Five things that will shape social media in 2017

After nailing his 2016 predictions, Amaury Treguer is back to set the scene for how social media will shape up in 2017.

As we all know there is never a dull moment in the digital and social world with new things happening every day. The challenge for marketers is to discern if these new shiny things are worth pursuing and how much resource should they allocate to them.

One thing that is certain, the general knowledge and appreciation from marketers for the social and digital sphere is definitely on the rise. This also means that it’s time for platforms to become more sophisticated in the way they report their effectiveness.

Last year my predictions were pretty on the point and I’m hoping that will still be the case for 2017.

 

1. Non-filtered social

If I had to qualify the year 2016 in one word, I would say: #NoFilter. This year was definitely all about live streaming, Snaps and Instagram Stories, meaning non-staged, non-polished and non-Photoshopped content. Are people fed-up with seeing extremely polished imagery in their social feeds? Probably, or at least they are keen to see both worlds.

Authenticity is key and brands need to understand that behind the scenes content can sometimes be as exciting or even more exciting than the actual shoot. As a matter of fact, brands that have embraced this trend are already reaping the benefits. For example, Facebook Live videos are receiving significantly more engagement than any other content types on the platform.

 

2. Social image search recognition

In the same way that you use Google Image Search, imagine being able to identify brand logos and products in photos available across all social channels. Finally, being able to search through Facebook and Instagram content – and not limit yourself to only text based search or hashtags. Some leading social listening tools are already offering the ability for marketers to identify where their brand is being talked about but it is still in its infancy. Considering the fact that we share over 1.8 billion photos each day, and that 60% of digital impressions are actually image-driven, it obviously feels like a rich untapped territory.

 

3. From conversation to conversion

What’s the value of all our social efforts? That’s one of the key questions that most marketers are asked to respond to when asking for further budget. The main problem is that according to a recent study, 70% of marketers don’t actually track the effectiveness of their social activities; and if they do, the problem can sometimes be the transparency of that data.

With the majority of brands increasing their digital and social budgets, it is crucial for marketers to be able to justify the effectiveness of their activities and prove how they impact the bottom line. Social platforms such as Instagram are obviously understanding this constant struggle and start offering solutions (ie. Shopping Tags) that will help marketers close the loop between desire to purchase. From a like to a buy, the dream of every marketer.


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4. The continuous rise of user-generated content

User-generated content (UGC) is far from being new but with the constant pressure for brands to push content on their social platforms, there is a need to find new cost-effective methods. One of them is to rely on the content created by your existing customer base. Tourism Australia became the most popular travel destination on social thanks to the power of UGC. They have what they called ‘The World’s Biggest Social Media Team‘. Obviously not all brands are as exciting as the one Tourism Australia has to work with – or can solely rely on UGC – but given 51% of people trust user generated content over information on a company website it’s worth considering UGC as part of your content mix. Platforms like Tribe that connect brands with ‘citizen influencers’ could potentially be a good a place to start.

 

5. The year of the As (AR and AI)

When the Pokémon Go phenomenon kicked-off, it felt totally surreal – why would people go crazy for this game? The answer is the Augmented reality (AR) that gave users a unique experience blending real-world and virtual reality. Brands are finally able to create whole new ways for users to interact with their products, giving them exclusive access to their brand story and behind the scenes directly in the aisles of supermarkets.

As we all know, people don’t respond to traditional advertising and marketing tactics in the same way past generations did and therefore marketers always need to find new ways of interacting with them. That’s where the artificial intelligence (AI) comes in. Backed-up by in-depth data sets, marketers will be able to start creating a single view of their customers across all touch-points delivering more personalised and predictive experiences.

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These are my top five predictions for 2017 but there are plenty of others that could have made it – like the continuous rise of messaging apps, the integration of social payments or even the constant fragmentation of the social landscape.

 

 

Amaury Treguer
BY Amaury Treguer ON 19 December 2016
Amaury Treguer is head of social and content at Hausmann Group.