At Pulse, we’re all about trends.

Whether it’s finally being allowed to tell your hairdresser, “Yes… I’ll have a mullet cut, please”, or if it’s still cool in 2018 to drink matcha tea. When we’re not scouring Buzzfeed for new cafés to try that the kids haven’t already labelled lame, we’re on the lookout for new ways to help improve the effectiveness of our clients marketing efforts.

A few trends that we’re really keen to see play out in 2018…

Forget static display. Rich-media is the new king

In 2017, it became clear that static display ads simply didn’t produce the amount of engagement advertisers were looking for. More and more we are seeing clients turn to rich-media ad vehicles, in an attempt to drive engagement with an increasingly mobile audience. Rich-media executions lend themselves more to a holistic content strategy, due to the ability to incorporate content streams within traditional placements and present the capability to add personalization to the customer experience.

We’re keen to see rich-media ads clean up the noise in mobile advertising, and finally allow advertising to add to the engagement experience (rather than detract from it).

Video advertising to raise the bar

We expect that 2018 will see another massive leap forward in online video advertising. Reducing mobile data prices coupled with the emergence of more agencies focusing on online video production will catalyze the shift in the volume of video facing consumers this year.

Programmatic advertising – increasingly incorporating video – will continue to dominate online media buys, and we’re excited to see how the transition from traditional online placements (i.e. games, desktops, mobiles etc) – into other devices in the internet of things (including smart watches, smart home panels, car HUD’s etc), plays out.

As we become increasingly connected, and with reducing barriers to video production becoming apparent, it’s clear that video will be a channel to watch (pun intended).

Amazon to take on the big boys

Everyone knows that Google and Facebook have reigned supreme over the digital advertising kingdom for years. It’s expected that 2018 will deliver a new player to the online landscape in a major way: enter, Amazon. Using their extensive consumer purchasing data (almost 70% of Americans will search Amazon at some point during their buying journey, and Australia is expected to follow suit once the brand finds its feet here), it’s DSP (Demand Side Platform – see our Marketing Jargon Buster) is fed by this rich level of consumer behaviour data that will lead to unique ad placement opportunities for global (and eventually, local) brands to deliver invaluable sales and data reporting sought by advertisers. We’re keen to see how this plays out locally, and if the USA market is anything to go by, it’s going to mean an end to the Google/Facebook duopoly.

Uplift in volume of native video placements

Native ads have always generated good results, and applying video to this ad placement will only elevate its effectiveness. As native video can seamlessly link to the content of the actual website, it can increase its relevance to the user (who is consciously seeking the content of the site). The best bit, for advertisers in particular, is that native ad placements make them invisible to ad blockers – reducing the impact of disallowed placements (as ad blocking becomes more prevalent). Combining native video with carefully managed placements – that link the ad to related content – will continue to produce significantly higher engagement results.

No more ad blasting

Brands are finally catching up with the idea that simply blasting the market with ads blindly through programmatic or managed placements isn’t overly successful. Active segmentation and custom audience requirements will be the new gold standard in 2018, linking ad placements directly to the demographics or exhibited behaviour of the audience. The success of personalizing ad placements is due largely to linking ad content to a relevant audience, which in turn can deliver individual audience connections. In the past where random blasts of placed ads hit the whole audience, for the most part these became background noise due to lack of personal relevance.

There’s a raft of other interesting things happening at the moment: voice search queries having impact on search effectiveness (forcing SEO strategies to alter to include longer and more complicated consumer voice queries), Chatbots and AI proliferation to provide new and efficient ways for brands to personalize and segment their ad placements in real-time (ultimately leading us to “whole-of-market personalization”)… Just to name a couple.

We’ll keep our ears to the ground and make sure you are kept informed of the opportunities as they arise. Now we’re off to find the latest thing in single-origin, soy milk chai… We’re hip like that.