As we near the close of 2016, let’s take a minute to reflect on what’s happened in social media over the last year and take a look head at what we can expect in 2017.
As the major platforms battle it out to become the go-to social network, the lines have blurred from one network to another; Features that once made one network stand apart from the rest are starting to blend.
- Snapchat memories
- Instagram stories
- Facebook is testing disappearing messages in messenger
The networks will continue to grow, acquiring other businesses, in an effort to offer users the features they want most. Features like:
- Creating and sharing video content
- Live video
- Discovering what’s going on around them based on their location
So what’s next?
Let’s take a closer look at each social media network and highlight some of the biggest trends we can expect in the coming year.
2016 was a big year for Facebook. There’s been whispers that people are leaving and the social media network is being abandoned. Really?..because I’m not so sure. The social media behemoth continues to grow year-over-year. In it’s Q3 2016 report, Facebook has over 1.79 billion monthly users, up 16% from Q3 last year. Also, 93% of marketers report using Facebook and 91% report using Facebook Ads. The numbers don’t lie.
Here’s some of the major trends I think we can expect from Facebook heading into next year.
- Video, Video, and More Video! Video was BIG in 2016 and I expect it will continue to climb in 2017.
- Augmented Reality. Remember Pokemon Go? Thanks to the wildly popular mobile game and Snapchat’s selfie lenses, augmented reality exploded in 2016. Facebook recently purchased Masquerade and has been experimenting with lenses and masks with Facebook Live. Users are constantly looking for new ways to express themselves and AR provides a fun way to share their social experiences. Coming to a newsfeed near you soon…
- Growing Search. Google is the go-to search engine, but Facebook is trying to give them a run for their money. Facebook searches have risen to 2 billion searches per day, up from 1.5 billion this time last year. Google is safe for now, boasting 3.5 billion searches per day, but look out, Facebook is closing in.
In 2016, Instagram hit 500 million monthly active users. The mobile visual sharing app also made a big change in August launching Instagram Stories. Before then, Instagram was always the place to share only your best photos and videos. Now, with stories, users can share more unpolished, in the moment content, much like Snapchat.
So, what can we expect next year?
- Business Tools. Instagram has beefed up its business tools with business profiles which offer deeper analytics and the ability to create ads directly from posts in the app. Instagram will continue to make it easier fro business to drove traffic an revenue from their Instagram profiles.
- Live Video. Instagram is adding its name into the battle for live video. CEO Kevin Systrom wants users to be able to strengthen relationships with one another, and he feels that can be accomplished with live video. It was recently announced that the feature will be rolling out in the coming weeks.
- Links in Stories. The stories feature was added to “fill the gap” between posts (a users highlighted moments). Going a step further, users will be able to add links to their stories. Users can now show links through a “see more” action that loads content into a browser on Instagram when a user swipes up on a story. This feature is currently available to verified accounts, but will hopefully be available to all users soon.
With other platforms adding Snapchat-like features, Snapchat added features to move beyond just capturing short disappearing moments, to become one of the social media powerhouses.
- Spectacles. Snapchat launched it’s first physical product Spectacles this year. The sunglasses that snap, allow users to tap a button on the glasses and record moments in POV. Can Snapchat succeed where Google has failed and create tech-filled glasses that are cool? I guess we’ll find out in 2017.
- Better Ads. In 2016 Snapchat opened sponsored geofilters to all users. Recently Snapchat and Foursquare announced a deal to develop more powerful geofilters that allow marketers to more accurately pinpoint the location of their geo filters
- Circular Video. Spectacles can record in 115-degree view, similar to that of the human eye. What’s important about that is that users can view full content screen no matter the orientation.
Twitter wants to become the home of what’s happening and what everyone is talking about around the world. According to CEO Jack Dorsey, “Twitter is what’s happening and what everyone is talking about (literally). News and talk, where the people’s network”.
- Live Content. Like the other major social media channels, Twitter recognizes the power and important of live video. Through Periscope, users can share live video to their Twitter profile. In April, they announced a partnership with the NFL to live-stream football games and feature ancillary behind the scenes content from those games. Twitter has created an environment for real-time conversation around the shows its broadcasts. Look for marketers to find new ways to create real-time, reactive content and ads on Twitter in 2017.
- Better Customer Service. Twitter has recently released a bunch of features to increase customer support for both brands and customers. I believe that trend will continue in 2017, making Twitter the go-to social media channel for customer service.
There were so many major changes in social media in 2016 and it doesn’t look to be slowing down anytime soon! As new technology emerges and social media channels continue to mature, the future looks bright.
What are you thoughts? What trends do you see for 2017? What are you most looking forward to? Leave your comments below.