2018: Katana’s Predictions, Insights and Recommendations for the Future

When you work in the digital marketing industry, changes occur every day from minimal to grand: whether it’s Google Adwords adding a new audience targeting feature, or the increasing necessity of machine learning tools. At Katana, we prioritize staying up-to-date on these changes so that marketers thrive in a saturated and fast-paced media world.

In preparation for the new year, we asked some of our own here at Katana to provide some of their predictions for what 2018 will bring for the digital marketing industry. Read them below:

Net Neutrality and the Agency

  • There’s a high amount of disagreement and speculation on how Net Neutrality will end up impacting the advertising landscape. It’s going to be vital to consistently pay attention to its impact over the next several weeks/months so that agencies can respond appropriately.
  • Competition among digital advertising companies will skyrocket. Advertisers will not only be competing against other digital advertising agencies but also against big industries that control mainstream content.
  • You can expect to see net neutrality abolished at a faster pace than expected, as publishers will begin giving preferential treatment for high yielding prospects.
  • Net neutrality may cause an increase ad prices, due to reduced audience sizes on restricted sites, and a narrower reach of ads.  
  • Restricted access due to net neutrality will impact traffic patterns on certain websites in certain industries— marketers will need to react quickly to this. 
  • Net neutrality will likely result in slower download speeds, which could have a particularly heavy impact on mobile advertising.
  • Advertisers may not be able to freely target specific people anymore without bigger companies intervening. Facebook already does this with their algorithm, but this could become even more regulated— making it really hard, if not impossible, to market smaller businesses with smaller budgets.

The Devil’s in The Data

  • Marketers will put more trust into automated intelligence and algorithms versus manual optimization.
  • We will see a stronger integration between business systems and marketing systems. Campaigns and budgets will be held directly accountable for business impact.
  • Cookie tracking will become less prevalent and first-party data will become more prevalent as identifiers. It will require a shift of ad platforms to re-engineer their way of targeting and tracking individuals.
  • Building trust with clients will be the higher priority, as access to business and consumer data will be mandatory for successful campaigns.

Ad Tech and the Agency

  • Ad platforms will become more fragmented: Advertisers will be divided among many different campaign management platforms that can perform different functions.
  • There will be an increase in audience-based ad platforms, with Amazon entering the fray.
  • Advances and integration of Machine Learning will reshape agency structures. It will provide a more direct path between the brand and the execution of its services.

Artificial Intelligence and Chatbots

  • Implementation of simple AI will get easier and easier— we predict that 85% of customer interactions will be managed without a human by 2020.
  • Chatbots are being used more frequently to serve ads and file customer inquiries about a brand. These will become more prevalent this year, with companies like Sephora and Pizza Hut using AI to answer questions and recommend products based on customer conversations.
  • Chatbots are getting better over time, and can currently perform a range of functions such as tailoring conversations to direct customers to site pages, adding items to a cart, placing orders, and personalizing offers based on past conversations.
  • Because the AI for chatbots can analyze patterns in conversations very quickly, this will provide useful data for creating audiences, making user interests more apparent.
  • These Chatbots can currently be implemented to most messaging services, and the code for the AI can be licensed before being built.

Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, and Blockchain

  • Bitcoin will be advantageous to the advertising industry due to its capacity to combat ad fraud.
  • There will be a rise in the availability of ‘smart homes’ or homes whose heating, lighting, ventilation system, the camera system can be controlled remotely with a wireless device, or the homeowner’s voice.  
  • Digital marketing and advertising campaigns will start to adapt to virtual reality and augmented reality. This means advertising campaigns can be consumed via headsets and multi-projected environments (virtual reality) and also within computer-generated sensory inputs such as sound, graphics, or physical touch (augmented reality). This will be more gradual, but glimpses of this will be prominent in 2018.

What are some of your predictions? Tweet us your thoughts @katana_media. We strive to ensure we stay updated on the latest trends in digital marketing. To get the news and the most important developments, follow our blog on Medium: https://medium.com/katana-media

For information about our services, contact us at katana.media/contact