Augmented reality will finally take off. About five years ago, Google came out with a pair of glasses—Google Glass—that promised to bring augmented reality (AR) to the mainstream and change how we live and interact with each other. It was a flop. But now, multiple companies—including Google,Facebook, and SNAP—are competing to enter or re-enter the AR ring. After a handful of highly successful AR apps, rising sales of VR headsets, and greater technological sophistication (including faster internet speeds and better visual rendering), 2018 could finally be the year that AR takes off. If it does and stays in the mainstream, you can bet that social media will be one of the most popular applications for the technology, bringing people together over vast distances, and providing an entirely new UI for social interactions.
Live streaming will continue its explosive rise in popularity. You could make the argument that live streaming dominated 2017; about 80 percent of consumers would rather watch a live video from a brand than read a blog, and 82 percent would prefer live video to written social media updates. Live streaming statistics exploded in 2017, thanks in part to all the social platforms and other companies supporting the format. But 2018 will be an even bigger year, now that both audiences and brands have settled into the format. This is no longer a cool new way to interact with audiences—it’s an expectation for your brand.