RECAP: Our 2017 predictions - What trends did we get right?
 Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality [CORRECT]
We said: The technology and behaviour around VR and AR will evolve over the next 12 months, and further.
2017 has seen VR and AR come along in leaps and bounds. It is clear that the applications offered by VR and AR have a long way to go, but in a relatively short amount of time both platforms are readily available to everyday consumers.
- For VR, we have Google Card (incredibly cheap, to be used with a mobile device) and a whole variety of VR headsets, such as Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and gaming headsets like PlayStation VR.
- For AR, the introduction of ARKit on the new iPhone models has brought augmented reality into the homes of millions.
VR and AR will undoubtedly remain a trend throughout 2018, expanding into other sectors outside entertainment. Keep an eye on the education industry in particular, as VR and AR become key learning tools both inside and outside the classroom. Google expeditions is already a prime example of this!
 Live-streaming [CORRECT]
We said: It’s becoming clearer that live video on social platforms is the trend for 2017. We’ll start to see live-streaming move way beyond just early-adopters and into the hands of the mainstream users.
2017 started with a big advertising push from Facebook, as they looked to dominate the live-streaming industry with Facebook LIVE. Fast forward to 2018 and having a live-streaming seems the "in thing" for major social channels.
What live-streaming service should I use?
Facebook LIVE: as with most things social, Facebook is the biggest in terms of community and reach. It is proving a fantastic channel to help businesses engage with followers.
Periscope (Twitter): if you are already using Twitter as your main social media outlet, because you’ve found success there, Periscope can help you stand out further in feeds and encourage greater engagement then you were already receiving. It is not necessarily as far reaching as Facebook, but it is a better platform for encouraging new followers.
Instagram LIVE: not strictly a live-streaming service, Instagram LIVE is instead an add-on and lives with Instagram Stories. Because it only lasts 24 hours it is more disposable.
YouTube LIVE: video is the natural home of video, and live-streaming will be coming to users soon. While it is currently available, it is restricted to users with significantly large subscribers. When it becomes more mainstream, Facebook and Twitter can expect a battle here!
 A Video First World [CORRECT]
We said: We're in a video-first marketing era. In 2017, video content is the #1 focus for many marketers. Whether it be on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, video is playing a big part in reaching new audiences, and engaging with current fans.
Video remains the biggest marketing trend in 2017. Coined by Facebook, "Video First" refers to the growing phenomenon of consumers not only wanting to consume video, but also to produce it.
The Video First world will continue to dominate, as more and more apps, and major social networks continue to develop tools based in video.
Here are some fascinating facts around the current state of video marketing (source):
- 85% of videos are played without sound on Facebook
- using the word "video" in the subject of an email increases the view-rate by 19%
- almost 50% of Internet users are looking for videos related to a product or service before going to the store
- 48% additional marketers are considering adding YouTube to their content strategy next year
Back by hugely popular demand is our Filming and Editing #SchoolVideo on your Mobile Devices workshop, in collaboration with EyeFilm.
- WHEN? Feb 19 2018 📅
- WHERE? London (venue tbc) 🌍
- HOW MUCH? FREE!!! 🎟
Book below, tickets are selling out fast!
 Chatbots [CORRECT]
We said: The question 6 years ago was ‘should we have an app?’, but fast-forward to 2016 and the questions currently are around chatbots.
Keen social media users may have already noticed how automated things like customer support have become. Have an issue on Twitter? Your first port of call will likely involve talking to a chatbot.
Chatbots are a great ideal, and as they become more sophisticated we can expect to see them in more B2B applications. The ability to mimic a real human being in conversation, and furnish the consumer with the most appropriate answers to any questions they may have, will ensure the continued growth of chatbots next year.
 Farewell, Google+? [INCORRECT]
We said: It’s been 5 years since the initial launch, but the platform hasn’t evolved or seen the usage Google had hoped for. We haven’t seen that ‘killer’ feature yet.
While many have written off Google+, there still seems to be some life left in the social channel. These stats highlight a significant number of users and positive behavioural patterns:
- total number of Google+ active members: 395,250,000
- total number of unique Google+ monthly visits: 34,000,000
- average time spent on Google+ per visit: 3:57
- percent of online adults that visit Google+ at least once a month: 22.4%
- percent of smartphone users that use the Google+ app at least once a month: 30%
We always recommend schools get started on Google+, if for no other reason than it can help push your school higher up in Google searches!
 Ads for Snapchat [CORRECT]
We said: With a valuation of $25 billion, and the rumours of its looming IPO, it’s time for Snapchat to make some serious cash.
And they are! There are currently three types of Snapchat Ads:
- Snap Ads: a 10-second video (max) ad that includes the option to provide more information to users who swipe up.
- Sponsored Lenses: from puppy dog ears to rainbow vomit, Lenses are a big part of what makes Snapchat so fun. And one-third of Snapchat’s daily users play with Lenses every day. Now brands can create Sponsored Lenses, which show up alongside all the other Lenses in the menu.
- Geofilters: graphic overlays that are placed on Snaps. Usually tied to a specific geographic location, ranging from individual store to an entire country.
We expect more will be coming from Snapchat, especially as the exciting world of augmented reality develops.
 Voice OS [CORRECT]
We said: We’ll start to see the growth of the ‘Voice OS’.
What started out with Siri on the Apple iPhone has now become a staple of most households.
In the build up to Xmas, we have seen wearable tech and smart home devices sales skyrocket, highlighting consumer faith in Voice OS.
It will be interesting to see how top competitors (Amazon with Alexa, Apple with Siri, Microsoft with Cortana and Google with Home) will continue to innovate their virtual assistants. Expect this to remain a big tech trend as AI development remains a major ideal in tech.
 360 Tours [CORRECT]
We said: This is the year of 360. More schools will be recording 360 videos, and offering 360 tours of the school.
With the push in VR tech, 360 video tours are starting to become a "must-have" for schools. While the tech is still relatively new, we foresee this becoming an important marketing tool for schools during 2018.
Take a look at NLCS Jeju's Virtual Tour, to see just how great a 360 tour can be (now compatible with VR headsets, for that extra-level experience). Or perhaps try taking a virtual tour around one of The British School in the Netherland's four campuses.
Next week, we will be sending out our predictions for 2018. Let's make this an amazing year for #edtech, social media and digital marketing.