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Ten ways social media is changing in 2017

Craft quality long form editorial content

In the last few years, there’s been a huge increase of short form content from brands on social and I often hear people saying it’s the only answer – I disagree. Short content is crucial for driving in-channel social engagement, however there is certainly a place for longer content, and it’s going to become more important. The rise of Daily Vloggers and the prevalence of Netflix binging is testament to the fact that we have time to spend on screen. The key for effective long form content (10+ mins) is to craft interesting, informative and useful content. Consumers need to get something out of what they’re viewing, so focus on what you’re going to give the viewer, not what you’re going to sell them.

Video expected to continue to takeover in 2017

Four years ago, YouTube predicted that by 2020, 90 percent of all Internet traffic would be video. They weren’t too far off: current projections from Cisco peg 2019 as the year the 90 percent figure is reached. There is no denying video has taken over social, however, viewer drop off past 20 seconds is huge. Short snappy videos are great for in-channel social engagement, and long video needs a good story and hook (more on this later). With people watching videos on mobile with sound off (85 percent of Facebook video is viewed without sound) use video subtitles to decrease viewer drop off. Traditional budget splits of 80 percent promotion and 20 percent production/creative isn’t the way to work on social. Invest in producing quality creative content; promoting subpar social posts won’t work when your brand is competing against a never ending list of content in a consumer’s newsfeed.

Mobile use to increase exponentially in 2017 (especially for social media)

 We’ve come a long way from desktop only days. Over 56 percent of people ONLY login to Facebook through mobile and with many of Motion Sickness’ clients we see more than 80 percent of engagement through mobile. Mobile responsive sites, mobile ads and mobile friendly content are a must for marketers and advertisers. If your work isn’t optimised for mobile you’re not going to succeed.

Click Bait will be here for awhile yet (and you can take cues).

Our social feeds have been full of over-promising headlines and under-delivering articles/videos for a few years now, and yes, in 2017 we’ll see more ridiculous click bait videos with headlines like “man superglues arse together and takes 10 laxatives”. What a time to be alive. Although Facebook is working hard to legitimise news stories and content, don’t expect it to go anywhere soon. Take some cues from clickbait for your copy/content to draw in consumers, but ensure you’re giving them valuable content (and leave the shit behind).

2017 will see increased investment in Direct Response advertising

 In 2017 e-commerce on social is a far cry from an image post with a link to shop online. With the introduction of measurable direct response ad formats from Facebook, marketers can track results, and see the value and impact of their investment in social. This is especially valuable for e-commerce, service, subscription and apps. Motion Sickness has generated a huge amount of value to clients with a DR social strategies, and in 2017 it’s only going to get easier for consumers to spend their money within social platforms. Watch out for product tagging on Instagram, and smart use of product catalogues. If you have an e-commerce business pull budget out of adwords and pump it into social. The return on investment can be great IF you use ads correctly and have strong, relevant creative.

Social influencer campaigns need to be genuine and creative

Many social influencers used to take any product and post about it in their channels, but product selfies that are transparently sponsored won’t cut it any more. With influencer marketing expected to continue growing in 2017, brands will need to get creative about the ways they collaborate with social influencers. Choose the right influencers, have creative authentic conversations, work on genuine content collaborations and trust your influencers to know their own audience.

YouTube will seek to grow as a stand alone social platform

YouTube was one of the original social content platforms and with mobile reach figures for 18-49 higher than what any US cable shows achieve, it’ll be carving out its presence as a standalone social platform in 2017. YouTube has announced new social networking features under YouTube Community; functioning as a news feed for creators, letting them post text updates, live videos, GIFs, images, and more. The additional content will show up in fans’ Subscription feeds, or they can opt-in for new post notifications. Brands that can build a following here (or capitalise on others followings) will do well.

Live video is mainstream; incorporate live streaming into 2017 content plans

Live video is here to stay, and it’s time for brands to jump on board; consumers respond extremely well to content that’s real, natural and uncontrived. Some brands, like Buzzfeed, use it very effectively and see great results. Traditional client approval with live video is tricky, (it can be hard to control as it’s…live) so clients/managers need to trust their agencies/staff to give it a crack.

Clever audience targeting will drive real results in social

With everyone running social media ads these days, it’s more important than ever to cut through the noise, not only with good creative, but with smart ad targeting. It’s no longer good enough to reach a broad audience and hope for a result; it’s about reaching the right people who are going to convert to real value for your business. In 2017 we’re expecting to see greater targeting options, with an emphasis on behavioural targeting and where an individual sits in the sales funnel/buying cycle.

The creative idea is still #1

With ad blocking growing rapidly since 2013, and banner blindness the death of display ads isn’t far off, and many clients are repurposing budget from display and pumping it into social and content. Regardless of platforms and data, the one thing that doesn’t change is the power of creativity. Start with a strong idea, produce with a strong visual aesthetic then execute optimally on social. Good creative on social will give your brand awareness but can generate a huge amount of trackable, sustainable results. It’s all gravy.

Sam Stuchbury is creative director and founder at Motion Sickness.
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