2016 has been an extremely eventful year for the realm of Social Media (and it’s not even over yet). From chatbots, to VR 360 Video, to live streaming to new storytelling opportunities, this year we saw a lot of innovative tech+social media mashups.
We tried to include the most important ones in a list and start preparing to hit the ground running when 2017 finally comes around. Here we go!
1. Social Video Is on the Rise
2016 marked the rise of native video for Facebook. Through a couple of updates to their video player, Facebook created the perfect setting for its ambitious video content plan. Users are now encouraged to upload their videos straight to Facebook, rather than on other video platforms (Youtube, Vimeo, etc.) and sharing them afterwards. The advantage is this: if you post/share your video via Facebook’s video platform, it starts to play automatically when people come across it in their feeds. It is true it initially plays in Mute mode and you have to turn the sound on but still, if you manage to capture the viewer’s attention in the first couple of seconds, he will press that Volume button. This determined a lot of brands and publishers to create videos adapted for this platform, adding subtitles and mixing bold, flashy text with video footage. Here are a couple of great examples of what we will surely see more of in 2017. Enjoy!
Various interesting happenings around the world are a very trending topic
So are ”Cooking made easy” videos
2. Storytelling with Expiring Social Content
We witnessed in 2016 the exponential rise of Snapchat Memories and the launch of Instagram Stories. Both mostly gravitate around the same mechanism (with slight variations): you post/send a photo or a video which is available for only 24h. After this it is permanently deleted. It was something extremely new to the Social Media scene and maybe this is why Expiring Content picked up so much steam in such a short period of time.
The great thing about these two platforms is that they offer a lot of innovative storytelling opportunities for brands/publications/professionals/etc. They each cater to a different public audience and should be treated as such. If your brand wants to create something truly innovative it shouldn’t just copy/paste their campaigns from Snapchat to Instagram Stories (or vice versa).
You should invest both time and money in creating something uniquely catered for your specific niche that is using Snapchat or Instagram Stories. I really hope we will see a lot more of these types of campaigns in 2017 and, who knows, maybe the rise of another unique Social Media mechanism.
3. 360 VR Video Is Sci-Fi No More
Virtual Reality was another element very loosely explored in 2016. It came to Social Media in the form of 360 VR Videos, uploaded mostly on Facebook and YouTube.
If you were lucky enough to own a VR Headset, you could experience numerous campaigns focusing on this very innovative piece of tech.
We liked VR so much this year, we even wrote an article about it called 4 Virtual Reality Marketing Campaigns Done Right. We hope to see a lot more great content being created for VR in 2017. Who knows, maybe a Virtual Reality Social Media Channel will soon be upon us.
4. Live Video is (Main)Streaming
Facebook Live took Social Media by storm in 2016. If you had a smartphone and access to the internet you could stream live video in just a couple of seconds. The videos are then stored and could be reused for various marketing campaigns. That is, if brands consider this an opportunity, of course. Another interesting fact is that Facebook automatically sends you notifications when some of your friends or the pages you are following starts streaming Live Video, creating a lot of engagement. You can of course tweak these settings to your liking and only receive notifications from the pages/people you are really interested in seeing live. You can even check out Facebook Live Map to see where and what people are streaming around the world.
After being used to stream everything imaginable I really want to see how brands will use Facebook Live for storytelling purposes. Fingers crossed for a 2017 full of amazing live stories.
5. The Chatbot Revolution Will Not Be Televised
2016 also cradled the rise of the Chatbots – a product/service, powered by AI, with which you can interact via a chat platform (Facebook Messenger, Slack, Text Messages, etc.) They can answer basic questions regarding a specific subject, offer advice and can even be programmed to message you at specific time intervals during the day.
They offer a lot of great solutions for providing customer support, having fun, staying up to date with the weather, learning a new language and many, many more. Everyone should give chatbots a chance, whether they want to increase sales or just to offer some useful information to the user. The downside is that now chatbots can’t really handle extremely complex situations, but hopefully with machine learning also being a very trendy tech topic, we will get to see Chatbots 2.0 sometime next year.
Things to look forward to
We can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store for Social Media, Digital Marketing and Technology in general. We leave you with a couple of developments we’re really keeping our fingers crossed for:
- Chatbots evolving and being able to come up with complex solutions like offering very specific recommendations for various FMCG (Fast-moving consumer goods) product categories
- Live streaming and expiring content will somehow combine to create an extremely immersive Social Media Storytelling experience
- 360 VR Videos will take Social Media over and everyone will somehow have the opportunity (and hardware) to experience them first hand
We really enjoyed putting together this Social Media Trends for 2017 list that you will hopefully find valuable. If you enjoyed reading it and found it useful, don’t hesitate to share it with your friends on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. Thank you!