5 Social media and digital predictions for 2018

22 December 2017

Industry Insights

The New Year is fast approaching, nearly as fast as the royal wedding, so we thought we’d have a look at what we can expect to happen in the social and digital world in 2018.

So, what’s on the horizon?

Chatbots

2017 has seen an outburst of brands using bots as personalised communication tools. Earlier in the year we heard from Mark Sherwin, Managing Director of Accenture Interaction, at the Sysomos Summit, who expressed concerns over chatbots giving brands a bad name. A study carried out by The Drum revealed 60% of marketers believed jobs would be lost due to Artificial Intelligence.

Since then, marketing experts have predicted bots won’t take your jobs in 2018 but they will be on the rise and marketers will be investing heavily in understanding them and their potential more.

Starbucks is a great example of how companies use bots. Their bot (inside the app) allows you make orders through voice command and tells you when your order will be ready and the price.

Social commerce

Social commerce will continue to flourish thanks to an increase in the time people are spending on social media. Smart insights 2017 reported that consumers are spending 2 hours 15 minutes per day on social media and 28% of internet users use social media to research and find products to buy. Pinterest has been leading the way in social commerce when it introduced shoppable pins a couple of years ago. Since then, other social media platforms have been attempting to change consumer behaviour including Facebook with the introduction of Marketplace, followed by shoppable tags on Instagram and swipe up to shop option in Stories.

The pull for social commerce is the ability to buy instantly while scrolling through your news feed, users no longer want to leave a social app to make a purchase.

So, what hope is left for the high street? Digital showrooms have been on the rise and are set to increase in 2018. Experience focused retail is the focus for many. Retail stores have the advantage of being able to physically see the products whereas e-commerce doesn’t.

Digital stores mean customers can purchase through ipads and mobiles and become immersed in many other digital activities such as digital mirrors and body scanners.

Earlier in 2017, Farfetch opened its first digital showroom. The experience was digital from start to finish. Customers could scan their smartphones on their way in activating consumer profiles, giving the store access to customer information.

They also had a smart rail using RFID technology which records which items shoppers have been looking at and saves them in a list on their phones. The customers can then browse back through everything they looked at and make purchases.

Keep your eyes peeled for the rise of digital stores in 2018.

Video

While video content certainly isn’t something new, 2018 is set to be even bigger…

There is an increasing need for video content, predominantly led by the millennial market and in 2018, mobile video consumption is expected to grow by 25%

According to Facebook, users spent 3x more time watching live videos than a video that’s no longer live. They also comment more than 10x more during live videos.

If you have one new years resolution make it to kickstart your video content marketing strategy by using live video now to start engaging your audience.

Snapchat

2018 will be the make or break for Snapchat, which has had a difficult year competing with Instagram. The platform has seen slow user growth (178 million users) over 2017 compared to Instagram’s 800 million.

Snap inc CEO Evan Spiegel has announced plans for a complete overhaul of the app to appeal to a wider audience. 2018 will see Snapchat undergo a redesign but is it enough to save the platform?

Snapchat’s biggest problem is it no longer has a unique USP (unique selling point) – the idea of disappearing video and images has been copied by Instagram and Facebook.

Influencer marketing

Influencer marketing, a powerful marketing tool that has seen brands invest a lot of money into, with no guarantee of success.

There is incredible value in tapping into an engaged audience of established influencers. Earlier in the year we teamed up with CrossFit champion and ex firefighter, Sam Briggs. We created a video and promoted it through social media; the creative idea was for Sam Briggs to front a work-out video and put the product through its paces. We asked Sam to devise a strenuous CrossFit workout featuring many of the movements she used when battling fires. By teaming up with Sam, our client tapped into her combined reach of over 517K engaged social followers resulting in new followers and an impressive increase in engagement for the client.

But how should brands approach influencer marketing and how should they measure success? Likes simply isn’t enough to determine how successful a campaign has been. Metrics will need to cover ROI, engagement and brand visibility.

Transparency has been a hot topic throughout 2017 with the introduction of #AD and sponsored post tags that allowed influencers to clearly communicate that they are being paid for an endorsement. This was rolled out following the need for tougher guidelines by the Advertising Standards Authority as the industry has been heavily scrutinised for not being authentic to fans in what influencers really like or what they are being paid to promote.

According to AdWeek, 40% of marketers are looking to increase their spend on influencer marketing in 2018, watch this space.

There has also been a rise in influencer marketing agencies over 2017, all hoping to tap into this booming market. However, the market has become heavily crowded with these agencies with many expected to drop off in 2018.

They key to success with influencers is about quality and honesty. It’s about content that followers enjoy, want to be educated and learn from and aspire to want.

The role of influencers should not be seen as merely a means to ‘plug’ a product or a brand; it has to be backed up by real honesty. Customers and followers are no fools, they are a savvy bunch, and you win their hearts and minds by valuing them.

Sources: Facebook Ad Week Sysomos Smart Insights