Social Media Year in Review

Social media is increasing not only how we connect to our close friends and loved ones, but also how we connect with and keep track of the world at large. This has been put to the test in this last year, after closely curating algorithms and specious information have called into question not only the reliability of the social media, but also the morality of it. Let’s look at how platforms and traffic changed overall in 2017.

Video player on desktop screen

Video

As predicted by many, video continued to climb in both usage and popularity this year. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat all let users not only capture and share video, but also to do so live, a feature which also grew in both usage and popularity. Video posts now trump posts with images as those garnering the widest reach and the greatest engagement. Learning how to incorporate video into digital marketing has become more important than ever.

social media reach - person using their mobile phone

Declining Organic Reach

In 2017, it became even harder to acquire organic social traffic, continuing a trend from 2016. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have all stopped featuring posts in chronological order and now rely on algorithms to feed content in the “most appropriate” order to users. This requires marketers to not only become savvy about paid or promoted posts, a large and complicated topic in and of itself, but also to greater integrate multi-channel business strategies and to support their social efforts with SEO, email and content marketing.

using influencer marketing to gain new traffic and followers

Influencer Marketing

The decline in organic reach and increase in promoted content has left a number of brands in the lurch. One way some of them are starting to combat this is to get serious about social influencer marketing. By reaching out to people who’ve built their own audiences that they already have credibility with, brands can tap into an enormous resource if they choose their influencer wisely.

search engine bot

Bots, Algorithms, & Hate Speech

A number of platforms got more serious about bullying, fake accounts, misinformation, and users creating fallacious and/or overly provocative content. Twitter banned a number of users and also started using their verification badge as a way of policing content. Facebook has taken a number of steps to weed out both bots and false information. Only time will tell if they can be successful.

Wrapping Up 2017

2017 saw very few true innovations in regards to social media, and mostly continued along trends that started in 2016 or earlier. The largest disappointment was the lower than expected adoption of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) to develop products and experiences for social platform users. These technologies are exciting and increasingly available to consumers, so it is still likely we’ll see a jump in usage in the future.

Despite all of this, the numbers of people joining social media and the amount of time spent on it are all still on the rise. We will continue to see platforms try and take advantage of that to engage users as much as possible, but this will only work if they can create appealing narratives with their features that engage their audiences, and can control the spread of negative ones. It will be interesting to see if 2018 will finally be the year that the social bubble bursts.