Are you ready for the Social Media Predictions for 2017?
It’s been that time of year for most business men and women. We’ve had slightly one too many at the office Christmas party (mince pies that is!) and we’ve been winding down. Unless you’re in marketing that is! As many of you take the time to get the extra rest: marketers are supporting your business needs by developing digital strategies for 2017. It is also that time of year for social media predictions.
Here are mine.
In 2015, many of the experts expected Facebook had reached saturation point and thereby making it more difficult for growth. However, in 2016, Facebook have exceeded themselves. This year, they have added 197 million more monthly active users and recently crossed a billion mobile active users (MAC) for the first time.
Zuckerberg has reiterated that video will be the future of the platform. More emphasis will be put on live-streaming and 360 content over the next 12 months. This will cause a significant shift to how businesses invest in their marketing.
Here’s the breakdown.
In a bid to take on rival sensation Snapchat, Facebook announced the trail of new camera option. Zuckerberg predicts that it will take over the text box as the default status update tool. The camera will include new visual features like masks and other interactive tools which are similar to what we already recognize on Snapchat. Businesses will need to understand how to engage with audiences using these tools. My 2018 prediction will be the monetization of the camera by businesses designing their own branded interactive tools. Let’s not get too ahead of ourselves though.
““In five years, most of [Facebook] will be video,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Thursday during the company’s first community town hall, in which he took questions from the public on a range of topics.”
Facebook are continuously proving that they are on the forefront of innovation and truly understand their most dominant consumers.
They are a demographic that are growing up quickly and becoming more influential in our society. They are gravitating towards an image based style of interaction. Therefore, the big driver to making Facebook’s new camera the next best thing, is to deliver bigger, better and more innovative tools.
Evan Spiegel, the owner of Snapchat, will be pressured to grow Snapchat faster. Only time will tell if this will be a good or bad.
Currently, the camera is being trialed in Ireland and will likely be rolled out to all regions early in the new year.
Since May of this year, the number of people broadcasting via Facebook Live has increased fourfold. Currently, the companies reaping the most benefits and bringing in the most money from this channel of marketing are the more established broadcasters.
Remember at the start of 2015 and we were all talking about Periscope? No? Forgotten already?
Through Facebook’s aggressive campaigns, the live streaming platform has been unseated. Facebook wish to carry on this approach by focusing on the everyday users and plan to dominate the instant video market.
Despite the rise of consumers absorbing more information online, TV is still the prime device in many homes. And Facebook know it. For instance, well, where else do we angle the sofa at?
Facebook have already started planning their strategy to dominate our screens at home, by announcing more live streaming partnerships.
In the next 12 months, we can expect to see premium content on “Facebook TV” that draw a larger audience in terms of both viewers and creators. In order to make Facebook a genuine competitor for traditional TV broadcasters, Facebook needs an easy way for people to connect Facebook to their TV set.
Again, Facebook know this.
In the last month, Facebook have made it easier and better for you to stream content through your TV on Apple TV & Google Chromecast. As you can imagine, not everyone has a Apple TV or Google Chromecast yet, Facebook are working on their own TV dongle that would act as a conduit between your phone and the TV set. In essence, yes, Facebook are moving into commercial hardware production. If their plan goes accordingly, the world we live in by 2020 will be very different from today.
The big buzz word at the moment.
VR is still a while off becoming an essential component to the everyday house. With momentum continuing to build, new opportunities are being showcased by Facebook. For any business, having learning about ways to produce VR content will be invaluable by 2020.
In order to bridge the gap between VR and reality, Facebook have pushed 360 content since June 2016 by giving everyone the ability for all users to upload 360 photos.
From 2017, we expect Facebook to be delivering more tools as well as extra reach as an incentive for brands to use 360 content.
Finally, it wouldn’t surprise me if Facebook added new augmented reality elements to Facebook Live, Instagram Stories and their new camera option, highlighting the future of interacting in the virtual world.
So far this 2016, Facebook have taken on Periscope, Snapchat, YouTube and traditional TV. Now, in a more subtle move, they may be looking to start taking on Google search engine.
As noted by Zuckerberg back in June, Facebook’s now facilitating more than 2 billion on-platform searches every day. This means, their search activity is rising 33% over nine months.
By introducing more recommendations and event tools, this helps users find out more of what they want. As well, the new marketplace option is able to facilitate more common on-platform search activities.
It’s an interesting move, as Facebook don’t want to provide too much data access, as it’s that knowledge graph that fuels their ad targeting system. But on the other hand, the more on-platform engagement and more traffic they can take from Google, the better.
We expect to see them release something on this in the new year, combining more search capabilities via machine learning, based on what people are typing in their status updates.
By definition; “Machine learning is a type of artificial intelligence (AI) that provides computers with the ability to learn without being explicitly programmed. Machine learning focuses on the development of computer programs that can change when exposed to new data.”
If this isn’t a huge factor for 2017, it certainly will be in 2018.
The first point of emphasis in the introduction of Bots for Messenger is the fact that messaging is the number one way people are looking to connect today. There are a possible 33,000 automated bots active on the platform and this same process is being followed for both WhatsApp and Messenger. Both platforms are now both moving into stage two, where they build an organic business interactions process via these apps. This means businesses will be able to message you, the consumer, by using a bot on your WhatsApp and Facebook messenger. This has been adopted by Twitter and Instagram for many years, however, the fact you are able to have conversations with a bot and complete e-commerce transactions, is a completely new level of consumer behaviour we will all adopt in society. Asia are already doing it.
Zuckerberg also discussed the monetization strategy for WhatsApp, saying that the first step is to build up a product that people love:
“Part of this is likely due to a perceptual shift – people are used to communicating with friends via Messenger, not brands, and they can browse products or find out information easily via other sources, like Google – the definitive use-case for Messenger business hasn’t yet been proven to the wider audience.”
Expect Facebook to provide a means for businesses to create their own Bot workflow, or provide a cheaper, easier way for smaller brands to work with Facebook and their development partners to do so. Aka, small, medium and large corporations will be able to do it. At a price, of course.
Some of the current use case for bots are interesting. The platform has recently added eBay and Shopify integrations, adding to what’s on offer via message. In order to get people using bots, Facebook will need to get the businesses themselves advocating why people to connect in this way. That’ll be the next big push for Messenger bots.
February 2016, saw the launch of Facebook’s Like alternatives ‘Reactions’ emoji-set. The intention was to provide Facebook with more ways to express their responses more easily. However, according to a recent report, found that Likes still make up almost 93% of all such responses on the platform.
Will consumers change their behaviour?
Will it go back to just likes?
Did they fail?
Facebook attempted to boost people’s activities using “reactions” (Like, Love, Haha, Wow, Sad, Angry) by having them in event themes such as Halloween. The fun characters became juxtaposed when placed within serious topical stories.
In the future, we don’t think that they will be a huge feature for Facebook. Whilst they still add value to Facebook Live, I suspect we’ll be seeing more themed reactions in the future.
If anything, I would love to have personalised reactions. The ability to use any emoji to expressed my “reaction” to the content. How would social media managers measure the KPI’s for this? We’ll find out.
So, what do Twitter do next?
Have you found Twitter to be beneficial to your business?
What challenges and problems are they going to face next?
No platform’s future has been more discussed than that of Twitter’s in 2016 and yet, none of problems and obstacles have been resolved. Whilst, we still take to Twitter to find out the latest celebrity gossip and trends on the most mainstream TV programmes (we all saw Planet Earth 2 right?). Research has shown, that 1 in 2 active Twitter users are also watching TV simultaneously.
According to COO, Adam Bain, live is the “purest embodiment” of what the platform is all about. It’s no surprise (if a little late), that Twitter are planning to make live content the centre piece of the Twitter experience. The challenge that Twitter is going to face, is Facebook also competing for our attention.
As previously mentioned, we have all become accustomed to “second-screening”. Twitter want to consolidate our reality and digital experience to one place. Soon, Twitter hope consumers will watch TV on Twitter which is more conductive for live event discussion than Facebook.
Expect in 2017, for Twitter to announce new home integration systems along with more programming. In order to gain momentum quickly, they have already ignited several deals with several major sports.
This may be the first signs of the demise of Periscope. Periscope, which is owned by Twitter, have already reported that they are struggling to keep up with the likes of Facebook Live. Unless, Periscope is unearthed and wholly integrated into Twitter, there may not be much of it.
Let’s consider that Twitter fully integrated Periscope’s functionality. The challenge that presents themselves, will come with technical difficulties. As Twitter works to streamline and refine their focus, such a move makes sense. As Periscope’s content that gets the focus, providing unique, live experience beyond the realm of traditional broadcasts
Twitter is an open network, with millions of conversations, that can be analysed by anyone. In recent past, this data has been a sustainable source of revenue for them, however, as already noted, anyone can analyse it. Subsequently, third party providers are bypassing Twitter and taking away potential profit.
Facebook have been able to build a multi-billion dollar ad network on the back of their data targeting. LinkedIn is also looking to capitalize on their vast, protected, data set.
Therefore, over the past couple of years, Twitter will be looking to claw back control of their data which is represented in their revenue data. This year, their revenue figures have increased by 26%.
Looking forward into 2017, Twitter need to convince businesses and the everyday user the value their data holds.
360 will quite literally puts ring around 2017. It’ll be the feature we’ll all be talking about. So, it’s no surprise that Twitter are also looking to encourage users to be using this camera tool.
Nothingin concrete has been announced. Just that, something is being launched at the start of 2017.
In the past, Google have taken a big hit hard by the media for not taking down abuses messages. They’ve introduced new tools and options this year, and have more coming. They’ll need to announce something significant on this front early in the new year to really underline their efforts.
“Business As Normal”
If there’s any social media that’s gone through some big changes this year, it has to be Instagram. Here are just a few:
- Expansion of adverts on the platform
- The introduction of a feed algorithm
- The Arrival of Stories
Cumulatively, the user experience has started to skyrocket. It’s almost lets us forgive Facebook for changing the logo. With so much going on, I would expect the scale of evolution to slow down and it may be a while before features will be announced. Though, saying that, I doubt it would be long until 360 pictures will be on the platform.
If you’ve seen an e-commerce business Facebook page, you may recognise shopping tags. In term of Instagram: they have already announced the new features to product ads for businesses.
Research shows that 60% of Instagrammers learn about products and services using the platform whilst a further 75% take actions like visiting sites, searching, or telling a friend. This is a significant shift for Instagram as it means it is evolving from visual like and comment app to a digital shop.
As some companies have already started this; it won’t be too long until every business has to do it.
100 million Instagrammers now use the new Stories since August of this year. It’s certainly Facebook’s boldest challenge to Snapchat and they are committed to fully capitalize on it. Expect to see new changes such as:
- Improved Visual Features
- New Reactive Filters
- Bespoke GEOFilters
- Show you more personalized, relevant matches for Stories content
What do we think? Will live streaming add any extra value to Instagram when you can get this on Twitter and Facebook?
Initial tests are reportedly underway now. We’ll have to see where this one goes…..it might work. We can already set our notifications to discover when our favourite person has posted. We may start getting notifications when they’re live too.
“Tough Times Ahead”
Snapchat is currently under fire from Instagram and Facebook. Two massive players. And with the stress of it the cracks are starting to show. They have held out by innovating the fastest out of all the apps, however, it won’t be too long until they fall behind the likes of Facebook and Instagram.
I predict that they may not hold out in 2017. Snapchat has a strong audience base and will continue on, but growth will be harder, and that could become a more significant problem over time.
We all know that these social media platforms make their money through providing and manipulating data. Snapchat are looking to restructure their format and improve their analytics. For digital agencies, this could be big business and big news. If Snapchat can continue to introduce innovative ad tools and offer better targeting, the platform will remain a desirable for brands looking to reach the younger audience.
Spectacles – aka Camera Glasses
Snapchat wish to “enhance real life experiences”. The 115 degree angle lens camera is Snapchat’s attempt to capture the younger generation’s imagination for augmented reality.
If it’s different to the Google glasses…..this may be interesting to see if it gives Snapchat a fighting chance.
If you haven’t heard, Microsoft now own LinkedIn. This places them in an excellent position to utilise their vast professional network in a profound way.
For recruiters, LinkedIn’s data banks will enable them to make smarter hiring decisions. Eventually even automate the selection process based on platform-defined best matches.
This same process will also help job-seekers and graduates improve their standing, as LinkedIn’s data resources will be able to spell out the courses they should take, the jobs that best fit and the career that will be most fulfilling for them, individually, based on insights from their 467 million user database.
Expect LinkedIn to make some big, transformative announcements in 2017.
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