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February 22, 2017

Hootsuite’s Cameron Uganec and Edelman’s Erin Jacobson teamed up to deliver an informative and descriptive outlook on what to expect in the world of social media this year.

Uganec is the Senior Director of Growth Marketing & Education for Hootsuite, one of the biggest Social Media Management and Education companies in the world.

Jacobson is the Vice President of Digital at Edelman, which is the largest public relations firm in the world.

Before going into the year ahead, each talked about the landscape that led us here in 2016.

  • Social is the front door
  • Video owns social
  • Work has become social


Our ever-changing world and the developments that occur every year means a new set of problems.


Due to Facebook algorithm changes and a highly-populated social presence, true organic reach will continue to get more difficult.


As a direct result of the decrease in organic reach, paid ads on social will continue to rise. This will be aimed at increasing reach, leads, conversions and revenue.


Because of the increased focus on conversions and leads, interaction with posts no longer as important. It is harder to get contact through organic reach, and social is leading to higher production of conversions.


Today, each brand is a publisher of information and each consumer on social is a creator. The constant influx of information and content online has resulted in a higher level of difficulty to stand out. These are the trends that we will see in 2017 to help brand succeed in the crowded world of social media.


Social usage is not slowing. It is accelerating and growing into a tool for discovery and research. People are looking for things on social, and want to find it and buy right there on social. We will see growth in the commerce ability of social this year.

98% of online consumers report that they have visited or used a social network within the last month. Today, digital consumers have an average of 8 accounts, which is almost double what it was in 2012.

We are also seeing the decline of traditional websites. Certain companies, such as Vox, BuzzFeed and Vice are working on distributing content directly to social networks and apps.

People want to do everything in the app instead of having to leave it. We will continue to see the development of enhanced features for social networks, including interaction and commerce. So while search is becoming more mature, social continues to grow at a rapid rate.


This trend has been hot before, but recent developments have led to new ways to generate revenue from social. Facebook’s Marketplace and Instagram’s Tap button are already in use and skip the need for traditional search and websites.

42% of North American marketeers like social commerce as a key strategy in 2017. This is done in a variety of different ways on different networks. For example, Pinterest is used as more of a product catalog discovery platform while Facebook is more wide open.

Social commerce is not right for every brand. It is best to experiment with a product launch or a special promotion. Persuading, informing and showcasing with video is going to rise with the increased focus on social commerce.


The term “dark social” refers to an activity that exists outside the analytics of social. An example of this is copying and pasting links and disappearing content like SnapChat. Dark social is challenging traditional ways of measuring social, but there are ways to prepare and fight it.

Dark social is not a new problem. Word of mouth is a type of dark social that has always been around. The problem lies in the inability to track, measure and monitor this information. About 82% of content shared on mobile is done through dark social. That means that out of every 10 pieces of content that is shared, about 8 of those will not be able to be tracked or analyzed.

About 84% of consumers’ outbound sharing now takes place on dark social channels such as email and instant messaging. While each year brings more developments in the digital world, it also brings more dark social channels that are hidden from marketers’ efforts to analyze and measure.

Brands are taking steps to combat dark social in a variety of ways. One way Adidas is taking this problem on is micro communities on WhatsApp. Time, Inc. tracks social shares by sending popular articles in emails. Burger King has taken a different route by creating an emoji keyboard and embracing dark social. Each one of these tactics is a different approach to shining light to as many connections, leads and potential conversions as possible.


In 2016, social video was the star of the show. This trend is expected to be at the forefront again this year. 65% of marketers put video platforms like Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter over traditional video platforms like Vevo and YouTube. 70% of marketers plan to use social video advertising in the next year. It is important to get out ahead of this trend in order to stay with the curve and help your brand stand out.

There will also be an increase in live video on social. Facebook Live has already seen huge growth, as well as advertising on this medium. Another best practice of social video ads is the Twitter conversation tactic. An example of this was the Captain America Civil War conversation. Whenever somebody clicked a certain hashtag on the ad, they placed a vote and tweeted 1 of 2 videos showing their vote. Instagram has also increase it’s Live capabilities as well as it’s video carousel ads.

A tip for effective social video usage is to make sure that the video is not dependent on audio. A lot of times people are watching social videos without sound, so make sure that your video is appealing and the information is not too audio-dominant. Also, focus on the point of view of the consumer and tell their story. This will help with connection and building a relationship.


Leaders are expanding social to tap into the power of connected organizations. There are three major trends in the workplace that are converging in 2017.

One of these trends is employee advocacy. Using peer influence and fueling content distribution through employees can be very effective. Another trend is social selling. Amplifying what sales people do offline in social can help them uncover opportunities like never before. The third trend is training employees in social to avoid mistakes and inconsistencies.

All of these trends are aimed at encouraging employees to be better ambassadors for their brands. Employees can be one of the most effective vehicles for driving social reach and connection. 21% of consumers report “liking” employee posts on social. This is higher than the average brand post or ad. This trend is an example of businesses moving away from employee restriction to increased brand interaction on social media.


2017 will bring many new trends and developments online. Social media has become the driving force behind every step of the consumer journey. From awareness, to discovery, to engagement, to conversion, social media now has the capabilities to be the road for the whole journey. This coming year, expect more and more developments and trends that contribute to the only constant in the digital media world: change.

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