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Three 2018 Trends to Keep an Eye On

In 2017, we saw malls sitting empty while retail stores closed by the thousands as more people shopped online. Amazon bought Whole Foods, millions stepped outside to stare at the solar eclipse (hopefully with their eyes well-protected!), and, for the first time, digital advertising spend surpassed television. Heck, even Elmer’s glue sales increased an estimated 50 percent in the first quarter due to DIY slime.

If the first few weeks of 2018 are any indication of what’s to come, there are plenty more changes and buzz-worthy topics on the horizon. From record low temperatures and a near-frozen Niagara Falls, to something called a Bomb Cyclone and calls for Oprah to run for president, it’s already looking to be quite the year.

As for marketers, the continuation of a digital evolution will certainly capture everyone’s attention. The challenge: Staying ahead of an ever-changing landscape. At MGH, there are plenty of trends we’re keeping an eye on in 2018. Here are a few of our favorites we expect to gain even more steam in the months to come.

Facebook Keeps Changing
The social giant’s recent announcement regarding alterations to its News Feed had some advertisers in a panic (we wrote about it here). Still, that doesn’t mean publishers are running away – even if it’s potentially a bigger shift than when posts had 100 percent organic reach. With a new emphasis on meaningful interactions, you’ll see marketers get savvy when it comes to how brands reach you. Pair that with a heavy emphasis on Messenger and Instagram Story ads, and it’s easy to see why kings stay kings. Think Snapchat’s layout change or WhatsApp’s growing momentum abroad is enough to lure customers away from Facebook? Not likely.

Augmented Reality
Over the next few years, this will change everything, including the way people work, entertain themselves, and shop. More phones are being designed to fit the demands of AR, and brands have to begin considering ways to develop augmented experiences to increase sales and attract new customers. Need more proof? Check out IKEA and tequila maker Patron’s answer to the craze.

Artificial Intelligence
Marketers can already reach large-scale audiences with digital ad platforms like Google and Facebook. Combined with the customization possible through AI, we’ll get more specific targeting, more real-time optimization and more relevant 1:1 creative messaging. Need to reach out to a customer service team regarding an experience you had following a purchase or interaction with a popular brand? Chances are, in 2018, those friendly responses online may not be coming from a human.

We don’t always recommend throwing money at every new, shiny and exciting toy. Rather, we recommend standing behind solid, integrated campaigns that are tailored specifically to each client’s goals, target audiences and budgets. It’s a promise MGH has worked to live by since we started more than 20 years ago. However, in the fast-paced world we live in, setting aside a portion of your budget to test new opportunities is never a bad idea.

Also, that shiny toy may ultimately be a useful tool.

Here’s to a happy 2018!

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