Digital Marketing + Social Media Predictions for 2018

Digital Marketing + Social Media Predictions for 2018

2017 was a big year for e-commerce. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, take a look at our Ultimate Recap of E-Commerce Trends from last year.

With every passing year, social media has been on the uprise. The bigger e-commerce gets, so does the relevance of social media. Why? Marketing.

If you have an online business, your biggest consumers are on social media. So if you’re not marketing on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and the like, you’re kind of missing the point. Not to mention, a whole lot of revenue.

And it can only get bigger. To make it easier for us and everyone else, we asked our crystal ball what we can expect in 2018 with respect to social media and digital marketing trends.

Also, in case you haven’t already, go get your hands on the only Social Media Holiday Calendar you shall need for 2018.

Rise of the Instagram Story

Stories across all platforms will continue to grow.

The ephemeral nature of the content makes it more popular than regular posts, while the unpolished nature makes it more real and relatable. With Instagram gradually becoming the platform of choice for social media marketers, stories on the platform have also shot up in popularity.

Instagram has also made various upgrades to its story feature which gives it an upper hand over stories on other platforms like Facebook or Snapchat or Whatsapp.

Instagram stories can be shot/uploaded in several different formats (image, video, live, boomerang, etc), is easily discoverable, and more importantly, can be shoppable. Click To Tweet

Instagram stories currently have 20 million views a day and the number is only going to get bigger. Currently hashtags, location tags, polls, questions, as well as photo responses are available as part of the feature. Now you can also highlight important stories on your profile so they stay longer than the expected 24 hours.

Expect further improvements in 2018. There’s a high chance of it becoming the primary marketing/branding tool on social media.

Instagram is the dopest
Instagram is the dopest. We all know it.

Not sure how to use Instagram stories? Here’s our complete guide on how to sell more through them.

Death of Organic Reach

Facebook has made a very public declaration about cutting down organic reach – that’s the number of people you can reach for free on Facebook by posting to your page. If you look at your timeline, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Business pages you’ve followed don’t show up on your newsfeed as much as they used to. Unless it’s a sponsored post.

Facebook’s argument is, they don’t want users to get spammed on their newsfeed just because they have liked a page. The algorithm behaves in such a way that only pages that you have continuously engaged with (liked/commented/shared) will show up among your newsfeed updates.

Last month, Facebook announced that it would penalize posts that ask for likes, shares, comments, tags, votes, and other things that act as engagement baits. This is the death blow for pages trying to actively engage with the followers it has gathered along the road.

Facebook is cutting down organic reach
Organic reach is dying on Facebook. I know, I know. Hang in there.

If you have a business page, your alarm bells must be ringing. But wait! This brings us to the next big thing.

Paid Ads Takeover

What’s taken the place of business page posts on your Facebook newsfeed? Go on, take a scroll. Do you see what I see? FACEBOOK ADS!

Facebook Ads are growing
In the midst of your newsfeed. On your sidebar. Facebook Ads are everywhere.

Do you know which are the most effective Facebook ads?

If you’ve recently visited a store website and browsed through products, they’ll now be popping up on your Facebook feed or sidebars as you scroll through. It’s the same with Instagram. Online stores you’ve visited or stores for which you are the target group, appear as part of the feed or in the midst of auto-playing stories.

These are retargeting ads. It’s a means of keeping track of store visitors by showing them products they may have checked out or added to their cart, but haven’t bought yet.

Imagine turning window shoppers into buyers. Retargeting ads let you do that. 26% of customers will return to your site through retargeting. ROI is 8-12x for retargeting ads as opposed to the 2-6x for other ads. It's a big thing. Click To Tweet

To learn more about retargeting ads and how they can help you sell more, go here.

With organic reach going down, paid reach is the viable alternative. You get to build your audience to your advantage, since through retargeting ads you’ll be specifically reaching out to people who have shown interest in what you’re trying to get them to buy.

The easiest way to do this is through DPAs or Dynamic Product Ads. These are like regular ads but instead of  individually making an advertisement for each of your products, you create a template that picks up products from your data feed to make ads. These ads are then shown to people from your Facebook pixel who have shown interest in your store and products previously. The effort put in to make your ads is minimal, while at the same time, you get an audience that is actually responsive.

And everybody is in this game for the returns. Brands like Amazon, Nokia, and Lacoste have taken this two steps ahead by breaking away from Facebook’s plain vanilla look, for DPAs, and adding logos and customer reviews to their ads.

But how can a smaller store/brand compete? Watch this video:

In 2018, ads on Facebook as well as Instagram will continue growing.

If you’re trying out ads for the first time, and need some ideas on ad creatives, go here.

LinkedIn also announced how it is testing video ads. Expect these to be out to all users this year. Considering how LinkedIn is  a business platform, this a huge chance to make the ads platform here even more bankable than Facebook ads.

Pinterest will also be honing it’s keyword and visual searches, which will make its ad targeting even better and bring up results relevant to user searches. Keep a lookout for long pins coming soon to OrangeTwig.

Ads are a game changer for social media marketing and they are here to get bigger and better.

Rebirth of Twitter

With paid ads taking over everything on other social media platforms, Twitter will become an easier alternative.

Twitter still works on simple algorithms and there hasn’t been an attempt to bring down its organic reach. If your tweet has relevant keywords and hashtags, there are high chances of it getting found. Which keeps everyone happy.

Twitter it the alternative to paid social media
Twitter’s not playing games with us. Yet.

Now that it’s increased its character limit to 280, it’s become even more marketing-friendly. How? Look at it this way. Put up a product/sale poster (images don’t take up any Twitter character). You can use OrangeTwig’s templates to announce your promos. Visuals quickly catch people’s attention in the sea of the news feed. Then, utilize the 280 characters to describe your product and use the right hashtags. You have the chance to convince your audience enough to turn them into buying customers.

Earlier 140 characters were not sufficient to give out relevant product information – now that issue doesn’t exist any longer!

I’m totally betting my money on Twitter becoming everybody’s favorite social media of the year.

The Micro-Influencer Boom

Influencer marketing has been here for a while now, and it’s not going anywhere. Influencers are one of the easiest means of getting the word out about your product. They are basically social media celebs. These can be actual movie star status celebrities or regular people who’ve bloomed and taken over social media by storm.

Influencers are taking over social media engagement by storm.
Influencer marketing is bigger than you thought it was.

While earlier, influencers were just big name celebrities endorsing big brand products, now being a social media influencer has become a full time job. This may be someone whose blog has suddenly hit the popular charts or whose video has gone viral or even just someone who has managed to garner a big following with good content. Influencer marketing contributes tremendously to social media engagement.

For micro-influencers, this works even better. People are more readily sold when endorsements come from a reliable source. In that way, micro-influencers are an asset. They are getting big, but are still small enough to appear authentic. Think word-of-mouth gone digital.

About 49% people say that influencers impact their buying decisions. The ROI is 11% higher for influencer marketing than traditional digital marketing. Click To Tweet

Generation Z, the post-Millennial generation, is the first generation to grow up 100% online. They are more likely to be influenced by social media than, say, sales and discounts, and an enormous part of the population’s purchasing power is increasing. You see where this is going, right?

My suggestion would be to check out a few influencers who cater to your niche. A lot of ‘influencers’ also use bots and fake followers, so do your research well. Steer clear of the fake influencers.

When you find someone suitable, approach them with a clear idea of what you’re expecting out of the endorsement and the kind of compensation you can provide. Eventually, a collaboration like this has to benefit both of you, so it’s always better to state your expectations up front.

Augmented Reality on the Block

Snapchat was the first to bring augmented reality to the everyday user with its dancing hotdog. Snapchat’s Lens Studio lets you make your own AR. So does Facebook’s AR Studio, Google’s AR Core and Apple’s AR Kit.

AR will become a huge part of online advertising
Are you ready for the AR takeover?

The bigger brands have already begun using AR in their marketing campaigns. It’s the key driving force for switching from desktop to mobile for online advertising.

Ikea’s AR app Ikea Place lets you virtually furnish your space before you decide to make your purchase. I’ve been playing around with it, trying to see what fits our office space.

Ikea place app .    

Something like this is so helpful. Potential customers will be more likely to checkout the products they are browsing once they have an idea how they will actually look while in use.

AR is still developing and for smaller companies it may currently be harder to implement it as part of their online advertising. But if you’re a small seller, keep a look out for the bigger brands, watch and learn and try implementing smaller elements of AR. Customer demand for it will go up with more and more implementation and social media is going to ensure that. If you haven’t been using Snapchat for business, now’s a good time to start. Have fun with it!

Video Marketing Explosion

Ad revenue spent on video content has grown by 130%. Video marketing is on the rise. By 2021, it is presumed that 80% of all consumer internet traffic will be for videos.

Video marketing is scoring big
Get on the video marketing bandwagon.

Facebook is leading the video marketing growth chart. Take a look at your newsfeed.  It’s filled with video suggestions based on what your friends have watched, videos similar to what you’ve watched, liked, commented on, etc. Now imagine a dedicated space for that. Last year, they rolled out their video on demand service, Facebook Watch, to select users in the US. This year, that will probably expand to all its users. Facebook Watch currently creates original content with its partners, and mid-roll ads are its biggest source of revenue, so you can imagine the potential here.

Universal access means the feature will be fine-tuned. The Facebook newsfeed will probably be filtered to provide more exposure to original content, paving way for better traffic and ROI. Who knows, Facebook may even start its own network.

With LinkedIn already introducing video ads and Instagram polishing its Story feature with different kinds of video format, there is the chance that Snapchat may join in and integrate live videos. Get ready for a total video takeover over the course of the next year and two.

… summing it up

Social Media is forever evolving. Our means of communication are constantly changing. Tomorrow there might be something new that none of us would have anticipated. It might be overwhelming at times, but it’s always a good idea to be prepared and experiment with whatever new feature comes up. That way you’ll be aware of what works for your market.

To get you started, why don’t you generate a  marketing plan for your social media channels through OrangeTwig? It’ll take you less time than it took you to read this post. 🙂