For the past five years, two of Ogilvy’s digital leaders, Marshall Manson and James Whatley, have collaborated on an annual trend report outlining where they believe the digital and social landscape is headed and what brands and agencies should do as a result.
The report is unusual for three reasons: First, each report is opened by grading our predictions from the previous year, so you can see how we’ve done in the past. Second, every trend includes actual, actionable recommendations for brands. And third, because it’s pretty snarky. Also, Ogilvy has never predicted the year of mobile, and never used the term ‘big data’. They do try to make sure predictions are rooted in real data points, and carefully sourced.
This year, for the fifth report, Ogilvy are also including a section that reflects on five years of trends, and looks at the big stories we’ve seen play out since the report was started to write.
2018 predictions are:
1. Augmented Reality Gets Real: Proliferation of good mobile tech: check. Vastly improved AR platforms: check. Mass-user penetration of said platforms: check. Brands? Well, a recent report cited that the Facebook charm offensive has kicked off in earnest on the brand front. Snap have been hard at it with the media agencies and we don’t doubt that Google will be entertaining the bigger brands either.
2. The End of Typing: In virtually every form of technology, user interfaces are evolving away from fingers and thumbs and towards less tactile forms of interaction like voice and images. Users will increasingly engage with technology in more natural and instinctive ways. Technology will have to do a better job of understanding us and all of the nuance that comes with natural language. The implications for brands are tremendous.
3. The Tragedy of the Commons in Influencer Marketing: Too many brands and agencies throw money at influencers and direct them to make content and endorse products that undermine their authenticity. The industrialisation of influencer marketing through agents, agencies, and budgets that are too big in comparison to their potential for real impact only makes the problem worse. Over time, this threatens the whole common opportunity, and even the brands and agencies who are working hard to do it right will suffer as credibility in the entire medium declines in value. In 2018, influencer marketing will continue to grow, but we are concerned that cracks will begin to show, especially at the high-end where digital influencers straddle the line between influencer and celebrity.
4. The Amazon Awakening: Amazon is the most important emerging platform for digital advertising, and might soon rival Google and Facebook. This is not about product pages. It’s about thinking of Amazon as a useful platform for advertising in every part of the sales funnel.
5. Seriously Serious: Digital marketing has grown up. So has the Web as a whole. Both the grown up practice and the grown up medium are facing serious challenges which will and must be addressed in 2018. GDPR represents a positive step. There is also an array of initiatives to address problems with fraud in digital display and confront client concerns about programmatic buying. Platforms are working to make measurement more transparent and deliver a clearer link between marketing activity and business outcomes. A lot of progress will be made in 2018, but not enough. Governments will have to make progress on state-sponsored hacking. The security industry will have to make big progress to protect us from the ever-increasing volume of madness. These are needs well beyond the purview of marketers and probably unrealistic for much progress in 2018.
As Ogilvy offer these five trend predictions for 2018, read the full report for a closer look at the building arguments with supporting data and followed by recommendations.