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Our Take: ModSquad’s 2018 Digital Predictions

In what’s become an annual tradition here at ModSquad, our savvy team of fearless forecasters gathered together to predict the potential major digital trends of 2018. We recently assessed our prognostications from last year, and our crystal ball-gazing was pretty successful. Can we do it again this year? Read on for our insights, and let us know whether you agree in the comments section below.

1.  Voice Search Becomes Commonplace

Considering that in 2017 that 55% of teens and 40% of adults used voice search, particularly through Siri, Alexa and Google Home, this tech is already becoming readily accepted. Smart devices, which were all the rage in 2017, generated debate about how much of our day-to-day conversations they were recording. Some even expressed concern over social networks using using our phones’ microphones to learn more about our product preferences. We’ve become hyper-aware that we’re being listened to on a multitude of devices, but that’s not such a bad thing. Look for voice search to change the way marketers implement keyword research and content strategies to serve up more items that appeal to us. As these devices’ capabilities increase, their makers will look for ways to further monetize them. Expect to see your smart devices actively selling to users, with you perhaps paying to opt out of any advertising.

2.  We’ll Need to Be Smarter About Smart Devices

Smart Devices are well on their way to becoming ubiquitous. The most talked-about were Google Home and Amazon Echo, ready to obey your every command. The average household got a lot smarter with the growth of refrigerators, doorbells, thermostats, and even door locks that can be remotely operated. As these IoT devices proliferate in your home, you’ll need to take additional steps to protect yourself, such as keeping devices malware-free, using strong passwords, and properly using your device’s privacy settings.

3.  Cash Will No Longer Be King

We’ve been moving toward a cashless society for a while now, with the rise of Apple Pay offering an alternative to plastic as well as good old bills, and cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ripple making headlines. But through all of that, people could always supplement electronic and credit-card payments with traditional paper currency. Those days may be numbered, as seen with the proliferation of stores that will no longer accept cash as payment. (Good luck living off the grid now!)

4.  Augmented Reality is the New Reality

Late last year, Snapchat introduced Lens Studio, a tool that lets users design and build augmented reality lenses for Snapchat. It was the latest salvo in AR’s attempt to dominate the world. (Not crazy about today’s reality? Create your own.) We expect to see more quality interactive short-form media this year, with Apple and Google having released their own developer platforms and Amazon, Facebook, and Microsoft also investing heavily in AR. Yes, the next likely AR blockbuster — Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, a mobile game that will eat up the second half of 2018 the way Pokémon Go consumed much of 2016 — will help propel AR further into our collective consciousness. But it will be the use of AR in everyday gaming and e-commerce apps that will make the tech ubiquitous.

5.  In the Social Age, No More Bland Brands

In the Jurassic period of the early Internet, the social presence of a brand was seen as a “nice to have.” It then became a requirement, one where if you’re engaging customers, you should probably be supporting them as well. Now, if your brand is on social, it’s time to show some personality to stand out from the crowd. We’ve blogged about Wendy’s and their enviable Twitter feed; the fast-food chain has made waves with their online sassiness, most recently demonstrated in their epic National Roast Day Tweetstorm. Other companies have similarly gotten more comfortable in their social skin, showing a little attitude (as when the streaming-content giant gave new meaning to “Netflix and Chill”). What it boils down to is a long-term play: A fun social personality engenders followers and loyalty, and this increased exposure eventually translates to sales. And that’s what it’s all about.

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