It’s that time of the year again. New Year’s is just around the corner and the world of content marketing is gearing up for the exciting period to come. An unprecedented amount of online content is being produced every day, and people are consuming it at a faster rate than ever before. This means that content marketers are constantly perfecting their strategies and employing more sophisticated methods in the arms race for people’s attention. The approaching year in content marketing will be all about quality, smart distribution, big spending and cutting-edge technologies.

Here are some of the most exciting content marketing trends to look forward to in 2018:

Original Content Reigns

Original content truly is the future. Just ask Apple. This past August, the tech giant announced it was planning to spend $1 billion on original content in 2018. Other big-brand companies including Facebook, Hulu, Amazon, and Pepsi Co have also revealed their plans to invest more in creating original content in the years to come.

These companies know that in the era of content saturation and ever-decreasing attentions spans, the ultimate goal is to create meaningful and lasting relationships with the audience. Creating original content has proved to be the most effective way to increase audience engagement and build brand loyalty.

It’s been said that all companies are tech companies now, and 2018 will see businesses across different industries branching into content creation.

Video Remains a Necessity

If you still haven’t made video a part of your content marketing strategy, now is the time. There’s simply no better medium than video to motivate engagement with content and make a lasting impact on the viewer.

In June 2017, Animoto asked 1000 consumers and 500 marketers about the impact of video on marketing trends, and published their findings in a report named “The State of Social Video 2017: Marketing in a Video First World”. According to Animoto’s survey, 64% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase after watching a video about a product.

Another recent study by Facebook looked at how audiences consume content and found people on average spend 5x longer looking at Facebook and Instagram videos compared to static content.

In 2018, video will solidify its role as the linchpin of content marketing, while new technological innovations, such as virtual reality and the internet of things, will make video a ubiquitous presence across all platforms. It is also expected that immersive technologies will put live video streaming ahead of pre-recorded videos as brands continue to vie for authenticity in the post-truth world.

The Internet of Things Drives Budgets

You think we’ve had enough content? Think again! Content marketing budgets have been steadily increasing in the US and around the globe for several years now, and this trend shows no signs of slowing down. According to recent research by PQ Media, content marketing will be a $300 billion industry by 2019.

One of the reasons why companies will have to allocate larger portions of their budgets on content marketing in 2018 is a little something called the Internet of Things (IoT). The IoT is essentially a system of interconnected devices, where everything from your phone to your refrigerator is able to transfer data and interact with one another online.

We’re rapidly approaching the point where every appliance and gadget we own will turn into a potential avenue for online advertising.

In 2018, we can expect big brands to increase their massive marketing budgets even more and invest heavily in integrated content marketing across multiple devices.

Machine Learning Technologies Take Off

Machine learning refers to the practice of using artificial intelligence (AI) for data collection and analysis for the purposes of interpreting user preferences and online behavior.

This technology allows companies to detect otherwise invisible user behavior patterns and serve tailored content that has the best chance of being noticed. It’s little wonder that Entrepreneur magazine has called machine learning “the future of marketing”.

Some of the machine learning and digital marketing trends to expect in 2018 include a wider application of image-recognition software, AI-generated content, intelligent email marketing, and micro-targeting.

Virtual Reality Changes the Game

Virtual reality (VR) is officially here and it is arguably the most thrilling content marketing trend to look forward to in 2018. While VR sets have found their largest market among gamers, the application of VR goes far beyond video games. From Oreo’s interactive tour of the magical ‘Wonder Vault,’ where cookies come to life, to Marriott Hotels’ virtual reality ‘teleportation’, the possibilities with VR in marketing are endless and it looks like we’ve only just scratched the surface of what VR has to offer!

The biggest advantage of VR marketing over other channels is that it allows for a fully immersive brand experience. In content marketing, emotional triggers work better than rational appeals, and VR is the ideal venue for the kind of customer-brand interaction that produces trust, loyalty, and customer satisfaction.

As VR sets are expected to become mainstream soon, virtual reality content creation could easily become one of the leading marketing trends in 2018.

As original content and video expands, bigger and smarter spending and game-changing technologies are just some of the marketing trends we can expect to see in the next year. It’s safe to say that a thoroughly exciting period for content marketing is ahead of us.