Running a social media agency has its perks. Outside of the delicious snacks and weekly foosball games, I get to see and experience firsthand all of the cool trends in the industry. Social platforms are constantly improving, adding new features and functions to make the user experience more enjoyable and relevant. Because of this, my platform needs to adapt as well to leverage the trends and make it even easier for business owners to take advantage of the latest and greatest advertising features the services have to offer. I'd like to share four emerging trends that you may start to see a lot of in 2017 and beyond.
1. Live Video Ads
Live video is trending to be a platform for advertising, not just for the big brands but for the little guys as well. Imagine seeing a live stream of a chef from your local Italian restaurant while he is preparing delicious pasta dishes to be served. The ad headline might be, "Come try our freshly made pasta, made fresh right now!" There are so many applications for live video ads for small businesses. It may only be a matter of time before it becomes mainstream and all your local shops and restaurants will be filling newsfeeds with relevant, targeted and on-demand live video ads of products and services.
2. Dynamic Product Ads
You've probably seen these before. Remember when you looked online for that cool-looking gadget or comfy sweater? You decided not to buy that minute, but shortly after, when browsing your Facebook newsfeed, you suddenly see that same gadget or sweater you were just shopping for. That might be considered re-marketing at its best. In the past, it was difficult to re-market to the exact product someone was looking at—instead of an ad showing a picture of the gadget or sweater, the ad would show a picture of gadgets or clothes in general. With dynamic product ads, re-marketing is taken to a whole new level. Now, you can set up just a couple of ads for your entire store of thousands of products, and depending on the product someone views, or depending on the step in the purchasing process someone is on, the ad will display different messages or images to entice that user to come back and make the purchase.
These ads can be lifesavers for e-commerce stores. As people continue to get inundated with information and ads, it is crucial for ads to be relevant and timely—which is exactly what dynamic products ads can do. You may start to see more and more highly targeted ads for products in your newsfeed this year. Get ahead of the curve and consider integrating dynamic product ads in your advertising mix.
3. Mobile-First Ads
We may all know by now that catering to the mobile user is important—but I am not sure everyone realizes how important these users really are. It may not be enough to just "optimize" for mobile anymore. Business owners should think about advertising to mobile and desktop users differently.
Mobile users digest information in a completely different way versus desktop. The content needs to be short and sweet, with calls to action that cater to people on the go. If you are advertising for a mobile app to a desktop user, your call to action button may be "learn more," whereas on mobile the call to action would be simply "download now." Treat mobile users as if their time is limited and it's crucial to get to the point as quickly as possible, whereas on desktop, you have slightly more time to tell your story. This trend may not be easily noticed, but it may be coming quickly as we move toward a very mobile-first world.
In November 2016 marketing and technology agency DigitasLBi surveyed adults in the U.S. and determined that 37 percent of people would consider making a purchase through a chatbot; those people are willing to spend roughly $56 per purchase. Who would have guessed years ago that people would be willing to trust a robot with retail purchases? Vacuuming your floor, sure. Get weather updates, great! But making purchases? Times are definitely changing and so will social advertising.
You may start to see businesses of all sizes leverage chatbots in their social campaigns. Businesses may start promoting their bots as an easy way to interact with their company, while at the same time integrating marketing triggers within the bots themselves, to try and upsell and cross promote products and services on the fly.
2017 is going to be an exciting year for social advertising. Live video ads, dynamic product ads, mobile-first ads and chatbots are all trends I am excited to see come into the mainstream. Be on trend in 2017 and try leveraging at least one of these in your business in the new year.