Unruly’s 9 Predictions for Adland 2018

2017 was a massive year for Adland. Brand safety and transparency dominated the conversation, smart devices captured marketers’ imaginations, and the importance of quality creative was highlighted by some truly spectacular campaigns.

But what does 2018 have in store? Will it be the year that augmented reality takes over? What will brands do to make the most of the increased importance of voice search?

Well, Unruly is here with our annual round-up of our predictions for the next 12 months in the ad industry.

So without further ado, let’s break out the crystal ball and see what the future holds for Adland (see the full list here).

1. The Battle Against Brand Bypass Begins

As smart devices focused on auto-replenishment increasingly make purchasing decisions for us, advertisers need to act smart and fast to find new ways to keep their brand on the tip of consumers’ tongues and avoid being ‘bypassed’.

In a world powered by voice search, when a customer tells their device “add shampoo to my shopping basket” without any mention of a brand, algorithms will determine which products are ordered regardless of customer loyalty or preference.

So in 2018 we expect to see brands doubling down on emotional brand-building campaigns across traditional channels and we’ll even see the resurgence of jingles and audio logos, given that companies that use musical branding are 96% more likely to be remembered (source: Leicester University).

2. Augmented Reality Becomes Sales Reality

In 2018 brands will rush, en masse, to create AR apps that let consumers engage with virtual versions of their products – from testing whether a product might fit in their home, and then immediately purchasing, to virtual cosmetics and fashion apps that allow customer to ‘try before they buy’.

Developments in mobile AR tech will allow brands to quickly adopt new techniques, and brands that previously used aspirational advertising to bring their customers inside stores and showrooms can now provide an easy way to immediately visualise what that one big purchase, such as a new car, might look like.

3. Unstereotyping Goes Mainstream

This will be the year that all major brands follow the example set by the likes of Unilever, AT&T, Mattel and J&J and work hard to remove gender and social stereotypes from their advertising campaigns – and with this unstereotyping will come greater authenticity and brand loyalty.

But it’s not enough to simply unstereotype creatives. Brands that want to launch effective campaigns in 2018 will need to do the same for their distribution – going beyond simple demographic targeting and instead reaching individuals based on personality, emotion and much more.

4. Premium Media Fights Back – Trust Is The Secret Weapon

Google and Facebook accounted for over 60% of US ad growth in 2017, according to eMarketer, despite their continued brand safety problems. In 2018 we’ll see premium sites address this imbalance and take control of growth by offering brand safety, and third-party verification, at scale.

Having successfully worked with Google to change its First-click Free policies, which penalised paid-journalism in search results, more media brands will team up to form premium marketplaces.

This will happen through initiatives like The Verified Marketplace, where The Guardian, The Telegraph and News UK have joined forces to offer trustworthy video inventory at scale, or through brand initiatives like Diageo’s Trusted Media Partners.