At the tail end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017, many websites and bloggers release lists of trends and predictions they think will dominate social media for the year. See: 5 Social Media Trends That Will Dominate 2017 and 7 Trends that will change social media in 2017
Small disclaimer: This topic itself can be subjective, as many articles and blog posts can be, and so to is this post.
2016 was a big year in itself within the social media spectrum, with new features being introduced, (example: Instagram stories) and platforms being phased out (example: vine) surely we could predict that 2017 was going to be another big year. I thought that since we are well and truly into 2017 we would have a look into three of the predictions made that were common across the articles and evaluate their relevancy in the social media landscape.
Facebook Live Video
Now, this one I believe was mentioned because 2016 saw one of the most watched live stream videos ever. The Chewbacca Mom video. This video went viral and had 50 million views in one day.
In 2016 only, 14% of marketers carried out a live video and we would expect this figure to have changed by the end of 2017 – watch this space.
I personally loved being able to watch Adele when she came to New Zealand live, on Facebook as I for some silly reason didn’t buy a ticket! The experience that the Facebook live video gave felt like I knew what it was like to be there, to enjoy the experience with those there in real life. This leads to one of the unique positives about live videos and that is: the content is authentic. With the growing concern of ‘fake news’ filling our social media feeds, it is rather refreshing having the influence of live videos. It gives Facebook some credibility.
The Facebook live videos have also given YouTube a real video competitor and in my opinion is one to watch, especially with the addition of Instagram and Twitter launching their live video variations towards the end of 2016.
It has really given users the opportunity to witness things as it happens, from CNN counting down to the New Year from New York City, to celebrity announcements. You get to experience things as it happens and I think this tool has the power to progress into a really influential space.
This is definitely something I have noticed increase this year and one of my experiences was a bit of fail and it was completely my own fault. As I was checking out a client’s competitor site I was also in a conversation with a friend, as I was typing to my friend the competitors chatbot opened up and without my realising I had sent them half of the message meant for my friend… Not too sure if this is a good or bad thing (with my client in mind) but the brand replied back very promptly and after apologising for my mistake they kindly replied saying “Haha, no worries. Have a great day!”
Instant messaging apps help brands to connect one on one with their customers and is something all should consider after reading some stats on instant messaging apps where a quarter of all apps downloaded are deleted or forgotten about after only one use, except messaging apps.
This feature is something that has been adopted on company websites but as we see companies becoming increasingly present on social platforms this tool fits well into the social platform space.
One down side, is that they are only really effective on desktop and as we have been told multiple times, mobile usage dominates so this might be an area for development in the near future.
With Pokemon Go turning absolutely viral in 2016 there was no question that virtual/augmented reality made an appearance across multiple lists, although virtual/augmented reality really isn’t something new but has found its way into marketing experiences.
Snapchat really helped to start the lift in this area of social media, we can all remember the puking rainbow filter… However, the Snapchat filter space in particular has really been an area for brands to get in front of users voluntarily and has grown dramatically in the past year.
Similar to Facebook Live video, Snapchat geo-filters are really pivotal at big events such as Elections, Sports Games, music festivals etc… if a brand gets behind a big event a geo-filter is extremely necessary as the people attending want to share with their followers where they are want their doing (we can all be guilty of this).
There is definitely more to virtual reality than just Snapchat filters and I think this is only the beginning. One of my personal favourites is Buy+, the virtual reality shopping experience introduced by Alibaba. Where you can wander a VR mall, I think this space is the next online shopping phenomenon on a much larger scale. We thought that being able to buy any item we wanted from the click of a button was revolutionary but now being able to feel like you are in the shop through your screen is something else.
This virtual/augmented reality phenomenon still has a lot more space to grow and I think we will see this one really triumph in 2018.