Social Media: 2017 A Year in Review
2017 eh. What a year it has been for social media! The start of the year brought us Salt Bae, A signal of more positive things to come or a red herring? As for brands, some got political (Reebok et al) others got sassy (Wendy's) and some got to upload their scheduled content (McDonald's)... Anyway here's your social media year in review.
Let's kick off with the biggest social media platform of them all, Facebook. Undoubtedly as mainstream as terrestrial TV, Facebook upped its social responsibility taking out ads in newspapers to highlight the threat of fake news, something that has plagued the platform for years. 2018, it got serious (or at least acknowledged) the threat and the negative impact it has on the Facebook brand.
The juggernaut was not without its flaws, referral traffic (people going to Facebook to a website) fell significantly. Many have cited the Facebook's focus on keeping its users native as well as the fake news debate impacting the change.
Totally eclipsed by Facebook, the micro-blogging site (remember when we called it micro-blogging, is that still a thing?!) had a bit of a renaissance in 2017.
Not only is the app a firm favourite with the President of the United States but also remains a place for breaking news stories, and no more has was this realised than in a speight of tragedies across the UK. We heard some inspiring stories from victims of terror attacks come out, with many news items breaking on the platform before the mainstream news. You can read some here.
Often criticised for its lack of evolving as quickly as its rivals, Twitter beefed up its 140 character count by double. 2017 also brought us the viral sensation #Nuggsforcarter, the below tweet explains the jist:
In the end, Carter didn't reach the number Wendy's 'demanded' but it did become the most retweeted Tweet ever, beating that 2012 Oscar selfie as well as international coverage, prime USA TV spots and many, many social shares:
Wendy's, already riding a wave of success for its social media sassiness awarded Carter with his lifetime supply of nuggets. A boy needs his nuggs. He got his nuggs!
Snapchat: Hot competition and Hotdogs
It's been a rocky road for the little yellow app as Snap Inc's Spectacles lost the company a reported $40million as it tried to shift its stock in 2017. Speaking of stock (the stock market kind) the company never reached the lofty expectations set by some as it went public. If bad luck comes in threes, then it would be its threat to its competitors. Instagram hasn't been subtle in its carbon copy Instagram stories, a shrewd move which has seen many social influencers abandoned Snapchats app platform for the much larger platform (and financially lucrative) Instagram. If a picture can speak a thousand words, this one from Tech Crunch sums up Snapchats 2017:
But all was not lost, the AR (augmented reality) Hotdog became #viral and brought Snapchat into the consciousness people beyond its user base. Many memes later and Halloween costumes in homage to that little dancing Hotdog, Snapchat did bring AR into the mass market better than its competitors. Don't count that little ghost out just yet.
Instagram had a record year in terms of growth. It's Snapchat clone, Instagram stories and has since overtaken Snapchat's usage.
2017 also marked the year where regulatory bodies got serious about social media advertising acting on their calls for greater transparency for paid posts. In particular, the regulatory body in the UK, Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), called for a reality star to take down a post as it breached advertising rules as it wasn't clearly displayed as a paid for post.
Instagram allowed users to highlight more clearly paid partnerships, beyond the #ad that is currently the norm. However, it still remains a grey area and 2018 will no doubt bring about more developments.
If you haven't heard of musical.ly and you work in social media, introduce yourself to it.
Still not quite in the mainstream but there's no doubt that brands lined up to capitalise on its huge user base in 2017.
For those who don't know, Music.ly is the world's largest creative platform. The platform makes "it super easy for everyone to make awesome videos and share with friends or to the world" (according to its website). Becoming a hit with younger audiences, with its most famous users garnering 100million+ views the app has caught the attention of brands, in particular, music companies.
Launched a little over three years ago it's still to prove its longevity but with breakout stars already emerging from the platform... Watch this space.
Another year, another casualty, this time, the once go to messaging app on the internet, AOL messenger, more affectionately named AIM. Probably the closest we had to WhatsApp in its heyday, AIM attracted millions of users at the height of its success. The original emoji's, emoticons changed how we expressed ourselves and "LOL-esque" text speak became like a second language to many. After 20 years and falling numbers, AIM closed its digital doors for good in 2017.
Five fast facts
1) LEGO announced its own social media platform LEGO Life
2) Katy Perry was the first Twitter user to reach over 100million followers, Justin Bieber soon followed
3) More scrutiny has been put on social networking sites to combat "Fake News" (a topic in itself)
4) Red Bull has the most video views of any consumer brand across YouTube & Facebook (Tubular Insights)
5) YouTube changed its logo...
And yes MySpace lives on for another year...
So, what have we learned? Feel free to comment, let me know your brand social media hero and what your 2017 social media highlight was.