Is there any form of marketing (or any element of business, really) that changes as much and as frequently as social media? I think no.
Recently, our friends at Spredfast staged their annual Smart Social Summit (good event, by the way!) and sat down with 11 social media experts to get their predictions on 2018.
They also rolled up those predictions in this nifty Social Media Trends Tip Sheet, which you can download gratis as a PDF right here.
These 11 predictions are loosely rolled up into five main ideas, and I’ll showcase them here and give you a sense of what we think here at Convince & Convert about each of them.
Ready to dive in? (Note: Download the full Tip Sheet to get additional, juicy detail.)
Solve the Social ROI Puzzle
From the Spredfast Report: With the debut of shoppable posts on Instagram, buyable pins, Facebook collection ads, and tracking offline conversions, e-commerce marketers can now draw the line between their social media advertising and business results. Our experts believe that social networks will continue to prioritize reporting return-on-investment, adding new capabilities in 2018 to make that line between ad and direct revenue driver even clearer.
We Say: On the commerce side specifically, this is absolutely true. It is crucial for all parts of the social commerce ecosystem to definitely track results and prove ROI. However, for non-commerce social advertising, the responsibility for tracking results is likely to continue to fall at the feet of the advertiser/brand, which is why we expect a sharp increase in attribution software licensing this year.
Dive Deeper into New Tech
From the Spredfast Report: Artificial Intelligence. Bots. Automation. These are the head-scratching words that top-level executives are jumping on as soon as possible—but they’re also new enough that marketers aren’t quite certain where to start. Although it’s challenging for marketers to weave these new technologies into their goals for 2018, the return and opportunities are genuinely exciting.
We Say: Yes, and no. We have already adopted bots here at Convince & Convert. Get on board with Vince, the Convince & Convert bot, and he’ll let you know when we publish something awesome. I’ve done several Webinars about AI and machine learning for marketing this year, and there is NO DOUBT the train is coming down the track. But, for marketers of all but the largest brands, we believe 2018 is about learning and tire-kicking, and 2019 will bring the adoption of that tech.
2018 will be all about learning and tire-kicking on new tech. 2019 will be about adopting that tech.
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Combine Digital and Physical Spaces
From the Spredfast Report: We’ve seen Instagram and Snapchat pave the way to make AR part of our everyday lives—and it’s not slowing down anytime soon. Ikea’s AR kit is one of many examples that place the power of AR in the hands of a consumer, so our experts expect that 2018, we’ll see more innovation roll out from brands adopting this technology.
We Say: Yes, but . . . We fully believe many brands will work to achieve early-stage, first-mover advantage with these new, AR-fueled social content opportunities, but to what end? The IKEA AR kit cited in the Spredfast study is a good example of a brand using the tech to improve customer experience and drive real results. But we fear too many AR examples this year will be showing off for showing off’s sake.
Even More Video
From the Spredfast Report: This year we saw something big happen: Digital spend finally exceeded TV spend. And to take more of that budget, Facebook launched the Watch platform. It’s worth creating video content that will truly resonate on each platform, specifically. With more opportunities to learn from digital data than television advertising, brands will continue experimenting with video to find out what truly works best for them.
We Say: All-in. Q1 may not see anything crazy, but the Disney/Fox deal, end of net neutrality, expansion of “story” video content, and other moves are going to make video perhaps the most important digital imperative by 2H 2018. If I had a kid in college (and I do), I would be forcing them to take video production and editing classes (and I am).
Omni-Channel Marketing (finally)
From the Spredfast Report: After years of hype, real-time omni-channel marketing is finally upon us. The stars have aligned allowing customer data, channel targeting, dynamic content, and omni-channel campaign management tools to come together in a meaningful way. Very soon marketing will never be the same with campaigns managed like a trading desk with on-the-fly optimization.
We Say: Yes, eventually. The promise of omni-channel (with social being perhaps the most public and real-time of those channels) has been bubbling to the surface for a while now. This reminds me of the “this is the year of mobile” predictions we had for seemingly 27 years. (It was actually about five). No doubt, customer expectations are driving the need for true, omni-channel consistency. However, wanting to do omni-channel and doing omni-channel are very different things, especially at enterprise scale. We believe that desire will outstrip reality for all but the biggest firms (and e-comm players) and that 2019 and 2020 will be the watershed years for omni-channel for most brands.
Those are the five big social media predictions from Spredfast’s panel of experts, and our thoughts on each. Would love your comments below, and don’t forget to grab the Tip Sheet (no cost) which goes into much more detail on each prediction.
Thanks to our pals at Spredfast for putting this together as part of our paid partnership with them this year. If you need a social media management tool that covers social marketing, care, and insights (and you do), give them a look for 2018.
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