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One of the best ways to stay ahead of the competition is to stay ahead in web marketing, which is easier than you might think.

Every year there are new marketing trends, but which ones should you follow? The answer isn’t always obvious. The short answer would be to think future, yet evergreen.

It’s the brands that think ahead, yet pick trends that have staying power that are the ones who last the longest, even with hundreds or even thousands of competitors.

Personalize Whenever Possible

Personalization isn’t exactly a new web marketing strategy. In fact, Amazon’s well-known for using the technique and they’ve had it in place for years. It’s also those personalized recommendations that have helped the retail giant go from startup to online shopping destination of choice.

In one study, 48% of marketers in the US found that personalization boosted revenues over 10%. It’s hard to present a friendly face online like you would in a physical store, but personalization helps and customers love it.

It’s the brands that think ahead, yet pick trends that have staying power that are the ones who last the longest.

Learn Your Users

If you think you know your target audience, you’re already behind the curve. To stay ahead in web marketing, you need to take advantage of the millions of gigabytes of data available. This is how brands are coming up with some of the most creative marketing strategies ever seen.

Artificial intelligence is the answer for learning more about and catering to your target audience. AI is a major marketing trend, especially going into 2018. While it might sound far-fetched, it has practical applications for businesses today, as this LinkedIn post shows.

For instance, turn all that data collected about users into clearer user personas or use AI for content curation. Some sites even use AI to generate content for blogs. It’s impossible for humans to analyze exabytes of data. With AI, it’s not only possible, but it keeps you ahead of what users are interested in and what they may want tomorrow.

Make Content Device Friendly

Whether it’s a blog post, email or ad, your content has to be device friendly. Which devices, you might ask? That’s a great question. You never know whether someone’s checking out your content on a desktop, tablet, smartphone, smartwatch or even via voice from a smart home speaker. The more compatible your content is, the more evergreen your marketing strategy becomes.

Skip The Annoying Ads

Despite what some experts might believe, in-your-face advertising isn’t that effective. In fact, that’s just led to the rise of ad blockers. In 2016 alone, the use of ad blockers rose by 30%. People hate pop-ups, auto-play ads, full page ads and other intrusive advertising. In fact, the Coalition for Better Ads is working to establish new standards for better ads that improve the user experience.

Brands that adopt these strategies are already ahead in web marketing. Since Google’s joined the Coalition’s ranks, now’s the time to think ahead and start using more native ads to avoid any rank drop as Google changes search algorithms again.

Follow The Professionals

No matter what web marketing strategies you employ today, you’ll need to adapt them to changing user needs and technologies as the years go on. If you want to stay ahead, you can’t just wait to see what your competition does. It’s up to your brand to set the new standard and reap the benefits.

To do this, you should follow the blogs of some of the top web marketing industry experts. They talk about potential trends before they’re even trending. This gives you a heads up to what could be your next best strategy. Some of the best to follow include:

While every topic won’t apply to your business, you’ll gain valuable insight to develop more creative strategies that fit your target audience.