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In many ways, you could argue that not much has changed in the social media marketing world between July 2016 and July 2017. Facebook is still the #1 social network, nobody has yet figured out how to combine social media and e-commerce, and social media marketers are continuing to double down on the most popular social networks (i.e. Facebook and Instagram) for their marketing campaigns. But there are definitely signs of a shifting focus within the industry.
With that in mind, here are four key questions to consider for the remainder of 2017…
#1: Where are the Millennials headed?
In 2016, it looked like a slam dunk that Snapchat was “the place to be” for social media marketers trying to target the Millennial demographic. The company had a much-anticipated IPO at the beginning of 2017, but has been losing momentum ever since. Study after study now suggests that Snapchat is losing its appeal with both Millennials and the advertisers trying to reach them.
#2: What’s next for video on social media?
In many ways, 2016 was the breakout year for video on social media. Facebook launched Facebook Live, and the trend around live video broadcasting caught on like wildfire. It now looks like Facebook is shifting its focus on video. The company’s latest announcement is the creation of original, scripted video content that looks and sounds much like TV content.
That opens up all kinds of new advertising and marketing opportunities, of course, if advertisers are going to build ads around 30-minute Facebook shows. Twitter, too, seems to be headed in this direction, recently announcing the creation of sports, entertainment and news shows specifically for Twitter followers.
#3: Is augmented reality a trend or a fad?
Heading into 2017, there was a lot of excitement around augmented reality, especially after the spectacular success of Pokemon GO during summer and fall 2016. Big names like Apple were dropping hints about big moves in augmented reality, and Snapchat was having spectacular success with its AR selfie lenses. There’s clearly more room for this trend to grow, but it’s also uncertain if users are going to grow tired of this.
#4: Does location make a big return to social media?
Remember when Foursquare was the hot new social network? People were checking in every day, clamoring to become the “mayor” of a particular location. There was something fun and novel about using location on your smart phone – it took the social experience from being a desktop or laptop experience to being an everywhere experience. Well, location could be coming back. Snapchat just unveiled Snap Map, which is a way to find your Snapchat friends in real-time on a map. And you can also get a “heat map” of where the most snaps are coming from. It sounds a lot like Foursquare, except for the fact that the gaming element has been toned down.
Of course, the second-tier social networks like Twitter and Pinterest will continue to roll out their incremental improvements, hoping to convince users to increase their usage and engagement rates. But if there’s a Big New Thing that’s going to emerge in 2017, it looks like it will be based around one of the areas detailed above – augmented reality, video or location.