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Digital Transformations: Ogilvy’s Key Digital Trends

Words by James Whatley
Photos courtesy of Ogilvy

The fifth annual edition of Ogilvy’s Key Digital Trends Report outlines where the digital and social landscape is headed, and what brands should do, as a result. James Whatley and co-author Marshall Manson, are two of Ogilvy UK’s digital leaders. He shares three of the five digital trends they’ve pinpointed for the year. The full report includes a brief review and grading of the 2017 predictions, and a reflection on some of their long-term predictions from the past years. 

Trend 1: Augmented Reality Gets Real


In 2018, AR will finally hit tipping point—and it has been a very, very slow burn.

From Blipp AR-integrated magazines to interactive head-tracking promotions for movies, creative technologists, brands with more money than sense, and agency innovation leads—you know the kinds of people we’re talking about—have been trying to make AR happen for years.

And let’s be honest: it hasn’t.

However, with the mass-proliferation of high-end smartphones and AR developing the way it has (you don’t need to download a specific app anymore, this stuff is baked into your social platforms of choice (and hey, while we’re at it—why go through the trouble of strapping something to your face for VR when to access AR, you just need to stare at your phone—as usual)) AR is accessible to all. 

AR is now integrated into your phone, making it accessible for all.

The major players all have their own AR dev kit offering (see: Lens Studio for Snapchat as an example), Apple has pushed AR with its latest iPad Pro TVC and Google has pushed AR stickers to all Pixel owners running its latest software. 

So, what can you do about it?

1.    As ever, think about the problem you’re trying to solve. If it’s just to play, then play. But don’t add to the dross (there’s a lot of that out there). 

2.    There are devkits available for all the major platforms and we’d recommend speaking to the creative techs and designers in your team to see what’s possible.

You don’t need to download a specific app any more to access AR.

Trend 2: The End of Typing

The growth of voice—in search, predominantly—means we’re hitting the upward curve of the hockey stick when it comes to consumer acceptance and use. Reliability is improving and the ecosystem of voice assistants, while still fluid, is slowly beginning to take shape.  

The implications for brands are tremendous. 

Our guidance is to first think about “Voice search engine optimization.” You probably already know what the top results are if I Google your brand or your client. But if I search with my voice, does that change? Google doesn’t allow you to buy against spoken queries vs typed queries (like you can desktop vs mobile, for example) but it’s coming. And it won’t be long before not nailing your VSEO will be a one-way ticket to Deadsville. 

The other thing to consider when it comes to voice is that yes, this is indeed yet another brand touch point. If we consider product packaging to be the literal brand in the hand, then what is the aural equivalent? If you’ve got your V/O artist in for a day to do TV, Radio, and Spotify. Why not keep them a bit longer and get them to voice the Alexa Skill as well? That is, ensuring your production team have included it in their contracts. 

Trend 3: The Tragedy of the Commons in Influencer Marketing

In the 1833, Oxford Economist William Forster Lloyd came up with the idea of the “Tragedy of the Commons.” The idea is simple: When it comes to common assets or shared opportunities, it’s in everyone’s individual interest to take as much as possible from the common and minimize the amount of time and resource they invest in maintaining it.

Lloyd used the cattle of England to illustrate the problem. Cows grazed on private land tended to be healthy and well cared for. Cows grazed on shared land—held in “common” in the parlance of English property lawyers—were “puny and stunted.” So he wondered, “Why is the common itself so bare-worn, and cropped so differently from the adjoining enclosures?”

Which brings us neatly to Influencer Marketing. Influencer Marketing is hot again. YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat have all contributed to its renaissance —some more than others. Furthermore, with the newly announced Facebook newsfeed algorithm changes, the attraction of being able to speak with an already installed, and highly interactive fanbase will only grow throughout the year. But with attention and buzz comes a lot of nonsense and bad actors, putting the whole common opportunity at risk. 

We’ve seen it before…

In 2018, Influencer Marketing will be bigger than ever. Brands need to practice some simple rules for Influencer Marketing success:

1.    Compensate, don’t over-pay. Influencers deserve to be compensated for their time and trouble the same as any partner. But avoid the ridiculous. Too much cash distorts the value for everyone.

2.    Follow the rules. Most countries now have requirements that influencers include ‘ad’ tags. Do this.

3.    Protect authenticity at all costs. If you can’t come up with a concept that’s authentic for both brand and influencer, don’t go forward.

4.    Remember: Co-create, don’t instruct. Be ready to hand over creative control to the influencer. You picked them because you loved what they were doing and, more importantly, so does their audience. Trust them to create something that will work. 

You can read the full report (as well as a review of last year’s trends) at or join the conversation at the hashtag #OgilvyTrends2018. 

About the Author:
James Whatley is the Planning Partner of OgilvyOne UK.
This article was published in the adobo magazine Trends 2018 issue.

Partner with adobo Magazine

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