The six year old Arab Spring in the Middle East saw a new era of social media newsgathering where Twitter was used to identify, share and verify stories. And six years on, the social media usage has only increased and UAE in particular has witnessed a boom of digital. The digital agencies and specialists have gained momentum with the increasing number of brands willing to go digital and making the most of it. Besides that, there has been an increasing number of bloggers and influencers aka internet celebrity creating an identity of their own on digital space.
The social media landscape changes often and at a fast pace. Therefore, as an agency, brand or an influencer, you need to stay up-to-speed with the changes and use them at your advantage. Here are the five trends that have had a major impact in 2018 and will shape the year to come.
Social Media Advertising
The spend on digital, thought with slight margin, beat the TV ad spend in the previous year and the ever-growing use of social media advertisement as well as native advertising is going to continue to increase amongst the brands. Putting it to correct use can deliver the right information to the right audience at the right time. And this is likely to go a long way in boosting consumer engagement and enhancing brand reach. The popularity is due to the fact that performance can be monitored and measured on digital and thus, executed accordingly.
Bloggers and vloggers aka internet celebs are the new trendsetter 2018. Digital influencers do not only act as brand ambassadors for the products and services but also greatly influence, encourage and motivate their followers and subscribers to make use of the advertised products and services and it has seemed to work so far. For example, Huda Kattan, an Iraqi-American beauty blogger/makeup artist and now a Dubai-based entrepreneur is the world’s highest paid social influencer with 29.1 M followers on Instagram. According to the first ever Instagram Rich List, she charges $18,000 per sponsored post.
Online-Offline Experience Integration
In present day, the consumer has changed – his heartbeat is online at one and offline the other. Therefore, in 2018, online and offline experiences cannot be treated as separated entities and need to be enhanced and unified for a better user experience. Its prime example could be Alibaba, the major e-commerce platform worldwide, which has worked to integrate online and offline touchpoints. And by doing that, they improved the user experience which in turn has increased their sales.
Augmented Reality is the next big thing in digital – while it is still relatively new, several brands have already started making the use of this technology to enhance user experience. This technology is going to define and influence how we dress, what product we use and the advertising we see in daily life. Coca Cola has been amongst the few brands who experimented with it in their campaign to celebrate Chinese New Year. Followed by Estee Lauder which allowed their users to play with makeup in a video from their Facebook Messenger.
AR is the most interactive form of advertisement which means higher potential for top of the mind recall.
Video is the king and the Middle East loves video. According to a data, the region has the second highest online video viewership after United States. The growing popularity of Snapchat, Instagram stories, IGTV, Facebook Live and growing number of Youtubers is the proof. According to a survey, 80% of the internet users said that they would be willing to watch a video than read a blog post. Digital marketers and brands need to create more engaging videos for their products and services and use this social media marketing tool to its full potential.