The online social media landscape has changed dramatically in the 20 years since its inception, and the Internet looks a lot different than it did in the days of SixDegrees and Friendster. Today’s social networks not only connect current friends and past acquaintances, but also serve as event managers, matchmakers, news sources and much more. Based on first-hand experience and extensive industry research, we’ve made a list of our predictions for social media in 2017.
Before launching into the future of social, let’s take a look at the recent past:
The number of people using social media increases and it’s now estimated that one in every six minutes online is spent on Facebook.
Video posts get more engagement than any other type, while Facebook, Instagram and Twitter all make significant changes to increase video adoption by users.
Work becomes social as more and more companies start using products such as Slack and Workplace to connect employees.
Social media usage will keep increasing
These days on Facebook, you can keep up with your friends, plan an event, play games, read news, research reviews, buy and sell items through Marketplace and collaborate on projects through Workplace. And while Facebook has the most diverse offerings, it is not the only platform to widen services to keep users there as long as possible.
Twitter has reclassified itself as a news site and has ramped up their integration of Periscope. Snapchat renamed its company Snap Inc to signal its intent to develop other products. Pinterest and Instagram are transforming themselves into trendy online catalogs through their new “buy” options. Social platforms will keep expanding their products and services to make themselves more indispensable to modern life, and it’ll work.
Video will skyrocket in popularity
As big as video was this year, make plans to see a whole lot more of it in 2017. As smartphones and mobile apps make it ever easier to create, edit and post video content, look out for both individuals and companies to take advantage. This boom has the potential of being especially impactful for smaller businesses, who wouldn’t have had the ability or budget to do quality video advertising in the past, and will now have all the tools to do so literally in hand.
Live video use will increase and will lead to unexpected content
With Twitter, Facebook and Instagram all in on the game, live video is about go viral. A few musicians and enterprising companies have already started utilizing live video to connect with audiences in a way that feels special, and we’re going to see a lot more of that in 2017. Exciting moments are bound to occur as people and brands get accustomed to live video and start creating and discovering their own niche uses for it.
Page loading time will become even more important
The time it takes a webpage to load cannot be underestimated in importance. Users routinely abandon everything from interesting content to filled shopping carts if loading time drags into double-digit seconds. Particularly a problem with mobile web pages, this will significantly hurt slow-loading sites with Google’s new adoption of mobile-first indexing.
Between Google’s AMPs and Facebook’s Instant Articles, the already important question of page loading time is going to be heightened in relevance as the divide between the quick and the slow widens even further. In 2017, if you don’t have fast-loading content, you don’t have content at all.
Social media will tie search for discovery
As more and more people use social platforms to find products, services and brands, social media has gained on search for discovery, and now only trails it by a few percentage points. Our most ambitious prediction for 2017 is that social media will catch up to search and fully tie it in importance for discovery online.
Studies show that older generations still primarily use search engines for discovery, but younger ones are increasingly utilizing social media platforms for this, and we believe that this high demand for information with social context (e.g. how friends feel about a brand) will lead to social media becoming search’s equal by year’s end.
Those are our predictions for social media changes in 2017, and we’re excited to see not only how accurate they are, but also what surprises platforms and users alike have in store for the next year. Social media marketing has an ever-increasing role in directing customers to your company, so make sure that you’re not left behind and that you have a viable plan for utilizing social networks for your business. Contact us to get help setting up your own personalized social media marketing strategy for 2017 today!