Trends & Insight
December 19, 2017

Trend Watch: Five PR & digital marketing trends to consider in 2018

As social media, influencer marketing and analytics continue to change the way the industry approaches media, it is harder than ever to make an impact. As focus is spread across multiple platforms, PRs are tasked with creating content that breaks through the noise. To help you get ahead in 2018, here is AM+A's rundown of PR and Digital Marketing trends to consider.

1. The rise of chatbots

In-app messaging is one of the fastest growing digital trends. Social media giants such as Facebook are already trialling in-messenger ads and brands are looking to Whatsapp as a new way to directly engage with audiences. Fear not, this does not mean you have to be available 24/7 to respond to queries; chat bots enable one to one engagement with audiences. There are many free tools available to integrate chat bots into Facebook pages allowing businesses to directly and instantly connect with customers. Monitoring and understanding data will also be key in 2018, with PRs needing to implement creative strategies that utilise predictive analytics and consumer data in order produce targeted campaigns.

2. Curated content

2017 was dubbed the year Instagram went mainstream, but in 2018 we will see content becoming highly curated. Due to Instagram’s changes in algorithms, with the only way to see posts in real time via stories, posting patterns are beginning to shift to a quality over quantity approach. Platforms such as Instagram have quickly become a shop window for brands, requiring clear ideas about tone of voice, style and message when creating posts. Content creation will be a key concern with ‘thumb stopping content’ even harder to achieve amongst high levels of traffic. Video will continue to be vital in reaching audiences, with experts predicting that by 2020 online videos will account for more than 80% of all consumer internet traffic.

3. Measuring results

The rise of influencer marketing and paid social media advertising has seen a shift from AVE towards quantitative ROI metrics due to the ease of tracking factors such as page views and impressions. But a vital part of any PR’s role is to help build a brand, something that can be hard to quantify and means you can’t lose sight of the bigger picture. When measuring results PRs should consider how much impact the brand really has, for example what percentage of media covered the brand in a positive light and how much traffic did earned media drive to the brand’s owned channels?

4. Paid vs. earned content

This year we saw ‘influencer marketing’ take the industry by storm, which caused a shift away from earned to paid media. This is a trend that is here to stay, but will continue to become increasingly transparent with social media platforms making users more aware of paid content. In 2018 content will need to engage directly with consumers to drive traffic. As social media continues to be a major part of brand awareness, storytelling skills and the ability to spot and create ‘viral’ content are a must. As content becomes more customer centric, 2018 will continue to see a decline in the reach of organic content, with sponsored posts becoming a vital marketing tool.

5. The changing media landscape

The media landscape is rapidly changing as traditional media outlets continue to funnel funding into digital. It is becoming increasingly hard to stand out in email inboxes and PRs can no longer rely solely on press releases to make an impact. The rise of data journalism is changing the way information is presented with infographics, Gifs and social media allowing PRs to be more creative in the way their reach the media. Data will be a key part of strategies allowing a better understanding of what engages a brand’s target audience to create personalised campaigns. A major obstacle will be overcoming audiences’ mistrust in the media, with brands that produce honest, transparent campaigns making the biggest impression.

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