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13 December 2017

Social media in 2018: top 3 predictions and tips


Digital marketers have seen many innovations and even the involvement of politics in social media in 2017, as the channel continues to evolve at lightning speed. These developments have shaped how we use social media, both as consumers and advertisers. So what does 2018 have in store?

  1. Video will play a bigger role in the consumer journey

This year has seen the rise of video content. Particularly with its importance in social algorithms, this format is especially valuable to brands in terms of achieving higher reach and engagement, including retweets, likes, comments and shares. In 2017, 90% of all shared social media content has been video!

In 2018, the popularity of video content is expected to grow, and advertisers are likely to follow this trend. Video is the fastest growing format in the world and has been doubling year on year. It is predicted that by 2020, it will contribute to 80% of all online consumer internet traffic. At Social Media Week London 2017, Facebook’s Creative Strategist, Kat Hahn warned: “Not doing short video is not an option.”

Indeed, with the cramped market and every advertiser struggling to capture their audience’s attention, the first three seconds of a video are the most crucial. In 2018, brands will strive to create engaging and fast-paced video content their target markets, and it is likely that the quality will improve at a rate greater than other forms of social media.

Tip for 2018:

Brands and digital marketers should take advantage of trending formats such as Facebook Live and Instagram Stories. Backpack manufacturer GORUCK used Facebook Live to significantly grow its reach by broadcasting a 48-hour endurance race, which thousands of followers tuned in to watch.

Meanwhile, Instagram stories is only one year old, yet is already used by more than 200 million people each month – more than 50 million more users than Snapchat, the original pioneer of the social media story format. Next year will see Instagram stories growing even stronger and continuing to dominate its competitors.

  1. Segmented personalisation will continue to evolve and improve

In 2018, the most popular social channels are likely to evolve and improve in terms of their analytic tools and business-specific features. Brands should use these advancements to continue to develop personalisation techniques and targeting abilities. Social media users respond best to and are more likely to share comment and react to personalised, customised content. Nearly three out of four of us get frustrated when content isn’t relevant to our interests.

Having a strong understanding of your audience can help with personalisation by segmenting the total audience into smaller groups or segments based on user personas. Personas can be informed by data including age, location, gender, education level, interests, online behaviour and more.

Some 84% of millennials do not trust traditional advertising, and as they get older and have increased buying power, advertisers should look to incorporate a more soft-selling and personalised approach versus the older, traditional selling approach.

Tip for 2018:

Avoid generic content without specific targeting that doesn’t offer anything unique to your audiences. Think clearly about what your different audience personas and segmented groups want, and use that to guide the message and creative of your content.

  1. Mobile targeting will become more sophisticated due to AI

Almost all social media is now accessed via mobile. Facebook still optimises its desktop experience, but it is in decline, and is likely to continue to fall away in 2018. Given the growing popularity of mobile apps, such as Instagram and Snapchat, it is likely that we are moving towards an entirely mobile social media experience across the board.

Contently predicts that by 2020, 59% of US users will access Facebook exclusively through mobile. This number might not sound that big, but consider that 80% of Facebook’s advertising revenue already comes from mobile ads only.

Therefore, in 2018 we are likely to see the big social channels making changes and updates to their mobile apps, as well as targeting options at a rate faster than those for desktop. These changes are likely to be powered by artificial intelligence and will continue to innovate the way we target consumers and become a part of their consumer journey.

Tip for 2018:

Brands should invest in optimising ads for mobile formats first. When using mobile apps, people’s attention spans are shorter, therefore mobile content needs to reflect this. One effective technique is using video content (as it tends to perform better) with the key message delivered at the beginning.

By Joel Davis, CEO and Founder of Mighty Social

[Sources: Janrain, Smart Insights and PPR]


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