(Side note: Right now I feel like I have so many reflective and forward-thinking posts to get through before I can even begin to consider actually getting back to beauty, so I’m just gonna run with it. In a few months time I know I’m probably going to feel like I need a slap of inspiration around the face, so while I have it it’s getting put into action!) Well, well, well, dear bloggersphere: you’ve certainly been busy over the last twelve months haven’t you? The beauty of our digital space is that it’s ever evolving and organically changing into something even better, always keeping us on our toes and proving you can never be too complacent. 2016 definitely saw the rise of the ‘influencer’ rather than vlogger/blogger, with this new generation of mega-stars not even needing a website from which to do their influencing – just an Instagram channel and a lot of great poses. We saw a plethora of new sites launch and with them the onset of new talent taking the world by storm, as well as new channels come and go (hello Insta-Stories, see you later Vine!) alongside the understanding that you can actually blog over the age of 30 (because we’re not all computer-illiterate you know.) So much happened and so much changed, many of which I predicted, but rather more interestingly: what do we think is to come for our beloved bloggersphere in the next 12 months? In the words of MN8, ‘I’ve gotta little something for ya!’
BYE BYE SNAPCHAT
I tried, I really tried, but Snapchat got the better of me and I gave it up completely this year. Although it’s incredibly popular with some, for most it became a clunky channel that was incredibly hard to grow without constant promotion (why on earth didn’t they introduce a search function?) I loved the rawness and realness, but as soon as Insta-Stories launched I put down my Snapchat filter for the very last time – like many others around me. With zero effort required and an existing audience ready and waiting, it’s no surprise I was receiving four times the amount of views on Instagram (even without the fancy face-swap filters.) As Instagram continue to evolve the instantaneous element of their ‘stories’ function, I’m sure it will be the nail in the coffin of their snappy competitor; we simply don’t have the time (or storage) for more apps and Snapchat is just another thing to cause us stress. Give it a year and it’ll be as dead as the Bakerloo line on tube strike day – while Instagram, on the other hand, is bound to fly.
Feeding into the trend of influencers spending less time focusing on their blogs and more time just uploading cracking Instagram content, the rise of micro-blogging will undoubtedly play a big role. I’m seeing more and more of my feed curating great grids and telling stories in their captions, rather than mindlessly chucking up any old tosh just to keep their feed fresh. With the launch of Insta-Stories we all have the capacity to vlog without any editing skills required, while the image uploads themselves provide an opportunity to tell a story. The days of #BeachGoals or “Love This!” and re-gramming quotes are long gone, in favour of more meaningful content that’s a platform for influence in its own right.
BUDGETS ARE ‘BOUT TO GET BIG
Over the last few years we’ve definitely seen brands look to work with infleuncers more and more, actively adding in lines of budget in their overall year-long plan. However, with the decline in print media (by the end of this year I guarantee you you’ll be able to count the number of magazines left on your hands) they’re looking to re-allocate those budgets online. If you think about the millions of pounds previously spent on magazine and television adverts, there needs to be somewhere else to spend that marketing budget. Happy days. However, with more and more focus on relevancy and ROI (return on their investment) rather than just eyeballs or mega stats, campaigns are set to become more strategic and long-term rather than brands just chucking money at superstars and hoping it sticks.
WILL VIDEO BE KING?
There’s a lot of talk right now about YouTube being the key place that brands want to be, because apparently 2017 is the year that video becomes well and truly king. It’s undeniable that younger audiences flock to video and get their daily fix of information online versus the tellybox or newspaper, but more and more we’re seeing older stars using video to get their point across too. I’m seeing increasing numbers of bloggers in their 30’s, 40’s and beyond adopting this form of media and I don’t see the trend slowing down any time soon. Although I personally don’t have the patience, skill or inclination to commit properly to a channel, for many this could be the year that the focus drops from fairy-lit bedrooms and Primark hauls to something altogether more interesting.
PHOTOS THAT TELL A STORY
2017 marks seven whole years since I started blogging. Back in 2010 bloggers barely even owned a camera, focusing on their words alone to tell a story – with maybe a few swatches snapped on a smartphone alongside a stock image or two so you knew what they were chatting about. Skip forward a few years and the focus is undoubtedly on bloggers’ ability to tell a story through the images they use and the emotion they present. It’s no longer sufficient to just take a picture of that new lipstick on your coffee table; you have to style that shoot to rival Vogue, and have all the props to go alongside it. Increasingly I’m hearing brands want to collaborate with bloggers that create beautiful imagery (that they can use on their own channels,) and readers want to connect with sites that provide something aspirational to look at.
DIVERSE CAMPAIGNS & DIVERSE AUDIENCES
One of the most refreshing changes I started to see in 2016 was the focus on placing the right campaigns with the right blogger, with the aim of reaching the right audience; it seemed that for many brands it was no longer about reaching as many people as possible, but about reaching the right people in the right way so they had a higher propensity to purchase. Through my Thirty Plus network (a collective of over 700 bloggers,) I’ve seen a spike in interest for those that hit the right audience and share an ethos with the brand in question; the willingness to take a hit on numbers in favour of relevancy is incredibly refreshing, and sets the scene for a turn of events in 2017. One of my biggest predictions is that more campaigns will be lead by bloggers and social media platforms, and more of them will represent the diversity that exists on every single street. I hope and expect to see all shapes, sizes, colours, ages and choices represented – and for bloggers to prove it’s ok to be exactly who you are.
Do you have any other big predictions for the year ahead?