Our top 6 marketing predictions for 2018

Virtual reality

With rapidly changing technology and ever-evolving social media platforms, the marketing landscape continues to change at light speed. We’ve got a headache already and we’re only a month in! 

Purple Riot takes a look at six things to watch that will have a huge impact on how brands and agencies communicate in 2018…

1. Facebook – the big shake up

For businesses that prioritise Facebook as a customer communication tool, the recent algorithm change may mean big disruption to the way that brands can target and engage with customers.

 The latest shake-up will see users seeing more organic content from family, friends and groups in their newsfeeds, and less from brands. Of course, this move will push brands into paying for more sponsored posts and ads if their organic reach takes a hit, although creating more meaningful, personal connections and interactions for its users has been cited as the main reason for the development by Facebook.

Brands will need to adapt their content strategies to ensure that posts spark conversation in order to stay ahead of the game, and additionally, the algorithm change could be a positive one for influencers and bloggers who have built up organic, personal followings over the years and regularly interact with their audience.

One question to consider though, if the change forces more paid media, won’t that defeat the object? It will be interesting to see how things pan out and if businesses redirect their advertising spend elsewhere.

2. The Dark Social rises…

Sssshhhhhh-  it’s not actually as scary as it sounds. If you don’t know, dark social is simply social sharing across platforms that marketers and analysts can’t measure, like Whatsapp, text and email, and the most recent statistics show that over 80 % of social conversation takes place in these messenger apps. While some major brands have been all over dark social for some time, we predict that more and more businesses large and small will turn to the dark side and start incorporating these platforms into communications strategies in 2018.

Some brilliant examples of how brands are using dark social include Greggs, who as part of a wider Christmas campaign, created a Whatsapp group where they delivered exclusive content and offers. The campaign saw huge increases in engagement and ultimately sales. Adidas use Whatsapp to field customer service enquiries and Pizza Hut allows customers to order products and book tables through a Facebook messenger service.

It will be interesting to see how analytics tools develop to keep up!  


Gulp! Probably the scariest impending change, GDPR – or the General Data Protection Regulation – is a landmark digital EU privacy regulation that will come to effect in May.  It will have a huge affect on companies large and small that collect personal data for business purposes.

Brands and marketing agencies have collected data at a rapid rate over the years, using it as both a valuable asset and a way to communicate directly with interested parties.  Data is so important to marketeers that it is key to the way we run campaigns for our clients and ourselves.  Because this data is so hugely valuable, it is at risk from theft or misuse, hence GDPR.

From May, all companies will be required by law to build in robust privacy settings to their websites and other digital products, conduct privacy impact assessments, massively strengthen the way they both collect data and gain permission to use the data, and be transparent about how they collect data and what it will be used for.

From a marketeers perspective, this is a huge job for our clients and our own business, but luckily there is a whole host of information readily available online about what GDPR is in more detail, and what steps to take next.

4. The rise of AR

Currently, most people’s experience of AR is from a gaming or fun perspective, but 2018 will see brand’s and big industries such as healthcare, fashion, beauty and home furnishings use elements of AR to create new ways of interacting with customers. For example, furniture super giant Ikea has recently launched Ikea Place, an AR app that lets users virtually place Ikea products in their homes. Although in its early stages, feedback has been positive and improvements are almost definitely in the pipeline.

Our client Mylo Kaye from app development and AR specialists agency Dreamr, said: “VR and AR will see accelerated growth in 2018 with Apple recently launching the iPhone 10, that supports advanced Augmented Reality. The opportunities for marketeers to now capitalise on this new ‘platform’ is immense. Those who get there early will dominate the market, leaving little room for late comers.”

We can’t wait to see how this exciting technology develops in 2018!

5. Video killed the press release?

Anyone who works in PR will know that huge changes have been afoot recently, bringing an “adapt or die” feeling to the industry as a whole.

Print magazines and newspaper editors are being squeezed from every angle, meaning they have even less time than usual to sift through hundreds of press releases. 

PR agencies are having to adapt by being far more upfront with clients about what makes a good story, nurturing individual press relationships, pitching exclusives or tailored stories directly to a handful of contacts rather than going for the scattergun approach and thinking of innovative ways to get the story out there. 

Because media consumption habits have changed and PR is now fused with content marketing, digital and social media, telling your story quickly and in a more engaging way is key – so curating amazing video content, high-quality images and wow-factor infographics massively improves the chances of a story being picked up.  A lot of brands don’t have the budget for this more integrated approach though, but with video views across all platforms consistently outdoing other content,  it will become essential. 

6. Instagram Stories takes the crown

With 300 million daily active users, Instagram Stories has blown Snapchat out of the water and continues to grow. Stories allows brands to show behind-the-scenes footage, sneak previews, how-to videos and ultimately add a much more personal and creative approach to quick content.  

Rumour has it that Instagram Stories is testing out and trialing new features for 2018 including a GIF search engine, a type option and a screenshot alert system. It’s also planning to allow Stories users to post their updates to WhatsApp at the same time, according to several news sources.

Whatever Stories has up its sleeve, we can guarantee that 2018 will see it growing into an even bigger beast than it is now. Watch this space…

If you’d like to get in touch and talk in more detail about how to adapt to these changes, contact us here or call us on 0161 706 0534.

The Power of Local PR for Manchester Businesses

How to manage a launch event

How to choose and get the best from your PR agency