Pilira Mwambala, Ad Operations Director at Mark1 – a digital media execution business shares the top digital trends for 2018 and beyond.

According to Mwambala there has been an upsurge in disruptive digital technology and innovations like Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), Artificial Intelligence (AI), chatbots, blockchain, native ads, wearable technology and many others.

“We’ve witnessed the mobile device continue to give birth to a wide variety of key developments which allow consumers faster access to the world of convenience. We’re living in a data-driven world and data will not just be a trend for 2018 but the core of all things digital and online,” he says.

He notes that today’s online advertisers are willing to pay top dollar for audience data that yields optimal return on investment (ROI) for their brand.

Yet on the flip side, media owners are investing in both the technology and the people who can mine massive amounts of data and segment this into “off-the-shelf” commodities that can benefit advertisers with large wallets.

While players within the complex and dynamic digital marketing ecosystem strive to connect the puzzle pieces; consumers continue to generate, access and share massive volumes of online data.

Online information, entertainment and education is available at the touch of a button.

In the pursuit of unlocking the online marketing mix, Mwambala says online marketers have seen that data leads to understanding patterns within user behaviour.

According to her, the shapeshifting trend in online data stems from huge volumes of data that arise from free online apps such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter, Skype, Google (Gmail, YouTube, Google Maps), and so much more.