The top trends that will shape social media in 2017 (Part 1)

It’s that time of the year when companies of all sizes reflect on the big social media themes of the last 12 months and start thinking about which trends might shape social media marketing campaigns in the year ahead. In this two-part series, we’re looking at the rapidly changing environment of social media and which big trends are set to emerge in 2017.

Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality

2016 is always going to be remembered as the year of Pokémon Go and the global success of the Augmented Reality game has seen big investments in AR development, with investors hoping that their idea might be half as successful as Pokémon Go.

For Virtual Reality, 2016 was all about the hardware with the launch of Facebook’s Oculus Rift, the Microsoft HoloLens and the headsets for Sony PlayStation and Xbox One. What soon became clear is that the real magic for VR and AR users isn’t about the technical capabilities of the hardware as much as the creativity and engagement of the content, with social sharing of VR and AR being key to the experience. This is the area where we’ll see exciting new VR/AR developments in 2017.

Paid advertising on social

The quest for quality social engagement will continue across all the social media channels but in 2017, don’t expect organic SEO to help you on Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat (recently updated to Snap) and even Pinterest. As brands have continued to pile onto the major social media platforms, those same platforms have realised just how eager brands are to pay a price to reach more of their target market and from that point onwards, organic reach on social media has continued to decline. According to some social media analysts, the organic reach on Facebook has declined from 15% to 2% in the 12 months.

In 2017, if you want to see results from your social media campaign, you’re going to have to pay for them.

Increased personalisation

The upside of the ‘organic versus paid search’ debate is that in 2017, you can expect the quality and relevance of paid advertising to improve. As the collections of personal data gathered by the big social media players grows, so does their ability to show the right ads to the right people at the right time. This is a great development for both brands and consumers. In 2017, we’re going to see brands create more personalised, niche content and innovative, engaging social media marketing campaigns to attract the attention of target markets.

Fewer platforms, greater engagement

Closely linked to the previous trend will be the move by brands to reduce their social media marketing spend across all five of the major social channels in 2017 and instead divert their budgets to the channels that deliver results. The quality and depth of the data now available allows brands to better understand the behaviour of their potential customers. In 2017, brands will be a better position than ever to know which channels are really working for them and refine their digital strategy accordingly.

In Part Two of our series on the social media trends that are set to shape 2017, we’re going to look at just how far video and live streaming can go, as well as the difference Google’s ‘mobile first’ indexing might make to SEO. We’ll also tackle the trend of expiring content and what it means for brands, both big and small.

For further information about how you can capitalise on these emerging digital trends, contact us.

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