Where We Stand on Our 2017 Social Marketing Predictions
At the end of 2016, we made some predictions about how social was going to change in 2017. We are halfway through this year, so let’s take stock of how our predictions are holding up so far.
1. Disappearing Content Becomes Mainstream
Prediction: Based on the success of Snapchat, which established the core belief that ephemeral content is the new cool, we predicted that disappearing content would become mainstream.
Status: The graph below is proof that disappearing content is here to stay. In the eight months since its launch, Instagram Stories, which has a similar format to Snapchat, has given Snapchat stiff competition in the ephemeral content format. For the younger (18- to 24-year-old) audience that is the main target for these platforms, scrolling through has become a habit. For example, an average Snapchat user opens the app 18 times a day and spends a total of 25 to 30 minutes inside it.
Users don’t miss interesting-yet-disappearing-in-24-hours content from their friends, which motivates them to stay connected and encourages candid and “human” posts.
2. Live and Staged Video Will Dominate
Prediction: As all the major social networks made investments in improving their video offerings, the medium was on the rise last year, and we predicted that video would dominate social in 2017.
Status: The Visual Networking Index Study from Cisco states that Internet video will account for 13 percent of Internet traffic by 2021, and live video will grow fifteen-fold from 2016 to 2021. We already saw the use of live videos increase dramatically last year. Combine that with the current developments in AR/VR (given that Google, Facebook, and Snapchat are working on these technologies), and videos surely are making their way to the mainstream, as brands gain better insights to measure their video metrics more accurately and create more engaging content.
Smartphones are a huge reason for the growth in changing video consumption habits.With mobile usage still growing in countries like India and China, along with the surging penetration of high speed Internet in these countries, videos will no doubt continue to become one of the most impactful content types for brands.
3. Twitter Will Sell
Prediction: Taking cues from the turmoil at Twitter last year—from workers being laid off to profitability issues—we predicted that Twitter would sell. There were potential buyers like Salesforce, Google, and Disney.
Status: Google and Facebook have captured a huge share of online advertising marketing, pushing Twitter to prove its usefulness.
4. Businesses Will Adopt WhatsApp/Messenger
Prediction: We predicted that, driven by the developments coming to bots and messengers, more businesses would adopt this form of communication.
Status: This prediction is already coming true as the chatbot space is fired up with innovation and opportunity. At this year’s F8, Facebook showcased a ton of new features being built into the their messenger and bots, from enabling people to order their food to common questions being automatically answered via bots.
Chatbots have already seen huge growth and interest from brands since they launched. As businesses identify more use cases both internal and external for chatbots, adoption is sure to go up.
As of this writing, there is news about Amazon being interested in buying Slack, the messaging company. Slack has enjoyed extraordinary growth since they launched in 2013. It now has about 5 million daily users. As of last year, the startup claimed 77 Fortune 100 companies among its clients. Amazon’s acquisition of Slack could possibly lead to its integration with Marketplace, Echo, and even AWS to make it simpler for customers to interact with its enterprise solutions — those are quite a few use cases already.
Growth for Apps vs. Messenger Bots in Their Early Stages
5. Facebook Will Dominate More Than Ever
Prediction: With Facebook growing the Instagram ad platform and debuting Instagram Stories, developing new bot features, and fine-tuning their ad metrics, we predicted that Facebook would become more dominant than before.
Status: At the rate they are growing, Facebook should hit 2 billion total users in Q2 2017, with a majority of the growth coming from APAC and other developing countries.
According to TechCrunch, “Facebook’s focus on the developing world with apps like the 200 million-user Facebook Lite, recently rolled-out Messenger Lite, and new Instagram offline mode are paying off. Average revenue per user in the Rest Of World region hit $1.27, up 40% in a year.”
6. Product and Service Reviews Will Move Towards Social
Prediction: As users increasingly interact with businesses via messaging platforms and the evaluation process for businesses becomes simplified and more transparent, we predicted that an increase in social reviews would be the next logical step.
Status: People trust peer reviews. They want to learn more about a company than what the company advertises itself to be.
As brands strengthen their presence on social and adopt more of its features like AR/VR and chatbots, being able to find reviews about a company will be an important part of the entire experience and will be a huge focus for social marketers.
This development also calls for businesses to listen to what people are talking about on social and keep tabs on brand health and market perception.
7. Mobile Advertising Costs Will Increase
Prediction: More and more marketers adopt mobile advertising, and the cost of advertising on mobile will increase.
Status: According to the KPCB Internet Trends Report 2017, growth is accelerating in online advertising, and mobile ad spend is gaining share.
This is not surprising, since people are spending more time on their phones and ad technology is making targeting and measurement easier across devices. As there is increased competition for in-app ad inventory from large brands spearheading their mobile-first advertising strategy, and growth in implementation for advanced ad tech, costs will rise as these advertisements typically carry a higher CPM than static ads.
8. Video Filters Will Become Mainstream
Prediction: We predicted that fun video filters, a trend started by Snapchat, would go mainstream this year as Facebook, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram worked to incorporate the features into their platforms.
Status: Snapchat started this trend with highly engaging filters. Since our prediction last year, Snapchat has added five new on-demand filters, and Facebook Messenger has dozens of effects like masks, frames, and interactive filters, along with reactive effects that let you interact with dynamic objects like falling snow. Instagram has continued its assault on Snapchat by copying the last big Snapchat feature: face filters.
Facebook is also partnering with brands to create masks for the upcoming movies Alien: Covenant, Despicable Me 3, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Power Rangers, Smurfs: The Lost Village, and Wonder Woman. With these companies aggressively working to increase the adoption and usage of filters, fun filters have gone mainstream.
9. 2017 Will Be the Year of the Camera
Prediction: Encouraged by the growth in visual technology, from Snap Inc.’s spectacles to videos on Facebook Live, we predicted that 2017 would be the year of the camera.
Status: We stand vindicated. From Facebook to Snapchat to Pinterest, each one of these social media giants is betting on visuals being the future. Facebook is making camera the first augmented reality platform, Snapchat is working on the second pair of spectacles (which may include augmented reality), and Pinterest has already added visual search for elements in images and through camera. All these developments put camera right in the middle of this next phase of growth in marketing technology, and we are excited to see where it leads.
10. Pinterest Will Go Public
Prediction: Pinterest hiring Todd Morgenfeld’s, its first ever CFO, is a telltale sign that the company is preparing to get their finances in order before they file for IPO.
Status: While it hasn’t happened yet, Pinterest is very much still a strong candidate to go public this year. They company has raised $150M at a $12.3B valuation and is making a strong push towards visual search, incorporating it into ads and preparing their pitch to investors and advertisers — maybe one day Wall Street!
We have a few more months to go before 2017 ends, and these are exciting days. We are eager to see how our predictions turn out by the end of this year, and look forward to hearing your thoughts on these predictions. Leave us a comment below or reach out to us on Twitter.
I'm a Social Media Analyst at Simply Measured. I love food, music, movies, and long walks. Let's talk about social media data!