Technology Trends and Predictions for 2018

2017 is gone and 2018 is on us. 

There were lots of awesome technology trends that began to take over in 2017, and more to come in 2018.

2017 saw machine learning really make some serious strides.  Our search engines and customer service platforms saw lots of improvement, thanks to machine leearning.

’17 also saw a large rise in smart speakers and smart assistants (Alexa, Google Home) and VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality) made lots of strides as well.

So, what does 2018 hold?  Justin and Dave discuss their predictions for tech and adoption in the church marketing and media space.  Will churches stay behind the curve and start to lead? 

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Email Will Rise Even Higher In Importance

Email is dead!  Long live Email!

Users and marketers alike now that email is the only direct and reliable way to connect with church members.  It can even trump social media.

Email Marketing Is Stronger Than Ever

Justin and Dave both agree that churches will continue to use Email but will start using it with more purpose and use it “properly”.

We use Active Campaign for our email marketing and can’t recommend it enough.  Their features and reliability are stout.  

Check out Active Campaign if you’ve not yet set up an email service or if you’re looking to move to a more reliable one.

Moving Towards More One-to-One Communications

  • Churches will move from broadcasting a message to more 1:1 style.  Less “Hey Y’all” and more “Hey You!”
  • Facebook as a bulletin board is becoming a little less effective.  We’re going to see more email use for announcements and event updates.
  • Chatbots on Facebook and other platforms will become more common and be used more by churches.
  • Dave thinks machine learning will help chatbot logic work smoother.  Churches will be able to use bots to “listen” for certain words or phrases and direct chatbots to engage based on them – this can be adapted to then direct a user to a 1:1 conversation with a church staffer.


Using Facebook and Social Media with More Purpose

  • Justin sees people starting to kull their social ‘friends’ more.  Removing some of the extraneous people they’re following, that they rarely actually interact with.  This will help people focus more on the relationships they want to cultivate and help remove some of the ‘fire hose’ of useless information.


Pay-to-Play Will Be The Rule Now

  • Facebook is making it harder for users to see pages they follow (on purpose) in their feed. 
  • Facebook will continue to grow it’s “pay for play” strategy for brands. 
    • Pay more, get seen more.
  • Dave hopes this doesn’t become too cost-prohibitive for churches and non-profits.
    • Those organizations have people who actively WANT and NEED to see the content produced by them.


Groups Become More Needed and Important

  • Churches will use groups more for engagement and interaction
  • Facebook may start limiting groups in feeds in order to make them “pay-to-play” as well.
  • Dave see’s this backfiring quickly for Facebook.  Users will make it known that this is unacceptable (will Dave lead the revolution?)
  • Email will become even MORE important because of this.  We don’t own the FB platform – we do own our email lists.


360 Video and 360 Streaming Will Start to be Used More in Churches

  • 360 Live streaming will start to be used a little in worship services.
  • Justin wants to see 360 cameras be used for small groups / Bible studies for a more immersive experience for remote participants.
  • Headsets are becoming more common and accessible.
  • The tech has really grown.
  • More accessible.
  • 360 live streaming on FB is possible now
  • 360 cameras are becoming more common and less expensive.

360 degree camera test


Net Neutrality Repeal Will NOT Have Any Direct Effects

  • Dave and Justin don’t see the repeal of net neutrality having any direct effect on churches for day-to-day operations, nor on live streaming.
  • Justin thinks that it will have a longer term, negative effect, but not necessarily in 2018.
  • Dave thinks repealing it is good and will spark competition and innovation in many sectors, including churches.
  • They both agreed that this is a conversation for a later date. 😉 


Smart Assistants Will Become Widely Adopted by People and Churches

  • Smart Assistants are already gaining traction in the market.
    • Alexa, Siri, Google Home (Ok Google), and Cortana are being used more and more
  • Alexa outsold Google this Christmas.
  • Justin thinks that it will be slower to take hold in churches because there’s not definitive standard.
  • Dave thinks that services like IFTTT and Zapier will make it easier to operate between assistants.
  • Dave thinks that someone or some company may step up and create a bridge technology that allows you to work with any assistant.
    • Could be speakers themselves that have all the assistants built in.



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