2017 Social Media Predictions Across Top Social Networks

Editor’s Note: As 2016 draws to a close, we’re all looking forward to next year and hoping for more—and that includes our talented digital team. We surveyed two team members for their top 2017 social media predictions across networks—what follows is a collection of their sharpest insights.

 

From Social Marketing Specialist Jennifer Goff:

Facebook will see strides in AR, 360 video, and more

You can expect Facebook’s video-first approach to continue throughout 2017. Video has been a sweet spot for the behemoth social network for some time, but a new focus on augmented reality and 360 video will launch video to the top of our newsfeeds in the upcoming year. Already, Facebook has been testing a new camera option accessible with a quick right swipe, which is poised to eventually overtake the traditional text-box status update. TechCrunch reports this new camera features “innovative new ‘reactive’ filters that respond to your body’s movements,” in addition to animated selfie masks and geofilters familiar and beloved to Snapchatters worldwide.

In addition to AR, we can expect to see VR take Facebook by storm in the future— just think of the astounding capacity of virtual reality for immersive storytelling, but there is still a lot of groundwork to lay. In 2017, that groundwork will take the shape of an influx of 360 content. All users already had the ability to upload 360 photos, but in a recent announcement on December 12, Facebook announced that users will be able to shoot Facebook Live videos in 360 degrees as well. It’s easy to imagine this content will benefit from a renewed boost in the newsfeed.

Snapchat will benefit from a renewed focus on wooing advertisers

While there’s no denying that Instagram Stories are the new Snapchat challenger, and that Facebook is sure to gain ground on more off-the-cuff video with Snapchat-styled features in 2017, Snapchat is poised for new successes.

Snapchat’s unique strength is its powerful grasp on an audience covetable to many brands: Millennials. On any given day, the popular app reaches 41% of 18 to 34 year-olds in the United States. And with purchasing power of $600 billion/year, it’s no wonder marketers are eager to be where Millennials are. If Snapchat continues to introduce new ad offerings, like Snap to Unlock ads and Sponsored Lenses, it could become an increasingly valuable platform for brands despite the competition.

Snapchat’s continued popularity among Millennials and Generation Z lends the app staying power.  

In order for these premium— and pricey (the Snap to Unlock feature is only available to advertisers who spend up to $750,000 in one quarter and don’t expect to spend much less for a Sponsored Lens)— ad options to be viable for more businesses, I predict Snapchat will prioritize a set of in-house analytics tools to help marketers measure campaign performance, rather than continue to partner with third-party firms. That said, it does seem likely that the ubiquitous yellow ghost may see slower growth than it hoped for, especially considering Facebook’s history of focusing on Snapchat-like rollouts in areas with a limited Snapchat user base.

Snap Inc.’s Spectacles have already seen a lot of hype, but the question is how long will the fascination last? The smart sunglasses have a camera inside which take snaps of the world right outside your eyes, but they have no display and can only record 10 seconds at a time. This positions them as a fun novelty—albeit, one with more fashionable design than other wearable tech like the all-black stealth sunglasses from Pivothead or the cyborg-professor look of Google Glass—but could limit their long term potential. That is, unless new features are unveiled, which seems like a distinct possibility considering that augmented reality is not new ground for Snap Inc. CEO Evan Spiegel.

  From Digital Marketing Manager Ary Esfahani:

Instagram stories will explode

It’s been a big year for Instagram, and 2017 will be the year we will see the impact of change that Instagram has implemented. So far, we see that Stories is being used by 100 million users daily (As a refresher, Snapchat has a reported 150 million users daily). Instagram Stories has recently given Verified accounts access to link to accounts and URLs from their Stories. I expect this will officially roll-out to the remainder of Instagram accounts in the first half of 2017. It’s clear that, with this change, brands will have a faster adoption to Instagram Stories than they did with Snapchat, since driving website traffic is now a new (and much more measurable) way to report performance.

Instagram Stories sees 100 million users daily.  

Instagram is also making strides in shoppable. You may remember in November they released this note. I can imagine that this will bleed into Stories, which will be extremely interesting to see in the retail landscape. Who knows… Instagram Stories can be another alternative to Email when promoting new arrivals, flash sales, and more!

Twitter will be synonymous with livestreaming

In 2016, Twitter decided to go all-in on livestreaming within the app. The streaming partnership with the NFL was a revolutionary turning point for the app and the future of live television. And then the NBA followed. With the Periscope app lagging behind Facebook Live usage, it’s not out of line to think there will be an integration in the future - making Periscope an embedded piece of Twitter, rather than just a side project. With the success of NFL and NBA livestreaming games, it’s exciting to see which other live events will follow. TV, as we know it, is on a path to be changed forever.

LinkedIn will focus on lead-gen

There is a sense of big changes coming towards for LinkedIn, especially in result of the Microsoft acquisition. Jeff Weiner, LinkedIn’s CEO, wrote a piece on why digital marketers should be excited about this acquisition. The first thing Weiner mentioned is that the LinkedIn advertising platform will be improving and expanding. Expanding how? Beyond LinkedIn, through Microsoft’s web properties. In 2017, we can expect to be targeted by our LinkedIn data inside Outlook, MSN, and more.

Back to the “improving” part, LinkedIn is playing catch-up with the other networks around conversion tracking (which we’ve already seen implemented), contact targeting, retargeting. With eyes set on being “the best B2B marketing platform the world has ever seen,” it leads me to think that there will be a focus on streamlining lead generation opportunities on LinkedIn, especially as mobile marketing grows.

And we will expect the unexpected

Whatever 2017 brings, we know one thing for sure: social will continue rolling forward at a breakneck pace, and each new innovation has the possibility to change how we all— marketers, influencers, brands, peers—connect with one another.

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Jaime Netzer is Spredfast's Senior Content Marketing Manager, leading content operations. A Lawrence, Kansas native, she traded seasons for breakfast tacos seven years ago and hasn't looked back since. Also a fiction writer and journalist, Jaime tweets semi-regularly and reads constantly.