2017 was a big year for social media; it brought us chat bots, Instagram stories, longer tweets and more intuitive analytics tools. 2018 is set to be just as big, if not bigger and with social media platforms continually expanding their features and capabilities, there are bound to be new predictions and trends that appear and in this blog team social here at 10 Yetis has predicted what we think is going to influence how brands use social media marketing this year.
Social Advertising Set To Keep Soaring
Facebook’s advertising capabilities during 2018 are going to continue to grow and develop at a rapid pace. Every time you look at Ads Manager there’s a new feature or development to explore and test; we expect this year to be no different, making way for a wave of next-level content such as VR and 360. Advert formats and placements will expand in terms of to reflect this.
Increased consumer expectations of high quality content, coupled with the latest news from Facebook regarding its cull of pages who share posts that are classed as “engagement bait”, will place more prevalence on creating content that not only resonates with audiences and engages communities, but also complies with channel regulations.
The rise and rise of Chatbots, including Messenger, alongside further integration with apps like WhatsApp to encourage a more complete and robust consumer journey gives us an insight into where social advertising may go next. Facebook currently has nearly 100,000 Chatbots in use to help users source product information, gather insight and take orders. Alongside this, many more users are taking to Messenger to communicate with brands about customer service enquiries and some simply just to engage. There’s already the option to advertise to Messenger home or a run as a sponsored message, but we’re expecting even more options to enhance and optimise advertising campaigns to pop up soon. You know how when you write a time or event into a message it gives you the option to create an event? We could soon see suggested options within your messages, such as booking an Uber or Lyft, or local restaurants. Even if this doesn’t come to fruition, I’m sure it’ll be tested during 2018.
Ultimately, we’ve seen a huge increase in spend on social media marketing with a predicted spend of $35 billion in 2017, representing an increase of almost $13 billion in two years. If track record is anything to go by, this is set to further increase, especially as a result of Facebook introducing an explore tab that will separate organic and paid content, only showing paid content in main user feeds. While this is likely in my opinion, as a result of over saturation, increased competition and the decreased discoverability of content in news feeds may veer brands towards exploring alternative options to seed content, for example influencers and pages with large communities.
Helen Stirling, Senior Social Media Executive
2018, The Year Of Influencer Marketing
Influencer Marketing enables brands to increase awareness and reach new audiences through a credible trustworthy source. This along with the rise of ad blockers makes Influencer Marketing hot property right now and will more than likely prove to be the most effective form of advertising throughout 2018. It’s predicted that 39% of marketers will increase their budgets, with the majority predicted to spend between £18,500 and £36,900 on influencer marketing. It will be rare for a brand to launch a campaign in 2018 that does not include at least one influencer.
Influencer videos will dominate our social feeds
Influencer videos are likely to dominate our social feeds Just like it already has, albeit negatively (thank you Logan Paul) video, vlogging on YouTube or collaborative, cross platform video campaigns, will most likely dominate our social feeds. Influencer videos are extremely effective at driving sales and brands are increasingly using influencer content in their campaigns. According to a recent gen.video study, 90% of social media users are influenced to make a purchase after seeing video content on social media and 33% of survey respondents reported that social media influencers are their most trusted sources when shopping.
Cost effective relationships
Social users these days are no fools. They can tell when influencers have been used for a one off promoted campaign, and using the dreaded #ad will only make users quickly condemn not just the influencer but the brand for not having authenticity or a relationship with the influencer in question. This means the pool of influencers will be in higher demand as brands will want to seek their services long term. Influencers themselves will no longer be happy to produce cheap give away posts so brands will need to think of other incentives to keep them engaged with the brand and form a solid relationship that appears authentic.
Influencers having a role in the planning of content
With these sorts of relationships being built, if a marketing strategy plans to use influencers it is only fair they should have a say in what content should be produced. Allowing influencers to have a part in the creative planning process will not only increase a brands awareness but it could bring a much needed improvement to the content produced, particularly among those smaller companies who run their own social who want to grow their audience organically.
The rise of Micro-influencers
We’ve all heard a lot about global influencers such as Zoella and The Body Coach, influencers who can charge upwards of £100,000 per social post and who can take brands to millions of followers globally but this unfortunately makes it an inaccessible form of marketing for many brands. This is where ‘Micro Influencers’ come in. These are users who have an online following of sub 30,000 and are much more accessible to small businesses and brands. These individuals offer a powerful way to talk to niche audiences and take businesses to a smaller audience of core consumers to whom they are offering something relevant. Not only are these influencers more relevant and relatable to audiences they are also more realistic in terms of the commercials attached to brand partnerships.
Jess Bashford, Junior Social Media Executive
Visual Content Will Trump All
As the social channels have evolved immensely during 2017, so has branded content. We saw an array of new visual elements being championed by global brands, influenced by improved creative channel capabilities, new applications and tools, and a return to consumers craving that edgy, raw tactile imagery.
Instagram in particular has paved the social stones of 2017 with unparalleled growth and it’s certainly not showing any signs of slowing down. In September 2017, monthly actives users spiked to 800 million, and surged again in April adding a very impressive 100 million to its network. This will carry through into 2018, as publishers continue to push the boundaries of creativity and brands fight for social space (and the holy grail of consumer engagement).
Alongside this growth, the tools and tricks that social marketers are using will become much more sophisticated, generating a knock on effect on brands to up their game in terms of the content they create to engage consumers. Social listening tools in particular will become more important in terms of meeting top-line business goals, helping to convert online conversations into something tangible – content will play an even more important role as this is often the first port of call in the journey to purchase.
We’ve experienced a real come back of more organic lifestyle images, however compared to previous years these will be extra polished, telling more of a story about the brand, its products, and its fans. Post-editing of imagery has already started to take hold, with emoji overlays, stickers and lenses – replacing, and perhaps even threatening, the written word in online conversations. I believe this will go one step further in 2018, with content becoming more a form of digital art. We’ve already started to see live content being created and edited in this way. Instagram recently enabled users to upload content older than 24 hours to its story feature, allowing brands, influencers and even consumers (yes, consumers are actually getting better than some brands at creating content, hence the rise in brands sharing UGC), to embrace creativity and craft better quality “live” content.
Kalli Soteriou, Head of Social Media & Content