It’s that time of year again when we try our hands at being futurists and share with you our predictions for the rapidly approaching New Year.
But first, let’s have a look at last year’s social media predictions and how many we got right…!
1.Real-time and live (main) streaming
Well, what can we say? Our first prediction definitely came true! We saw Facebook and Twitter joining (and surpassing) the likes of Periscope and Snapchat to launch their own live streaming products, and now Instagram has joined the club. With the potential to reach a massive audience this will only continue to grow. Look out for our 2017 predictions to find out how we see this developing further…
There is no denying that social commerce is here, and it’s here to stay. Social platforms are no longer used simply to communicate with friends or view product updates and trends. The expectation of consumers is for brands to enable purchases to take place within the same environment, and to curate a sophisticated shopping experience online: think simple payment, videos, reviews, personalisation and the option to share their exciting new purchase with friends or a wider audience in one platform.
We have seen a slower take off in terms of brands testing “Facebook Instant Articles.” While Facebook is claiming to see higher clicks and shares from content published in this way, this won’t necessarily result in conversion – plus their reported success is most likely due to their insider knowledge on how to please the Facebook algorithm. It also has the potential to undermine a brand’s own content strategy and direct relationship with the customer, which bears similarity to the way aggregators dominate the insurance industry now. LinkedIn Pulse appears to have struggled to have overcome similar barriers, with the take up remaining lower than expected.
4.Social as a search engine
The prediction around publishing led to our suggestion that perhaps users would start to treat social channels as search engines. But whilst a social platform such as Pinterest does enable users to search for particular themes and inspiration, we haven’t seen a dramatic shift from search engines to social channels, or SEO focusing more on search results within social platforms. It’s one to keep an eye on in the coming months and years.
5.Virtual reality to take off
We talked last year about how we had started to see virtual reality hit the high street, with the likes of Thomas Cook bringing Samsung powered headsets into its Bluewater shopping mall last year. Virtual reality has certainly become more accessible in 2016, not only because a number of devices have now launched, including Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, but also the content being produced (such as the Pokemon app which took the UK by storm!) and the fact that more brands are embracing it. Charities have been at the forefront, examples being the ‘Experience Too Much Information’ 360 degree virtual reality piece from The National Autistic Society and the three ‘A Walk Through Dementia’ VR stories created by Alzhemier’s Research UK Both charities have seen success in generating awareness of their causes and helping the general public to better understand experiences and feelings of those affected.
As we come to the end of our 2016 predictions round-up we've tallied up how many were correct…. Three right and two are slow burns – by degree standards that equates to a 2:1 so not bad! We’re very excited to see how these develop further in 2017, so watch this space for our next set of predictions.