There’s a whisper of concern in social media circles as we ease into 2018 – and that is the increase in competition on media channels, and the fact that attention spans are decreasing. There’s even a sense of desperation as creatives seek increasingly innovative ways of attracting attention. The fashion swings (or lurches) from one trend to another with various declarations of what is the latest and best way to attract clients and achieve sales.
There are some new options lying ahead that hopefully will catch on in popularity as the technology grows to meet new demands. There are also new tools and features in established marketing and social media platforms, and new uses for old ones. However, as competition becomes more pressured, there is one aspect that no one likes to talk about – and that is, people are getting tired of constant information, no matter the clever format it may be wrapped in.
Looking for returns in a saturated market
What is it that people may look for in marketing? Less of it? More entertainment? More products that will be less dramatic in presentation but offer real value? Marketers need to stay ahead of the curve – but the curve is going through some hilly country at the moment. Nobody wants to waste time and money on something that is irritating, boring, or easy to ignore. So what’s worth investment? Where is the attention going, and how will you capture it?
Currently, there is a decline in organic reach. In addition, marketers have to be far more selective about what and where they post, looking increasingly to paid advertising to continue any worthwhile reach. Despite the proclaimed popularity of video, content still has to be both clever and relevant, carefully timed for interest to be peaked and sustained.
To counteract client ‘fatigue’ – the fact that customers are getting fed up with the sometimes too intrusive prod and pry of social media marketing – there are some changes taking place that need attention: retooling of old platforms, some return to basic channels, and some entirely fresh opportunities brought about by growing technology.
Something old, something new
The Instagram story debut has hit over 20 million viewers a day. It’s predicted that more than half of all Instagram users will be using Stories by the end of 2018. Brands will need to get on board with Stories because they are a great way to promote your company culture – and chiefly because they are fun and discoverable, meaning anyone on Instagram can see your stories even if they are not your followers. Marketers can hashtag key words which become clickable, take polls, and tag locations.
The celebrity influencer is being challenged by the popularity of micro-influencers on platforms such as YouTube. If a brand can be recommended by social media influencers who have built up their own celebrity status on social media, then an incredible reach for your product can be assured. Micro-influencers often have followings in the hundreds of thousands or even millions. Brands are choosing these influencers because they can deliver ten times the ROI in comparison to digital marketing alone. Ryan is a young boy who opens toys, tests them out and then offers his opinion. He has over one million subscribers which makes him one of the top social influencers in the industry, a growing trend on established platforms.
Augmented & Virtual Reality
Pokemon GO cemented the popularity – and the potential – of this new technology. Talking emojis, trying out clothes, testing the look of new furniture in your living room, etc – are all on the cards through the next year. More manageable AR customisation is on its way, offering unlimited opportunities for brand display. Spaces from Facebook, for example, is being designed to allow friends to connect in VR. Set for release in 2018, Spaces will likely be the first VR social media experience. Clearly, it holds much potential as a new platform for marketers.
The technology to undertake live streaming is improving all the time. While it’s been around for a while, the use is going to increase in 2018, with innovation open for discussion. Done well, it will generate substantial organic reach. Live streaming has considerable power not yet fully tapped. Social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and possibly even Linkedin are going to capitalise on this exciting trend as it develops. This trend is also developing in online hangouts where you can Live Video Chat with multiple people; Facebook is looking for similar functionality on their live streaming platform.
Considering that over 2 billion people globally use messaging apps daily, brands should be aware of potential in these platforms as marketing tools. Chatbots, artificial intelligence, and voice assistants can offer extraordinary potential to connect and communicate with customers. Facebook has already established its new mass messaging platform, Messenger, and is preparing for the future marketing feed on this platform through sophisticated chatbots. As a proactive marketing tool versus a simple responsive private messaging app, it offers explosive reach and engagement.
Twitter needs to make some big changes in order to stay relevant in 2018. They have increased their character limit to 280 characters and are planning a new subscription model for advertisers. The jury is still out on Twitter and marketers should keep an eye on new developments on this platform which still has substantial following. But can an old dog teach us new tricks?
Talk and Retail Radio
Traditional platforms are coming back into favour. They offer more opportunity for choice of engagement; genuine conversation about current issues is tracking up substantial following. Radio is intimate and present and represents live people. Warm connection is possible, real connection to real people not chatbots is assured when you phone in. People are responding increasingly to this preference. The marketing platform here has not died and is certainly growing. Retail radio offers a sense of welcome and reality to shoppers through real-time interaction and information; opportunity for influencer marketing is at a peak when people are browsing and close to products.
The At-home Movie: Netflix
The move to movies at home. Should we shout hurrah! – at last somebody is getting it. Movies and mini-series are clearly the more popular viewing on their TV. Giving the public affordable and anytime access to that preference is fundamental to building a new marketing platform that will enter homes and engage with audiences that are comfortably engaged and keenly intent. There is technology to shut out advertising on phones and other digital communications – but home movie channels still have great creativity to hand. Bringing brands and action to together in creative story marketing is the key.
Finding us… Out of the Blue
Marketing is a moving sea of trends and change. The acumen is changing and enriching almost daily. Keeping up with customers’ lives and fleeting attention spans is becoming more challenging. And yet a lot of the old style marketing is still with us. The medium is not the message – and the message had better look lively. All the old standbys are still valuable and able to be repurposed. The basics may remain but it is the job of creatives to surprise with new inventions, sounds, looks and events. From expos to radio, from direct mail to the charm of mobile video, messaging and movies – it all depends on ensuring that the creators of communication remain refreshed in mind and startling in ideas.
Come and talk to us. We’re in that edgy business of surprise called marketing. At Out of the Blue Creative Communication Solutions we work with clients to build communications that do better business through concepts that are smart and relevant.
Find us at: www.outoftheblue.co.za