High quality, visually stimulating, and personalized content will rule the new year.

Mapping out your brand’s digital strategy for 2017? L&T’s President Jonathan Allen recently hosted a webinar unpacking practical case studies and offering personal insight into what will define a winning marketing strategy in 2017. Let’s take a look at the major takeaways:

1. Beware Social Media Saturation

Just a few years ago, social media was a complementary marketing channel where brands could promote their content and products in creative ways, all in an effort to entice new audiences and support their existing customers. But in today’s social media landscape, platforms like Facebook have become de facto publishing companies, and can be leveraged most effectively when content is created specifically for the platform’s audience and user experience.

“Facebook has gone from a place for friends to a place to share your politics,” says Allen. “And they’ve bubble wrapped you in your politics, where you’re stuck in your existing community, rather than interacting with new communities.” Brands must now build content experiences catering to the platform’s idiosyncrasies — or risk total invisibility at the hands of Facebook’s selective, algorithmic newsfeed.

2. A Return to Intellectualism

Because of the way the social bubble prioritizes homogenous opinions in any given user’s feed, people are increasingly consuming low-quality content that caters to their existing preferences and opinions.

But “there’s a counter reaction, where people are demanding more thoughtful content,” says Allen. As Facebook algorithmic filters become the dominant way to generate visibility, brands are going to have to compete with more sophisticated content. Facebook is giving us the tools to do this — supporting AR, VR, and 360 video content. Successful brand publishing companies will seek to produce this type of content collaboratively with partners who share the same goals.

3. Thoughtful Conversations Will Drive Live Video

As we know, emotion drives engagement. But audiences are exposed to so much blatant emotional manipulation through advertisements and branded video that many have become cynically aware of a marketer’s intent. One of the biggest challenges businesses will face on oversaturated social media platforms in 2017 is managing to say something original and compelling.

“I think social media audiences are starting to miss that sense of discovering like minds that they can grow and develop with,” says Allen. A more moderate and casual social experience that is event-based, episodic, and focused on storytelling could draw more consistent, loyal audiences.

4. Develop a Visual Vocabulary

Facebook opened its AI image recognition engine to the public this year. Visual listening and image recognition platforms like GumGum and Facebook’s “automatic alternative text” engine will bring the visual web to the next level, assigning keywords to every online image. This will give rise to significant new data, meaning paid advertising targeted against photos will become more sophisticated.

5. Apps Within Apps

There’s been a lot of chatter about the significance of personalization in 2017. Chatbots and progressive web apps will likely be the vehicles for new, custom experiences aiming to drive increased engagement.

In 2017, successful digital strategies will blend both paid and organic digital marketing efforts and will leverage corresponding data. Marketers will keep a trained eye on developments from major social platforms like Facebook, implementing creative solutions and partnerships to stay on the cutting edge of visual storytelling and image recognition technology. Watch Allen’s presentation in its entirety here.

Longneck and Thunderfoot offer digital strategy services, including website branding, style guides, persona development, and audience segmentation. We’re a partner in making content work for your business. Learn more about digital strategy here.

Author Shayna Robinson

A graduate of NYU’s Gallatin School, Shayna manages social media for clients across all industries, monitoring the effectiveness of our social campaigns, manages social strategy, and spearheads breaking news coverage and the development of original, trending story ideas. She previously worked in media production and communications at an NYC-based documentary production company. Her interests include cooking, making short films, and traveling.

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