Welcome to 2018! Looking, it must be said, remarkably similar to 2017, it is nonetheless a new and exciting year, full of promise! Despite 2018 being less than a week old, we already have a packed selection of ten things you need to know. We hope you had restful and happy holidays, and that these help to inspire you for what we hope is a great year ahead!
Programmatic Ad Buying Only Getting Bigger: At the end of 2017, we surveyed European advertising agencies and professionals, and found that an enormous 86 percent of brand marketers, and 89 percent of their colleagues in agencies, plan to ramp-up their investments in programmatic ad buying in 2018. What does that mean for you? Well, I could tell you, but instead I’d direct you to click the link and read our esteemed colleague Phil Duffield’s take on the Five Things You Need to Consider when thinking programmatic in 2018. Smart advice here.
Facebook Launches ‘Click to Whatsapp’ Ads: What do customers like most in terms of brand interactions? Why that’s right, it’s being shuffled from one communications platform to another! That said, this development—which enables advertisers to include a button in their ad that lets people call or message via WhatsApp with one tap—has clear potential benefits when it comes to developing quick, direct engagement with a potential customer. Not currently available in Europe due to concerns about privacy (no, me neither), but expected to expand globally over the coming year.
View Counts Coming to Twitter Videos: Yes, ok, fine, if you’re a publisher you should already be able to track the number of views your videos have been getting on Twitter. This change, though, makes that figure public-facing, meaning everyone will be able to tell if that ‘viral content’ is, well, not actually viral at all. This means two things: first, that it might be worth investing in promoting videos on Twitter more than you’ve done previously, to cash in on that old psychological trick whereby people are more likely to watch videos they already know to be popular; and second, you’re going to have a much harder time lying to clients about your results (not that any of you do; not since that New Year’s resolution kicked in, in any case).
Instagram Adds Recommended Posts to the Feed: In a move literally no one has asked for, and which caused predictable short-term furore before everyone calmed down and remembered that none of this really matters, Instagram has introduced ‘Recommended for You’, a new section appearing below a user’s regular feed which will suggest posts that they might find interesting, based on algorithmic magic (ok, probably not magic). The point of interest here for marketers is that it seems likely that this might become an advertising variant in the future.
Adverts Coming to Alexa: A special congratulatory handshake to the people at Ogilvy, whose ‘Predictions for 2018’ report we featured in the last ‘10 Things…’ of 2017. One of their predictions was that Amazon would become significantly more important for marketers in the coming year. And lo, it came to pass that Amazon revealed it was planning to expand the opportunities available to brands to market to consumers on Alexa. It makes perfect sense. The amount of data Amazon has about actual consumer behaviour is unparalleled, and giving brands the opportunity to be first in the queue to be recommended to customers asking, “Alexa, please buy me something to cope with my creeping sense of anxiety about modernity,” seems like a sensible step. This will inevitably be rolled out to the FMCG giants first, but expect there to be an element of self-serve to this as time moves on.
We Are Social’s 2018 Trends: It’s still early enough in the year that we can link to trend predictions, and this short presentation from We Are Social is refreshingly sensible and free of (too much) flimflam. It includes a few neat ideas and platforms you might have missed.
Imaginary Soundscapes: Something else we’re going to see a lot more of this year is computers learning how to make things up. This really impressive project—currently only available to PC owners—uses Google Streetview to let you navigate to wherever you like in the world. A beach in Tahiti. The end of your street. The software then analyses the image present in Streetview to determine the type of environment being displayed, and generates a machine learning-derived soundscape which it ‘thinks’ fits the view in question. So travel to a sports stadium and you’ll hear the sound of a crowd, or to a motorway to hear traffic. Astonishing, really, and a wonderful example of how fast this is moving. A couple of years ago this would have been rocket science—today it raises nary an eyebrow.
Facebook Analytics Funnels: This is a genuinely interesting and useful blogpost by Jon Loomer, walking you through some powerful-yet-underused Facebook features which will let you develop some useful insights into your marketing funnel using the Facebook Pixel, and some nifty audience and goal segmentation. Further proof that there is a wealth of useful data available through Facebook, often buried somewhere you might not necessarily be aware of. This one’s a really useful read.
Mix The Body: A really beautiful website, by the British Council, which allows users to ‘create’ their own dance, using pre-packaged video which can be stitched together based on a user’s selections in order to create a seamless new routine. An excellent example of how existing assets can be used to produce new content—and a particularly nice example of how impressive full-bleed, interactive video looks in HTML5, on both mobile and desktop.
UPS Delivery Day: Finally, in this edition, in an attempt to ease the inevitable pain of being back at work (because, let’s be honest, however much we love our jobs, there’s a reason this is called ‘work’ and not ‘fun’), here’s a rather entertaining piece of marketing from UPS—a puzzle game based around delivering parcels that has all the shiny, pastel-coloured addictiveness of your favourite mobile game. Enjoy, and a happy new year to you all.