2018 Predictions // The Experts Speak

It has been a year of shifts in social media and digital marketing from AI, VR, Instagram stories, SEO and much more.

We got in touch with Perth’s digital marketing and technology experts to pick their brain about predictions for 2018.

We continue to push towards all things video with the increasing popularity of Snapchat, Instagram stories and Facebook live… So, what do our digital experts predict for trends in 2018?

According to Bonfire Head of Marketing Rene Le Merle, we can expect big things from live video and messenger apps:

Rene LeMerle“Brands will rally around short-form content, e.g. Instagram Stories. Facebook Stories, Snapchat as adoption continues to accelerate.

Also, live streaming video will become far more mainstream as people move toward real-time documenting of their lives, and so will brands.

Messaging apps are exploding, and user numbers are growing astronomically. This will present a major area for brands as they find creative ways to engage their audiences in the place where they spend most of their time.”



Tristan Berentzen, Chair ADMA WA (Association for Data-driven Marketing & Advertising), adds that creativity will be crucial to targeting users through mobile video.  Also, watch out for VR and AR!

Tristan Berentzen“Video marketing will continue to explode, particularly across mobile. With only about 3 seconds to capture one’s attention, we can expect creativity to become front and centre to drive cut-through and engage customers in a new way through new experiences.

Greater convergence with VR and AR will be hot trends to watch out for in 2018. This will create and amplify new customer experiences. It’s the next logical step in bringing the world to the customer and providing moments and experiences in a place and a time that’s best suited for the customer.”



Having already seen the implementation of AI in Snapchat filters and other digital platforms Jamie Wilkinson, Director of Design and Digital at Cannings Purple, believes on a smaller level AI could present some challenges in 2018 whilst the utilisation of real-time data could change the way we target audiences:

Jamie Wilkinson“Implementing AI, chat-bots, big data analytics, EDGE computing etc. in a standard small business in WA is going to be tough. Cultural hurdles, IT challenges, NBN issues and (from February) – new laws are all things that need to be considered.

It’s going to be the utilisation of data in real time to successfully target individuals. It is possible now to successfully predict someone’s political views based on just 7 Facebook likes. An AI platform I’ve seen can correctly guess 70% of the time which way you vote, just by analysing how you walk!

Immediate recognition of buying characteristics using lots of real-time data could change how we shop, which adverts we see, how much we spend, even what we eat. I doubt this will all come into play in 2018, but it is coming, and it will change things for all marketers.”


Rene Le Merle adds that AI could possibly change the way that businesses should engage with SEO:

“Digital Assistants and Smart Technology (Siri, Cortana, Alexa, Google Home) are all currently being launched in Australia. This radically changes how brands engage in native search activity.

From an SEO perspective, this is a major shift in the goal posts. As adoption in Australia grows rapidly with the availability of very affordable smart technology, it will shift from questions about the weather to questions like – “Siri, find me the best priced 55-inch LG TV in Perth”. Far more commercially orientated activity.

Also, Blockchain technology is really building momentum across business and marketing at unprecedented levels. We are still yet to properly understand its full potential. 2018 will see this become a lot clearer as many of the innovators in the space start to find traction and highlight the scope of the Blockchain technology.”


Last but certainly not least, we asked #SMPerth’s own Meg Coffey, to see where she thinks digital will be heading in 2018?

Meg CoffeyDigital will be moving faster than ever. Things are changing so fast at the moment it’s hard to keep up, and I don’t think it will slow down anytime soon. We need to learn to be agile – adaptable to change. Some hot trends to watch out for will be Storytelling, Personalisation and Microtargeting.”

Meg adds that 2018 will be huge for micro-influencers:

“These are the guys that are having the most impact. They are connected to their communities and talk to them regularly. It’s not to say that those with huge followings won’t be important, but the authenticity that micro influencers brings is bar none. Transparency is going to be extremely important in the industry and clients want to know what they are getting for their investments.”

She also has some significant predictions for #SMPerth in 2018:

“#SMPerth will continue to be bigger and better! As we approach our 5th birthday, Yes, 5th. We have got something huge in store for June – watch that space. In the meantime, we will continue to deliver world-class workshops and masterclasses, produce content that is relevant to the WA market, connect IRL, and, of course, drink.”


Video, VR and AI and Micro-influencers – those are some predictions for 2018. You heard it here first!

What are your predictions for 2018? We would love to hear them in the comments.


Sean graduated from Murdoch University in 2017 and went from intern to Account Manager with Coffey & Tea. He also contributes to Social Media Perth.