implementing AI and making it work for marketers, particularly when it comes to improving the user experience (personalisation, recommendations, image recognition, chatbots…) and assisted data analysis (automatic segmentation, predictions, automated insights…). Despite the frenzy and strong trend of adopting these technologies, we must unfortunately expect some disappointment due to the gap between the narrative (which is probably overselling things) and the reality of the situation. Data quality (often insufficient) will also be a critical factor in implementing this type of project.
Product Marketing Director at AT Internet
In 2018, digital analytics skills will be democratised
You’ve no doubt heard a lot about this throughout 2017: In the context of this digitised economy, companies who want to play their cards right must be data-driven (make decisions guided by data). Even if players in the French economy have embraced this topic, we see that an obstacle to full data democratisation still remains: the siloing of analytics skills. Too often, data analysis know-how is trapped exclusively within the “analytics department”. This department therefore finds itself overloaded with requests from colleagues who have clearly understood the utility of data, but who do not possess sufficient experience to know exactly which indicators are most relevant, and most of all – how to access them. In 2018, data will therefore need to go beyond the circle of analysts and be spread to all teams. The challenge is for these other teams to be able to respond independently to their own specific business needs. And let’s not forget: It’s indeed the combination of business knowledge and data that allows for the identification of new opportunities – and not data alone. We take this opportunity to wish you a very happy new year 2018, with growth in analytics skills and data democratisation!
Thibault de Broissia
Co-founder and CEO at Uptilab
Companies will place increased scrutiny on purpose limitation to ensure GDPR compliance
As we enter the final stretch before the GDPR comes into force, the exact terms of ePrivacy are not settled yet. The accountability principle laid down under GDPR article 5.2, as well as the enlargement of the concept of “personal data” to include cookies and UIDs, will increase internal company scrutiny with respect to data initiatives. Internal transparency, to avoid misalignments or actions by “rogue engineers”, needs to be fostered, ideally considering alignment of objectives (bonuses related to KPIs).
This is also where our sector needs to know that “scrubbing personal data” from tools to ensure alignment with their terms is not enough to guarantee compliance. Firstly, because the burden of proof will be about showing it is not personal data, and not the other way around (read: data points a, b and c can uniquely identify an individual). Secondly, because purpose limitation will also need to be proven, as defined by the data controller (and not from a position of data processor, as assessed by the vendor). If data, even pseudonymized, is used for another purpose, any vendor becomes a joint controller.
In that sense, I would predict market share for certain tools – independent of how it was achieved – has peaked, as increased scrutiny will be placed on purpose limitation as well as exact definition of storage location, even before tackling whether consent will be required under ePrivacy. (Note that the current version of the ePrivacy Regulation still does not include legitimate interest.)
Founder of Mind Your Privacy