If you’re like us, you probably think 2017 has been a whirlwind of a year. Brand safety, Snapchat’s growing pains, and VR were all hot topics among marketers. As the year winds down, the team at M/H took a look at 5 big marketing trends that are expected to make a splash in 2018.

Artificial Intelligence

As Artificial Intelligence (AI) machine learning programs have grown, so has the rise of voice recognition. AI-based products (Amazon Echo/Alexa and Apple Home) are growing rapidly, and are increasingly becoming household names. In 2017, 20% of online searches were conducted through voice search and that number is set to increase to 50% by 2020. With more users relying on just their voice to search, marketers will have to adjust how they are currently building out their SEO strategies in 2018. Moving beyond voice recognition, AI has also led to the rise of chatbots, which will also continue to focus on a more personalized experience for consumers.

Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality (AR) is a hot-ticket item as Facebook and Snapchat grow (much of AR’s growth can be attributed to the rise of Snapchat Lenses and Facebook Stories). A recent eMarketer study found that, “AR development has plodded along in the shadows of VR. But AR has assets that VR doesn’t: It is practical, it can run on mobile devices people already own and there is little downside to trying it”. eMarketer also projects that by the end of 2019 AR users will top 54.4 million, accounting for 16.4% of the US population, or nearly one in five internet users. From extending live experiences to offering compelling interactions brands can attract consumers by developing apps that let them see products in their very own life.

Video Live-Streaming

Live-streaming has grown as an emerging trend as brands are focusing more on personalization and transparency. From live interviews to special announcements, viewers watch live-stream videos 3 times longer than pre-recorded videos. Facebook has also found that one in five of its videos viewed is live-stream. Live-streaming continues to add a layer of authenticity and allows for consumers to feel connected to the brand. As more platforms begin to explore this trend, it is set to become more defined and clear in 2018.

Programmatic OTT & CTV

Over-the-top (OTT) video and Connected TV (CTV) are both changing the way viewers consume video and television. OTT/CTV is expected to see over 193 million US users by the end of 2017 and by 2021, it’s viewer penetration will approach ¾ of all internet users. Simpli.fi stated that “In 2018 significantly more OTT and CTV inventory will be bought and monetized programmatically. Mobile will continue to be the go-to place for advertising and consumer engagement, but growth in OTT and CTV inventory means localized advertisers will have new opportunities with highly targeted video advertising in 2018.” As OTT and CTV ramp up in 2018, it will be important for advertisers to be there, too.

Third-Party Data Verification

As important as third-party data verification is, its modeling often does not include 100% accurate information. Digiday has stated that, “Data partners are paid based on their number of transactions, and not upon their accuracy. While advertising’s tech capabilities may have gotten much more sophisticated in recent years, priorities haven’t changed as quickly.” As marketers, we are constantly on the hunt for scale, but we need to take a step back and remind our partners why this data is so important in developing our brands. We rely so heavily on this data to advance our strategies, creative messaging, and building our overall audiences, that as Haidee Hanna, VP of Marketing at Resonate stated, “we should begin to demand more out of our data partners” this coming year.

Trends come and go, but 2018 marketing strategies will come out stronger by implementing one, a few, or even all of these trends.