2016 is here and gone. Welcome, 2017.
It has been a year of breakthroughs in 2016, with the introduction of augmented reality in Pokemon Go to the masses and the proliferation of Facebook Live, among others. What does 2017 have in store for us?
1. Social commerce
Statista shows that 93% of millenials are spending time on social networks. Naturally, business brands would be capitalising on this trend. Even WeChat is not resting on its laurels. Over 31% of WeChat users have made purchases on WeChat in 2016, twice that of the previous year.
Twitter has also rolled out a ‘buy’ button. About 75% of Pinterest users reported buying something they saw on Pinterest, and there are more than one million businesses on this platform. Pinterest. With the growing popularity of mobile browsing, more brands will be leveraging on social networks to expand their business.
2. Live streaming video
A research by AYTM indicated that 89% people who watch live streams have been exposed to content from brands at least once. Because of Facebook Live and Snapchat, live streaming is turning into a trend social media marketers cannot ignore. The last I checked, Instagram is riding on this trend, and YouTube Live is slated to be launched too.
Live streaming is a simple and efficient way for brands, whether big and small, to expose their target audience to their brand. Brands now have the potential to release engaging content, conduct marketing around an event, and release sneak previews.
3. Paid social media advertising
With the internet becoming so saturated with content, it is a challenge for every brand to rank on Google based on organic searches alone. Facebook’s new algorithm that they rolled out this year has caused reduced traffic to content sites, choosing instead to share more posts by friends and families.
It thus seems that paid social media advertising is the way to go for your brand to be heard and seen. As more brands begin to rely on paid advertising on Google and social media alike, prices will be expected to increase further. Be prepared to spend up to US$35.98 billion on social advertising in 2017.
Then comes the next hurdle – to come up with social media ads that stand out and convert impressions into buyers.
4. Rise of the chatbots
Artificial intelligence is gaining ground in this day and age. With the rise of digital assistants such as Siri and Google Assistant, more brands are seeing merit in incorporating these clever bots. Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Google Allo and even Skyscanner are all integrating bots in their customer service to help with answering standard questions and manage simple bookings.
5. Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality
2016 saw the breakthrough of augmented reality, with Pokémon Go paving the way and introducing augmented reality to the masses.
In 2014, Facebook acquired Oculus VR for US$2 billion in cash and Facebook stock. There is also vTime, the first VR sociable network that can let you speak to friends and family beyond geographical boundaries through a virtual reality headset.
VR is set to change the way people interact with each other on social media in more ways than you think, so there is speculation that more businesses will focus on producing VR gadgets and social networks in 2017.
2017 promises to be an exciting year for social media marketers. Expect cooler technology, increased social media integration for businesses. There will be plenty more room for new ideas to reach new and more targeted audiences.