Twitter went wild, but still isn’t making money.
Facebook got self-conscious, but still is slowly taking over the world.
Instagram emulated Snapchat, but still managed to be its own unique platform.
Snapchat plateaued, but still ranks as the most trusted social network for younger users.
And LinkedIn? Well, it’s still LinkedIn.
Another year, another algorithm. When it comes to changes in social media platforms from year to year, 2017 wasn’t as monumental as the year before. With incremental adjustments and advancements, but no flashy launches, quick flameouts, or new tech to change the way we interact with the world, you may not have noticed the changes to our online landscape.
But at WideFoc.us, we track even the most mundane online developments that could affect our clients’ social presence. Whether it’s new ways to use an established channel like Instagram, adjusting to changes in functionality (and character limits!) on Twitter, or digging into the latest Facebook ad products and algorithm tweaks, the team works to develop new strategies and further drive up results week after week.
If 2016 was the year of Snapchat, where it shook up marketers and its user base with new ways to engage and tell stories, 2017 was the year when video truly took supremacy as the most engaging form of content — it ruled in driving visibility, while strategic targeting of videos could bring down cost-per-view below a penny. That made videos the most cost-effective way to increase on-page engagement and overall visibility.
And with Facebook launching ways to target users who viewed videos with additional advertising and content, they became a surprisingly powerful way to build new audiences for campaigns —to increase a fan base, to improve page metrics, or even to drive more website clicks and online conversions.
While Twitter’s leadership grappled with trolls and fake users and global tensions, the platform’s central place in the national zeitgeist meant more users actively using it to get their daily dose of news and outrage. Bad news for our polarized society, good news for savvy marketers who could dig into Twitter’s slowly evolving advertising products while actively using real-time conversations and trending topics to increase visibility and interactions for their clients.
Snapchat went public even as its user base flattened out. Those Spectacles we bought for the team to use out in the field? They were popular in late spring and early summer, but haven’t left the shelf in months. The ‘chat is still popular as hell with teens and early 20somethings, and the ads are among the most engaging and trusted of any social channel today. But we still don’t have clients for whom it would make sense as an outreach platform.
The biggest success story the WideFoc.us team has leveraged is Instagram’s improvement of Snapchat-like functionality, which has allowed us to create interactive 24-hour Stories for clients, with huge increases in visibility and engagement. Being able to tag users, float hashtags, build branded narratives, and even go live, has allowed our visual storytellers to become social media correspondents at events and in the field, creating a dynamic sense of immediacy and intimacy.
Add in more and more powerful audience targeting, including integrated Facebook/Instagram campaigns, and the results can be astounding.
Which is all a long way of saying that video will be THE STORY of 2018. As the form of content with the most potential for visibility at the lowest cost-per-action, videos just keep getting more useful when driving targeted audiences’ behaviors.
Animated GIFs, slideshows, 10-second pops of action, 30-second how-tos, even minute-long interviews are getting easier and cheaper to produce, which makes them even more compelling for business marketing purposes.
Social media platforms love video, because the content keeps eyeballs on their apps longer, engaging viewers and providing real-time data about levels of interest and effectiveness.
That means we’re investing more time and energy into working with our clients to produce video content to share across channels. Whether we create it in-house or in the field, assist clients by providing shot lists and video ideas, or work with professional filmmakers and digital storytellers to cultivate assets, we optimize targeting, timing, and subject matter to drive business goals.
I’ll be curious to see how the reigning social platforms keep their users invested in the next year, while upstarts like Kiyo try to claim a user base and make a dent in people’s daily lives. Will Snapchat make a turnaround? Will Twitter find a way to detox its channel? Will Facebook get cool enough for the next generation of digital natives? (Doubtful, probably not, nope.)
Whatever happens, we’ll be here to make sure your social media presence keeps up with latest developments.
Happy new year!
Eric Elkins is CEO and Chief Strategist at WideFoc.us. Eric brings nearly two decades of experience to our clients. In his other life, he’s a single dad, an avid eater, and a bourbon aficionado.