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UK Influencer marketing by Smoking Gun PR

What would you give for a crystal ball? Clearly being able to see the future isn’t always the best idea when it comes to your personal life, but in PR, marketing, social media and comms it’s hugely beneficial.

Sadly we don’t have one to hand. But we do have an award-winning, highly skilled and famously forward-thinking team here in Manchester. Hence all the great stuff we have all the great stuff we have achieved this year.

In the hope of stopping you from wasting precious time in 2019, we decided to ask our incredible staff for prediction on the trends set to hit these sectors next year. From brand purpose to Facebook Groups and slow news, consider this your ultimate guide to stuff that hasn’t happened yet.


If there’s one marketing concept people haven’t shut up about in 2018, it’s brand purpose. Our hugely popular guide to millennial marketing showed just how important it is for companies to do good while doing business. Realistically, though, this year barely broke the levies.

Take a look at this week’s blog post on starting trends with social media marketing for proof. CSR is something we’ve written about countless times before, but Iceland has made it clear this is no longer an added bonus, but a real requirement.

The supermarket giant’s ‘rang tang’ Christmas advert is widely seen as the season’s most successful, despite never making it onto television after being deemed too political.

Made by Greenpeace and aimed squarely at raising awareness about palm oil, if the biggest clip from the most competitive time of year for commercials is also one of the most memorable in terms of brand purpose you know the floodgates are opening.

Influencer marketing

Another subject we posted about earlier this week, influencer marketing is experiencing a major upheaval at the moment. As such it’s future now looks a lot different to its past.

Check out our downloadable guide to influencer downloadable guide to influencer marketing for a full run down on how to master this art.

Put simply, though, vanity metrics such as basic follower and share figures are quickly falling out of favour. Along with celebrity obsessions. Replacing these in 2019 will be a firm focus on truly influential individuals and organisations, who may not be pulling in big numbers of fans, but deliver through-the-roof engagement levels.

Social media formats

Oh Facebook, how you constantly let us down. Forget organic reach from brand Page posts, it barely exists anymore thanks to successive changes to the network’s top secret algorithms.

Worse still, content from any source viewed as a publisher is now being downgraded and stuck in a separate Feed as the platform looks to encourage more personal updates from friends and family. The idea being to get people talking about themselves more, in turn offering priceless information about likes and dislikes to advertisers.

Fear not, though, because Groups offer brands a workaround. These community hubs alert members to new posts in real time, and show exactly what has been shared in chronological order, making it easier to build and retain engagement. 2019 will see firms adopt these like never before.

Social media channels

Snapchat’s future as an attractive proposition for brands looks unlikely to continue unless the network makes significant improvements to insights. And by that we mean offering fit-for-purpose measurement tools and statistical information. Kylie Jenner’s comments about the platform haven’t helped its reputation, either.

Last month our newsletter ran through some of the best examples of brands using Facebook Live for Facebook Live for business. Adoption is increasing by the day, too, as companies look to capitalise on the immediacy and potential for spectacle offered by this technology.

The battle for social broadcast supremacy will continue next year, meaning brands will take bigger, bolder and ever-more innovative steps to make their footage stand out among an already-saturated marketplace.

Digital media

“Video will grow in popularity.” Oh yeah? How about telling us something we haven’t known about for over five years already?
In all seriousness, though, video will continue to dominate our digital channels and outlets, but in-house productions will become more vital to publishers than ever before.

Already we’ve seen what the likes of UNILAD, LAD Bible, Vice, GQ and Metro have achieved by getting contributors to film, not just write and photograph, and this model is going nowhere. Which is bad news for traditional broadcasters already struggling to fend off on-demand, off-air giants like Netflix and Now TV.

Print media


2019 is likely to see several shifts in perspective when it comes to print, not least a growing acceptance that physical news products are luxury items or specialist items aimed solely at dedicated fans. Digital counterparts will become the primary business arm.

Following the collapse of Johnston Press we’re also expecting significant fallout among the titles sold off as one of the UK’s biggest publishing houses saw its assets stripped.

Most titles will survive in one form or another, but a few are likely to be confined to history due to a lack of perceived profitability. Meanwhile, the ongoing push to establish a digital tax to help fund local journalism will become louder, suggesting 2019 could finish one a more stable note than this year has.

Finally, slow news is set to enjoy more popularity than ever before. By April Brexit will be over, leaving a void in the news cycle the size of the EU— something likely to be welcomed by a public already tired of the constant bombardment of speculative stories. Read our roundup of the top titles in the growing sector.

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