Published on Voices

5 social media and digital trends in development to watch for in 2018

Vr Booth

As the world continues to face serious development challenges, approaches to address these challenges will also have to become more innovative. We looked at some of the top digital trends which organizations in the global development space are leveraging to reach and activate their audiences, and here are the top 5 we are likely to see more of, this year.

1. Ephemeral content

Content that disappears after a short period of time is one of the key trends this year, and has seen growing use among IGOs and CSOs.  Platforms such as Snapchat which has 10 billion daily views have an instant appeal with younger online users. Since the content shared is usually short lived it has an authentic feel while capturing the attention of online users – an attribute valued by most marketers. 

Additionally, Instagram stories, which has more than 200 million daily active users, is particularly popular with most organizations because it leverages their existing Instagram audiences and is effective at engaging audiences both creatively and quickly.  The World Bank recently used it to highlight the need to improve education globally.

2. Social chat bots

Over 2.5 billion people use messaging platforms globally. This year, Gartner predicts that about 30 percent of our conversations will be assisted by smart machines. Indeed, social experts anticipate chatbots to make customer service faster and easier.  Currently, there are at least 100,000 monthly active bots on Facebook Messenger.

So what makes Chatbots appealing? For one, they give users a chance to interact quickly with organizations and brands in a personal way while allowing organizations to customize their brand voice and send personalized content to their audiences.  Organizations in the development space are also leveraging this tool by engaging with their audiences in real time. For instance, UNICEF’s U-Report bot lets users voice their opinions to their leaders, and help change the conditions in their communities. The account, which has over 1 million active users, started out in Uganda as a local innovation to help young Ugandans engage in issues that affect their lives and futures. This may be the year to test the smart automation trend.

3. Live streaming and interactive broadcasting

Live streamed videos have been continuously increasing in popularity, pushed in no small part by Facebook, who still favors it in their algorithm. This year, we will expect to see more organizations use this platform in new and innovative ways to continue to deepen engagement. So far, Facebook and Instagram are the two most used platforms for live video on social media  with Instagram racking in  200 million users daily and Facebook bringing in 8 billion daily video views while Twitter live having 96 million hours of live user-generated content in Q3 via Periscope.


4. Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality 

Did you know that half the world is at risk of malaria, a deadly – yet preventable disease transmitted by mosquitoes? To address this problem, the United Nations Foundation’s Nothing But Nets, produced a virtual reality story called Under the Net. The film tells the story of 11-year old Amisa, a girl living in a refugee camp in Tanzania. The film has so far 500k views (including 100+ viewings on Capital Hill) and over 100% corporate giving in 2016.

The World Bank is not new to Augmented Reality. In 2015, we expanded print to include Blippar – an app that lets users turn print into something more dynamic. The app is now making it easier to merge print and digital content into more innovative material while making events such as the Annual Meetings and last year’s COP23 in Bonn.
Blipp this postcard to unlock content related to a powerful gender equality initiative. 

5. Video

People love watching videos. The popularity of video content has led to social algorithms favoring this kind of content mainly because it promotes engagement.  Video continues to demonstrate a strong position among other content types, especially on Facebook, where it receives higher engagement as followers comment, like and share the content.

Take a look at this World Bank Rewind video which recaps the highlights of the World Bank’s work in 2017:

In a nutshell, this year promises to feature an interesting array of digital trends. Which will emerge as the most beneficial to organizations and audiences?  Time will tell. So tell us, how is your organization using some of these innovations. Post in the comments!


Zubedah Robinson

Digital Engagement Specialist

Join the Conversation

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly
Remaining characters: 1000