Digital trends of 2018

Our world is constantly changing and so is our digital ecosystem. People are constantly working on new technology and evolving things around themselves. In this post I have worked on a list of the big digital trends of 2018 that consist of 4 parts – General digital trends, Automation, Artificial Intelligence or AI and Gartner predictions of our near future.

General digital trends

1. Creating stories around the brand

 Creating stories around the brand - Red Bull Stratos Jump

Content is still the king. Great stories make people feel something – those emotions create powerful connections between the audience, the characters within the stories and the storyteller.

Stories are the perfect catalyst to building brand loyalty and brand value. When you can develop an emotional connection between consumers and your brand, your brand’s power will grow exponentially.

2. E-commerce trends

 E-commerce trends - Robot food delivery

Virtual shopping is getting bigger and bigger with each day because of the many benefits it offers, but the shop owners want to take the game to another level with these advancements:

  • Shipping bots and same day delivery – more affordable and convenient shipping terms is what will boost e-commerce business in the near future to new heights
  • Chat bots offering support and help – shop owners are implementing smart chat bots that help customer with simple tasks and guide them to successful checkouts. Soon however they are to be replaced by Artificially intelligent bots that will be there to assist you 24/7
  • AI suggestions that learn from you and assist you with the things that you desire and need not even knowing about it
  • Mobile payments – quick, secure and convenient payments using your phones

3. Generation Z

Generation z

Not just our technology is evolving bus so is society around us. There is a new kind of generation that is called Generation Z and it consists of people born in 1995 or later. These are kids that do not know how it was to live without internet, fast information access, mobile devices and computers. They are the generation that must be now taken into consideration since they have some significant differences from the previous generations.

What are the main characteristics of this audience:

  • Accepting of new ideas
  • Social communicators (digital over voice)
  • Less focused
  • Better Multi-Taskers
  • Don’t care so much about prices as Millenials
  • More Entrepreneurial
  • Have higher expectations than Millennials
  • Global view on the world

4. Transforming offline businesses to digital

Transforming offline businesses to digital

We can no longer just produce simple gadgets and live with them, we have to make them digital. Internet of Things has changed the way people are looking at things, interacting and living. Products have to be transformed to support the new lifestyle.

Companies must transfer their business to an integrated digital solution (digital marketing, operations, business models) in order to thrive in the new age of digital. Philips is a company that sets a great example for transforming their products to become digital, connect to your devices and transfer data that later on can be used for different purposes.

5. Amazon Button

Amazon button

Dash Buttons are shortcuts to quickly find and reorder your favorite products on Amazon’s mobile app and website. Dash Buttons are available for tens of millions of products that ship with Prime. Dash Buttons are free, so you can add as many as you want.

6. Offline first

Offline first

Each of us has found himself in a situation where you have lost the connectivity and the mobile application is not giving you any data and maybe not even starting up because of loss of internet. Therefore providing offline mobile experiences for essential services like bus timetables, maps or even latest news is the new trend and that is how the new apps are going to be developed.

Many of our exiting applications already provide us with such benefits e.g. Instagram allows us to prepare a post Offline and when the connection comes back posts it away.

7. Pre-Touch technology

Pre-touch technology

Currently under active development, but soon to be released one of the digital trends of 2018 – Pre-Touch technology. It will allow us to view extra functionality on our devices without even touching them. It is going to be similar like what you can do on a computer using the cursor e.g. hovering a link or a menu item with sub-levels.

8. VR Web

VR web browsing

As VR develops and browsers become more user friendly for new technologies, a new way of web browsing is on the rise. Virtual reality or VR has been around for a couple of years but so far the usage of it has been limited by the fact that there are specific devices that can provide us with tis experience. Projects like are planning to make VR mainstream and available to large masses.


9. Marketing automation. Next level personalization

Marketing automation. Next level personalization

Right now we are mostly relying our digital data on information that is very fragmented and therefore it is impossible for us to identify the customer and build his profile. All this is causing great pain and headache for marketing companies that are trying to solve the puzzle and target the audience with specific and precise ads.

But it is all changing now and there are companies like Tealium that are offering an integrated solution. Now all social networks and systems can be put together in order to identify and create full customer view and serve precise services to each individual.

10. Advanced Media Planning + Real-time Audience Customization

dvanced Media Planning + Real-time Audience Customization

Companies that are working with media planning know how tough and challenging it is to constantly monitor the results of an ongoing campaign. Since the clients money and campaign results depend on this task, it is very crucial not to miss the turn where the campaign results start to slide down the line. There are tools now that can help you to automatically change allocated funds on some adds and transfer it to those placements that perform better, they can notify you about split testing results and other valuable data.

Nevertheless even before campaign can me started the media must be planned first and here comes the advanced media planning solutions like Radarous that help to investigate and find the most effective way how to reach your target audience.

11. User Generated Content (UGC) Automation

User Generated Content (UGC) Automation

Studies have shown that people trust other people. Therefore many have started using the benefits of user generated content e.g. usage of a specific product or visiting an exotic island to promote travel.

This has been available for some time already but the content had to managed manually in order to check if unwanted content is being served to the visitors. But now there are tools like Stackla that automatically analyze UGC, automatically curate it and prepare for further usage and recommendations across different channels. Powerful features like image recognition, location detection, language and sentiment analysis help you sort, manage, and classify your content. That is a huge help for those who did it manually.

Artificial Intelligence

Despite what anyone tells you, as far as the start of 2018 we do not have fully working and true Artificial Intelligence. We can only be speaking of systems and machines that are trying to use something that in the future might become a true artificial intelligence. Right now we simply do not have neither the power nor processors that can handle the incredible amount of data that has to be kept and searched upon request. AI in today’s terms are simply smartly developed systems that specifically are trained to look, feel and sound like the real thing.

12. Machine learning

Machine learning - brains

With so much data around us we need computers to help us understand it and solve everyday problems. Machine learning is one of the major Digital trends of 2018 and it is making the computer to learn how to solve a task by itself basing on the data. Scientists believe that Machine learning is the basis for Artificial Intelligence therefore this is a huge trend this year.

We already have computers that are learning on their own. Uber is using Machine learning in order to calculate the price you will be paying basing on the traffic and the request amount. Google Maps and Waze are both collecting data from drivers and can use the information predicting the traffic jams and suggest faster routes for the users. There are many more digital companies like Facebook, Instagram and Amazon that use machine learning in order to make the system do the tasks on their own.

13. Artificial Emotional Intelligence

Many IT specialists and entrepreneurs are afraid of AI and what may become of this world if it would be unleashed. We do not want a computer be smarter than us and start doing our work and making decisions of life and death. Right now we want the computers to understand us and that means hearing us, recognizing our face and emotions and feeling us.

Human language

We are a bit tired of computers responding like robots and we are missing human touch. Developers are working and already have released a couple of AI bots that understand what we are writing, can learn our emotional status and respond to us. One of the best examples here must be the Xiaoice which is an advanced natural language chat-bot developed by Microsoft. It is primarily targeted at the Chinese community on the micro blogging service Weibo. The conversation is text based. The system learns about the user and provides natural language conversation. This bot is used as a therapist and many of the users have fallen in love with it.

You an also check examples of advanced human language AI bots looking at DeepDrumpf Twitter account that was learning from Donald Trump tweets and making his own. And a very clever AI meeting scheduler also has been developed in order to take care of scheduling a meeting within a group of people.

Face recognition

Since almost all devices we are using nowadays have built-in cameras we can use them in order to use clever techniques and understand people emotions. In near future we will see the use of this technology in reading our emotions while we are reading a news feed or testing a product sample. Microsoft, EmoVu and many others have APIs for emotional recognition that you can use today.

Emotion readers

And then there are different gadgets like Feel wristbands that read and track emotions directly from your body.

Together all 3 of these components will allow the computers to become emotionally intelligent and help us in working with them in a more human manner.

Gartner predictions in near future

Gartner is a company that has been giving predictions for many years now and they have been quite precise. Therefore it is a good place to look for Digital trends of 2018 and see what they are saying.

14. Visual and voice search

Visual and voice search

By 2021, early adopter brands that redesign their websites to support visual and voice search will increase digital commerce revenue by 30%. Visitors are now able to use their cameras in order to take a picture of and object and try to search the Google in order to recognize the product. And people are able to search your website and fill forms using just their voice. Both Google Chrome and Firefox browsers support the speech recognition API.

15. Intelligent things

Intelligent things

Basing on AI cars, devices, drones, autonomous farming vehicles etc. working together in order to increase productivity and efficiency. This is where Machine learning and AI will play a big role.

16. Digital twins

Digital Twins

A digital twin is a digital representation of a real-world things. In the context of Internet of Things, digital twins are linked to real-world objects and offer information on the state of the counterparts, respond to changes, improve operations and add value.

Digital Twins will be also used in simulations – future models of humans with biometric and medical data, digital twin cities etc.

17. Increased fake news

Fake news troll farm

By 2022, the majority of individuals in mature economies will consume more false information than true information.

With an increasing amount of fake news, companies need to closely monitor what is being said about their brand and the context in which it is being said. Brands will need to cultivate a pattern of behavior and values that will reduce the ability of others to undermine the brand.

This completes our list of Digital trends of 2018. Please use the comments section to post your thoughts and ideas on these trends.

In categories: Other, Website development

Nauris Kolāts

Nauris is a freelance designer / developer who loves to dig into the UX as much as in the ground for fishing worms. And fishing is just one amongst the long list of his active lifestyle hobbies.

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