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Four Digital Trends For 2018

Lit up Christmas tree

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year…” the time when we look ahead and wonder what life will be like for us digital folk in 2018. Will Snapchat escape the giant, covetous claws of Facebook? Will Instagram continue its relentless growth as a marketing platform? And what of digital’s hottest new plaything: VR?

Here’s a snapshot of what we can expect from the world of digital marketing in 2018…

1. VR is dead; long live AR.

There’s no doubt that VR (Virtual Reality) has been one of the buzz words of 2017 in digital. But is it really the future, or simply a geeky fad that will pass by Segway-style?

As is often the case, we’ve found a happy medium in the form of AR (Augmented Reality). AR strikes a perfect balance between VR and the real world by laying virtual aspects onto your real-world view. Here’s a video for you technophobes.

Expect brands to ditch pure VR and gravitate towards AR for good.

N.B. For anyone wondering where MR (Mixed Reality) comes in, here’s an article that outlines why it may be a non-factor in 2018.

2. Facebook continues its ruthless reign.

Instagram may be the fastest growing platform, but as far as the dominant player is concerned, Facebook isn’t budging in 2018. Facebook’s active users have risen 17% in the last year and the platform continues to blow its competition out of the water when it comes to traffic to news websites. In fact, over 85% of traffic to news websites comes from Facebook alone. Even with all the furore around “fake news” this figure has remained unscathed.

You may have heard that “young people prefer Snapchat and Instagram now.” While this is true, young people remain loyal to Facebook as well as their favourite platforms.

Sorry folks – the Digigorgon is going nowhere.

3. Transparency = trust.

Today’s social media users are becoming increasingly cynical and wary of brands online. In recent times, we’ve seen brands attempt to latch on to popular causes and involve themselves in cultural phenomena. In most cases, it’s not gone so well. We’ve also seen platforms like Instagram crack down big time on a lack of transparency regarding paid partnerships.

What this all suggests is that digital consumers are tired of being patronised or duped into viewing an ad. Not only will doing this get you in trouble with the ASA in 2018, it will also isolate your increasingly ad-savvy audience.

Look for an increase in explicit paid partnerships and forthright digital marketing like this one in 2018. Influencers will be key.

4. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: video is king.

You may be thinking, “wasn’t video a digital trend for each of the last five years?”. And you’re right. But the expectations and opportunities around video on social media are changing radically, and each and every platform is pushing the envelope on the video front.

The focus now is on a mixture of ephemeral content (that’s fleeting or short-lived before you all get your dictionaries out) and video. The best examples of this are in Stories and Live (almost every platform now allows these two formats). If you’re not exploring these formats as a brand, you’re leaving money on the table.

As well as the existing focus on video, expect all platforms to continue to gear every new feature towards video in some way, shape or form.