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2018 is looking to be an exciting year for Social Media platforms. We’ve put together our predictions of how businesses will use social channels and how they will be affected in the year ahead.

Organic Reach will continue to diminish

Organic reach refers to the percentage of a brands followers who see content that isn’t boosted by advertising spend. In 2017, organic reach dipped to an all-time low of 2% and it’s looking like Facebook may eradicate free reach altogether from showing on users’ news feeds. Updates such as the recent Explore Feed, which is a stream entirely dedicated to business updates are indicative of this. Further, testing is currently being carried out in a number of countries where any social posts (not paid advertisements) are being removed from the normal news feed over to explore, therefore meaning news feeds only consist of posts by friends along with sponsored ads. These developments are just another reminder that Facebook is fast morphing into a platform of advertising, not much different than traditional pay-to-play channels such as TV or radio. An upside of this for brands is the capability of Facebook for targeted advertising, meaning that ads will be shown to people who will be most likely to purchase your products based on gathered data.

The future is video

For quite some time now it has been clear that video is the future of advertising, especially when it comes to social media, but also across the web in general. Cisco, an American worldwide leader in IT and Networking, reported that by the end of this year, 82% of all consumer Internet traffic will be video. As you may have noticed yourself, news feeds across all social networks are becoming increasingly video based, with a range of live, pre-recorded and video advertisements dominating our screen time. One thing to be careful of is that even if a video goes ‘viral’, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are reaching audiences that will actively engage in your product or service. What audiences do after they watch your videos is ultimately more important than the number of people passively watching, so ensure you utilise some analytic tools that track actual conversions.

Augmented reality will gain popularity

In 2012, Google released the much anticipated Google Glass which, although a technological accomplishment, failed to gain commercial traction for a variety of reasons, but mainly because it was unclear to audiences why they needed it or what problem it exactly solved. Technological advancements, including faster internet speeds and better visual rendering, have resulted in a variety of successful AR apps popping up over the past couple of years. A range of companies including Facebook, Google and Snapchat have embarked on AR experiences by layering information onto the live images of mobile phone cameras. Because of all of this, it’s looking like 2018 will be the year AR finally takes off successfully, and if it does, social media will  be one of the most popular applications for it, allowing for a entirely new way of online social experience.

Be careful of Brand Fatigue

Last year, there were over 50 million small businesses using Facebook Pages to connect with their customers. This increased presence of businesses across the social channel has also meant an overload of business produced and branded content. This increase of branded content is already leading to signs of brand fatigue amongst consumers, resulting in less engagement. In order to get around brand fatigue, there’s an increasing need for brands to create content that is engaging and interesting to audiences. This means advertising is going to be more about the creative, as opposed to just getting the message out there. It’s essential that content captures the attention of audiences and gives them instant reason to stop scrolling.

With these trends in mind, 2018 is looking to be an interesting year from technological advancements right through to consumer behaviour. By staying on top of the trends and patterns of social media platforms, you can ensure your brand stays competitive. The more forward thinking your campaigns and brand strategy, the more likely you are to engage audiences and stick out from the crowd.