The Social Media Trends to look out for in 2017
Year on year, social platforms evolve at an accelerated rate to suit business and consumer needs. 2016 showcased this well with the likes of Vine and Meerkat winding down, while Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat boomed.| January 30th, 2017
Clearly there has never been a better time to become conversant with what is to come in the industry. Here, we arm you with an outlook on what to expect from social in 2017.
The Revolution will be Live-Streamed
- Facebook are currently experimenting with in-stream advertising (such as pre-rolls) which they intend to introduce once streaming becomes popular.
- Applying greater targeting and segmentation of audiences to your Facebook Live streams will be possible in 2017.
- Beyond Facebook Live, the key streaming platforms expected to see growth in the coming year include Live.ly and Twitch, the live-gaming platform owned by Amazon.
There are currently over one hundred live-streaming apps in China, a fact which showcases the growing popularity of the medium. From these, we expect major players to emerge who will compete in the much same way that behemoths WeChat and Sina Weibo seize share across that market from blocked competitors such as Facebook. Inke and Huajiao are two of the most prominent ones to keep an eye on.
An important caveat to this, is that that live streaming content creation is expected to be difficult for most brands to initially leverage.
Even with its recent Live Catwalk on Facebook Live, advertising megabrand Burberry has not yet been able to reap equivalent viewing figures to traditional TV format. 2017 could nevertheless be the year the nut is cracked.
The Lasting Impact of Perishable
- Prior to 2016, evergreen content was the key focus for brands. However, in the last year Snapchat has paved the way for branded content with a limited shelf life to flourish.
- Users in 2017 are expected to become increasingly open to perishable content, with its popularity a key shift from the perfectly curated ‘Instagram-ready’ content users have grown accustomed to from brands.
- Realising the need to evolve, Instagram has entered into this arena with their Stories. This feature contains an algorithm that ranks stories by perceived relevance to the user.
- Perishable content is almost entirely organic at this stage, which makes it an enticing ground for smaller, challenger brands. It remains excellent for seasonal content, limited time promotions, competitions, and amplifying experiential activities.
Influencers Remain as Popular as Ever
- Recently published research carried out by the University of Southern California found that teens perceive YouTube stars to be 90% more genuine and 17 times more engaging than mainstream celebrities. Findings such as these suggest brands will continue to invest in using the authority of influencers to promote their products.
- There are three approaches to working with influencers: (1) Getting them to create content, (2) Getting them to promote brand content, and (3) combining these two to achieve creation of great branded content and marry it with distribution.
- While brands are increasingly seeing greater value in the latter of these options, at present 67% of influencer usage by brands remains for promotion only. There are opportunities for brands to make headway in this space in 2017.
- Influencers are ideal for live video content, in particular because Facebook currently sends notifications to the phones of all pages that use Facebook Live.
Soft Launch for Bots
Head to airline company Iceland Air on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Icelandair) and send the page an inbox message. You will be answered by a bot that utilises artificial intelligence to provide assistance to potential customers.
Although bots such as this have existed on Facebook for the last year, the platform has yet to make users widely aware of their existence.
The reality is that AI has yet to crack the ability to naturally converse, which limits the ability of these bots. Simply put, they are not yet capable of replacing social media community managers who can offer a human voice on behalf of a brand. Nevertheless, bots can work and be powerful tools in instances where they are kept simple and functionality-driven.
An example of this currently being trialled by Uber is to offer a bot to users asking simply if they would like to request a car, activated the moment a user types the word Taxi into a conversation on Messenger with one their contacts.
This conversation tracking on dark social is an area of huge potential for brands, providing users learn to embrace it. Suffice to say that in 2017 as brands seek to crack the best methods to deploy bots into dark social, stand-alone app usage is expected to go down.
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