While browsing through some of my usual social media news sources, I came across a great article that was recently published discussing social media predictions for 2017. Some of the predictions are quite bold, but I believe most are right on track with what we’ve seen in 2016. As of today I’ve already seen some announcements by Facebook that are already starting to affirm some of these predictions.
As of 18 minutes ago, we are 95% finished with 2016. Social media played a huge role in the year, and its presence in our daily lives is only growing as time passes. The way we consume information, communicate with one another, and even the US Presidency was heavily influenced by social media in 2016. Next year is likely to be more of the same, and by the same, I mean further change.
Facebook now flags and down-ranks fake news with help from outside fact checkers https://t.co/80G3jas80Y by @joshconstineSource
As an owner of a digital marketing agency and contributor to many of the major social media publications (Adweek, Social Media Examiner, Social Media Today), I stay obsessively up to date with the state of social. Given the huge changes we saw in 2016, it seemed fitting to offer a prediction piece on some of the probable changes that could lie ahead. Here are my 10 predictions for the social world in 2017.
1. Disappearing Content Becomes Mainstream
When Snapchat first launched, social networks held the same general view on content: it was built to last. What was published on social media was meant to be seen by as many friends as possible, at any time.
Enter Snapchat: where the core belief is that ephemeral content is the new cool. This belief quickly resonated with a younger audience, who did not want parts of their social circle to view their content.
Snapchat quickly became the de facto social network for users looking for a more private, selective form of social media. With the platform crossing 150 million daily active users this year, the competition is gearing up to challenge Snapchat in a big way. We’ve already seen Instagram incorporate disappearing messages, and it’s only a matter of time before other players follow suit. Facebook is said to be working on stories for its Messenger platform, and it could very well follow that a push into disappearing messages is next. Corporate competition has already evolved into apps including Confide and Cyber Dust, and LinkedIn could also make a push into the space.
Snapchat was the first mover in this space, and they have the advantage, but 2017 should see a huge rise in imitators.
2. Live and Staged Video Will Dominate
Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube – all of the major players have made investments in improving their live video offerings.
We saw the usage of live videos increase dramatically in 2016, With Facebook even giving top priority to live video posts. This encouraged users to post and jump the algorithm, getting in front of a larger viewership than would be expected with a traditional post. As 2017 rolls in, and video continues to outperform other types of content, I’d expect to see more brands, businesses, and individuals getting in on the action.
One of the main benefits of live video is that it can enhance other types of content without much more effort. Podcasts such as the Joe Rogan Experience can set up a camera and go live on YouTube, and staged videos such as our own In The Cave can record Facebook Live or Periscope content simultaneously to shooting. All it takes is an extra set of hands, and you’ll be reaching a whole new audience. Expect to see more creative types of content on live video as the mode of communication grows larger.
3. Twitter Will Sell
This might be my boldest prediction on the list, but I’m sticking with it. Twitter struggled this past year and faced a wide array of issues. Profitability challenges were abundant, leadership was often questioned, and 8% of its workforce was laid off in an effort to address the issues. After openly suggesting selling the company, potential buyers including Salesforce, Google, and Disney all passed on the opportunity – at least as it sits today. The company’s’ continuing struggles could force it into a position to sell, leaving someone with the difficult task of turning tweets into profits. With other digital ad platforms growing steadily, the pressure is on.
4. Businesses Will Adopt WhatsApp/Messenger
Around the world, WhatsApp is used by businesses as a form of communication with their customers. In North America, the trend has yet to be adopted, but 2017 will change that. Social will be used as a form of customer service by many more companies over the next 12 months, as users get more accustomed to asking questions via the platform.
Messenger and WhatsApp are both great tools for communication, and the implementation of Facebook Bots can help speed up the process within the app. It’s all leading to a world where phone calls and emails are used less and less, while messaging becomes the norm.
5. Facebook Will Dominate More Than Ever
If two of the above predictions become true (#2 and #4), Facebook will be setting itself up to dominate social more than ever. The platform has invested heavily into live video and business messaging, and that’s before we mention their great ad platform and Instagram improvements. Ad dollars continue to flow into Facebook for several reasons.
Their platform is extremely easy to use
Their audience is large and active
Their versatility allows brands to advertise whatever form of content suits them best.
Instagram, on the other hand, has made improvements that make it a direct competitor for Snapchat. Disappearing messages, Instagram Stories, and easy to use discover options give the company a solid alternative to Snap’s core product. As the year progresses, expect to see revenues continue to grow from the leader in social media.