As the first days of January roll into view, we take a look at what to expect from the coming year. These are the trends and changes that we think you should consider in 2018.
The Rise Of Augmented Reality
The introduction of the iPhone X was dominated by facial recognition and the £1,000 price tag. But, the iPhone’s capabilities when it comes to augmented reality are very exciting. Perhaps even revolutionary. Pokémon Go pioneered the push towards real-time immersion in 2016, but that was just the beginning. As the technology in our phones continues to improve, businesses will begin to use AR in more creative ways. This will lead even more exciting and interactive opportunities in 2018. Already, Ikea Place is changing how we shop at the famous flat-pack retailer, and Google Translate is managing to break down the language barrier.
Heat Mapping Has Arrived
We can all agree that UX is a vital aspect of design. Customers ultimately want the very best experience from start to finish. And now more than ever, the customer journey is a multi-layered process. Heat mapping allows you to see how users interact with your website, instead of only displaying stats. By tracking the physical movements of a user, it is easy to see which areas are causing friction. We’ve discussed heat mapping before, but as websites continue to evolve, it is becoming fundamental to their functionality that you understand what people are doing on them.
Social Media Is The Next BIG Thing…
Businesses are becoming dependant on social media in order to reach their audience. It is no longer something to consider in your marketing strategy. It is a necessity. In 2017, “Social Media advertising spend increased over 60% year-on-year” according to ADWEEK. So, with continued investment and an ever-increasing number of users across several different channels, what new opportunities are available?
• Clever Chatbots – Chatbots are getting smarter, easier to use and much faster at dealing with enquires. They are becoming an excellent and reliable way of streamlining customer service.
• Ephemeral Content – That’s when the things you post disappear after a period of time. Snapchat was founded on it, and it is a key feature on Facebook and Instagram. Ephemeral content is an engaging way of creating a sense of FOMO (fear of missing out). Could your brand benefit from it?
• Live Video – YouTube has over a billion users and is the second biggest search engine in the world. That means there is a huge potential to engage with your audience. Live video will continue to grow throughout 2018. We will no doubt start to see brands creating their own live channels, meaning there are potentially millions of users able to watch your content for free. It’s an exciting opportunity ready for the taking.
• Generation Z – An age-old question; How does your business appeal to the next generation? What do you do to engage with them? Well, firstly, you need to know who they are? Generation Z are obsessed with their phones and yearn for authentic experiences. They will respond to less text and more images. They have a shorter attention span and use multiple screens at the same time. And in regards to social media, they love it! It has always been there for them. However, they don’t want to use the same ones as their parents. Do you still think you are appealing to them?
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
New EU regulations are coming into play in 2018 called the General Data Protection Regulation. If you are not aware of them, then this is a good place to start. In a nutshell, the information you have about an individual needs to be available when requested. As a business, you need to be transparent on the data you have on your customers and how you use that information. The terms surrounding consent are being overhauled. Make sure you are clear on these new laws that will go live from 25th May 2018. Keep an eye out for our full update in the coming months.
There has been a sharp rise in people buying and using voice-activated products such as the Amazon Echo and Google Home. With the increase of users comes the exciting – albeit unexplored – opportunity of voice search results. Over the next couple of years, Google and Apple will be investing heavily in improving Siri and Google Assistant, and businesses will need to consider how they can appear in the search results (another factor to consider in SEO). It will no doubt take a bit of time to get to a position where we are relying solely on voice commands to deliver accurate search results, but it cannot be ignored. Amazon has already started to see the benefits in this area with, “Echo owners spending $400 per year more than Prime subscribers”.