Estate Apps Digital Predictions for 2018 (Kat)

Kat Sonson By Kat Sonson

2017 was a big year for tech, from Twitter breaking their traditional 140 character limit to the rise of bitcoin and cryptocurrency down to fake news and the fightback against it. Good or bad, it's fair to say 2017 was an eventful year for tech all round!

Following will be a series of predicitons from the team as we take a look at what the future holds for all things digital and the trends that we expect to play a prominent role in 2018.

Here’s a few digital predictions for 2018 from the team:

  1. Instagram Stories

By April 2017, just over six months since Stories launched, the number of worldwide daily active users on Stories surpassed Snapchat’s users. Not only that, Stories daily views blew past Snapchat’s amassing 20 million daily views in its first year. It is estimated by the end of 2018 more than half of Instagram’s users, currently at 700 million, will be using Stories.

Whether you’re B2B or B2C Instagram is a great way to show your company culture to your audience, almost like a ‘behind the scenes’ scenario, particularly if you’re in an office service based industry. Instagram Stories are fun and again demonstrates more of your business’ personality and brand, which can be difficult if your business sits behind the screen - but don’t let that stop you, get creative, use hashtags, add your location. The great thing about Stories is that they’re discoverable, so your audience is actually wider than your actual followers.

The engagement goldmine Stories has is the very premise of its beginnings - video, which far out performs other content on social media.

2. Live Streaming

Facebook, Instagram (via Stories), Twitter (via Periscope) and YouTube has a ‘live’ streaming feature*. This is going to be major from brands and businesses who want to take the time to understand the strategy of ‘going live’. Live streaming isn’t exactly new, but how it is being used is changing. More importantly, what makes live streaming so accessible is the hardware we use. We tend to have the latest smartphones with the most astounding tech capabilities and processing speeds which means the videos we take are now much less grainy and offer seriously good quality. Smartphones now operate 4G, the next few years will be telling for live streaming when 5G will become the standard.

*Video has only recently arrived on LinkedIn personal profiles, and as of writing not yet on company pages. It would be interesting if LinkedIn adopt a live streaming feature.

3. Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality

We know to most this may sound like some dark art tech wizardry, but really it isn’t. When it comes to social media it’s new-ish, you recall Pokemon Go? Well soon it will be like that on major social networks. Snapchat have already partnered with Bitmoji which is basically your own personal expressive emoji. Facebook owns Oculus and is understood to be working on virtual hangout Spaces.

As social networks partner with AR and VR companies it is going to be exciting how this pans for businesses interested in the take up. You can see how a new sofa will look in your home before buying. Google Glass attempted to revolutionise the public space with augmented reality, however, other than DVF herself the take up wasn’t great. Perhaps it was ahead of its time? But now is the time for Google to put their augmented hat back in the ring and play ball. The property market alone would highly benefit from this form of tech, think how inspections could go. Awesome.

4. Ad growth

In order to stay relevant, and compete, in a seemingly saturated social media market and cut through the clutter, businesses and brands will have to invest in the route of placing adverts. This would require strategic planning, whether it’s to get audiences to follow your Instagram page or direct them to a lead magnet by producing a relevant video ad or a how-to infographic, how you get their attention is going to call on your creativity.

Something to note, which you may have missed, in December Facebook announced it would be coming down on posts that say ‘vote here’, ‘click this’, ‘hit like’ or ‘share this’ etc as they regard it as engagement bait. If you think by not spending on ads and putting these terms to get audience engagement on your posts, think again! Your posts will be demoted down the newsfeed - so don’t do it.

5. Generation Z

Who? I hear you ask. Gen Z is the millenial’s sibling. Born in the late ‘90s, early ‘00s, they are the first generation to grow up 100% online, with the oldest being 22 years old. Research has shown Gen Z will have more influence and buying power than the older millenial; RetailDive says: “Gen Z is two to three times more likely to be influenced by social media than by sales or discounts — the only generation to value social media over price when it comes to making purchase decisions”. So if your brand is Gen Z friendly, you’ll need to adopt a social strategy that takes your audience into account.

A bonus point to note is Twitter. Most don’t really know how or why the network is still around, with a dwindling audience of 330m monthly active users and an over-active American President persistently offending the world (it seems), eyes are on Jack Dorsey as to his next move. 280 characters was met with divided opinion on launch, but most seem to now have accepted this change. The question is what next Jack?

In a social media world of constant change it’s going to be very interesting to see what this year brings to the mediums that seemingly unite brands and businesses to their audiences.

Next up is Sam with his predictions for the year!

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