Instagram Stories surpassed Snapchat, and Facebook AI developed a language its own creators can’t understand. Twitter debated expanding its text limitations and LinkedIn now has its own Audience Network.
A lot happened in 2017…
As 2018 draws nearer, I thought it befitting to begin the conversation amongst like-minded marketers about what the social media landscape has in store for us.
Some predictions appear to already be in early stages of development, others you might call a confabulation of fantastical hope and longing. But all my predictions are shared with the aim to inspire you to seek new creative ideas that resonate with your target audience and take your digital strategy to the next level.
Let’s get into it.
Instagram Stories will dominate social ads
Following the astronomic success of Instagram Stories in 2017, I can hardly wait for what they have prepared for us in 2018. With the platform surpassing direct competitor Snapchat by it’s first birthday in August this year, its contemporaries struggle to keep up with its current 300 million daily users.
You can pretty safely assume exclusive business features with greater customisation will become available, offering brands enhanced engagement opportunities with their respective target audiences through Sponsored Story ads. I also expect this channel to lead the charge in augmented reality.
Instagram will amplify eComm opportunities
In addition to this, I’m predicting Instagram will push further to make use of its ever-growing 800 million active monthly users in the year ahead, with direct purchase functionalities on the way. Things like ‘tap to purchase’ and purchasing within captions can be expected for sure, taking eCommerce opportunities to the next level.
LinkedIn will become the go-to for recruiters
2017 saw LinkedIn catch up with the basics Facebook has been offering marketers for years. What I’ve really enjoyed seeing this year is the development of their own identity. Capabilities such as the LinkedIn Audience Network and Website Demographic Tool are real game-changers for businesses, for obvious reasons. In 2018, I believe additional opportunities such as in-platform webinar hosting for recruiters will definitely open up, with the platform hopefully identifying and leveraging their exclusive opportunity to service to this market amongst their social network competitors.
Snapchat will develop the new iPhone
In an attempt to redefine their offering to the interests of Gen Z, I’m waiting for Snapchat to develop their own mobile phone, with capabilities the iPhone could only dream of. Now don’t get me wrong, I love Apple as much as any other millennial marketer, but Snapchat need to pull some kind of show-blazing rabbit out of their hat soon, with their growth declining by 82% since Instagram Stories stole their bells and whistles last year (and did it better!).
Pinterest will enable in-app shopping
I’ve been waiting for Pinterest to become a no-brainer option for marketers for years. I believe in the eCommerce potential of this channel and I’m hoping they enable something along the lines of Pinterest Shops within the platform, further extending this to include Tagged Products within Pins for really swift purchasing functionality.
Twitter will include custom lenses for users and brands
In an attempt to catch up with the masses, Twitter will offer users filters and lenses to enhance the platform’s person-to-person appeal. To date, Twitter is generally a place where people share snippets of an idea in bite-sized chunks. From a personal branding standpoint, this platform remains pretty relevant, however from an advertising perspective, I wouldn’t say it’s the top choice for social marketers currently (within Australia) and I don’t think 2018 will be any different.
Video Storytelling will be customised for enhanced user experience
We all know the power of video. With the majority of social channels pushing the capabilities of this content format further than ever before, I expect it will soon evolve to the point where it becomes even more interactive and personalised. I’m not yet sure how, but it’s obviously one of the most absorbed content formats available for storytelling and live voting, so I can only assume we’re on the brink of the next frontier where a ‘Choose your own adventure’ style of video storytelling becomes available to the masses.
Whatsapp will surpass email marketing
With 1 billion daily active users now communicating on WhatsApp, I expect the platform to soon surpass email marketing as a direct messaging strategy, allowing geo-targeted InMail options for brands. The merge of online and offline worlds for generating in-store foot traffic or event attendance is drawing closer each day. Facebook’s desire to further monetise this platform is apparent and this feels like the next logical step, alongside their current Chatbot takeover.
Facebook Messenger Bots will merge forces with e-currency platforms
Now my last prediction might take a little longer to come to fruition, but I had to share this one with you as I’m pretty confident we’re amongst the social marketing generation which will see the integration of E-Currency with Facebook Messenger bots. Enabling swifter transactions will really boost the network’s ever-growing suite of advertising opportunities, and only increase Facebook’s competitive edge for marketers and business alike – watch this space!
Do you have your own thoughts on what social media marketers can expect in the year ahead? Comment below with your thoughts.
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