‘Twas the week before Christmas, when all through the agency, not a new brief was opened, blame it on post-Christmas party complacency;
The inboxes are tidied and auto-responders set with care,
In hopes that no last-minute meetings drop in, but surely they wouldn’t dare?
With a toast to 2017 the year that it was, the astute digital agency executive must look forward, well, a little just because;
A new year of social, with developments ahead,
‘Sigh’ says Mark Ritson while he watches TV ads (all of them in full) from his bed.
Social media is in for a ride and one must attest that this 2018 prediction list is most likely one of the best. Enjoy.
Robots won’t take your job…in 2018. But you’ll engage with one every single day.
Bots and AI won’t replace humans just yet. But they will get better as marketers explore creative options and gain better understanding of the potential of the technology.
This year we saw an explosion of brands utilising bots as a communication tool and they were, at best quite primitive but still engaging. Check out Katy Perry’s bot on her official Facebook page – it’s the framework of an exciting future for personalised customer and fan engagement at scale.
AI will continue to drive improved digital ad-serving outcomes and increased ROI – taking out some of the guess work from successful digital strategies.
Augmented reality ends its false starts and it will absolutely change social media advertising.
The AR vs VR battle will be put to bed as both android and iOS platforms are now packing some serious AR capabilities.
Facebook will launch incredibly immersive advertising experiences on their platform and have already partnered with over 700 of the most creative brands and agencies to develop AR-enhanced advertising. We’ll likely see a staggered release to other users in early to mid 2017 which will see advertising experiences blend the digital to the physical world. This may also pave the way for physical advertising assets like outdoor, POS or packaging to tie into rich digital experiences via the Facebook Camera Effects Platform.
Niantic, the power behind the Pokémon Go craze will be releasing Harry Potter powered by the latest and greatest AR technology. The success of Pokémon Go took both the world and Niantic by surprise. Now that the potential has been realised there will be greater desire by brands to work in commercial deals here.
Horrendous digital ad creative will begin to disappear – digital inventory prices will rise.
Higher demand will begin to weed out shitty creative attempts – at least on the most popular sites and platforms. The lead up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday saw advertisers slogged with staggering CPMs and dwindling conversion rates as available inventory was at an all-time premium. Only the best creative that resonates the highest with audiences wins out in these times of advertiser saturation.
Shoppable social media will see the words ‘social and ‘ROI’ be in the same sentence without ‘f*ck all’ written in it too.
Social will further provide evidence of ROI through shoppable posts, making the path to purchase shorter and more instant. More platforms will enable sales windows to occur ‘on platform’ which ensures a greater more stable e-commerce experience and a quicker time to checkout for our dwindling attention spans. Instagram’s “swipe up for more” in stories is already testing this user behaviour.
AI will continue to further play a role in smart ad-serving and dynamic product offerings better tailored to individual users making the e-commerce experience much more tailored.
Voice Search and the rise of the Amazon advertising marketplace.
Voice search will be an emerging frontier that will further position platforms like Amazon as powerful advertising market places. Amazon has been doing the agency rounds in 2017 in preparation for an all-out assault on 2018. The online market place will become a savage battle-ground for screen space not unlike what we’ve seen in traditional supermarkets. Features like voice search, free, same-day and drone delivery will only make the decision to shop here easier than saying ‘Alexa, let’s get pizza.’
This will see Amazon compete for the lion’s share of digital ad revenue along with Google and Facebook.
RIP Organic Reach.
Organic reach will be pronounced dead and the life support will be switched off. Social is pay to play if you’re expecting any measurable results. It’s time everyone got very comfortable with this as social space is at a premium as the major platforms reach advertising saturation point.
Bad boy digital will clean up.
Digital will clean up its act in 2018 as major platforms work hard to continue to convince major advertisers of high quality inventory, real impressions and proper consumer engagement. Pressure will continue to mount for there to be a standardised system of digital measurability and until then it rests on the shoulders of marketers to use their expert judgment.
Digital disruption as the beast evolves.
Social media is a fast-paced industry built on continual and unrelenting change. This online social space is having major real-world impacts influencing everything from our purchasing, behaviour and even the outcome of elections. Social media is where we research, discover, choose, fight, discuss, share, learn and play and it’s hard to imagine the world without it.
Digital disruption is a phrase we’ve been using for a few years now but in 2018 the impacts of this will be felt even more than ever before.
What trends do you see developing in the social space over the course of 2018?
16K Agency founding partner and lead Facebook ads strategist, James Towers