A (Better) Look Ahead at Social Media in 2017


TSL_2017_01_20_Predicitions_Blog_Graphic_CoverThe new year brings inspiration towards self-betterment, aspirations of bucket list goals, and self-evaluations of what could be. What’s next? What do I want? Where do I want to be? How do I get there? Individuals and businesses take stock of where they’ve been and where they want to go. The same is true in social media.
The headline ‘What to Watch For in 2017’ is a well run dry, but with talks of VR and Live Video dominating the conversation, we wanted to (hopefully) take a step past the obvious.
To paint this picture, we crowdsourced predictions from our team, asking:
1. What do you believe was the biggest move made by each platform in 2016?
2. What do you predict will be a headline made by each platform in 2017?
Let’s start with looking ahead.
What do you think will be the biggest headline made by each platform in 2017?
Alli: Facebook as a platform (whether it’s fair or not) has a lot of responsibility placed on it, being expected to “solve” the problem of fake news. Algorithm changes will trend towards weeding out inflammatory headlines/articles even more than it already does.
Jasmine: I can’t wait to see how Live, 360 video plays into sports streaming. Strapping a 360 camera to an X-Games competitor as they are racing for Gold would be such a neat, immersive perspective.
Mike: I’m expecting two things: I really think that they’re going to push some type of live show in 2017, leading to monetization of the feature. I also believe they will make a leap in VR (interactive depth of field/360 integration?)
Drew: Instagram will continue to find more ways to get people using the messaging feature. I also hope they expand their analytics for brands.
Ryan: Adding the shop functionality where you can click through on images to see products to purchase is going to be a major asset for both the platform and the brands. It’s the kind of functionality a TV commercial can’t offer and should further push marketers to invest dollars in the digital space, as users won’t have to leave the platform to check out their favorite items.
Nick: Instagram’s tests in adding links to stories may suggest that Instagram will finally tap into its link-traffic potential. Also, if Instagram combines link traffic with its efforts to drive conversation (liking comments, mentions in stories, etc.), does Twitter suffer? Does Twitter die?
Jasmine: Since Snap’s goal is to be everyone’s “first camera,” I’m expecting them to add other features that will keep users within the app. For example, I could definitely see a partnership with a fitness brand to include a step tracking filter. I’d also love to see them expand on their image recognition feature. Shoppable snaps?
Ben: Besides IPO, the ability to target ads based on object recognition in snaps will happen eventually. Spectacles w/ augmented reality debut.
Gina: Snapchat will improve its Discover feature, making it customized to your physical location, offering local suggestions for things to do.
Emily H.: I am not a pessimist, but is Twitter dying? Has it become the platform for trolls? It seems that with every new feature they have rolled out as of late, it has not done enough to grab the attention of new users. With rumblings of Twitter being sold, it may just be a matter of time before we see some upheaval on this platform.
Nick: Twitter will transform into more of a media company, extending its broadcast capabilities into news (Today, GMA), events (Oscars, ESPYs), and entertainment (concerts, movie premieres) and focusing in on what drives the most conversation and engagement within the platform.
Martha: RIP, Twitter. (Did I say that out loud?)
Alli: Visual search – taking an image and uploading it to Pinterest and seeing similar results, then being able to shop those results.
Mike: I’ve always wished they had their own editing/layout platform. With Pinterest’s push for users to use creative, unique pins, it seems like an obvious move for the platform.
Ben: Marketers realize Pinterest ads are undervalued. They’ll get more into video. They become more of a task planner/get-it-done site.
What do you think was the biggest move made by each platform in 2016?
Ryan: Declaring war on Snapchat, which has been amazing for social media marketers! The competition has seen a whole slew of new updates and functions brought to both FB and IG, and has also forced Snapchat to up their game as well. Let’s hope this continues to be a hard fought and long battle between the three (two) juggernauts.
Nick: The most interesting effort that I followed in 2016 was Facebook’s push to be the end-all-be-all for its users, challenging web competitors like Craigslist, LinkedIn, YouTube and Snapchat. What we’re seeing is that Facebook doesn’t just want to be a social platform. Facebook wants to be ‘The Internet’.
Team: STORIES, being the measurable Snapchat.
Hanna: In my opinion, Instagram blew everyone out of the water this year. Instagram stories is one step ahead of Snapchat in terms of communication. They figured out how to send ‘insta-snaps’ to selected groups instead of individuals. They made stories “shoppable,” and now we have the ability to tag users in your story which directs viewers to a profile. Will Snapchat adapt?
Martha: Instagram’s reproduction of Snapchat stories. As Instagram draws significantly more eyeballs, it holds a lot of leverage over Snapchat with brand value. No cute bee and deer filters, though.
Drew: Despite the platform aging up, the majority of people, marketers especially, still deny the platform.
Mike: Taking photos out of character count. Also acknowledging that changes need to be made in terms of dealing with trolls. Multi-Tweet twitter rants. Shutting down Vine.
Gina: To be honest I think acquisition rumors in 2016 piqued more interest than any customer-service feature they created.
Drew: Pinterest hits 150 million users, still grossly underestimated for driving direct sales purchases
Jasmine: Continuing the video trend, Pinterest’s promoted video debut was my 2016 favorite. With the option to showcase promoted pins directly beneath the video, it’s a perfect combination to inspire + drive action.
Nick: Goodbye follower counts. Pinterest recognized an empty metric, and made a move towards encouraging profitable behaviors (checkoffs), showing the platform’s push to become a more-desirable marketing platform.

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Background on The Social Lights
The Social Lights® is a social-first agency headquartered in Minneapolis that partners with clients to grow their business through strategy development, creative production, media buying, and social media management. Current clients include General Mills, Ecolab, Cargill, Caribou Coffee, Kwik Trip, Polaris and Massage Envy. The Social Lights was founded in 2011 and is a WBENC-Certified Women Business Enterprise. Learn more at The Social Lights.

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