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Year In Review, 2017 – Top Social Media Trends

Here are some of the ways in which the social media landscape changed in 2017:

Spending

Forbes estimates that 96 per cent of businesses use social media marketing. According to Impact BND, big brands increased their social media marketing budgets by a full 60 per cent, and video advertising by an even more impressive 130 per cent.

Figures like this suggest two things  –

  1. Social media is reaching maturity and has become very mainstream,

and

  1. High growth should continue for a few years yet.

96 per cent is far enough along the S-curve of adoption of new technologies that even late adopters of social media marketing should by now be familiar with the basic ways to advertise and sell content and products online.

The influence of ‘Generation Z’

Generation Z is one name for people born in 1995 or afterwards (and even this year is a topic for some debate). What makes Generation Z unique is that they essentially grew up with Internet access and were introduced to social media at a very young age.  In 2017, the eldest members of Generation Z were reaching 22 years of age, which means that many brands see now as the time to capture their interest.

However, capturing their interest has been difficult. According to Forbes, essential characteristics of Generation Z are that they are easily bored; do not share much personal data online, and very familiar with, and therefore more resistant to online advertising in all its more subtle forms.

On the plus side for marketers, it is known that generation Z tends towards conformity in their social media use, and are thus likely to be influenced by minor celebrities in their locale (a new trend known as influencer marketing, based on the older idea of celebrity endorsement). Instagram especially is a huge platform for influencer marketing, and indeed, in 2017, Instagram grew massively, and introduced Stories, a video feature that overtook competitor Snapchat’s user base very quickly.

Awareness of ‘fake news’

Never before has awareness of legitimacy of content been so high. Ever since Facebook was used as a tool to influence Brexit and even to give voters false information for the 2016 US election, the term ‘fake news’ has entered the public domain. The concept of fake news is not new, but it is widespread enough that content legitimacy has become a central question of social media, and audiences have become more sceptical.

 

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