The Best Marketing Campaigns of 2018 (So Far)

Digital marketing is constantly evolving—just when you figure out the latest technology, or the newest addition to a social media platform, something else changes. In many ways, this change is good: it allows room for innovation and it means that digital marketers can take risks with their social media ad campaigns. And so far, 2018 has been a year of social media innovation: we’ve seen really clever ad campaigns that involve audiences, and we’ve seen brands create campaigns that are hyper-local and seem tailor-made for specific audiences.

Because we can’t wait until the end of the year (and because your digital campaign planning can’t wait, either) we’ve rounded up the best marketing campaigns so far of 2018. The following ads—and our takeaways—will help you understand what’s working in digital marketing right now and what’s likely to work in the future:

Spotify

We’re including Spotify’s 2017 New Year’s campaign on our 2018 list because, honestly, it’s too good not to talk about. The popular music-streaming brand took things we love—hard data (remember Patrón's incredible data driven campaign?), witty commentary, and personalization—to craft their forward-looking “2018 Goals” campaign.

The ads appeared outside on billboards and as paid social ads in nine markets and were, often, hyperlocal, like this politically-minded ad for US audiences:

Spotify leaned in hard to the fact that services like theirs pay attention to our data and they crafted that info into revealing, fascinating tidbits.

The Takeaway: Spotify’s clever campaign is right in line with the desires of today’s social media audiences: it surprises, it's inclusive (even if anonymously), and it’s fact-based.

LinkedIn

In a change of advertising pace for the professional networking brand, at the beginning of this year LinkedIn created a social media campaign that shifted the focus from the site’s capabilities to their audience by asking, “What are you in it for?” With the answers members submitted about why they push themselves professionally, LinkedIn created a video ad campaign that launched during the Golden Globes. The ads featured professionals in a wide variety of fields:

 

The message from LinkedIn’s campaign was, no matter why you work hard, you have a community in our platform. “Whatever you’re in it for, we’re in it together,” writes LinkedIn.

The Takeaway: When you incorporate UGC in smart, interesting ways, your UGC serves the dual purpose of including your audience in your content (which fosters lasting loyalty) and creating credibility (by letting your customers toot your horn rather than doing it yourself).

Weight Watchers

We’ve been singing the praises of symbiotic relationships between influencers and brands for a while now, and Weight Watchers’ recent digital marketing campaign demonstrates the brilliance that can be found when brands are smart about the personalities with whom they partner.

At the beginning of 2018, global social media and music sensation DJ Khaled became Weight Watchers’ official social media ambassador. With the campaign, fans can follow along on social (Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook) as DJ Khaled participates in the WW Freestyle program:

 

DJ Khaled helms a huge audience that is young and social media savvy, and he is decidedly more irreverent than what we’re used to seeing from Weight Watchers. Because of all of this, DJ Khaled had the potential to bring new (younger, male) audiences to the diet and weight loss brand, and it worked: CNN reports that the company’s shares immediately rose by 6%.

The Takeaway: Finding an influencer who can bring in new audiences while also naturally fitting with your brand can be a major win. Just be sure you’re partnering with somebody who can truly embody the values of your brand (while also adding their own personal spin, a la DJ Khaled).

As we continue on through 2018, remember that social is an excellent place to experiment with new ad campaign styles and, if you’re smart about it, you can let your hair down and tap undiscovered audiences just like these three stand out brands. Curious what else is new for 2018, and how the year will progress? Check out our tipsheet on top 2018 trends from the savviest in digital marketing.

 

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Jaime Netzer is Spredfast's Senior Content Marketing Manager, leading content operations. A Lawrence, Kansas native, she traded seasons for breakfast tacos seven years ago and hasn't looked back since. Also a fiction writer and journalist, Jaime tweets semi-regularly and reads constantly.