Being present and available to your consumers is the easiest way to engage with them, which is why brands are keen on using social ad spend to drive awareness and outreach. However, with social platforms constantly innovating and featuring new ad offerings, it has been difficult for many brands to break through successfully. Heading into 2017, here’s what brands should be looking out for in shaping their social strategy.

Facebook Ads Slowing Down:

At the top of the pyramid rests Facebook, from where it continues to push out new mobile and video ad products as well as e-commerce capabilities and marketing attribution tools. It has shown steady growth and has reported strong mobile ad numbers. 84% of Facebook’s total advertising revenue of $6.82 billion in the third quarter was accounted for by mobile ads, which was up from 78% a year earlier, demonstrating mobile video’s continued fierce growth.

However, in November of 2016, the company stated that revenue growth would slow down due to “ad load,” or the number of ads that the platform can release on news feed without alienating consumers. The figure below already shows the effect of ad fatigue over the first 3 quarters of 2016. As share of posts promoted by Index brands on Facebook remained level around 16%, average engagement dropped severely by 19%.


This bottleneck has shifted Facebook’s attention to a video-first strategy across its family of apps and it now looks to rapidly expand its live video features on Facebook and Instagram. With the social giant showing a 16% increase in number of monthly users from September 2015 to September 2016 and there being an unfortunate cap on publishable ads, brands should consider diversifying their marketing efforts by capitalizing on live video technology.

Live Video Stepping In:

No, not Persicope. That is dead with a capital D.

Social juggernauts YouTube and Facebook now keep the live video momentum going. Although only 5% of Index Brands currently use Facebook Live, the total number of brand Facebook videos has increased from 0.3% in April 2016 to 1.9% in October 2016. Beauty and Auto Brands have been particularly aggressive on the matter with each vertical accounting for 21% of all Facebook Live videos. It is clear that brands wanting to succeed in 2017 will have to effectively use live video to engage millennials hungry for interactive real-time content.


Furthermore, now that Instagram is challenging Snapchat with its “Stories” feature, it has decided to test a new ad format where it displays video ads inside live videos similar to that of Facebook Live, Snapchat, and Twitter’s pre-roll video ads. With its massive 300 million daily active users, 50% of which are already using the new feature, this is another terrific avenue of engagement that brands should capitalize on – either by directly broadcasting live video or integrating ads into live videos hosted by others. And unlike its competitors, Instagram holds an advantage with all the data and targeting it has gained from its foster parent, Facebook.

Instagram Outside of Live Video:

Instagram has a death grip on social media as it accounts for 92% of all social interactions, but it is showing signs of fatigue. Although there was an increase from 9 posts per week in Q3 2015 to 10 posts per week in Q3 2016 by Index brands, interactions per 1000 followers decreased by a whopping 30% suggesting that brands must incorporate new user-generated content and influencers to guide engagement. We are still a fan of Instagram Stories and believe that it will be the future for brands and influencers looking to drive user engagement on this platform.


Snapchat A Serious Contender:

Let’s also not forget about this social media giant as it approaches IPO. With its 150 million daily active users, 32% of which fall into the 18-24 range and 28% of which fall into the 25-34 range, it is easily seen why digital advertisers are driving Snapchat’s valuation to $25 billion. From January to October 2016, Snapchat brand account adoption grew 50%, increasing overall adoption to 65% of brands. There was also a rise in Snapchat Discover advertisement from 23 brands accounting for 161 ads in January 2016 to 63 brands accounting for 387 ads in October 2016. With such a large increase in overall brand adoption of Snapchat Discover advertisement, this social media platform cannot be ignored when trying to reach millennial consumers. However, pushing the envelope too quickly may leave Snapchat considerate of its “ad load” just as Facebook currently is.



Twitter’s Downswing:

Currently, Twitter accounts for 81% of all brand posts across the four major social platforms (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter) with two thirds of Index brands using their Twitter accounts to execute customer service. However, Twitter’s revenue and user growth has declined in 2016. Despite rolling out new features to enhance one-to-one conversations between brands and consumers, the average number of unique customers to whom Index brands replied on Twitter declined by 15% from Q1 to Q3. Declines were even more steep in specific verticals such as Activewear (-32%) and Department Stores/CPG (-24%). Heading into 2017, brands should be considerate of their Twitter outreach and look to not toe the line – either own it or abandon it.


Do you have a strong 2017 marketing plan set to engage your multifamily audience? Let us know your thoughts and where you’re seeing success! If you’d like to learn more about any of the above insights, feel free to shoot us a note or give us a call at anytime: 312-971-7023. 

Until next time… keep it real!