The buzz around social media in digital marketing and various businesses is set to take a huge leap in 2018. Facebook reported its highest earnings ever in Q3, up to nearly 50% from a year ago. Companies have now shifted to spending more on social media ad than TV advertising.

The social media world is ever evolving with trends changing as per user preference. To make the best use of the digital platform, it is vital to keep up with changes.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the social media trends that are set to dominate 2018:

Shifting focus to Generation Z

Generation Z a repost-millennials, or homeland generation in their early 20s who are the demographic cohort after millennials. Companies have identified their significance as potential buyers, future workforce, and long-term target customers. As such, social media would increasingly cater and incorporate changes for Gen Z as target customers – a trend that has already taken-off in 2017.

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More Live streaming and ephemeral content

As per data, 4 in 5 consumers say a video showing how a product or service works is important.

Live streaming is ready to go to the next-level with businesses cashing in online 360 degree videos and multi-source streams.

Ephemeral or short-lived or fleeting content is gaining more traction since viewer engagement is observed to be more when the content isn’t permanent. With audience attention span shrinking, various reports state that 2018 will see ephemeral content having more engagement than any other content types.

Augmented reality to become popular

Augmented reality is the next step forward for videos. AR makes way for more interactive and engaging experience and is a great way to reach out to target customers.

Real estate, shopping malls, furniture houses and brands with similar products have started to launch AR apps. 

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Twitter

Twitter had a rather tough 2017, where performance in Q1 started on a positive note with a leap in number of users, but things went downhill thereafter with Twitter’s inability to retain and increase those numbers. Twitter in 2018 would cut down bot activities and remove inauthentic accounts aggressively– a step it had ignored all this while. This would be teamed with more improvement of the algorithm to get more targeted users.

A new thing that is set be introduced is the use of AI in image-recognition-triggered-ads.

The expansion of character limits to 280, accommodating bigger feed is being widely debated. This is the year when Twitter is going to take a final call on the number of characters per feed.

LinkedIn to step-up the content game

With a whopping half billion users, LinkedIn has stepped up the social media space in the last couple of years.  2018 is going to be the year when LinkedIn expands more in B2B content marketing. They have plans to start high-quality video ads feature in 2018 and engage in active storytelling. Improvement in videos, working on content, including long format contents will be more popular and effective in this platform.

Snapchat

Snapchat has already garnered a lot of traction with the 24-hour ephemeral content concept that made the best use of the FOMO factor especially in the minds of the Gen Z, who prefer not to miss out on any latest updates and info. 2018 is the year when Snapchat is set to introduce several things including, YouTube-like features for vloggers, use of augmented reality to enable users to create their own augmented reality lenses via a new Lens Studio, active use of chatbots, and introduction of direct messaging with the best use of AR.

Instagram to incorporate new changes for videos and direct messaging

The biggest prediction for Instagram in 2018 is that Instagram Direct or Direct messaging would finally take a leap forward or even become a standalone app. Instagram is also gearing up for more live streaming, more innovations and tools for live video campaigns for brands to promote themselves, and soundless videos focusing just on the visual aspect. With Virtual Reality slowly gaining traction in popularity, Instagram is making more efforts on these lines after Facebook 360 degree videos. 2018 could be the year when VR would be put to use in a noticeable way in Instagram.

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Influencer marketing to become a major digital media tool

As businesses are scaling up using social media marketing, more and more companies are counting on the vital role of influencers. The idea is to cash on their pre-existing followers and their ability to influence them. The trend has started since 2016 and as per data, they measured the second highest ROI measurement of 6.77 among all measured marketing tactics (Forbes)

2017 was set to double the budget for influencer marketing and this is only likely to grow in 2018. As per many surveys, influencer marketing has a major share of respondents.

User-generated Content

Influencers won’t be the only ones talking about a brand, product or service. According to Nielsen’s Global Trust in Advertising report, 83% of consumers trust recommendations from people they know, and 66% trust other consumer opinions posted online. These figures are about everyday folks using the classic word-of-mouth recommendation amongst family and friends but just doing it online.

Marketers will need to spend time finessing user-generated content and weaving it into their social media campaigns.

Digital Hangouts and more use of messaging platforms

The massive boom of the ‘Houseparty’ app in 2017 gave enough hint to companies on how online hangouts is the next big thing set to rule Gen Z. The Houseparty app-enabled many friends to group chat and FaceTime with each other, a trend that attained fast popularity amongst this generation.