5 key trends in social media: AI, video and stronger metrics to rule 2018

Brands can now reach almost every internet user via social media, according to GlobalWebIndex, who found that 98 per cent of those between the ages of 16 and 64 who go online are on a social network1.

While they’re mostly there to socialise, 39 per cent use social media to access news and 28% use it to research products to buy. In fact, among 16-24 year-olds social have overtaken search as a brand research tool2.

Thanks to the increase in mobile-use, the emergence of a binge-watching culture and shorter attention spans, social video content consumption continues to rise, especially on Facebook3.

It’s easy to see why brands continue to refine their strategies for social media. And with the advancement of analytics tools, and increasing AI and machine learning capabilities, brands can now maximise their investment in social more than ever.

Hootsuite’s annual report on the global trends in social media suggests that these elements will give way to five key trends in 2018.

1. Goodbye vanity metrics

As organisations’ social strategies become more sophisticated and extend to various phases of the customer journey, there is growing pressure to rethink metrics and say a final goodbye to vanity metrics.

2. Brands need to become broadcasters

With the continuous growth of mobile usage, video has taken centre stage in content consumption, and social networks will continue to encourage brands to broadcast more video content. 

3. Trust declines, while peer influence rises

Fake news exploded onto the media scene in 2017, wiping away public trust in mainstream media. This decline in trust means brands will move away from huge influencers and celebrities, institutions, and vanity metrics to smaller brand advocates and genuine communities.

4. AI in social

While marketers are already on board with AI – over 100,000 Messenger bots are currently active on Facebook – the value of human-less interactions remains to be seen. AI will remain a growing trend is social media in 2018 as new analytics tools will assist in gaining faster insights.

5. Value of social data

While integrating social data with other analytics systems can provide great insights, this practice requires a lot of work and resources. In 2018, brands will need to re-evaluate the amount of resources invested into social data and identify new efficiencies in order to gain valuable.


1. GlobalWebIndex. GWI Social, Q1 2017.
2. GlobalWebIndex. GWI Social, Q3 2017.
3. L2. Video 2017: The Digital Revolution Will Not Be Televised. 2017.


Related IQ course: Social media marketing essentials