The 3 biggest challenges for marketers in 2018

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According to ‘Social Media Trends 2018’, Hootsuite’s annual report on the latest global trends in social media, here are the three core challenges facing marketers this year.

Challenge #1 Finding sustainable solutions to declining organic reach

Analysts warn that organic Facebook reach could shrink further in 2018. Organizations need to accept this new reality, stop chasing short-term tactics, and start building sustainable strategies that are not reliant on organic placement in Facebook’s News Feed.

This means being more selective—for example, if your goal is organic engagement, focus on emerging social networks that attract smaller loyal audiences. It also means properly tracking social advertising ROI so that you can secure more budget, and building long-term influencer and advocacy strategies, notes Hootsuite’s report.

BuzzSumo’s analysis of 880 million posts in 2016 and 2017 found that due to increased content competition, average engagements on Facebook content are falling. That said, video continues to be the best algorithmic boost.

Challenge #2 Social video surges ahead—but we’re approaching saturation

If you’re not creating social videos or using social video ads, you’re already far behind. Forty-six percent of respondents in our annual customer survey say they’re already implementing social videos, with another 26 percent planning to implement in 2018. In 2017, social video advertising spending leaped 130 percent YOY, Hootsuite’s report adds.

Video is a core growth strategy for the major social networks because it’s an engaging mobile medium and easy to monetize. But instead of simply feeding social networks more views to monetize, organizations need to connect social video to a broader strategy.

Metrics need to reflect business value and ROI, not network-specific metrics based on the features and ad formats suggested by social networks.

Challenge #3 Brands fatigue from new tools and tactics

“During our research, we heard a common complaint from our customers,” Hootsuite’s report continues, “They’re fatigued with the endless list of new tactics, tools, and content formats.”

Social networks continue to innovate and build new ways to reach audiences. But marketers are under pressure to prove that their existing social strategies merit continued investment. Future investments need to have a demonstrable business impact (not just “getting more followers” or “increasing audience reach”).

Whether it’s adding rigor to attribution models or refining influencer programs, 2018 will be less about experimentation and more about improving the implementation of existing strategies.