As social media has become one the main modes of communication, if not the number 1…consumers are now wanting brand marketing to become more personalised. But yet at the same time the rise of automation is there for all to see as it offers digital marketers a new method to pass on the day-to-tasks and concentrate on the most important thing…you the consumer.

Without a doubt, digital marketing will continue to move toward these two poles in 2018

Here’s a look at what else lies ahead in the world of digital marketing in 2018, and how businesses can prepare.

1. Consumers are reacting more to unfiltered, authentic moments than perfectly designed content

I mean who doesn’t love a studio set photo with all the trimmings of photoshop…but these images can sometimes hinder brands trying to show off their authenticity when it looks a bit forced. That is why businesses are utilising the story modes on various social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat…and it honestly would not surprise me if a super-story platform was launched in 2018 to rule them all!

Consumers are looking for honest insights about how brands operate, and they want to connect on a personal level to the brands they follow. Brands that share unfiltered photos and videos, which haven’t undergone heavy editing, can expect to receive more likes, shares, and clicks on their content.

2. Storytelling is more important than ever

We love a story…I mean who doesn’t?

The importance of content marketing is old news, but gone are the days when a brand could hire just any copywriter off of Freelancer. As the competition for online attention grows, many digital agencies are looking at journalists to write their key material.

With traditional media on a steady decline, creative journalists are out there and looking for work. No to mention agencies as a whole can benefit from hiring writers with reporting and storytelling backgrounds.

The demand for high-quality and engaging content is growing yearly, and is expected to continue on this trend for 2018. Readers want to get unique value out of the brands they follow, and in order to compete, agencies will have to step up their strategies – which may mean bringing in more non-traditional talent.

3. Automation is here to stay

By mid-2018 machines may be generating 20% of business content for Social media. But how does that effect small businesses? Chat bots are a great way for a business to provide customer service with automated responses. Millennials have adapted to this technology, with a large percentage claiming they’ve already encountered a bot when dealing with brands. Chatbots can help automate processes, reducing workload for teams and allowing marketers to dedicate more time to creative projects like content creation.

Even top brands are using bots to automate their content - The New York Times admitted recently to using bots to help coordinate posts across their several pages. These bots may even do a better job of predicting engagement than their human counterparts, so expect to see them making a big impact on marketing in 2018.

4. Competition for video views will increase

Video is the way forward, with every social channel embracing video and ways for individuals to share it. Video is the most consumed media online. In fact, it's predicted that by 2020, up to 80% of online content will be video. Already in 2017, 90% of all content shared by social media users includes video.

Video is here to stay. But with that said it means the competition for videos to get traction is rising. You have 3 seconds to grab the viewers’ attention before scrolling. So keep that in the back of your mind when going through the content creation process. Optimizing video content for viewing with sound on or off will also be important since most social networks automatically keep videos silent unless you click on them. The experience should be good for all viewers, whether they listen or not.

Finally, make sure to consider the reasons for making a video in the first place. Video is a means to an end, not an end in itself. Your audience will want to know how your video content can help them solve their own problems, so if they don’t see any value, they'll keep scrolling.

As with 2017, 2018 will be an ever changing landscape across the social media landscape, so be sure to be willing to bend, move, change direction and try something new.