4 Marketing Trends You Need to Invest In For Success In 2018

By now, there’s no doubt that content marketing works. In some cases, it’s ROI is even higher than the most targeted advertising. According to the most recent research by the Content Marketing Institute, organisations that have been consistently evolving with consumer trends and investing in content marketing, are seeing greater returns every year – and 70% of marketers have said their content strategy is more effective than last year’s.

These improvements show us that not only is content marketing valid (and vital), but more importantly, that it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. Like all things digital though, the form it inhabits shifts as we do. So to prepare you for a new year met by a new consumer, here are 2018’s top marketing trends to invest in.

1. Double Down on Ephemeral Content

The success of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp stories tells us that the appeal of ephemeral content goes beyond just Snapchat. When you put a finite time limit on content, it immediately gives that material an air of exclusivity (thereby motivating its consumption).

“Evergreen content” has long been a staple buzzword among the marketing community, but in 2018, brands looking to stand out need to ditch the long-life for the impermanent.

ephemeral content meltwater india

2. Live Video is Life

Marketers and customers from every corner of the globe are jumping on the bandwagon to embrace live video, and you should be too. Here’s why:

According to Facebook, posting a video receives 135% increase in organic reach compared to posting an image. Of course, this is on average – a high-quality image will still usually trump a low-quality video.

People are spending 3 x more time watching live videos than those that are pre-recorded, so there’s clearly something to it. What’s more interesting is that individuals are 10 x more likely to comment on live videos compared to regular videos, which means that engagement rates are climbing too. In response to these insights, Facebook has made data-driven changes to their algorithms to ensure live videos are shown first on newsfeeds, and that when live videos are finished and broadcast, comments are replayed as they happened during the live version.

Be it in a studio or on the fly, brands need to be ready to go on air if they’re looking for competitive levels of engagement in 2018.

live video marketing trends meltwater india

3. Invest in Interactive Visual Content

Virtual reality is expected to reach 171 million active users in 2018. If you’re not investing in interactive content, that’s a whole lot of customers you’re choosing to ignore.

It is a widely believed misconception that virtual reality is “only for gamers.” But with major players like Facebook, Adobe and Apple now providing the tools necessary for companies to develop their own virtual and augmented experiences, it’s in 2018 that we’ll see brands take one step closer towards leveraging this nascent technology to tell richer, more immersive stories.

With YouTube and Vimeo pushing 360-degree video, we ought to be seeing a lot more of this type of advertising being produced and consumed too – which, of course, gives the viewer autonomy over their visual experience (and more reason not to click “Skip”).

New to us now, but mainstream by 2020, VR and AR are the perfect investments to make in 2018, if you haven’t yet already.

virtual reality marketing trends for meltwater india

4. Smarty Pants

You didn’t think we’d leave this off our list, did you?

It’s the technology that shows us our closest friend’s activity on Instagram and Facebook, it allows us to find the closest coffee shop to us at any given moment, lets us ask Siri any question we desire and is enhancing functionality in every sector – fashion, cars, healthcare, productivity apps and more.

Ladies and gentlemen, artificial intelligence is here, and it is about to get bigger and better.

AI has been around for a while – it’s certainly taken a few years to learn about the technology and for everyone to catch on. 2017 seemed to be the year of investing in it – with 80% of multi-national corporate enterprises investing in the tech, and one third of them predicting they will need to invest more in upcoming years to keep ahead of competitors.

If you’re new to this technology, we suggest starting with something easy enough to get to grips with that can also be hugely beneficial – chatbots. Not only do they increase online visitor engagement, but they make engagement possible in the first place by doing what they do best – chat. They also pull targeted content only, as well as getting your business’ customer support to be much easier to manage and of a high quality.

In 2018, we can look forward to AI driving the most revenue in product innovation and development research, customer service and supply chain and operations, and having the most impact in the IT, technology, telecommunications, business and professional services, customers services and financial services.

Which trends are you going to invest in in 2018?

artificial intelligence 2018 meltwater india

Meltwater is the global leader in media intelligence and invests in cutting edge technologies like artificial intelligence to maintain that status. Our latest media intelligence platform, Executive Alerts draws on artificial intelligence and machine learning to provide a product tailored for CEOs and directors – alerting them to only the most important anomalies across a range of external data points. Contact Meltwater India to find out more about the world of Outside Insight.

What the Rise of Smart Cities Means for India

It is predicted that by 2040, 65% of the world’s population will be living in smart cities. The stats at the moment state that about 25–30 people will migrate every minute to major Indian cities from rural areas in search of better livelihood and better lifestyles. With this momentum, about 843 million people are expected to live in urban areas by 2050. To accommodate this massive urbanization, India needs to find smarter ways to manage complexities, reduce expenses, increase efficiency and improve the quality of life.

View an interactive infographic here that predicts what your city will look like to you based on your current age. Talking to buildings and taking a flying taxi to work seem to be in the not-so-distant future.

Today, cities still have a long way to go before they’re considered geniuses – but they are getting smarter pretty quickly. The term “smart cities” covers a broad range of technologies and capabilities, and it’s an exciting time for Africa in general. Here, we uncover why.

Why Smart Cities?

The globe is currently facing massive societal challenges: over-population and inefficient energy usage are among some of the top factors putting the world at danger. Additionally, there has been an influx of people moving into cities in the last decade, resulting in major cities experiencing an increase in crime, unemployment and air pollution.

Technology has played a major role in cities for many years, but it is now that the adoption of technology is becoming quicker and easier – giving space to the rise of more disruptive innovations. It is the technology that is available to us and that is being developed, that has the potential to solve these major metropolitan challenges. Consequently, urban areas are transforming into “smart cities.”

The second ingredient for the success of smart cities is data. The power of data is its ability to create “smart solutions” – solutions to challenges that address the real needs of urban citizens and provide actual value to them. The third vital feature of a smart city is the people. The success of a smart city relies on the decisions that are made, how they are executed and how they help the population of that city.

what the rise of smart cities means for india

The Technologies Backing Smart Cities

The five main industries and factors driving the need for smart cities are environment, safety, transport, utilities and buildings. Technology advancements of all five work through either sensors, networks or engagement.

Environment:

Accurate measurement of environmental conditions like pollution levels, wildlife counts and water run-off will all become possible with sensor networks.

Safety:

Structural health monitoring of buildings, dams and bridges can now be put in place, as well as advanced warning systems in emergency situations.

Transportation:

Real-time traffic and transit can be manged to reduce travel time and fuel inefficiencies, through sensors embedded in roadways and streetlights.

Utilities:

Smart utility grids will empower users to be more aware of their energy usage and will allow utility companies to only deliver as much energy or water as is required.

Buildings:

Smart buildings will use monitoring devices that track usage and empower users and service providers to better control and reduce electricity demands.

what is a smart city

A Global Drive

Established publications like Forbes and Fortune.com have included mostly Westernized cities in their lists of the Smartest Cities in the World. In fact, North American and European cities dominate 43 of the top 50 Smartest Cities. According to Forbes, Abu Dhabi (64th globally) replaces Dubai (66th) this year as smartest city in Asia, Buenos Aires ranks top in South America (83rd) and Cape Town is the smartest city in Africa (133rd).

There are so many insights that we can take away from the Top 50. This includes how New York City and London are focusing on decreasing unemployment, Barcelona’s commitment to the advancement of electric cars as public transport and Copenhagen’s pledge to become the first capital city to be carbon neutral.

But “smart cities” need to be more than just green, environmentally-friendly cities. They need to focus on more than only transportation or only employment and education. And they need to have measurable plans for the future in addition to being currently technologically driven.

The smart city revolution is underway in the third-world economies too. Mumbai, Cape Town and Nairobi are all experiencing the challenges of over-population and as a result, the dangers of carbon dioxide. Cities of developing countries, particularly the above three, are working to reduce carbon emissions, supporting the digital economy with smart-grid technologies, reducing the digital divide with public Wi-fi, safe and secure public transport systems and embracing open government policies to promote transparency.

Leapfrog Opportunities in the Developing World

Nairobi and Cape Town rank among the most advanced cities on the African continent on the smart city front. Kenya’s Nairobi, home to thee million people, has won the title of Most Intelligent City in Africa for two years in a row. South Africa’s Cape Town, with a population of 4 million people, is rumoured to be the “new Silicon Valley” as it is currently the biggest start-up hub in Africa. With hundreds of innovative companies in Africa emerging in the last few years; from mobile payments in Kenya to crowdfunding in Egypt to solar power companies leapfrogging over electricity completely, it’s not as if Cape Town has little competition on the continent.

India is at a point of transition where the pace of urbanization will speed up, believes Rakesh Kaul of PwC, India. He said, “Smart Cities concept is built on 4 pillars that includes Physical, Social, Institutional, Economic. The initiatives should be commercially viable, socially inclusive and maintain ecological balance.” In this, the Physical pillar refers to the infrastructure required, Social refers to health and education departments, Institutional refers to municaipalities and the Economic pillar refers to the degree of ease of doing business in India.

While India will have to face a number of infrastructure challenges, as a fast developing economy, it needs to keep up with the global standards and can look to the likes of Copenhagen and London as examples. Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu said the projects will herald a new urban era, when states and local bodies, private partners and citizens will play a key role in the execution of these schemes. Experts also believe that effective execution of this plan could make India take a huge leap in the race of development and we look forward to seeing how it all plays out.

The Dubai government is embracing technology too. By the end of 2020, all government documentation and interactions will be available on blockchain, a decentralized record-keeping technology that verifies and records transactions securely. By 2019, as part of a strategy to improve efficiency and construction safety while reducing costs, 2 percent of all new construction will have to use 3-D-printed components in order to receive building permits, a number set to increase each year until it reaches 25 percent by 2030. The UAE even has its own space program; it plans to expand satellite efforts and launch the first Mars probe in the Arab world.

taj mahal india smart cities

So, What’s Next?

With the dozens of new technologies becoming a reality to citizens across the continent every month, an Indian city making the Top 50, or even Top 5 Smartest Cities in the World, is not far off. What’s next for us, as a nation, is to keep following trends from NYC, Singapore and Paris and learn how technology is applied and executed in the smartest cities. India, as a whole, needs to keep encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship, and keep investing in cutting-edge technology that can either leapfrog over now-redundant technologies or lead from the front with disruptive innovations.

To learn more about how Meltwater is investing in machine learning to break new boundaries in the media intelligence landscape, contact us today. Or join in on the conversation on Twitter @Meltwater.

Media Requests: When to Say Yes and When to Say No

When you’re pitching an up-and-coming brand, raising the profile of a little-known executive or promoting your business in a new market, the process always looks the same in the beginning: countless pitches go out the door with very few media requests rolling in.

Until, at some point, momentum starts to build. Now, journalists who wouldn’t answer your emails are replying back with follow-up questions. New journalists are reaching out and asking for interviews. Outlets you’ve never worked with are calling to see if they can ask you a few questions.

So How Do You Choose the Best Media?

When you’re proactively pitching media, you’ve got a clear objective. This month, for example, Uber’s PR team is pitching stories to introduce their new in-app chat. Facebook’s PR team is hard at work driving coverage around the company’s redesigned video tab, Watch. Soundcloud’s PR team is telling anyone and everyone that they’re living to fight another day.

But when you’re assessing requests reactively, the objective isn’t always as clear. What seems like a straightforward interview from a respected trade publication can turn into a reputation-damaging story without proper vetting and consideration.

So how do you figure out which ones to go for and which ones to pass on? Here are three critical questions to ask each time a new opportunity presents itself.

1) What are your business priorities?

Incoming PR requests are like big shiny objects—they look real pretty but can be enormously distracting. The purpose of any solid PR strategy is to align with a specific business goal—whether that’s driving users to an app, a new video platform, or a music streaming service they thought was about to go under.

When your inbox starts getting noisy with requests, here’s the first and most important question you want to explore with your team: what are our short and long-term business priorities?

You can bet that, on the back of Uber, Facebook and Soundcloud’s recent announcements, they’re seeing an influx of incoming PR requests. For those that are focused on further promoting the company’s announcements—a clear business priority—their respective PR team are likely seriously considering them.

But if, at the same time, Soundcloud’s CFO is being asked to be profiled by a reporter they’ve never worked with for a trade publication they don’t follow? That’s probably going to be a no.

And, at this moment, rightfully so.

2) What’s the journalist’s track record?

For any of us who’ve lived through a crisis communications event, we know that the old adage “any press is good press” is, in fact, completely false. (Uber would agree with us.)

When you pitch announcements proactively, you’re more likely to accept opportunities with hard hitting reporters. But as requests roll in, you have the ability to be more selective. As John McCartney, Managing Director, West Coast of Wise Public Relations offers this sage advice, “Not every outlet is the right fit for a brand. One needs to really see the treatment a media outlet gives to their stories. Are they snarky? Are they hard hitting?”

To find out, you want to thoroughly research each and every journalist that sends a request (even if they’re just asking for a comment or statement). Check their social media updates. Google their past coverage. Look at their Linkedin profiles. Use your media database to track down their history of covering your industry and brand, their beat, their story and angle preferences, and any other noteworthy tidbits you can find about their work.

Is their coverage aligned to the type of reporters you trust? Let this answer guide your decision.

3) What’s the relationship at play?

No one needs to be told that PR is an industry built on relationships.

The final consideration is who the request is coming from. Have you been building a relationship with the journalist or media outlet? Is it a reporter you have a good rapport with? If the answer is ‘yes,’ it’s an easy yes. If it’s not a journalist or media outlet you know or, after researching, care to forge a relationship with, politely decline.

As your pitching efforts take-off, stay away from the knee-jerk reaction to accept each one that comes your way. In the long run, it’s far more strategic to say no to those that don’t align with your brand values or business priorities, aren’t led by journalists you know and/or trust and don’t further important industry relationships than to drag your brand into a media storm unnecessarily.

Make your work easier by using a media database to help you research journalists and the media outlets they contribute to.

10 Reasons Your Organization Needs an Internal Newsletter

Most communications pros are focused on getting the word out, not in. But, as we’ve recently covered, internal communications are important and there’s plenty of overlap between the priorities of a PR professional and the internal newsletter that might come from your culture or HR team. Whether you have a newsletter dedicated to your media coverage or not, any intra-company newsletter is an opportunity to keep everyone in sync.

For PR and marketing pros, newsletters are a great way to tout successes, make sure everyone understands a brand’s message and tone. It can also serve as a central document to gather resources for your organization, with links to brand graphics, a style guide, and access to a social media guide. Having this info front and center can cut down on valuable time spent looking for these resources.

When embarking on an internal newsletter strategy, remember that the values you want your company to reflect should be the values underlying your newsletter content.

Here are some ideas for what to cover, your organization’s internal newsletter can:

  1. Funnel content to internal pipelines. When working in a large office, it may be difficult to find information about what other teams are doing. And the reverse is true as well. You might be more successful targeting outside media than your own colleagues. Make sure they know what you’re up to, and encourage them to share as well.
  2. Promote social advocacy and provide guidance. Keeping track of social platforms that an organization participates in can be daunting. An internal newsletter can help promote brand channels and make sure everyone is aware distinct strategies for each one and specific messages to share.
  3. Reinforce brand voice, style, imagery, and personality. Quick do’s and don’ts can go a long way in keeping everyone on their toes. Plus linking out to key documents will be useful to anyone creating presentations and reports.
  4. Highlight evergreen content. An internal newsletter can be a resource for sales and other front-facing colleagues to parse evergreen content to the public. Make sure they know about your great thought leadership pieces.
  5. Highlight customer case studies and bring in suggestions for new ones.