Live video streamingwill become indispensable: Live and recorded video dominated our feeds last year and its popularity is predicted to increase: according to a recent survey 82% would prefer to watch a live video rather than read a social media update.
Influencer marketing will professionalise: Big brands like Rolex and North Face might make it front and centre in their social strategies, but the industry’s still a wild west – with many brands hiring ‘influencers’ without digging into their analytics, and many influencers not complying with the rules that call for them to tag sponsored posts with #sponsored or #ad.
VR advertising will become a thing: Facebook – whose $550bn empire is built in part on advertising – are set to release Spaces later this year, allowing friends to connect in VR. Expect VR social media strategies to follow. Facebook also created a new unit of time – the ‘flick’ – to help create better VR experiences.
Augmented reality might reach the tipping point: (AR) is a big part of the design of the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, with a dedicated chip to provide AR experiences. Snapchat and Animoji have proven AR’s a hit, but we’ve yet to see many applications that go beyond novelty. Maybe 2018’s the year.
A messaging platforms strategy will become essential: Forget Millennials: Generation Z are now entering the workforce and gaining spending power, and they apparently aren’t into speaking to companies over the phone. That means brands need to ensure they’re ready to provide customer service on FB Messenger, iMessage, WhatsApp and more.
Chatbots will get worryingly more convincing:As artificial intelligence develops, chatbots will interlink with these platforms so that customers are given personalised experiences from a developed, distinct brand voice that’s entirely automated. Lidl have already launched AI chatbot ‘Margot’, giving wine recommendations via Facebook Messenger.
‘Personalisation’ will be a key buzzword: Following a year of unpredictable content/fake news, companies are taking control of their content by ditching algorithms for personalisation technologies. AI can help with this, but it’s really an authentic, experienced human touch that’s needed. Brands will create content to reach specific, target audiences that suits their behaviours and interests.
Voice search will begin influencing article titles and topics: Whether it’s for recipes, how-tos, sharing research or explaining stats, voice search is here to stay in the content conversation. Generation Z are using voice-activated TVs and digital assistants, an increasing number of households own smart speakers, and businesses need to ensure they’re well-optimised and well-reviewed for digital assistants.
GDPR will disrupt email marketing: Stricter ‘opt-in’ rules are coming in May 2018, thanks to the EU’s new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). This essentially means that you’ll need to say whether you want to be contacted by a brand when you submit contact details to them, rather than being automatically opted-in and having to endure a tedious, manual opt-out process. But this gives brands a chance to identify and contact potential leads – see point 7 about continued content personalisation.
‘Company blogs’ need to become editorial resources: And brands will need to start thinking like media companies. Getting your content to the top will become even more difficult, which means that focusing on quality, unique insights will become even more important.
Video will no longer be optional: Facebook, Twitter and others already prioritise video over every other type of organic content in their news feed algorithm. Facebook videos receive 135% more organic reach on average than a Facebook photo, and 82% of Twitter users watch video content, so this seems like a wise move.