2017 was the year of Salt Bae, Kendall Jenner’s awkward Pepsi advert, Stranger Things 2 and a mix up at the Oscars. We also saw a huge increase in the number of videos in our Facebook newsfeed, an update to the Tweet character limit from 140 to 280 and the hashtag celebrated its tenth birthday! This year, we’re expecting updates to ephemeral content on Instagram, more paid advertising, an increase in voice search and therefore more competition for the featured snippet. Keep reading to find out Emily’s top five trends to look out for in 2018.
Video content will account for approximately 80% of all internet content by 2020, according to Cisco’s Visual Networking Index. Nearly three quarters of marketers now plan on increasing their use of videos, so it is highly likely we will see more of this content on social media, websites and advertising material. Interestingly, more daily minutes are currently being watched on Facebook than on YouTube, despite 85% of Facebook videos being watched without sound. We should expect to see more subtitled videos in our Facebook newsfeeds and more live streaming as a result.
Augmented Reality (AR)
Mark Zuckerberg recently described Facebook’s AR features as being in only “phase one” of their progress. It’s increasingly felt that this tech is occupying an unstable place in the so called ‘hype cycle’. The obvious example to turn to when discussing AR is Pokémon Go in 2016, however it’s not just for gamers anymore. Apple has big plans for AR in the future and a new generation of apps is on the horizon. Snapchat is also expanding its AR in an attempt to win over firms with more immersive new advertisement formats whereby users can play with an AR version of a product overlaid on the world around them. It is also conceivable that Snapchat and Instagram will expand their AR to include the ability to take a selfie with a person projected through AR.
2017 saw Facebook announce that it was trialling a dual newsfeed to separate non-promoted posts from the main newsfeed. Despite this not being rolled out yet, Facebook page engagement declined an enormous 20% from January to August alone. With an ever-competitive fight for visibility on social media platforms, paid advertising will soon be the only way to reach audiences and engagement with organic content will continue to decline.
Ephemeral content was a huge part of 2017, with Snapchat recording their story feature being viewed ten billion times a day throughout last year. This is set to change in 2018 as Instagram’s story feature had 50 million more stories posted by over 200 million users than Snapchat last year. Instagram has also doubled its user base in two years to 700 million monthly users, with the last 100 million users joining in just four months.
Instagram’s combined ephemeral and permanent messaging feature, inspired by Snapchat, is sure to see these figures continue to grow throughout the new year. The ability to add links and tags to Instagram stories is likely just the beginning of what ephemeral content will offer in 2018.
One in five searches on Google in 2017 came from voice queries, an unsurprising figure considering the number of smart home hubs, such as Amazon Echo and Google Home, which are now staples in many homes. As digital assistants go beyond smartphones, there is the chance for SEO to take advantage of the growing marketing which uses voice search for quick and relevant answers. Digital marketers will be focusing on displaying their website as the ‘featured snippet’ on Google for voice searches as the devices are used to answer questions. In fact, the number of articles on how to optimise for featured snippets grew 178% in 2017, likely down to the rise of voice search.
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