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Social & digital marketing in 2018

Senior Digital Manager Maria Bain brings us her take on the five most interesting predictions across social and digital for the coming year.


1. Advocacy Marketing

Influencer marketing isn’t new and shiny anymore; it seems every other brand is forking out big budget for the top tier influencer to promote their brand or service.

There is no doubt that influencer marketing will continue in 2018, but consumers want authenticity from their influencers. Brands who look to work with real brand advocate influencers or industry experts will find higher engagement rates.

Users are simply becoming bored of brands leveraging any influence with over 10,000 Instagram followers. Building meaningful relationships with influencers will be key in 2018.

Our advice: Set out clear objectives around why you want to work with influencers and brand advocates. Consider whether they will help deliver the best ROI. Consider who your audience regards as influential and start building solid relationships with them.

2. Shoppable Media

The rise of rich media formats will continue to grow in 2018, with brands enabling more immersive shopping experiences across earned, owned and paid media. From click-to-buy buttons on Pinterest to ‘swipe up’ directives on Instagram stories, the shoppable media ecosystem is growing at a rapid pace, making it easier than ever for advertisers to place products in front of consumers on the platforms they look to for inspiration.

In simple terms, shoppable content is any type of content (i.e. videos, articles, images, etc.) that provides a direct purchasing opportunity and allows consumers to either add products to a cart, directly from what they are viewing, or to be taken to a product page and continue to shop from there.

Our advice: When it comes to shoppable media, your customer’s mind-set matters and must inform your strategy. Is your user ambling through their everyday life (passive) or are they looking to make a purchase (active)? And the strategy should be more than simply reaching people at the right time to make a sale, but also in the right place and with the right experience. Don’t forget that this need for a powerful experience is just as true for a purchase, a sign up, a share, a ‘learn more’ or a website interaction.

3. Personification

Ahead of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) update, brands need to start looking at delivering relevant campaigns to audience segments without exposing individual identities.

Social media channels such as Facebook give marketers the ability to run highly-targeted, performance-oriented campaigns. We need to start delivering relevant digital experiences to individuals based on where they are in the customer journey, rather than on their personal identity. People don’t react kindly to content that isn’t relevant to them. Instead, we need to create content strategies that are increasingly personalised and based on user insights and social trigger points, making content more likely to be digested and shared.

Our advice: Know your target market and create a user persona based on the person’s age, gender, interests, likes, location, trigger points, etc. Then take this a step further and adopt a storytelling approach and narrate the story in a manner and language your audiences understand best. Then work your targeting strategy back from that.

4. AR Ads on Social

Augmented Reality ads on social are set to lead the way for brands to create immersive experiences. The use of AR on mobile devices provides a niche and engaging way for marketers to reach their target audience – it’s quick, easy and very interactive!

With Apple’s launch of the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, which provides users with new augmented reality experiences, it’s likely more social channels will plan on introducing new ways of integrating AR into their platforms.

We’ve already seen Snapchat roll out a new AR feature, allowing users to create their ‘Bitmoji’ and project themselves or images into the real world through the app’s camera. As AR grows, virtual ‘FOMO’ will become a reality. Social media will help AR go mainstream.

Our advice: AR is the new shiny in the digital world but make sure you take a step back and ensure that using AR adds value for the user and is shareable. Don’t use AR just for the sake of it. It’s important to consider how your strategy fits in and how an AR approach might amplify it. We can help here!

5. Ephemeral content

Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook stories have seen an eruption in the popularity of ephemeral content. The majority of ephemeral content is live for up to 24 hours and then disappears forever. Brand and influencers alike are jumping on the trend that is only set to grow. It gives brands increased authenticity, higher engagement and works perfectly with a mobile-first approach. We’re seeing an increasing number of brands creating two social media strategies – one for their social channels and a separate strategy for their ephemeral content marketing.

Ephemeral content is also allowing brands to be more authentic, leveraging Instagram grids for high-quality content and stories for more real-time content. With story content lost within hours, followers are taking faster action and are returning more frequently to their favourite brand accounts with a ‘fear of missing out’. There is no denying that a high-quality social content strategy is a must, but we have to recognise the growing trend in storytelling as the future of social content marketing. If you want to see social storytelling at its finest, follow @NatGeo on Instagram, we promise you won’t be disappointed!

Our advice: Have a plan in place to reach audiences with the help of an ephemeral content marketing strategy. Look to be more authentic and offer real-time content to engage audiences in the shortest possible time. Create a strategy around your story and invest time and thought. Use this guide on how to craft an engaging Instagram story to help.

If you are looking for advice or support navigating through the social trends of 2018, then just contact one of our digital specialists at Pegasus on digital@thisispegasus.co.uk

is a Senior Account Manager in Pegasus's digital team. Her forte is understanding social communities, how they tick and how to engage them with compelling content.