With new features and functionality launching almost daily, social media is always evolving in an effort to remain competitive, increase usage, and grow revenue streams. 2017 was a big year for social analytics, video, and overall growth of major networks like Instagram, WhatsApp, and Snapchat. As we kick off 2018, here are seven of my social media predictions for this year.
1. 2018 will be an even bigger year for Snapchat.
Snapchat didn’t have the best 2017 after going public and then seeing ongoing decreases in its share price. Regardless of what the stock price might say, I expect 2018 to be a big year for Snapchat. It’s still the preferred network for teens; messaging apps are growing at much more rapid pace than social networks; and the app continues to release unique and innovative product and ad features. User sign-ups and overall usage should see some decent increases this year – leading to some significant ad revenue growth in 2018.
2. Vine will return… and then shut down again.
In early December, Vine co-founder, Dom Hoffman, teased the launch of a Vine 2.0 without much context on features, launch date, or really anything. It’s probably safe to assume we’ll see a new version of the network launched sometime this year. However, reviving a dead brand is almost impossible (just ask MySpace and Digg). Many ex-Vine creators have since migrated over to Instagram to monetize their content. I expect Vine 2.0 not to have a long shelf life. Best case scenario: It’ll get a fraction of the user base it once had.
3. VR and AR will be everywhere.
Since 2016, the technology behind virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) has progress significantly, and VR and AR are now becoming priorities for all major social networks. Expect both “realities” to be incorporated into many upcoming social network and smartphone releases in 2018.
4. Stories will become the primary way people post content.
Instagram and Snapchat continue to see significant growth in daily active users for Stories. Since this content disappears, users are less selective about what to include in Stories versus a standard post. For Instagram specifically, expect more people to use Stories daily and be more reserved about what they implement as a standard post.
5. LinkedIn will focus more on video.
While LinkedIn remains the premier B2B network, it tends to lag behind the other networks in terms of features and functionality (for both users and advertisers). The network finally launched native video in 2017 and will likely make this a major focus in 2018. Expect CPV ads, live video, and some “unique to LinkedIn” features this year. For example, I can see LinkedIn launching a webinar product on the network that incorporates its native video offering.
6. WhatsApp will offer more for brands.
Facebook began been slowly opening up WhatsApp to businesses in 2017, with features such as a free app for small-to-medium sized businesses to communicate with customers. With WhatsApp’s massive user base of more than 1.3 billion users, Facebook will likely continue to take a cautious approach to opening up more branded features – but expect to see more tools and possibly ads for businesses in 2018.
7. Chatbots will become more common for social CRM.
You’re probably seeing this more and more nowadays: You message a brand on Facebook and get an automated response from a chatbot. Chatbots can be a huge timesaver for brands and can also be a fun way for businesses to engage customers. As chatbot technology continues to evolve, especially around artificial intelligence (AI) integrations, expect more businesses to incorporate chatbots into Facebook pages and elsewhere.