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The 5 Stories That Will Impact Brands’ Social Media in 2018

Matt Hay
December 2017

The 5 Stories That Will Impact Brands’ Social Media in 2018

From the FTC crackdown on digital influencer marketing to Facebook’s all-out offensive on competitor Snapchat, 2017 was a whirlwind year for social media. Below, we discuss the biggest news and updates from the year that brands should consider as they plan their 2018 strategies.

The Fight for Social Media’s Youngest Users

Overview: Facebook is expected to see a 2.4% increase in user growth year over year. However, eMarketer predicts a 3.4% decline by users in this younger age group. Where are they going? Snapchat and Instagram. Snapchat has grown to 79 million total monthly users with 19% of those users between the ages of 18 and 24.  Instagram too is on track to see stronger user growth based on users under the age of 17.

Impact: These projections are important for brands to monitor to ensure they are creating content on platforms that reach their audience. New features and updates by Snapchat and Instagram will be key in continuing to attract younger consumers.

Where to Read More: AdAge

Advertisers Adding Website Links to Snapchat Lenses and Filters

Overview: Advertisers on Snapchat can now drive consumers to their website through sponsored filters and lenses. This free feature, known as Context Cards, allows users to learn more about the sponsor of the snap and lets users’ friends swipe up on the screen and visit the website.

Impact: Context Cards could prove both profitable and useful by allowing brands to drive sales and web traffic directly from lenses and filters, while also tracking impressions and clicks. According to Nielsen, the average lens and filter campaign drives a 16-point lift in ad awareness, increases brand awareness by eight points, and lifts action intent by five points.

Where to Read More: AdWeek

The FTC is Wrangling the Digital Influencer Wild, Wild West

Overview: The FTC is cracking down on digital brand influencers. The federal agency is creating specific language that is compelling brands and influencers to evaluate how they’re communicating with consumers. Hashtags like #sp, #spon, #partner and even #partnership are no longer acceptable in a paid or sponsored post; influencers are now required to use either #ad or #sponsored to identify their brand partnerships.

Impact: Brands and influencers are beginning to reevaluate how their relationships are shared on social media. While the FTC is pushing very traditional marketing rules for sponsored content, influencers don’t see their partnerships as traditional media and are advocating that hashtags like #ad and #sponsored are not representative of the way they’ve been working with brands. The FTC has yet to create universal guidelines that span all platforms, so for now it’s still a guessing game as to what might fall outside of the guidelines.

Where to Read More: AdWeek, Hollywood Reporter

Snapchat Rolls Out Redesigned Platform and Algorithm

Overview: A small percentage of Snapchat users will get to experience the redesigned platform and algorithm changes, with remaining users receiving the update soon. Snap believes this update will help them regain their growth – even if that means less emphasis on new users and greater focus on loyal users. Some of the biggest changes include:

  • A new algorithm means users will see what their real-life friends post first; anyone that they follow but that don’t follow back (influencers & brands) will be on the redesigned Discover page
  • Snapchat will now be reviewing every piece of content posted on the Discover page – no more fake news
  • Influencers will now have ways to monetize their content, giving them more of an incentive to invest time and effort into what they post

Impact: Publishers will have a greater focus on high quality and engaging content in order to be featured in user feeds. It may result in influencers, more than brands, having the better chance at reaching their audiences.

Where to Read More: TechCrunch

Watch – A New Platform Launches on Facebook

Overview: Facebook has taken another step to support video content. Their new platform Watch will host both live and recorded shows across Facebook’s mobile, desktop, and TV apps. When shows go live, users will be able to interact with others watching, which Facebook believes will improve the user experience. AdWeek has confirmed initial content partners include NASA, Mashable, Quartz, Hearst, MLS and McClatchy.

Impact: It will be interesting to see not only how shows evolve on Watch, but also how the new platform effects video advertising with AdWeek reporting “The social network today announced it will soon be launching the much-anticipated feature, which could help it siphon video advertising budgets and users away from TV networks, Snapchat, Twitter and YouTube.”

Where to Read More: Deadline, AdWeek, Facebook Newsroom

Contact us to learn more about the role of social media marketing and how it will continue to change and grow in 2018.