Digital Trends for 2018

Last year I made 5 predictions regarding digital trends for 2017. Before I get into digital trends for  2018, let’s see how good my crystal ball was (I got this idea from SEO wizard, Rand Fish and have used a similar scale). If you have no interest in reliving the past, then scroll down to see my digital trend predictions for 2018.

Scale: +2 Spot on          +1 Accurate       -1 Somewhat wrong       -2 Not even close

1.Disappearing Content – I said that we’d see more content in this format and we have. Instagram Stories has over 250m daily active users, while Snapchat has 166m. And you can also post stories on Facebook. +2

2.Twitter as we know it will die – I predicted that unless Twitter changed dramatically, it would become a fail whale. I’m the fail whale here, because I wouldn’t call the 240 character update dramatic, and Twitter isn’t going anywhere. In 2016 the platform had 317m active users and in 2017, 330m. I think a lot of this has to do with Trump tweeting.  -2 

3.Live streaming – this one was spot on. More than 1 in 5 Facebook videos are live and people are 3x more likely to watch a video that has been live streamed.  +2 

4.Chatbots – It actually annoys me when I go to a service website and I can’t live chat with someone who can help me. The chatbot has become the new standard in customer service.   +2 

5.Engagement Mark Z recently dropped a bomb on publishers. Facebook is updating its algorithm so that you’ll see more posts from your friends and family and only from brands that get high engagement.  +2 

That’s 8 out of 10. Let’s move on to this year.

Digital trends for 2018

1.Audio is only going to get bigger

Up until about a year ago, I’d rather read than listen to a podcast. While I still love reading, when it comes to learning something new, I’d rather listen to a podcast. This allows me to learn more while driving to work or cleaning the house.

Not only will podcasts continue to grow, but with the rise of Amazon Echo and Google Home, so will voice search. While this won’t become mainstream yet, people are starting to change the way they search for certain things already.

SEE MORE: 3 podcasts to make you smarter

2. Cryptocurrency

How do you know someone is into cryptocurreny? Same way you know if they are into crossfit or a vegan, they tell you. Bitcoin, Ethereum and even Kodak (yes they have their own now) are going to continue to disrupt the financial industry.

It will be interesting to see how countries and banks attempt to regulate crypto. I think crypto, for the most part, will remain a form of digital gold (investment, trading), and in terms of replacing money for day-to-day living, it will be a while before this becomes a reality.

SEE ALSO: How to buy Bitcoin and Ethereum in South Africa 

3. Influencers

Sam wrote an awesome article on influencers for #BizTrends2018 and explains that long-term content partnerships will be more popular as more brands will see the value that influencers can offer. Influencer marketing will no longer be an add-on, but will rather form a large part of the marketing mix.

I’d like to add that I think influencer marketing is still underpriced compared to regular marketing channels, especially when you look at generating business results. And this brings me to the next trend.

4. Quality, authenticity & accountability

With the rise of influencer marketing, the regular “buy this” just doesn’t cut it anymore. It’s about being authentic or real and having conversations. This also means that you need to be held accountable for what you create. Take YouTuber Paul Logan’s recent backlash after showing a dead body in one of his videos.

5. AI & VR

AI is where human intelligence is simulated on machines and VR is when you are transported to another environment. Both AI and VR are going to become mainstream. We can already see this happening with new VR apps and headsets. And AI is already at a cool but creepy AF level.

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