We’re heading full-steam into 2018 with a series that looks ahead to our next 12 months and features insights from our top partners. Today’s expert: LinkedIn Agency Relationship Manager Tiffany Hsia*. 

* Please note that all answers are the personal opinions of the interviewee, not of their employer.

What is the most exciting thing that happened to your company in 2017?

LinkedIn launched a major redesign of its desktop version in January, which required a complete overhaul of our tech architecture. This was the largest redesign since LinkedIn’s inception. Hopefully you noticed the LinkedIn experience became more intuitive and faster and created more value for members. Changes included streamlined navigation to 7 core areas (home, messaging, jobs, network, etc.), smarter messaging, a richer feed to keep you informed, more intuitive search, and greater insight into who’s viewing your content. Overall, it looks and feels much cleaner!

What do brands need to have mastered in 2017 to be ready to compete in 2018?

Nailing down which marketing metrics really align with their company’s success. With so much data, tracking, and analytics tied to consumer behavior and marketing activity, it’s time to move past impressions and CTR to metrics that tie back to real business results such as revenue-driven, marketing qualified leads, or customer lifetime value. This will be especially important as the industry continues to proliferate onto new screens, different mediums, and even other realities where new metrics will be tracked and must be integrated with existing data.

What do you see as the major trends in your industry in 2018?

I’ll focus on hiring since Talent Solutions is the primary business line for LinkedIn. Almost any prediction for 2018 will include something about AI, and talent is no exception. AI will change the way candidates apply and enhance how recruiters do their job. Resumes will become a distant memory, replaced by intelligent automation and algorithm-driven digital platforms. Chatbots will come into the picture to assist recruiters in scheduling, primary screening, and preliminary interviews of the candidates. AI will change the way recruiters work by identifying, screening, and interviewing candidates using signals that are deeper and more nuanced.

What should brands focus on this coming year to stay ahead of the competition?

Voice Search. An estimated 60.5 million Americans are expected to use a virtual assistant or smart speaker at least once a month this year (Quartz) and Comscore believes more than half of all searches will be voice searches by 2020. Of the top use cases, requesting info is the second most common followed by adding to a shopping list (top of that list is playing music). Most brands aren’t even thinking about how to take advantage of this growing source of intent and search data, so 2018 is the time to get ahead. Make the first move while the competition isn’t heavily focused on this channel just yet.

If you could invest $50 million in the most promising upcoming technology in your industry, what would you invest in?

In this age where purchasing decisions rely heavily on social media and user-generated reviews, I’d invest in G2 Crowd, a peer-to-peer platform for enterprise software reviews that helps B2B decision-makers decide on what to use and buy. Think of it like the Glassdoor for business software. G2C is taking off at a time when B2B buyers are becoming more and more like consumers, doing tons of research through online content and authentic reviews before ever interacting with a brand. On G2C, companies get free profiles and users leave reviews for their products (after logging in with their LinkedIn profile for authentication). Their review data can then be used for sector analysis and eventually other monetizable B2B services such as consulting or integrations. They’ve already established themselves as the go-to 3rd-party source for software reviews and raised over $45 million in funding. Plus, they don’t rely on advertising for revenue. That’s why I think they really stand out from…well, the crowd in B2B.

If you could invest $50 million in the most promising upcoming technology in marketing, what would you invest in?

I’d invest in “Smart Content,” a.k.a. content personalization. Today, where the consumer calls the shots, a brand being able to dynamically serve content based on who is viewing their content will make all the difference in building that brand love and eventually turning a prospect into a customer. Smart content, compared to static one-size-fits-all, creates a communication that fits each customer’s needs individually and nurtures them along the funnel at their own pace. Even ABM fits perfectly into this strategy – personalizing a site with content specific to a person’s company makes it all the more relevant and engaging.

What big change in your product or service will be a game-changer in 2018?

Where do I begin? LinkedIn’s Marketing Solutions product roadmap isn’t slowing down anytime soon – Sponsored Videos, Content Carousel ads, objective-based campaign set-up, the whole product suite available through self-serve, look-alike audiences…to name just a few examples of what we’re very much looking forward to next year.

What’s a reach-for-the-stars innovation you’d like to see in the next five years?

I would love to see a cure for cancer. Is it “reach-for-the-stars”? I hope not.

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Tiffany is an agency relationship manager at LinkedIn, where she has been helping independent agencies get the most out of LinkedIn Marketing Solutions since July 2016. In her previous life she worked on the media agency side first in LA and then NYC. Outside of business hours, you can find Tiffany playing volleyball or hitting the slopes on her snowboard. Recently she has picked up hand lettering projects as a side hustle.

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Read more 2018 predictions from 3Q Partners and Experts by clicking here.

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Molly Shotwell
Molly joined 3Q in February 2017. She graduated cum laude from Boston College with a BA in English and a minor in Economics. Having lived and worked in Washington, DC, and Boston, she decided to set her next adventure in Austin with 3Q. When not working in digital marketing, she enjoys filmmaking, sweating through yoga, baking new treats, traveling the world, and spoiling her pets.