Social trends. They can be hard to predict one week in advance… never mind a whole year ahead! (And as an ad solutions developer, that’s kind of my job.) But we soldier on. And continue keeping our fingers on the pulse.
From one insider to another, here are my top three trends to keep your eye on in 2017.
The year of throwaway content
These days it seems like social platforms are morphing closer and closer to Snapchat (Facebook and Instagram, I’m looking at you). But is it just a case of each social giant wanting to ‘out-copy’ the others?
My take is that we don’t necessarily have an epidemic of social platforms running out of ideas. Rather, the shift to ‘throwaway’ content is a wider indication of changing consumer behaviour.
Let’s take Instagram as an example. Known as a platform of carefully curated content, its ‘Stories’ feature houses content that doesn’t make the cut when it comes to a permanent place in your social media. It’s a ‘blooper reel’ of your life, if you will.
Trends tend to favour the young first – and as ephemeral experiences become du jour for the day, we see social media giants adding new features to follow suit.
As a brand, your challenge now is figuring out how to break into these ‘throwaway’ content streams. It’s certainly an exciting time to be an ad solutions developer!
Social media one stop shops
Located in the Australian market as we are, many of our trends are driven by Asia. And one of the platforms generating more than its fair share of buzz is WeChat. As a one stop shop for social (with some pretty epic e-commerce solutions to boot), this year we’ll see Facebook emulating this laser focus on platform utility.
The conversations we’ve had on social utility (that is, what consumers want from brands) have also found a new outlet in bots and artificial intelligence (AI). In fact, these two items are going to boom in a big way this year.
With the help of bots, you can now automate services that were once exclusively the domain of the website, the in-store clerk or the customer service hotline.
Measure, measure, measure
This is a legacy issue that we’ll see roll over into 2017. With social spend continuing to climb with seemingly no end in sight, robust answers to some of the more contentious issues like viewability will continue to dominate conversations this year.
With so many video solutions appearing across all the major platforms, the industry needs to make a concerted effort to address these concerns and calm skittish marketers the world over.
Measurement will only get better as social platforms continue justifying their role in marketing budgets.
My last prediction – nay hope, for 2017 – is that it will be the year the paid, owned and earned labels for social will cease to exist. Forgive me as I get slightly poetic, but what is owned without paid? Would an earned result burn as brightly without a paid push? These three labels have always been slightly arbitrary – and honestly don’t work in isolation.