In the 1980s, when the New York-based consumer electronics retailer Crazy Eddie was shouting at late night television viewers that his prices were “insane,” nobody thought of brands as their “friends.” Advertising was loud, brash and often in your face. The goal was to get your attention and make an impression.
Thank goodness, times have changed. Now advertisers hope to connect to you in a whole different way, almost like they want to be your friend. And it’s working: people are reaching out to mention, tag, and connect with brands at an astonishing pace.
- 1 in 3 consumers say they would mention a brand when sharing a personal accomplishment on social media
- 41% of millennials would include a brand to say “thanks” when mentioning a life milestone on social media
- 80% of Instagram users already follow a brand on the network.
The future of advertising and marketing is about making relationships, establishing trust, and providing feedback quickly – in essence, using emerging media to make your users your brand ambassador and maybe even your friend.
1. Live Streaming Is Gaining Momentum
People love live video.
In 2017, about 80 percent of consumers said that when it comes to branded content, they’d rather watch a live video than read a blog, and 82 percent prefer live video to written social media updates. And according to Facebook, live videos receive six times more engagement than non-live ones.
According to Social Media Examiner, 61% of marketers plan to increase their uses of live video going forward. As for what to broadcast, many brands are finding success by live streaming events, which helps brings an event to followers that they might otherwise not be able to attend.
2. Instagram Stories is Crushing Snapchat
In Summer 2016, Instagram launched Stories to compete with Snapchat. It features a series of bubbles at the top of the app that show users’ shared photos and video clips for up to 24 hours, and has AR filters, too. By summer 2017, Instagram Stories had 250 million users compared to Snapchat’s 166 million.
Today, about half of the businesses on Instagram produce a story each month, and 1 in 5 organic Instagram Stories from brands see at least one direct message from a consumer.
Instagram Stories makes it easy to reach users where they already spend time, and brands will be incorporating this feature into their social strategies.
3. Bots Are Listening and Responding on Social
With so many people mentioning brands in their posts and reaching out to organizations directly through in-app messaging, a company can get thousands of messages and questions each day. How can they keep up with them all? In 2018, the answer is to automate it.
Social listening tools like Mention, IFTTT, and of course Hootsuite, let organizations track conversations that use specific phrases, words or brands. You can analyze what audiences are doing, what people are saying, what they think of your brand, and what they might want to see next.
You can then leverage this information to improve your product, create a smoother customer experience, develop your next marketing campaign, or even to program your chatbots that autorespond to incoming social media messages.
Right now, more than 100,000 chatbots are active on Facebook Messenger, gathering info, answering questions, and taking produce orders. Organizational productivity has improved 3.5 times using this technology.
Meanwhile, “bot builders” like Motion AI, Converse AI, or QnA Maker, allow users to automate customized conversation flows, so that organizations can build, preview, and launch chatbots easily on Twitter or Facebook.
Increasingly, customers will be getting answers from a bot instead of a body; if they’re set up well, their knowledge and efficiency will only help to win over more brand loyalists.
4. The Moment for AR and VR May Finally be Arriving
Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) have been around for a while, but 2018 may be the year the may finally go mainstream in the world of marketing.
AR—which use your phone's camera to show you the real world, and then layers text or images on top of that view (think Snapchat’s lenses, or face filters)—is a hot space that Snapchat, Facebook, and Google are all moving into. As visual renderings get better and internet speeds continue to improve, these fun technologies will undoubtedly be used by more and more people.
VR—which gives users the experience of being in a completely different environment—is still pretty new, but the Consumer Technology Association's 2018 Tech Trends to Watch, predicts an 18% increase in VR revenue and a 25% increase in units sold this year.
Currently, Facebook and Google Cardboard offer 360-video publishing. Meanwhile, Snapchat users can project a virtual version of themselves with an animated, 3-D bitmoji.
How can VR be used by a brand? For each pair of shoes purchased from TOMS, the company provides a new pair for a child in need around the world. And it’s bringing that experience to customers by using VR.
While distributing shoes in Peru, TOMS shot a 360-degree virtual reality video that can transport its customers to another part of the world, where they can see the direct effect of their purchase. Although it’s best seen using a VR headset, the video can be viewed from any regular device, too.
Emerging media gives companies and brands ways to engage with their customers in new and creative ways. The loud and abrasive Crazy Eddie-style advertising seems, well, crazy. Advertising and the associated brands are now part of a people’s experience. Even digital ad platforms like Amazon's advertising business are putting the customer at the center,and only showing ads that are relevant, helpful, and likely to strengthen customer loyalty and happiness.
Emerging media has profoundly changed advertising—making it more effective, more efficient, and more fun for everybody involved.