We’re almost halfway through the year. Here’s my roundup of big changes that could transform the second half of 2018.

1. Brands will convert with shoppable Snapchat AR Lenses

Snapchat continues to surge as the Gen Z darling over Facebook, and the platform is poised to capitalize on this advantage by further monetizing one of its most popular features: augmented reality.

AR lenses have been a massive new way for brands to promote in a timely, interactive way, and soon branded lenses will offer the ability to feature a “Buy Now,” “Watch” or “Install Now” button.

This is huge, as it creates the opportunity for conversion right there in the app.

2. Facebook could expand on a new playable ad format

Interactivity seems to be the theme for 2018, as Facebook tests a new type of playable ad with a select group of game developers. The ad would let users “Tap to Try” in order to engage in a bite-sized demo of the game with an option to buy within the experience.

So far, some testers have reported three times the clickthrough rate as regular mobile video ads, which could mean that we’ll be seeing more of these demo-style ads in the future.

3. Netflix will probably see ads in the near future

Netflix is commercial free now, but with an annual spend of nearly $1 billion, it’s likely that the platform will need to generate revenue in other ways than subscriptions. According to CBS president Jo Ann Ross, the addition of ads is inevitable.

With networks dumping their ad loads, advertisers may apply pressure where folks are watching, which seems to be streaming platforms.

4. Instagram could launch a native payment feature

A small set of users recently received Instagram’s new native payment feature, powered by Facebook Payments. Having to leave the platform has always been a weakness of the platform for commerce.

Being able to shop and book services directly on the visual platform could fuel a huge surge in ad spend on Instagram.

5. Facebook could change the game for marketers with its influencer search engine test

Influencer marketing continues to see more and more spend as we move forward, and it seems Facebook is willing to facilitate that growth with the test of its new influencer search engine feature.

The test allows influencers to opt-in and create a profile based on their audience size, demographics, and other metrics while offering marketers the ability to match with social creators appropriate for their brands.

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