Biggest digital trends in 2018

For the last five years, the agency Ogilvy creates an annual report which aims to spot the key trends in digital and social media marketing that are likely to be important in the coming year. The report contains the agency's predictions from the previous year and every trend includes actual, actionable recommendations for brands. In 2018, for its fifth report, Ogilvy included also a section that reflects on five years of trends, and looks at the big stories the agency's representatives have seen play out since they started writing the report.

The report can be seen here and it features five big trends to watch for in 2018: Augmented Reality, The End of Typing, The Tragedy of the Commons in Influencer Marketing,The Amazon Awakening and Seriously Serious. 

In our turn, we've talked with two specialists on the Romanian digital industry and we found out their predictions and thoughts.

Flavian Cristea, Digital Strategist Grapefruit

- What do you believe will be the biggest digital trends of 2018?

The biggest digital benefits for customers will come from conversational interfaces and specialized artificial intelligence. These technologies enable customers to use natural language to interact with companies and their assets. We will be seeing more and more cases of making a bank deposit by messaging a chatbot or ordering products from the internet by using digital assistants such as Google Home or Alexa.

We are seeing specialized artificial intelligence and mixed reality as being the main drivers of digital change inside companies. These technologies are used to strengthen the capabilities of the employees, getting more out of the same individuals. It’s a complementary relationship, where the technological aspects fill in for the weaknesses of the humans and the other way around. Blockchain is also a technology that migrated from cryptocurrency to other businesses such as banking and trading, opening new ways of communicating, controlling and tracking information.

- What are they influenced by and why?

The user wants the barrier between the digital and reality to disappear. This desire appears out of the wish of the individuals to interact in a more natural way with everything they use. It’s easier to ask “How much money do I have in my account?” than to go inside a banking application and check your account. It’s also more natural to interact with objects with your hands than with your mouse.

Another obvious influencer is the progress we have achieved in the fields of artificial intelligence and virtual reality. The fact that these technologies are also researched and developed in an open way is a great contribution because everybody can experiment and share what they learned in the process.

- What is Grapefruit advising its clients this year?

We advise our customers to find contexts inside their company to experiment with each technology mentioned above. It does not have to be a big project. Just big enough that, if successful, it can become a pilot project for a bigger digital change.

Andrei Balan, Head of Strategy MRM McCann

- What do you believe will be the biggest digital trends of 2018?

Two things I’d look for in the following year are the access and sharing economy spreading to different aspects of our lives and micro targeted content.

- What are they influenced by and why?

Let’s start with the access and sharing economy. The basic idea here is the digital environment contributes to a steep increase in the number and intensity of desires. The overall digital connectedness lets us know about products and services virtually instantaneously. It also provides us with unprecedented insight into other people’s curated live, so we get to know what everyone has and does. These are both vectors for wanting more things more intensely. Moreover, things like retargeting contribute to turning these desires into quasi-obsessions. But what happens when the number and intensity of desires increases much faster than the financial means to support them? It builds up to phenomena such as the access economy, the sharing economy and then the democratization of all sorts of things and services. For example, why own music when you can just rent and listen to it? Also, people now get to travel to more distant places because Airbnb allows them to cut accommodation costs and invest more in transport. This is a simple example of touristic democratization enabled by the sharing economy.

Now let’s talk about micro targeted content. As it is becoming clearer content is winning the battle with online advertising, we’re starting to look more into what, how and why it works. Using real people, famous or not, to provide credibility to content is already something everybody does. The next base is micro targeting, or micro community-tailored content. This means building certain variations into a marketing campaign that make it more relevant for each segment of the public. And then using media targeting to reach each community with the proper variation.

- What is MRM advising its clients this year?

Our advice? Have no fear in riding the trends. I know countless people who regret not investing early in cryptocurrencies. I myself am one of them. The same thing goes with all trends: ride them early enough to be among the ones who profit most.