What 2018 holds for the world of Digital
2017 has been a busy year in terms of tech. The world’s been watching as cryptocurrencies have boomed (and bust). ‘Smart Homes' became the next big thing. Machine Learning advanced at what some people will consider to be a terrifying pace. And virtual reality has become so widely used that its novelty value is fading fast. But, during this time social media has been no slouch, with AI powering into popularity across virtually every platform. So what next 2018?
Consumers and businesses alike have become hooked on Snapchat filters (now no longer the sole remit of Snapchat, but available across most social media platforms), artificial intelligence, and ‘chatbots'. Additionally, we've seen growing trends for integration, with shopping becoming part of the social media experience, and of course, paid content has shown no signs of going away. The question is: what will 2018 bring.
Six 2018 Digital Trend Predictions
Voice Searching. From Amazon's Alexa and Google's Home to Apple's soon-to-be-released HomePod, voice-searching devices are set to explode in 2018. Enhanced voice recognition technology has removed much of the frustration from early devices, allowing for the complete integration of home and tech. This potentially presents challenges for businesses, necessitating a new approach to SEO – one that is voice-search-friendly – but for consumers, the internet could soon become even more accessible.
Augmented Reality. OK, it's just a posh way of saying that we're going to keep on using Snapchat filters on our selfies, but AR is creeping into other areas of social media too – such as Snapchat's dancing hot dog. Viewed more than 1.5 billion times, it showed marketers what AR can do, and anything that attracts such a huge degree of attention is going to be investigated to the nth degree by businesses.
Video. When vlogging began around 2006, with the advent of YouTube, a lot of people dismissed it as the domain of the perennial attention seeker. Today, everyone is doing it. Not just vlogging, but posting short clips, gifs and soundbites to social media, and using video chat apps – such as Skype and FaceTime. Live streaming has also come into play. For businesses, this means a new – and potentially more personalised – approach to marketing. You can currently start a live video on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, allowing an instant connection to your target audience and helping to hold even the shortest of attention spans.
Influencer marketing boom. 2017 saw influencer marketing making a real impact on the advertising industry and it looks as though businesses will be benefiting from its effects in 2018. The process by which businesses try to ‘get in with the cool crowd' by following and associating themselves with brands already popular with their chosen demographic – skyrocketed and seems that it will only go from strength to strength as we see smart marketers focusing on capitalising the popularity and proven effects.
Messaging. 2.5 billion people currently use messaging apps like, Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger and Viber, but it now looks like we can expect more interactions from businesses and consumers via direct messaging and group messaging as it becomes a form of social media itself. The beauty of this form of communication for business is that it's both free and secure, so although there are currently limitations on the number of recipients you can select, it's a great way to connect to small target audiences.
Customer Focus. The wonderful thing about social media is that it can tell you so very much about your [potential] customers. Surprisingly, it's taken business until now to realise how this data can be used to seriously drive sales. 2018 will see the harnessing of data to craft the complete ‘customer journey'; whether this means advertising in a native language to help customers feel more akin to their brands seeing their business, finding out what appeals to them, and discovering how they would like companies to follow through after sales.
Every year brings its tech surprises and 2018 will be no exception. At Digimax, it's our role stay ahead of the trends. As consumers demand a more integrated experience and new technologies are developed to facilitate that, the role of social media in marketing can only grow.