Chris Sheard is Head of Acquisition at and has over 6 years experience working in the Marketing industry, both agency and client side. In our latest blog, looking at what the industry predicts as the biggest topics for 2018, he discusses advances in Google Analytics and how personalisation is becoming an expectation from customers. Read about what he believes are the top 5 areas that marketers just cannot ignore this year.

Attribution modelling and the redefining of our marketing spend.

One of the best ‘new’ Analytics features in 2017 has been Google’s model comparison. For those who haven’t played around with it yet, Google allows you to quickly try different attribution models as an alternative to the traditionally used last click model and measure the impact on your channel performance mix.

It is of massive if you are marketing a product that requires multiple visits or a considered purchase value.

One of the key benefits of this is that those channels that typically get less love, because they don’t drive immediate revenue (think social, display or more general PPC queries) but are crucial in that customer journey, may finally get the strong business case to get more support.

While the use of different attribution models is nothing new- the free and easy access is and that could have a massive impact on how 2018 budgets are spent.

The evolution of influencers

Influencers have become a hotly debated subject, and I continue to see polarised views on its future. The reality is that 84% of marketers plan to invest in this activity (source: and there is some exciting and ground-breaking work in this area.

On the flip side, some say that the influencer area could be set to implode and for good reason. Costs continue to increase, transparency of paid work continues to remain poor and the quality and credibility of influencers has started to become diluted.

It’s an area of digital marketing that search engines are likely to want to reign in, and the role of influencers being redefined in 2018.

GDPR and the unexpected impact on some businesses.

I’m sure every marketer’s email box has been flooded with emails about GDPR for months now. There is a great digital marketing podcast by Michael Morrissey (The GDPR interview) that is definitely worth a listen if you are unsure how it could impact your business.

One of the more unexpected implications of GDPR is the pressure it potentially could create based on personal requests for data. In a nutshell, you will be able to contact any company that holds personal data on you, and they are legally required to provide that information within 30 days (rather than the current 45) and free of charge (previously required an admin fee).

Without a financial barrier to entry, shorter time frames to hit and strong rumours that a few of the PPI firms could refocus on this area. Be prepared for a sharp increase in inquiries!

There is a risk that the real impact of GDPR on 2018 could be the resources and focus it will demand.

Personalisation across the whole customer journey becoming a basic level of expectation.

It still amazes me that one of the largest online retailers serves me content that is completely irrelevant to me, even when I am signed in to my account. With all the concern around data privacy, it’s often forgotten how valuable millennials find a personalised experience; 61% are happy to trade personal data for a personalised shopping experience (source: salesforce).

It goes beyond the onsite experience. If marketing emails miss their intended target they will be unsubscribed. If your display advertising isn’t engaged to my needs, it will be ignored. Cut through will be earned by those that utilise customer data and personalise the customer experience end to end.

Voice search marketing, the reality capturing up with a myth.

I recently went to a great talk by Tom Cull, (COO of iProspect) on voice search which really debunked some of the common myths around it, or at least put some context behind it.

Google say around 20% of queries are voice search, while Amazon’s own Alexa product was its bestselling product across the whole site for the Black Friday period. So, in theory, this should be an area of organic search that should boom in 2018.

But how well is your site setup for a growth in voice search queries? Most of these voice queries are much more conversational, so suddenly marketers will have to try and adapt our content to allow for this. Location searches are likely to over-index. Mobile content becomes that little bit more important than it already was. Voice searches will be more frequent on devices, without a screen. Does your content answer the question without the use of imagery?

However, as always, 2018 will reward those who adapt their great content!

Thanks Chris for a really useful blog. We hope that you have a great year and look forward to seeing how these areas develop over the next 12 months or so.

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