11 Social Experts Predict 2018's Top Social Media Trends

Spredfast’s Smart Social Summit gathered more than 700 of social and digital’s best minds to discuss current trends in the market and how to stay agile for the future of social. Before leaving inspired and ready to tackle another year, we connected with digital trailblazers at brands like National Geographic, PepsiCo, and TrueCar to pick their brains on what they see coming in 2018—and how best to prepare for it. We’ve collected their predictions in our tipsheet, 2018 Social Media Trends Predicted by Top Marketers.

Major themes span topics like Instagram’s continuous rise, video, the Internet of Things, and finally standardizing how we view social ROI. This post will connect these trends with what we heard at Smart Social Summit—and offer a sneak peak of two additional predictions you won’t find in the tipsheet itself.

In 2018 We Will…

Solve the Social ROI Puzzle

With the debut of shoppable posts on Instagram, buyable pins, Facebook collection ads, and tracking offline conversions, e-commerce marketers can now draw the line between their social media advertising and business results. Our experts believe that social networks will continue to prioritize reporting return-on-investment, adding new capabilities in 2018 to make that line between ad and direct revenue driver even clearer.

The ability to track offline conversions is even bigger in helping solve the ROI puzzle. It helps marketers make smarter decisions when building their attribution models, giving credit where credit is due.

Dive Deeper into New Tech

Artificial Intelligence. Bots. Automation. These are the head-scratching words that top-level executives are jumping on as soon as possible—but they're also new enough that marketers aren't quite certain where to start. Although it’s challenging for marketers to weave these new technologies into their goals for 2018, the return and opportunities are genuinely exciting.

Tim Carr, Head of Social Marketing at Live Nation, shared with us how his team is leveraging bots to create better customer experiences and drive sales. If you’re looking into using chatbots for social care, click here to learn the four questions you need to ask yourself when getting started. Lauren McCadney Williams, Director of Marketing Delivery at CDW, believes that Artificial Intelligence will help marketers see the business value in their data. The most obvious change we can predict in marketing for Artificial Intelligence is the effect it will have on the retail industry.

Combine Digital and Physical Spaces

From shopping to experiential marketing events, our experts see that there’s a lot of opportunity for us to create memorable experiences for our customers. Adweek recently reported on how more brands are leaning into experiential marketing and measuring its ROI. Brands let data guide the way they understand their customers, prioritizing this integration of digital with real-life to stimulate all senses of their audience. (Check out how brands have integrated digital elements into experiential marketing campaigns.)

And then there’s augmented reality, which epitomizes the convergence of digital and “real” spaces. We’ve seen Instagram and Snapchat pave the way to make AR part of our everyday lives—and it’s not slowing down anytime soon. Ikea’s AR kit is one of many examples that place the power of AR in the hands of a consumer, so our experts expect that 2018 we’ll see more innovation roll out from brands adopting this technology.

See Even More Video

This year we saw something big happen: Digital spend finally exceeded TV spend. And to take more of that budget, Facebook launched the Watch platform.

With each platform uniquely different from the next, Ana María Henao, Regional Senior Marketing Director at PepsiCo, reminds us we can’t view them with a one-size-fits-all perspective. There are unique benefits for Snapchat, considering its audience and capabilities. Therefore, it’s worth creating video content that will truly resonate on that platform specifically. With more opportunities to learn from digital data than television advertising, brands will continue experimenting with video to find out what truly works best for them.

Plus, two more 2018 social media trends predictions from our experts:

Charlie Grinnell, Head of Social Media at Aritzia

“Augmented Reality will become the new normal on social media platforms. With Facebook’s AR Studio, Snapchat’s ART, Android’s existing work within the world of AR, and now Apple’s recent announcements of AR Kit – there's now enough momentum from a hardware perspective that can back up the software ambitions. In 2018, we will likely see AR come to life across social media platforms like never before as we are watching hardware and software come together in real time to create incredible experiences that transcend the digital/real world boundary. This will present an awesome creative opportunity for brands and allow them to create practical immersive experiences like never before.”

Lauren McCadney Williams, Director of Marketing Delivery at CDW Corporation

“After years of hype, real-time omni-channel marketing is finally upon us. The stars have aligned allowing customer data, channel targeting, dynamic content and omni-channel campaign management tools to come together in a meaningful way. Very soon marketing will never be the same with campaigns managed like a trading desk with on the fly optimization.

Download the asset for free here—and be sure to click through to the resources we've linked throughout, to help your team get a head start on your 2018 planning.

November 10, 2017
How to Make Your Company an Inclusive Workplace for Veterans
November 17, 2017
The 5 Most Important Skills a Digital Marketer Needs in 2018
Ary Esfahani is a Digital Strategist at Spredfast. She is passionate about the evolving landscape of digital and writes to help marketers be ahead of that change.