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2018 Social Media Predictions

12/21/2017

As 2017 comes to an end, it’s natural to think about the year ahead. Grandiose ambitions and positive vibes will last maybe until ‘Blue Monday’, aka the third Monday in January which someone, somewhere, decided was “the most depressing day of the year”.

Come January 2018, you may feel exactly the same as you did the year before… but there will be some distinct changes going on around you, particularly when it comes to social media.

Here are three things that will maybe happen in 2018 concerning social media and mobile, and what that means for consumers, brands and communications professionals:

 

1. Hello Stories, goodbye newsfeed

Since Instagram took ‘inspiration’ from Snapchat and created its own Stories feature, the success of the app (in terms of number of users and number of daily video uploads) has skyrocketed. We can’t get enough of content that disappears after 24 hours. It’s competitive, it’s gamified and it’s exciting for consumers. For influencers and brands, Instagram Stories are an opportunity to generate engagement, build brand awareness, and drive traffic and sales. If Stories are given precedence over the newsfeed, content creators will be forced to rethink how they create, promote and push their content beyond the 24-hour barrier.

 

2. More Messenger, less socialising

As AI and machine learning make marketing ‘more human’, the threat of robots replacing humans remains. Will 2018 be the year that chatbots are chosen over (human) customer service interactions and in-app purchases overtake mobile banking (Facebook Messenger payments anyone)? As mobile activity moves to messaging apps aka ‘dark social’, brands will have to work harder to access consumer behaviour data and realise its full potential. For consumers, the security of this data should be a factor when smartphone-scrolling. If big data is only going to get bigger, the cloud more crowded, and hackers increasingly active – how we upload, store and access consumer and personal data is a problem that urgently needs solving.

 

3. Voice activated everything

You can probably count the number of people you know who use Siri or Alexa on one hand, but watch this space. If we are to believe the hype, in 2018 we’ll be speaking into devices to search, shop and navigate social media. For developers of the technology, slang or unofficial language is one of the biggest barriers to getting voice activation 2.0 kick-started. And will consumers still hold the power to determine trends in 2018 or will we be so subconsciously submissive to advertising by the big brands that we’ll start using voice activation anyway?

So those are my three predictions for 2018 – but if working in the world of PR and comms has taught me anything, it’s that anything can happen – and things change on a dime. If there’s one thing we can predict – it’s to be agile, open and prepare for any eventuality. See you in 2018!