Ah, the ever-shifting landscape that is social media. What pray tell will happen this year? Our take on what’s sure to be an interesting 2017…

Pinterest makes moves

Pinterest is no longer the passive platform for food porn, hairstyles, and wedding plans. 2016 saw experimentation with new ad units, including Cinematic Pins, video, and greater targeting capabilities. Industries largely focus on whatever is easiest to measure: last click. Pinterest is creating “Net New Demand,” which comes from values outside of last click, shifting gears that measure first touch, rather than last.

ZD tip: Get in on Pinterest’s new ad options early and learn what works best while the competition’s light.

Facebook evolves

The social powerhouse kicked off 2017 with a bang. Their dynamic ad format now captures shopper intent from both on- and off-Facebook signals, a game changer that puts them in a similar league as Google. No longer are ads just a remarketing tool, but one that retailers can use to find new customers. Add to cart? Yes, please.

2016 was all about the power of video. We know Page Post Ads, we were introduced to Facebook Live, and we now expect new ways to advertise with and possibly within videos. Don your rich media hat.

Familiar with Canvas? Brands essentially build a microsite within Facebook, which is a great way to tell a story and capture attention, but not so great at driving traffic outside the platform. And a stronger metric than ‘Time on Canvas’ is needed if they want brands to continue to invest time and resources here.  

ZD tip: Get your brand camera-ready. Video is the new black.

Vine withered. Twitter hangs tough.

Twitter’s been struggling with a decline in users and finding leadership. It’s time for some bold, strategic moves. Unfortunately no one knows what those are.

Attentiveness and engagement associated with real-time events on television, like the #FarewellObama speech or the upcoming #SuperBowl, still seem to perform. We can expect to see more live-streaming grace your feed, a la Twitter broadcasting NFL Thursday Night Football.

ZD tip: Be careful about tying trending topics and live events to your brand. Just because other companies do it doesn’t mean it’s relevant. Or appropriate.

Instagram gets serious about revenue

The end of the dreaded “Link in bio” phrase is nigh! In the new year, Instagram will be adding clickable links to its feed, not just to its ad units. As marketers, we’re hoping this is intended to improve the user experience. The move tells us they’re targeting people with high intent to not just engage, but also purchase.

There are 150 million Instagrammers using Stories daily on Instagram, and soon they’ll have another layer to play with: video ads. It’ll let brands express themselves with vertical video, capturing attention with motion and sound with just a swipe of your thumb. Instagram will be releasing this feature within the coming months.instagram-stories-social-20172017 will be a balancing act for Instagram, as they take steps toward monetizing the platform without alienating the audience. We’ve seen the start of this with shoppable photo tags, giving users an option to click on a photo and immediately purchase whatever the photo was displaying. Time will tell if this turns users off or builds meaningful engagement.  

ZD tip: Think people-first content, not promotions, and your followers will stick with you.

Snapchat stays vibrant

Instagram stories will NOT kill Snapchat. Different platform, different tone. Like it or not, Snapchat is where you can get a little silly, more intimate, and goofier than Instagram. And let’s not forget, it has the dog filter.

Snapchat will continue to push and grow into new areas in preparation for its IPO this year. There will be new tactics when tackling brand awareness and most likely, some new filters. When the platform was first introduced, it was a new kind of social media that we had never seen before. Some generations are still trying to wrap their heads around how to use this platform, while millennials are growing up with it. This novelty is what keeps and will continue to keep the beloved platform from fading away anytime soon.

ZD tip: Take advantage of it’s new capabilities for your brand awareness campaigns, and don’t be afraid to be human.

Influencer Marketing is the partnership you want

As we’ve learned over the past couple of years, consumers continue to trust people over brands. By using a relevant influencer to subtly market your brand’s product or service, you are exposed to niche audiences that might have not been interested in you before.

Influencer marketing is a wonderful opportunity to gain assets that a company may not be able to create otherwise. For example, a plus size underwear company may not feel like they are a good fit for specific platforms, like Instagram. By partnering with popular plus-size fashion bloggers and influencers, they can post quality, eye-catching photography that showcases everyday fashion, while discussing the topic at hand, underwear, to wear underneath that stylish outfit within post copy. It all comes down to how it’s presented and whether the audience can and will respond. With influencers, people build a trusting relationship with them and react by following, liking and of course purchasing the brand’s products or services.

In 2017, be prepared to offer up a little more to influencers than you might have in previous years. No longer is this the wild west of social media marketing. Many influencers now work with digital agencies or have well-defined CPMs based on their social following.

ZD tip: Do your research. Chances are that most influencers have been doing this for quite a few years now. They know what they’re doing and they know their own following better than you do. As a brand or marketing professional, you don’t want to burn any bridges or possibly insult a prominent blogger, Instagrammer, or Snap sensation with a low-ball offer.

The only constant is change, right?

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