It's that time of year again. Green and red decorations, gift hunting, warm drinks -- and making predictions about where the marketing industry will head next year. Will we really be able to harness AI in 2018? What about VR? What will the new GDPR mean for advertisers?
Here are a few of our thoughts on the latest and emerging tech and trends.
1. Chatbots get hot
"My prediction for 2018 is that we will see an increase in chatbots for online retailers. Competing for personalized experiences similar to Stitch Fix, brands will need to find ways to connect with consumers, and this is a great way to do it. At the end of the day, it all comes down to great customer service, and chatbots are another avenue for that." -- Kym Insana, Founder and President
What to read: 7 metrics for monitoring your chatbot’s performance
2. AI becomes real for both marketers and consumers
"AI is, and will be, a big focus in digital media for both the marketer and consumer. It will help the marketer to deploy more impactful ads by further understanding trends in consumer behavior and language (NLP - Natural Language Processing), deliver better 1:1 search results and information to the consumer (Google's AI, RankBrain) for higher CTRs and conversions, and be smarter to 'stand in the customer's shoes' with the information they are saying/doing on the various platforms (blogs, social) for enhanced marketer communication -- which will become extremely difficult to keep up with without AI as they continue to grow." -- Dominick Insana, VP, Sales
What to read: The CMO’s guide to AI’s marketing impact for 2018
3. Owned, earned and paid will converge
"Measurement has been an issue in marketing that has increasingly been exposed. Technology is now being developed that can help marketers tie together not only their paid and owned efforts but their earned as well so they can show ROI from content that has traditionally been hard to demonstrate success from, namely public relations. Marketers in 2018 will start to be able to close the loop across all of their marketing and communication efforts and better amplify their campaigns across channels." -- Lauren Fritsky, Marketing Manager
4. 1:1 supply and PMPs will provide accountability
"Next year will be a big year for PMPs and 1:1 supply. Advertisers running on various platforms struggle with not only securing individual supply, but ensuring they can deliver their media. With advertisers still finding themselves on inappropriate content, PMPs provide a higher level of accountability." -- Kym Insana, Founder and President
5. Blockchain will go mainstream
"As we move forward into 2018, blockchain technology will continue to forge ahead with the visionaries looking to change the current state of industries and their process through R&D. Blockchain first came into conversation some nine years ago with the emergence of Bitcoin, but not until this year has it really picked up steam -- possibly due to the incredible rise in Bitcoin value, and a new understanding that blockchain can be applied across many industries other than finance. The fact that blockchain cannot be controlled by any single entity to be corrupted and has no single point of failure, makes it the most exciting technology that many industries could adopt in the future." -- Dominick Insana, VP, Sales
Photo from Creative Commons