The biggest social media developments in 2017

Enjoy Digital
By Enjoy Digital
5 minutes to read

The popularity of social media showed no signs of slowing down this year. In 2017, there were 2.80 billion social media users around the world and advertising revenue reportedly topped $41bn*.

It’s no wonder platforms are jostling to catch up with each other and boast the largest audience and best innovations. How are social media platforms achieving this though? Here’s a selection of some of the highlights (and one lowlight) of social media in 2017.

1. Live video

Perhaps the biggest trend of the entire year, live video is now available on Instagram, Facebook and even Twitter. From a commercial standpoint, live streaming is cheap and accessible. It enables businesses to engage on a personal level with consumers and get creative.

Facebook Live is the most popular platform for live streaming but Instagram has one of the most active and engaged user bases. Although late to the live video scene, Twitter is striving to contend particularly with its weekly live shows. Buzzfeed, the NFL and Bloomberg all have their own weekly shows which followers can interact with directly.

Video is so prominent that social media algorithms now favour it and are likely to push it further than static content.

2. Filters

Augmented reality, AKA the humble filter, has enjoyed a bit of a craze this year. Originating on Snapchat, both Facebook and Instagram have jumped on the filter bandwagon to make selfies that bit more entertaining.

But, what impact has this had for brands? Snapchat was ahead of the game and has combined entertaining filters with sponsored content to create a playful way to advertise. However, this year Facebook has quietly caught up and introduced branded filters (the current Gucci one is great!) with Instagram yet to open up to brands.

3. Twitter expands its character count

It’s Twitters ongoing mission to increase its user base. Last year the platform scrapped counting attachments along with @ replies in the limit. This year, Twitter went one step further and doubled the 140-character limit to encourage users to tweet more frequently. Apparently it’s the Brits’ fault as the extension was prompted as a result of research which highlighted our frustration at the limit.

However, Twitter hasn’t quite had the response it bargained for. Many users have been crying out for an edit button for years and so didn’t take too kindly to a feature they didn’t ask for. Similarly, authors like JK Rowling addressed the fact that part of Twitter’s charm was the brevity it enforced.

For brands though, it means that they no longer have to condense their messaging. Unless they really want to!

4. Issue of fake news and advertising transparency

Social media allows us to produce a wealth of content with very few limitations. But this freedom has recently been dragged into the spotlight with the rise and proliferation of fake news.

Social media platforms have come under pressure to monitor and regulate posts in an attempt for greater transparency of the identity and motives of the poster. Snapchat’s CEO has claimed that social media is directly to blame for the rise in fake news suggesting that content designed to be shared among friends doesn’t have to be factual.

Transparency in social posts goes further than fake news. The Advertising Standards Agency has been cracking down on sponsored content by forcing bloggers and influencers to make it clear when they’ve been paid to promote a product. It’s an issue that will carry on well into 2018 as the agency tries to encourage honesty and trust between consumers and brands.

5. Platforms merge

We’ve already touched on it, but this year more than ever social media platforms have started to look eerily similar. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and even WhatsApp all have in-app stories which prompted some tongue in cheek responses.

While this might be boring for some, the opportunities available to brands have dramatically increased. Since its launch in 2016, Instagram Stories now attracts 150 million users on a daily basis and offers three times the level of engagement than static content. Sponsored Instagram Stories now fit in seamlessly between user stories for a smooth user experience. Facebook is looking to capitalise on this and has introduced stories to Pages, enabling brands to post their own content.

Well, they do say that imitation is the best form of flattery!


What do you think will be the biggest social media developments in 2018? Will virtual reality work its way in to mainstream? Or will video leap to new grounds? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. 

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