2017 was a big year for digital marketing (like every year is). Almost all the major social platforms had an overhaul and introduced new features and we saw exciting tech advancements introduced that would help marketers around the world make their campaigns more effective. So, the question is, what does 2018 have in store for the marketing industry? 

1. Vegan marketing will rise in popularity

Veganism was already a trend in 2017 and with the introduction of Veganuary in the UK it seems the trend will only grow in 2018. Instead of being seen as a diet for hipsters, we predict veganism will go mainstream this year as people aim to improve their health.  

Just Eat, the food delivery app, is promoting the fact it has many vegan options available by releasing research about the increase in demand. Pret have increased their vegan options and restaurants like Dishoom have a whole separate vegan menu. This is a sign that brands are catching on to the trend and focusing efforts on vegan targeted marketing.

2. Native ads with smart content

Native ads are effective because they don’t require the user to leave the experience they’re currently in (they don’t get redirected to another website). Generally, they’re considered the least annoying form of online advertising. By 2021 it’s predicted this ad format will drive up to 74% of all advertising revenue.

This year, we think online native ads will be able to change depending on the current views, cookies and an in-depth understanding of target audiences.

Adding content, relevance and transparency to native ads will help them succeed. Contextually relevant ads increase performance by 50%.

3. 360-degree video will grow in popularity

Video will remain popular as it’s the most engaging type of content. In 2018, 360-degree video will rise in popularity as engagement is high and production costs low.

In 2017, 12% of businesses used 360 video for marketing purposes. Out of these, 86% said it was an effective marketing tool. The fact that Facebook has enabled playback for it is a big deal.

If you sell a product that revolves around real-world experiences, 360 video can be highly beneficial.

4. Ad blocking goes mainstream

In the UK there are currently around 11 million total devices blocking ads on the web with 16% of users using adblock software.

We predict that when Ad blocking arrives in Chrome and Safari it will cause a revenue crisis for many publishers once brands realise their ads aren’t getting seen. Sites that have based their business models on revenue from intrusive ad formats will be forced to make significant cuts.

5. Facebook will introduce a second-division news feed

In 2017 Facebook introduced several new features including Carousel Ads, Facebook Messenger going independent and updates to the newsfeed algorithm.

This year we think the updates will continue with the introduction of a news feed that will only contain news and brand content. To get into the main feed if you aren’t a group or friend, you’ll have to pay. Twitter will no doubt copy this at some stage.

6. Twitter or Instagram will introduce a paid tier

In the hope of growing in 2017, Twitter redesigned its desktop and mobile app to make it feel “Lighter, faster and easier to use”. Meanwhile Instagram introduced Stories Highlights along with post archiving.

In 2018 we predict Instagram or Twitter will try out the idea of a paid tier for users. For Instagram, the user would have to pay to get access to more filters and editing tools and the ability to post and view high-res images. In Twitter’s case it would allow users to access ‘premium’ content and more direct message options. Essentially it would be the same as having a verified account.

7. High-Profile YouTube Vloggers will file for bankruptcy

A few high-profile Youtube vloggers will file for bankruptcy following deepening of the adpocalypse with whole channels getting demonetised for what YouTubers see as increasingly trivial reasons. Google will help itself to a much bigger chunk of the adshare under the justification that it’s costing them more to police the platform. Despite vid.me clones emerging, and the increasing growth of Twitch, no viable alternative springs up for the discontented ‘tubers as their audiences are difficult to monetise through advertising – ultimately they will have to start a service where they pay for the video hosting themselves funded by their fans via subscription/Patreon.

2018 is set to be an exciting year for marketing advancements and we’re sure they’ll be a few unexpected trends popping up throughout the year. Keep your eyes peeled for our design predictions and a lowdown on the rise of voice search.

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