Blink! It’s almost 2017, and in our annual attempt to see into the future, here’s a running start on what’s to come on the social media front. More changes, updates, new features, copycat functions and algorithm alterations than we can count are coming our way. I’ve pulled together the top digital and social media trends to watch for in the New Year to stay ahead of the game.
Top 10 digital and social media trends for 2017:
1. Live video – While we’ve begun to see several channels embrace this space (Periscope, Meerkat, Facebook, Instagram, etc.), it’s still in its infancy. Expect to see much more live video functions across several channels. Live video content changes the way we communicate with our audience providing authentic and unfiltered content (which can build trust).
2. Messaging apps – Chatbots will continue to grow as a new customer service tool. Companies will begin investing in not just social networks, but social messaging apps as well (WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Viber) – their audience is massive, after all. The challenge is creating personalized and relevant content in real time.
3. Expiring content – We can thank Snapchat for this trend. Expiring content creates a sense of urgency for an audience to consume your content quickly before it’s gone. Facebook tried to buy them out and when Snapchat said “no thanks” Facebook dropped its own version, “Instagram Stories.”
4. AR and VR – We began hearing about augmented (hello, Pokémon GO) and virtual reality experiences in social media this year, but it hasn’t been convenient for consumers to use (i.e. Facebook 360 videos). We’ll see VR and experiential social content emerge this year. I can almost guarantee a few of you will be receiving VR goggles this holiday season (Google Cardboard is only $15 if you need a stocking stuffer!).
5. Mobile – This trend is not new, but continues. Social media channels, google search rankings and everything else in the digital world is focusing on mobile optimization whether that’s design, speed, content, etc. as mobile traffic overtook desktop on the web this year. Simply optimizing for mobile won’t do it anymore…put. mobile. first.
6. Broadcast partnerships – You won’t see social media overtaking broadcast TV this year, but you will continue to see increased partnerships. Twitter is currently streaming the NBA, Facebook live streamed ABC’s coverage of the election debates and CNN has acquired the social app Beme.
7. Social commerce – You can now purchase directly from most of the major social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter) and they are continuing to ensure you can indulge in an impulse purchase as easily as possible.
8. Shifting budgets to social advertising – Bad news: organic reach continues to decline. Good news: advertisers are understanding this and shifting more and more of their ad budgets into digital. Social media advertising is projected to reach $11 BILLION in revenue next year. It’s a cost-effective way to reach a hyper-targeted audience.
9. Social media as mainstream media and the fight against fake news – We’re onto you, Facebook. “Fake news” has been brought to the mass’s attention and after much backlash I expect social channels (particularly Facebook) to prove they are making an effort to tackle this issue. They’ve already begun asking the public to alert them of any questionable articles. It’s important they do their due diligence as a majority of us (62%) get our news from social media.
10. More targeting and integration – SO many people and brands using social media also means SO much noise for marketers to break through in order to be heard. Pinpointed targeting and smart technology integrations will continue to grow as a tool for marketers.