Our Head of Social and Innovation, Liam Foy, discusses the trends to look out for in 2018

Watch the video or read the blog below:

Personalisation, Automation and Video: Digital Predictions for 2018 from Bring Digital on Vimeo.

What would you say are the biggest digital trends to look out for in 2018?

There’s three key trends that I believe will play a huge part in pushing digital marketing forward next year:

Personalisation, Automation and Video

Personalisation: Consumers want a unique experience, they want brands to treat them like a unique individual, to understand they have their own views, opinions and interests and not be treated like just another customer. For this reason, brands that can personalise their experience for the consumer will win their trust and interest. The old ‘content is king’ saying is shifting, content is the tool but the customer is the king

Social news feeds are personalised, to an extent, based on your friends, the brands you follow or content you engage with so why shouldn’t this be the same on websites?

Automation There’s a fear of the Terminator effect, but if you can provide your customer with the same service as a human, and it’s more cost effective… what’s not to love.

Finally, video, an already established medium will continue to grow and adapt along with these trends, so you’ll see personalised and automated video improving the customer experience.

What new technology are you most excited about?

Machine learning (and increasing personalisation). Simple as. Who doesn’t want something to be smart?

From a marketer it is exciting to see how it can be applied to a website, content or user experience. My personal favourite is from North Face and its Personalised Intelligent Shopper, using data such as where you’re going, your demographics and the weather, it then suggests a jacket based on these data points.

Alongside that, Tennessee Tourism Board produced a preroll ad with 2,000 variants, so the consumer could be shown ads specific to their interests, buying behaviour and previous travel history. This was an exceptionally personalised ad campaign which totally enhanced the user experience.

There’s also the hype around Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality but practically it’s not consumer friendly at the moment.

How do you think Search and Social Media will change over the next ten years?

I wish I could predict 10 years into the future, but 10 years ago could you have said Facebook would be the mass monster that it is today?

Whatever happens with social networks, you can bet that it includes advertising and whatever new platforms are created Facebook will adopt its features to win over the user base and continue to dominate social media marketing.

From a search perspective, the obvious answer is that voice will change how search works. I have an Amazon Echo and utilise Alexa most days. The more people use voice, and there’s already trends occurring, it becomes more natural to everyone.

It’ll also be interesting to see how crypto currency develops and whether it’ll be a short term win for people to make a lot of money or if it is here to stay, my gut thinks it’s here to stay but I think it’s too early to say whether it’s a bubble that will burst or it’s just hype… similar to the Snap IPO which then declined constantly over months.

Which brand used innovative technology the best in 2017?

There’s a lot of brands out there doing clever things but I think it has to be everyone’s favourite pizza company… Domino’s.

I love that Domino’s views itself not as a food service but as a tech company with the focus on the customer.

They were one of the first brands to use Alexa Skills to make it easier to order your pizza, and you can also pay for your pizza straight from Facebook Messenger.

Were there any trends that flopped in 2017?

Last year, Snapchat was in the top 5 downloaded apps in the top 10 countries based on internet users, this year it’s in the top 5 for Germany and France who are naturally slow adopters of tech. Snapchat took on Goliath and to an extent, it lost.

Yes, Snapchat still has the user base within the target demographics, however growth is stagnant, and the IPO has basically killed it. If the share prices continue to drop, and get into single figures, it’s likely that Google would buy it to try and finally crack the social space.

How can brands stay informed of new technology?

There’s loads of generic tech news sites out there like Mashable, Wired etc, but I would follow the more specialist influencers, know what technology you’re interested in, whether it’s cryptocurrency or AI you need to follow the people in the know rather than just your general publications.

A lot of the new information I get comes from Medium, and Podcasts are another great way to keep up with industry news. Personally, I am a big fan of Gary Vaynerchuck and like to check out his daily podcast.

How can marketers persuade their business to invest in new technology?

Adapt or die. That old analogy.

If you’re not willing to go outside the comfort zone then the competition is likely to win, no matter what vertical you’re working in.

Technology is only going to become more sophisticated, so being an early adopter of the technology means that your customers adapt to how you’re interacting with them.

The best piece of advice I’ve been given about new technology and innovation is “if you’re client is asking for results to prove the innovation works then it’s not innovative.”

Jonny Taylor