Social Media Marketing Predictions For 2017

Back in January 2016, we made a couple of predictions on the two social media platforms we believed would conquer 2016. Periscope and Snapchat looked the most promising platforms for 2016.

If you don’t know what Periscope is, it’s a side app to Twitter that allows users to live broadcast. At the time of writing the last article, it was one of the first social platforms to allow live streaming. However, 2016 brought some massive changes for social media. Facebook launched Facebook live on August 5th, 2016 and Instagram launched Instagram Stories days before on August 2nd.

Facebook Live instantly replaced Periscope and Instagram Stories, mimicking Snapchat to a tee. So although our predictions weren’t exact, the principle was right.

Anyway moving on here’s some predictions for 2017…

Facebook in 2017

Facebook killed 2016, literally. The launch of Live was massive, taking on both Periscope, Meerkat & Live.ly. Marketplace took on the likes of Gumtree, eBay, Etsy & other sales / second hand online stores. 360 images & videos came into place with the rise of VR. Let’s not forget Messenger Bots!

So what do we think the platform has in store for 2017?

Facebook Becomes The Internet…

This is something I’ve always believed to be Facebooks “end goal” and I don’t think we’ll see it happen for a few more years, however, I do believe we’ll see steps to bring it closer. Facebook wants to become what AOL attempted back in the early days of the internet. Remember when you’d log in, you had your mailbox, news stories & Instant Messenger? Sounds familiar right?

Facebook has slowly moved towards this in the last few years by implementing news stories, video content, marketplace, instant articles and an easy to use messenger with features such as audio and video calls. This literally makes everything you need on the internet accessible via Facebook.

Facebook has already gone against every platform going and has won solidly. This year Facebook announced at their Q2 earning report, Facebook now sees 2 billion searches per day. Google still leads the search engine market with 3.5 billion searches per day. But I believe Facebook will go for this in the next couple of years, possibly developing their own search engine for the web that is built inside of Facebook.

Video Content Will Still Be Key

The rise of video content on Facebook dominated 2016, we have seen a lot of success with video content on our campaigns. Youtube still holds the market however Facebook is working to change that. With 360 videos and Live you can bet that video content will dominate 2017.

Automation Will No Longer Feel Automated With AI Bots

Whether you think this is the start of Skynet or not. AI is going to be huge. We’ve played about with AI on a few project and to be honest, we think it’s great! To keep this short AI bots basically offer all the benefits of automation without the “automated” feel to it!

Virtual Reality/ Augmented Reality

With the success of apps like Snapchat and Pokemon GO, AR was brought to Facebook’s attention. Zuckerberg shared his thoughts on AR:

“I like everyone else am enjoying Pokemon Go. The biggest thing that I think we can take away from this as we invest in augmented reality in addition to virtual reality is that the phone is probably going to be the mainstream consumer platform [where] a lot of these AR features first become mainstream, rather than a glasses form factor that people will wear on their face.

I think we’re seeing this in a number of places, whether it’s location through Pokemon or some of the face filter activity, I referenced the Masquerade app that we acquired earlier in my remarks. That’s kind of a fun way to augment social experiences that you’re having with someone. I think there’s a big opportunity to build out that platform and a lot more functionality around that.

And one of the big themes that we’re talking about here is becoming video first. And as people look for richer and richer ways to express themselves, just like people in the past have shared a lot of text and photos on Facebook, we think in the future more of that is going to be video, and more of these augmented reality tools I think are going to be an important part of delivering that experience and making that fun to use and expressive as it can be.”

 

Facebook also acquired Oculus rift for VR and the Masquerade app for AR. You can bet these will be pushed in 2017.

Facebook Will Crack Down On Fake News Stories

You may have seen recently that Facebook has come under fire due to the rise of “fake news stories”. Whilst this is a problem overall on the internet, Facebook has been seriously targetted over this matter.

It’s no secret that Facebook is destroying Twitter as a main source of information and if it wants to keep doing so, filtering out “spam stories” is key. Last month Facebook announced they are well on the way to doing this, meaning 2017 should be a lot less spammier…

Instagram

 

Instagram is aiming to become the second most popular social media platform and I think this will be very achievable in 2017. In the past year, they’ve implemented some huge changes. Stories was a key part of extending Instagram’s success. Previously Instagram had a professional vibe to it, with stories coming to the party it adds the option to also feature fun/ fast paced content.

Another key feature in 2016 was Business Tools. You can now have a business page on Instagram. This allows you to view reports and insights. It also allows you to link this to your Facebook account. From both platforms, you can now order/manage adverts across platforms.

Instagram in 2017

Business Tools

It amazes me how little people are talking about this feature, it was the most needed implementation after Instagram allowed multiple accounts! It amazes me even more that businesses aren’t actually jumping on Instagram and “marketing companies” are still screaming Twitter & Facebook.

To create Business Tools, Instagram worked with hundreds of businesses to understand exactly what they required to enhance their Instagram experience, the results were simple: stand out, get insights and find new customers. And the release of Business Tools brought with it: business profiles, analytics and the ability to create ads from posts directly within the app.

Like every other social platform, advertising is key to surviving. Instagram & Facebook will continue to enhance their platform so business users can benefit from this.

Live video

Live is the newest update to “The Gram” that will crush 2017. Instagram wants to become the place to capture all moments and not all moments are perfect. This is why Live will be a key performer. Mixing that with business accounts it has the potential to be massive. Facebook announced last year that users watch live videos more often and for a longer period of time than non-live videos. So if you’re not planning Live in your marketing campaign, you need to rethink your strategy!

Instagram Stories Evolves

With the launch of Instagram Stories, the gram did something that caught our attention massively. They regularly updated. In the short lifespan of Stories we saw the feature evolve massively.

Verified Instagram account users can now share links through Stories using a “see more” feature that loads content in Instagrams own browser by simply swiping up on a user’s story. You can bet this update will spill into business accounts and possibly personal ones too! This would be a great way to grab the attention of your audience and direct them to your website or a sale you’re offering.

Snapchat / Snap inc.

In 2016 Snapchat went where no other platform has ever been. They evolved from an app / social platform into a brand. Snap inc was formed and brought the release of the Spectacles.

The Spectacles are wearable tech that pairs up with your phone and allows you to record stories from your point of view. Basically a simpler version of Google Glasses.

The hype for these glasses is HUGE, they’re pretty much none existent at the moment in the UK. Why? Because they’re only sold by pop up Snap Vendors. Just looking on eBay the Spectacles are currently fetching a safe £300 – £400 (original retail price is £100).

Snapchat in 2017

Spectacles & The New Video View

Spectacles have already beat Google at the most fashionable wearable tech! This is key for Snapchat as their target audience is primarily teenagers. I’m going to take a huge guess and say in 2017 Spectacles will become available with much easy. This will help Snapchat greatly as it will encourage more users to create content for the platform.

Spectacles also brought a new format of video to the table. Spectacles can record with a 115-degree field of view! The idea of this is to be similar to the human eye. Check the video out here:

Geofilters / Marketing Opportunities

You may have noticed a few local geofilters on Snapchat. Snapchat uses your location services to predict set filters that have been designed for the area. They also expanded a paid version of this in 2016 for advertising. For instance, if we were holding a workshop we could pay for a filter to take place in that exact location. In 2017 you can bet Snapchat will push this hard. You’ll also see improvements in analytics and enhanced targeting for businesses.

Making it Local

Snap acquired Vurb in 2016.Vurb is a local app helping consumers find local things to do and letting them save their ideas. You can bet this will get tied into Snapchat and help with discovery!

 Twitter

Twitter changed in 2016 classing itself as a “news product” rather than a social media platform. This was confirmed by a message from Jack Dorsey (CEO of Twitter) to his employees:

“Twitter is what’s happening, and what everyone is talking about (literally!). News and talk. We’re the people’s news network.

People choose us for news because we’re the fastest. Fastest to get news, and fastest to share news with the whole world. Now let’s strive to be the first. The first place people check to see what’s happening…and the first place to break what’s happening. In the moment LIVE, or a fast recap of what we know so far…what matters.”

So what does that mean for businesses? Well, personally we stopped paying attention to Twitter when Snapchat gained more daily active users. Why? It’s simple. We go where the attention goes. Twitter still has some big things coming in 2017.

Twitter in 2017

Limits will be lifted.

2017 will be the year of lifting limits, we’re expecting to see the 140 characters to be increased dramatically or the limit removed completely.

Periscope Resurrection.

Periscope isn’t dead, you can bet Twitter will push Periscope in 2017. They also have a broadcast partnerships with brands like the NFL & GoPro, which will no doubt be pushed this year. This is ideal for businesses looking to spend time homing in on individual sales. Imagine GoPro do a live broadcast of a skateboarding competition and you sell skateboards online. When people are talking about the stream you can jump right in and offer discounts!

So Where To Start Marketing in 2017?

Our best advice for this is following your audience.

It may be worth mentioning that these platforms are not the only ones out there. Linkedin was recently acquired by Microsoft in 2016 so you can expect some big things coming as it’s Microsoft’s first stab at social media.

2017 will be the year brands and small businesses get personal. This is massively achievable now with the rise of video content and Live will be crucial and should be in your plans!

 

Pixel Boy

Pixel Boy is a forward-thinking creative digital marketing agency based in Hartlepool. We focus on storytelling across social and digital platforms. Formed in November 2015 as a small website design company. We have since grown to cover digital & social media marketing. This allows us to keep all form of content creation under one roof whilst also being able to offer strategy and media buying.

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