Live video will continue to dominate social media, AR and VR will make even bigger virtual splashes across all platforms, and chatbots will be there to answer your questions 24/7.

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Video is dominating social media. Just scroll down your feed to see that. 2018 will see a massive spike in the creation and distribution of video content across all platforms, especially live video. Since April 2016 Facebook Live has seen incredible growth. Google searches for it have tripled. Facebook reported a 300 per cent increase in live videos from media companies. Plus, live streaming platforms like the trivia app HQ, will inspire social media services to dabble with live audience participation. This is backed up by multiple reports about Silicon Valley’s interest in the app.

My second prediction is that Facebook and Snapchat will integrate more virtual and augmented reality. Take Apple’s recent $390 million investment into the California-based Finisar. It produces optical communication components that will boost the power of iPhone X[Ten] features such as Face ID and Animoji and portrait mode selfies. That shows that AR is here for the long-run. And don’t be surprised if Facebook’s $2 billion purchase of Oculus begins to pay off in 2018. Despite the fact that Facebook may have sold less than 400,000 Oculus Rifts last year, there’s plenty of time for them to turn the ship around. Facebook unveiled its Oculus Go VR headset in October. It’s being tested by users through Facebook’s early-access Spaces platform. If it can capture the same magic as Steam’s Rec Room, which has nearly 350,000 owners according to SteamSpy, sunny days are ahead.

And finally, social media marketing is going to be dominated by chatbots. According to a report from Grand View Research, the use of chatbots has grown across all industries since 2014. With obvious gaps still lingering in customer service, such as the inability to contact someone from a company outside of working hours, there is still plenty of room for AI to fill the void by assessing the reason for a call and automatically responding to it.

That’s what will trend next year. Hashtag Trending is sponsored by SAS, the world leader in advanced analytics and Official Analytics Partner of the Canadian Olympic Team.

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