Who better to predict where visual storytelling is going than those who handle it on a daily basis? With 2018 right around the corner,  Libris by Photoshelter asked a few to make predictions on what they see as the dominating trend of the upcoming year.

While there is no major group consensus, one thing is for sure, whatever it is, it will happen under our thumbs.Read on….

Dustin Drankoski | Art Director at Mashable | @downsmileyface

2018 is going to be a big year for vertical story. From Instagram to YouTube, everyone is going to be pushing mobile-first, vertical, stories. Figuring out how visual storytellers can leverage that audience is going to be important.

Robert Katai | Visual Marketer & Content Strategist at Bannersnack | @katairobi

strongly believe that ephemeral visual content will rise in 2018. Starting on what Instagram is doing with Stories and how Snapchat will redesign their app. Also, just look at the biggest player in the social media network and how they leverage this type of content. Ephemeral visual content is not about perfection, it’s about creativity and how fast can you publish it.

Joe Caporoso | VP of Social Media Whistle Sports | @JCaporoso

Instagram stories will continue to expand and diversify the options they offer for distribution within the larger Instagram app. You are already starting to see this with the ability to save “highlights” and an increased focus on accessible analytics. These are likely just first steps to a larger redesign aimed at continuing to take away Snapchat’s audience.

Kathryn Aragon | Content Strategist, Consultant at Kathryn Aragon Media | @KathrynAragon

For visual storytelling, nothing seems to be working as well as Facebook Lives. They’re easy to produce, fun to watch, super engaging, and can be used throughout your marketing once they’re processed. It’s already begun to take off. In 2018, brands are going to get really creative with it. I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone comes up with.

Andrew Fingerman | CEO of PhotoShelter | @awfingerman

Speed + Quality! Since the emergence of the major social platforms, quality has taken a backseat to speed. Engage the audience as fast as possible no matter how crude the quality. Brands are recognizing that speed PLUS quality is the winning recipe for better engagement, and hence will be turning toward more professional storytellers to capture and share their stories successfully in 2018.


Rob Russo | Marketing Consultant and Designer at Bold Brand Fast | @boldbrandfast

2018 will welcome more spontaneous, off-the-cuff videos in the style of Snapchat. With the success of copycat Instagram Stories and the more recent YouTube Reels, short video format isn’t leaving us anytime soon. More creators will have success once they take the plunge and experiment with this type of video. Especially when the clips aren’t polished. Viewers want real life, not a commercial production. For best success, use in-app features and post natively to best relate to the applicable audience. For example, don’t recycle your Snapchat snaps as posts in your Instagram Stories.

Donna Moritz | Digital Content Strategist at Socially Sorted | @sociallysorted

With all the hype about video – from YouTube to Live Video, VR, AR (even drones!), the one type of video that will continue to take off (and move the needle for businesses) in 2018 is social video. By social video, I mean the 10-90 second videos that capture attention and entertain, engage or educate us on social media. All of the high-tech, attractive video options may well be huge in 2018, but for many brands and businesses, social video is a great way to get started. It’s also easy to repurpose between Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter and LinkedIn as well as YouTube. And let’s face it…our time (and attention) is becoming more valuable, so creating short, engaging videos has to be a smart move!

Brian Bosché | CEO & Co-Founder at Slope | @brianpbosche

Short-form video. With almost every digital channel supporting native video uploads, short-form video is a great way to grab attention and engage with your audience. With many marketing teams hiring in-house video editors, companies can now take advantage of short-form video more consistently, and see the positive results.

Joe Pulizzi | Founder of Content Marketing Institute | @JoePulizzi

In 2018, at least two major Fortune 500 brands will hire former publishers and/or media executives to serve as their chief marketing officers.

Check out Joe Pulizzi’s full list of 60+ content marketing predictions for 2018.

Kristin Twiford | Content Marketing Manager at Libris by PhotoShelter | @KristinTwiford

Every year, brands act more and more like media companies. In 2018, creative teams will focus on producing branded content series. Brands ranging from LEGO to Intel to the Miami Dolphins have seen early success with creating cohesive video series and building a loyal audience. Teams that give their fans binge-worthy content (and set up their channels so it’s easy to binge-watch) will catch their audience’s attention and hold on to it.

Amrita Gurney | VP of Marketing at CrowdRiff | @amritagurney

I think we will see more user-generated content being used in video formats, and not just the still images that are typically posted and shared by individuals and brands.

On-Demand Webinar: User Generated Content Ideas Every Brand Should Steal via Crowdriff and Libris by PhotoShelter

Pawan Deshpande | CEO of Curata | @TweetsFromPawan

With all the fake news going around, we will start to see more “fake” visual storytelling, where doctored visual media is used to garner attention and engagement.

Stacy Adams | Head of Marketing at GoAnimate | @atl2oz

In today’s charged political climate, audiences are looking for authenticity, honesty, and relatable characters. In 2018 we’ll see brands using more real people (or characterizations of such if animated) in visual series. These will be independent ideas brought into a collective by consistency of character style or one story arc meted out over time.

Gabriel H. Sanchez | Photo Essay Editor at BuzzFeed | @guynamedgabe

I believe in 2018 we’ll see an increased emphasis on the stories and perspectives of women and people of color. For so long these voices have been suppressed by an industry that’s disproportionally white and male. 2017 really felt like a year of reckoning and coming to terms with the incredible stories that have been lost and overlooked by this bias — 2018 will change this.

Khalil Garriott | Managing Editor at Red Bull Media House | @khalilgarriott

I’m not sold on any one trend taking over the space next year. I think the smart media companies will continue to incorporate a range of visual storytelling tactics, mixing and matching them all and catering them toward audience engagement per platform. That said, among the specific tactics I’m a fan of when it comes to visual content are:

  • Interactive infographics that surprise & delight
  • Virtual reality
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Animated GIFs
  • Information-based illustrations and graphics

Also, I’m in wait-and-see mode on Facebook Lives. I predict a bounce-back year for Snapchat. I still value (and appreciate, as a content consumer) stunning, thumb-stopping still images. And POV videos remain uniquely fascinating when they offer something no other format can.

Nancy Harhut | Chief Creative Officer at HBT Marketing | @nharhut

Marketers will find more opportunities to use before and after shots. It could be things like your closet or your corporate email system before you replaced it with Product X. Or it could be things like your backyard or your break room vending machine before you enhanced it with Product X. It could even be unhappy person turned to a very happy person once they used Product X. There are many opportunities to use before and after shots to tell your story. And here’s the big reason you want to: According to research from the University of British Columbia, the closer the before and after shots are positioned to each other, the greater the strength of the relationship people will perceive them to have. Which means two before and after visuals placed closely together can instantly communicate a lot about the effectiveness of your product. In one quick glance, prospects can come away with the idea that your product is the real deal. Talk about a picture being worth a thousand words!

Jared Shelly | Head of Content at Curalate | @JaredShelly

Brands are in a constant battle for consumer attention. Offline, they create gorgeous window displays to draw consumers into physical stores. Online, they’re inspiring consumers with the images and videos they share on social. The intention is clear: stop us as we stroll — or scroll — by. Today, social content is functioning as the modern-day storefront. It’s an enticing peek into a brand’s product line and has the ability to introduce consumers to products they never knew they needed in their lives. In fact, we surveyed 1,000 U.S. consumers about their online shopping habits, finding that 76% have purchased a product they saw in a brand’s social post. The takeaway? Visual content on social entices people to explore and, ultimately, gets them to buy.

Paul Melcher | Editor in Chief at Kaptur | @KapturMag

With massive support from companies like Google, Apple, Samsung, and Snap augmented reality is now at the top of the visual tech development wave. With successes like Pokemon go, which seamlessly blends gaming and marketing, it is now very much in the crosshairs of the advertising world. 2018 will see successful implementations of AR visual storytelling, brilliantly exploiting its novelty appeal, its mobile-first (and almost exclusive) essence, and its cross-dimension universe (real and not real). And it will not just be marketing. Expect some impressive usage in the news and magazine space.

This post by Kristin Twiford was originally published on the Libris by PhotoShelter Visual Storytelling Blog.  Republished with permission.

Photo by new 1lluminati

Author: Paul Melcher

Paul Melcher is a highly influential and visionary leader in visual tech, with 20+ years of experience in licensing, tech innovation, and entrepreneurship. He is the Managing Director of MelcherSystem and has held executive roles at Corbis, Stipple, and more. Melcher received a Digital Media Licensing Association Award and is a board member of Plus Coalition, Clippn, and Anthology, and has been named among the “100 most influential individuals in American photography”

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