25 Days of Data - Day 6 - Social Media Trends 2018

Throughout December, Kantar Media will showcase some of its best content from across our global network of marketing teams  in 2018.​ For 25 days in the lead up to Christmas we will summarise highlights of our content around specific themes, calendar events, newsjacking opportunities and thought leadership.​

What are the top social media trends today?

The past few years have been marked by the most popular networks’ efforts to reinvent themselves and gain greater presence in our lives. Their evolution is so advanced that it now seems impossible to label them “social” or call them “media”. Even the term “digital” seems reductive, as pure players intensify their efforts to break down the barriers between physical and digital, in a “phygital” new world. 

In the past, newcomers tried to compete with established social networks. Now, the competition is coming from existing players. Amazon is a notable example, with its launch of Spark, a commercial social network, and its powerful advertising service, which competes directly with key players such as Facebook. The FAMGA (Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon) have become so ubiquitous that they are nearly inescapable! In this environment, where almost every day brings its share of innovations, what trends can marketers count on? 

To help you navigate the fast-paced world of social media, the team at Kantar Media have identified 10 big trends you need to be aware of.  




1. New technologies are popular - but content remains central to brand strategies 

Augmented reality, virtual reality, the internet of things, and the rise of voice assistants are winds of change for brands’ social media strategies. These strategies must not only adapt to new technologies, but also create customized, often disruptive, content in order to remain relevant for consumers.   

2. As technology advances, AI will take an increasingly greater role in our lives, and therefore will become important for brands. 

AI applications linked to social media marketing, such as voicebots, personal assistants, the ultra-personalisation of ads, facial recognition, are the new stars of the phygital world and must be recognised as important players within the social media world. 

3. Altered realities, including virtual and augmented, have become part of a consumer’s daily use through social networks. 

In 2016 Pokemon Go raised awareness of this trend; in 2017 goggles, helmets, AR devices and other VR equipment became a part of daily life; and in 2018 these technologies should become more widespread. Social Networks are increasing their influence within this space and it is up to brands to ensure they make use of these technologies.  

4. Social Media giants are pushing towards a new model of television that is somewhere between mainstream TV, streaming and video on demand. 

The TV wars have begun! While regular TV is still at the heart of TV consumption, the pressure is on for social media channels to revolutionise consumer viewing habits in a move towards a more agile and interactive way. 

5. Social advertising continues to evolve - Get ready for ever more personal experiences. 

In 2017, the wind turned against digital advertising, especially social media. A number of accusations made headlines, mainly relating to brand-safety, a lack of visibility norms and lack of transparency in the performance measurement of third-party campaigns. This painted a bleak picture. To top it off, the advertising duopoly of Google and Facebook isn’t making matters any easier for brands and agencies. But this should not overshadow the importance and singularity of advertising on social networks. In short, “social ads” have what it takes to stimulate creativity beyond the social web, and to continue to inspire other advertising models

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