For more than 10 years, social media has been permanently installed in France. They are so well installed that it seems like they’ve always been part of the landscape, like TV. Except that TV hardly evolves, while the social media are in perpetual renewal and transformation. I propose you to make an inventory of the main trends of 2017 and what to expect for next year.
Last week, I was invited by Strategies magazine to speak about the major trends in social media. An exercise more complicated than it seems in recent months have been hectic, but a very interesting exercise, because taking the step back is the only way to measure the relevance of the actions carried out and those that are planned. I propose you a summary of my speech, of which you will find the slideshow at the end of the article.
What you already know
Facebook and Google share the biggest part of the pie. I think you do not learn anything by saying that social media today is dominated by the duopoly Facebook – Google who have the largest social platforms (YouTube, Instagram, WhatsApp …). This duopoly is not new and generates a huge imbalance in the distribution of advertising budgets ( Google and Facebook bring in one-fifth of global ad revenue ). A situation that worries, against which many are those who seek to fight ( The Race Is On Google-Google Challenge ‘Duopoly’ in Digital Advertising ), but in the end suits the advertisers well, because it limits the work of planning (two advertising agencies cover almost all audiences).
Messaging apps are more popular than ever. Again, I hope I do not teach you anything: mobile messaging apps have grown dramatically in popularity, thanks to a steady stream of new features. Explosive Uses ( WhatsApp: Now one billion people send 55 billion messages per day ), even on apps that are not the property of Facebook ( Skype for Android hits 1 billion downloads on Google Play ) and increasingly sophisticated advertising solutions ( Facebook tests tool to make it easier for businesses to send message blasts on Messenger ). The French socionautes do not deviate from the rule with a clear preference for Messenger and WhatsApp ( To communicate, the French prefer Gmail, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp ).
Chatbots are becoming commonplace. We talked a lot about it last year, the media craze has passed, but the uses remain with a rate of adoption among advertisers that is increasing steadily: 38% of companies are currently deploying their chatbot.
The triumph of the video. Easier to consume than texts and above all, requiring less effort, the video has become THE reference format for social media. If the smartphone has dethroned the TV is simply because viewers now have a TV in their pocket, permanently connected and searchable anywhere ( 50% of the video will be mobile by 2020 ). A trend that has not escaped the advertisers who rushed on this format, causing a beginning of saturation: The rise (and fall) of autoplay video, in 5 charts.
So, they fall back on sponsored videos, less polluting, but more expensive and complex to handle for non-affinity brands ( The emergence of branded web-series ).
The generalization of GIFs and stories. I guess that trend has not escaped you either: the use of animated GIFs to brighten publications. Almost as fun as videos, GIFs are much cheaper to produce, we can even reuse them to infinity. A practice that has now become a quite respectable business: In Six Seconds, Giphy Could Make Billions. Ditto for stories, a format popularized by Snapchat, but has since been adopted by Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp, Facebook, and even YouTube. Certainly, the most interesting publication format to work today.
The revenge of social commerce. Who remembers online shops encapsulated in a tab of a Facebook page? If these attempts are retrospectively smiled, happy shoppable is now a reality which all advertisers benefit ( Why shoppable happy is the future for e-commerce businesses ) and that are found on all major social platforms, Pinterest to Instagram in going through Facebook.
The many scandals of brand safety. The US elections were an opportunity for many activists to speak out and try to rally voters to their cause. This has resulted in a significant increase in politicized content and thus mechanically extremist content. Content that was not necessarily moderate and that was available in the advertising inventory of major platforms. But to the extent that more than half of the advertising slots are bought by machines, some advertisements for quite respectable advertisers have found themselves next to much less respectable content.
This resulted in panic among advertisers that have either cut their budget ( P & G slaches digital ads by $ 140M over brand safety ) or were carried over to other formats ( Native ads gain as Advertisers seek brand safety away from programmatic ). The situation is visibly back to normal with very strong commitments formulated by Facebook, Google, Twitter … to moderate content and implements contextual analysis algorithms to limit the risk.
These 7 trends are roughly those that marked the year. Of course, there have been others, but of less importance.
What to prepare for
As stated in the article’s introduction, social media is constantly changing, under the influence of various factors: technological, legislative, functional … Let’s look at the uses and practices that will increase in the coming months.
Data becomes a major economic issue. Data has always been the raw material of marketing (and therefore advertising) and business intelligence. That being said, with the explosion of data production and the new regulation (does the GDPR mark the end of the golden age of online advertising? ) Data management has become a reality. the subject of prime importance for companies. First, because there is a deadline that inexorably approaches ( The state of the ad industry’s preparations for the GDPR, in 4 charts ), and because this new regulation will completely revolutionize advertising practices, but also media ( How marketers are planning for ‘post-cookie’ digital media ). It is therefore urgent to appoint a manager and to define a coherent and ambitious action plan.
The end of the natural reach. Last month, Facebook conducted an experiment in several “small” markets (Slovakia, Serbia, Bolivia, Guatemala, Cambodia …) to isolate the publications of the pages in a tab apart: Facebook’s reach-killing test in Slovakia is a big warning to all media. We already knew for many years that the natural reach was very low for advertisers, but here we are talking about a pure and simple withdrawal of non-sponsored news feed publications. Suffice to say that the worry is at the highest … whatever … would that really change the situation? Let’s face it: apart from a minority of ultra-affinity brands, most publications are sponsored, so in the end, it would not change much. Certainly, for the moment it is officially not a question of reiterating the experience, but we must not be divinely understood that we are moving slowly, but surely towards this scenario. Start saving now, because your Facebook budget is not ready to go down!
More micro-influencers and ambassadors. If advertisers can no longer use their page or account as a reliable communication channel, they still have the ability to use those of others. This is the principle of influencers who “rent” their audience through product placement. Practices that quickly became widespread but normalized ( Instagram pushes more influencers to adopt its new format for sponsored posts ). We are therefore moving from the Stone Age to the Iron Age, with both a better understanding of the uses ( Marketing Influence: consumer expectations and the impact of influencers ) and the stakes ( objectives, efficiency, and limits of marketing). influence on Instagram ), as well as more powerful tools to fight against fraud (the “fake” influencers, black marketers’ beasts ). If there are now many platforms to facilitate the creation of a campaign and mobilize thousands of micro-influencers in a few clicks of the mouse and in quite reasonable cost orders, the ideal is to start now to internalize these practices, especially with ambassador programs (eg Meet the new ASOS ambassadors bringing fashion to your campus ) that combine proximity and reach; but also relying on your employees: What Is Employee Advocacy & How Does It Really Work? and 10 Brands That “Get” Employee Advocacy.
Brands suffering from alternate realities. The year 2017 was marked by numerous revelations of large-scale manipulation of public opinion through massive use of social media ( Russian-backed content may have reached 126 million on Facebook, Russian groups made 1,100 YouTube videos during 2016 US election, Russia used to report to Brexit …). A proliferation of fake news that leads citizens to be wary of the media … and to turn to alternative sources of information, the very ones that are behind the fake news, a shame! If the phenomenon worries by its magnitude, it has enough to make advertisers nervous, because several scandals based on alternative facts to report: Pepsi-Cola, New Balance ( New Balance) ) or even more recently French banks ( The National Front encourages its voters to leave the Société Générale and HSBC in retaliation for the closure of accounts ).
Of course, these brands have reacted to attacks, but in a climate of permanent suspicion, a small group of well-organized activists can be quite harmful to a brand. It is up to you to prepare for it and to define crisis scenarios that are robust enough because no one is safe. And remember: ” there is no truth, only points of view “.
Discovering Generation A Forget the millennials, they grew up, got married and settled in the suburbs, adopting the same lifestyles, aspirations, and concerns that previous generations ( Millennial Americans Are Moving to the ‘Burbs, Buying Big SUVs ). If you really want to prepare for the future and take a place in the subconscious of future consumers, it is the generation A members that must be targeted now. Problem: These college kids are born almost at the same time as YouTube, Spotify, Netflix or AdBlock +. They grew up in a completely digital environment with permanent access to an infinite amount of content and services. From the 6th, they have already toured the most famous YouTubers and turn to much more trash content (eg the Gauntlet Challenge ) and are no longer satisfied with what they can see on TV or hear at the radio. In synthesis: it will be by far the most complex audience to address. Do not think to attract their attention with the same recipes as for previous generations, you will have to surpass yourself, both in creativity and in execution. So much to get started now or you will not have a chance to exist the day they will have more purchasing power.