The year 2017 left us breathless with so many surprising headlines in finance, technology, entertainment and even politics across the world. Here are our top annual trends for the coming year from Top technology websites and professionals.
- Influencer marketing will remain a useful strategy with a little twist of Emotional engagement.
About 85 percent of marketers who use the influencer marketing strategy believe it is effective. Brands interested in connecting with customers and prospects via social media will continue to turn to influencer marketing. Influencers create compelling content that appears to be organic in many cases.
Consumers, especially younger ones, prefer content that feels less “commercial” and more natural. The world of advertising is changing. It is moving toward subtle sponsored content promoted by influencers or micro-influencers “Brand Champions”. It is becoming easier to find everyday people already raving about a new product on Instagram making it compelling and attractive to consumers. And new software makes it simple to turn those posts into campaigns.
An influencer is someone who gets paid to promote a brand while a brand champion is someone who genuinely likes a products or brand and talks about them whether they are being paid or not.
- Amazon will become the benchmark for corporate strategy while Jumia and SLOT will take the leads in eCommerce and Hybrid commerce in Nigeria.
Corporate America’s obsession with Amazon runs so deep that the company is mentioned more in corporate earnings calls than even Trump, Bloomberg found. “The big business shift for 2018 in most sectors will be WWAD: What will Amazon do?,” says Focus Brand’s Cole. “Amazon and other large technologically-enabled marketplace disruptors will become the first filter for strategy for traditional retail and service business models. Google may be forced to come up with a new marketing strategy for Youtube as Amazon becomes its biggest rival with the possible launch of AmazonTube in 2018 due to the current dispute between the two companies. Jumia will ultimately become the leading eCommerce platform in Nigeria as its major competitor takes a shift in the online retail. SLOT online promises to take the first seat in the Hybrid commerce or H-Commerce in the country as it offers its customers the option to buy online and pickup from any of it experience centers in Nigeria. More online businesses are expected to go offline or have that option in the coming year. The shifts in how consumers search, find, order and receive goods and services are already affecting legacy businesses and 2018 will evoke more of a corporate awakening where this impact is clearly seen in strategy, acquisitions and profits.
- Bitcoin value will drop hard in 2018.
The cryptocurrency that grew tremendously in 2017, rising from below $1,000 at the start of the year to nearly $19,000, will crash in 2018, warns Danielle DiMartino Booth, president of Money Strong and a LinkedIn Top Voice. “The bitcoin bubble has long since surpassed anything in recorded history in terms of the size of the bubble. If it were to continue through all of 2018, we’re going to be in real trouble, because then it’s going to have the ability to contaminate other parts of the financial system, and bring it down with it,” she says. Whether the potential for it to burst will discourage those invested in the cryptocurrency and make them reconsider their investment choices remains to be seen, We will see other crypto currencies like Litecoin and Ethereum gain more values while Bitcoin will drop to about 40% in 2018.
- #MeToo may have defined 2017, watch for a new movement.
The Weinstein effect, the flood of sexual harassment claims in 2017 may usher in a change in how society treats those who are wronged. “There will be a tide shift of consciousness around appropriate behavior,” says Kat Cole, COO and president of North America at FOCUS Brands, whose chains include Cinnabon and McAlister’s Deli. Women will no longer shrug off inappropriate behavior; they’ll speak up, amplify each other and push for change. While #MeToo may have defined 2017, watch out for a new movement hashtag in 2018.
- Business owners and decision makers will utilize Big Data and data analytics.
If you have the right data, then a professional digital marketer can understand the exact customer behavior and what it takes to deliver the best services to them. Especially this year when the trend of providing real-time responses to consumers is growing increasingly and we expect the trend to go even further in 2018.
When equipped with the right marketing arsenal/tools, any digital marketing agency or professional can utilize big data.
Here are some key examples that help us understand the impact and increasing importance of big data in 2018.
Highly data-oriented businesses are 5 times more likely to improve their decision-making processes.
- 9 out of 10 business owners feel their businesses have missed opportunities because sales agents were not able to make the most out of the information to them.
- We expect big data industry to reach around a worth of $102 billion by the end of 2018
With digital technology on the rise to sophistication and global acceptance, the scope for different businesses and brands to engage and interact with their target market is boundless today — 2017 being the most active year up till now. Therefore, it is ‘now’ that companies should start incorporating these trends in their strategic planning processes for 2018. You may be a nice 6 months ahead of the actual execution phase, but getting well-prepared beforehand will give you a competitive edge.
- Rumored Apple Augmented Reality (AR) glasses will give virtual reality (VR) to the mainstream.
In the years preceding 2016, virtual reality was predicted to be the next big thing in content. While VR is popular in the videogame community, it has not gone mainstream. This is probably for the best, as it can be difficult for brands to produce content with a controlled point of view. Instead of virtual reality, augmented reality is slated to make waves in 2018. Apple’s rumored AR glasses will make that happen.
- Twitter may still struggle with ads in 2018.
Twitter has been unable to grow users in 2017. The platform has focused on user acquisition rather than on making improvements to their ad platform. As a result, marketers use other social media platforms to connect with prospects. This trend will continue in 2018 as Twitter continues to struggle. It does not appear that the increment of allowed characters for each tweet from 140 to 280 will make a difference in the number of active users on the microblogging platform. It is hoped that a strategy to monetize the popularity of Twitter as a result of the US president’s obsession with the platform will be fashioned and result in an improved ad situation for the company.
8, Expect more Cyber threats not just for organizations in 2018.
Cyber threats and the number of attacks will continue to grow. The numbers here can vary, but predictions are reaching in the neighborhood of $6 trillion in global cyberattack damage by 2021, according to data from Cybersecurity Ventures. This would make cybercrime larger, economically, than all of the drug trafficking in the world combined. As a result, according to Gartner, spending on cybersecurity is expected to hit $93 billion globally in 2018 as more individuals and organizations will get attacked. More White Hats are needed – there is a persistent cybersecurity-skills shortage – which means the cost of hiring good cybersecurity experts to help firms combat cybercrime will rise sharply. Of course, expect to see more spending on technology and compliance infrastructure too.
9, 2018 is the year of the bots
We all have gotten used to speaking with bots whenever we call to make airline reservations or to confirm our bank account balances. The use of natural language bots will expand from use as automated customer service agents to become routine for daily living.
Home bots will do more than just respond to requests, to being able to provide timely information such as, “It’s time to take your medicine.” You may even feel like Don Quixote as mobile bots become dedicated Sancho Panza servants—always at the ready and by your side.
Imagine a bot whispering in your ear “don’t make that purchase or you will be over your credit limit” or “your parking meter expires in two minutes.” Bots will help with the children, act as financial investment advisors, and be an omnipresent value-add from the brands you trust. With phones staying in our pockets, businesses will likely spend more on creating chatbots in 2018 than on apps in an effort to better serve their customers.
10, 2018 3D printing opens up amazing opportunities for manufacturers (and others)
Related to increasing automation, the invention of 3D printing is disrupting manufacturing, and other industries, in many positive ways. In traditional (subtractive) manufacturing, objects are cut or hollowed out of material, such as metal, using something like a cutting tool. But in 3D printing (also known as additive manufacturing), the object is created by laying down, or adding, layers of material. The materials used in 3D printing can be pretty much anything: plastic, metal, concrete, liquid, powder, even chocolate or human tissue!
With 3D printing, far more complex shapes can be created than in traditional manufacturing – and using less material, too. It also allows for much greater customization of products, without worrying about economies of scale.
11, Blockchains: An invention that could change our world
Blockchain technology is a very practical solution to the problem of storing, authenticating and protecting data. Think of a blockchain as a decentralized, extremely secure database. Or, to get slightly more technical, it’s a distributed, peer-to-peer ledger of records. While nothing is ever totally ‘hack-proof’, blockchain represents a huge leap forward compared to our current data security technology as, unlike a centralized database, there’s no one single point of failure.
The records in a blockchain are called ‘blocks’ and every block is connected to the previous block (hence, ‘block’ and ‘chain’). The whole chain is self-managed, which means there’s no one person or organization in charge of the entire chain. If that sounds familiar, it might be because the virtual currency Bitcoin functions on blockchain technology.
Financial services, insurance and healthcare are just some of the sectors where blockchains are likely to be heavily adopted. In fact, 90 percent of major European and North American banks are exploring blockchain solutions.
12, Machine Learning
Machine learning has been getting into all technologies. Apple also launched machine learning for iOS apps. All platforms are adding it to make life and software more intelligent and advanced. It will take over mindless, repetitive and time-consuming tasks. It can make drivers better drivers, doctors better doctors, and students better educated. We will not be able to avoid it in 2018.
13, Virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR) will become communal experiences
Right now, virtual reality is a pretty isolating experience. You put on a headset and immerse yourself in a world that only you inhabit.
Going forward, says frog visual designer Seth Mach, VR (and its cousin, augmented reality, or AR) will allow people to explore untold worlds together. They’ll get to play, work, and explore communally – in alternate realities.
“Soon, instead of being lone travelers on our augmented and virtual journeys, we’ll have friends along for the ride,” he wrote.