Social Media Trends To Watch Out For In 2018
Just how dominant a business tool was social media in 2017? Facebook reported its highest earnings ever in Q3, up nearly 50% from a year ago. Its mobile ads are so popular that the platform is actually starting to run out of space for them, even though they’re charging more than ever. Meanwhile, the network eclipsed the 2-billion-user mark, now counting nearly one-third of the planet among its user base.
Behind these numbers is a growing realization among businesses that social media is the single most effective way to reach audiences, with teens now spending up to nine hours a day on social platforms. An insatiable appetite for video among users, paired with better technology for making, posting and targeting social updates, sees companies now spending more money on social and digital ads than on TV advertising.
These trends show little sign of slowing up in 2018. Here’s a glimpse into key factors that will impact how businesses use social media in the year ahead:
The last couple of years all we’ve heard about is that attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. So as marketers, we’ve been trying to say more with less, and that’s been no bad thing overall.
But that’s about to change. The video is reaching maturity as a marketing medium. As series like Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad have shown, we love episodic content and binge-watching great content. So we’ll see more video marketing content produced in a long-form format in 2018, triumphing over 30-second clips. Facebook Watch will be at the forefront of this.
There’s also been a surge of activity with Facebook Live in 2017, and this shows no sign of slowing up in 2018. The format will continue to develop, and I think we’ll soon be used to seeing live 360 video and multi-source streams.
Have you “shopped the feed” yet? We’ll see lots more of this in 2018. Victoria’s Secret is doing this really well; everything they share on their Instagram feed can be bought online with a couple of clicks, thanks to Shopify integration. It makes impulse purchasing, last minute gift purchasing and browsing for the latest thing incredibly easy.
Will we see more 360 videos and VR content coming to Instagram in 2018? Definitely. Instagram won’t want to let Snapchat claw back any ground, and with Facebook likely to raise the bar with its use of video it’s certain Instagram will feel the benefit. It’s going to be a huge year for 360 video and virtual reality.
VR technology is tumbling in price and ramping up in usage. Live streaming 360 videos, time-lapse 360 and 360-degree journalism are all increasingly interesting brands for marketing impact.
While there’s nothing new about Instagram Stories, 2018 will definitely see the platform build on an already popular format. Snapchat is struggling and the high engagement levels that Instagram Stories are delivering will continue to make it the preferred platform for this kind of content.
Don’t write off Snapchat just yet. We think we’ll see Snapchat open up more for employer brand and personal branding. Snapchat will introduce an incentivized feature for vloggers and content creators similar to what we see over on YouTube. Plus, Snapchat has just announced Lens Studio, making it easier for creatives to build their own lenses from scratch.
Available to download globally, developers and advertisers and keen amateurs will be able to create their own augmented reality lenses. An initial look at this suggests it’s a powerful application, with templates and guidance notes and the ability to create and save projects.
Also well worth mentioning is chatbots, direct messaging and AR. We’re engaging with chatbots for news and weather reports, booking event tickets and sorting out our schedules. We’re only just warming up to them, and there’s plenty of room for growth.
We’ll also see direct messaging used more for marketing campaigns, with Facebook Messenger and What’s App the dominant platforms. AR has already started to show its potential to bring together the physical and the digital world in terms of retail and services, and this is likely to spill over into other areas of digital.