What can marketers learn from Facebook’s 2017 Topics and Trends Report?

Estimated read time: 6 minutes

As part of the slew of ‘end-of-year’ stuff we get at this time of the year, one especially interesting piece came in the form of Facebook’s new Topics and Trends Report, their first-ever review of some of the conversations on the rise in 2017 that are poised to go mainstream in 2018.

You can access the report yourself from Facebook and it’s well worth a read, not just to see what people are talking about online but also a reflection of what’s on their minds generally – below are some of things that really jumped out when I went through it.

It’s worth noting that the data in this report is only from US Facebookers (aged 18+), but we’re really not that different from our Transatlantic friends, are we?

Empowerment > sex

If you’re still relying on sex to sell your stuff and light a fire under your campaign, don’t be surprised if things start going wrong for you. In 2017, female empowerment has been a hot topic on Facebook – juts look at online reaction to Wonder Woman and the news of the newest Doctor Who.

But the key takeaways for marketers here is this; 75% of women surveyed said they believed the most important thing brands can do to promote gender equality is to stop portraying women as sex symbols. And 51% of women and 45% of men surveyed say they prefer to shop from a brand that promotes gender equality.

Thumbs up for awareness day

Most social media managers will know that it’s almost always a National/International Day for something – they’re a godsend when faced with an empty content calendar.

And it turns out that people love them – from International Talk Like a Pirate Day to World Naked Gardening Day, folk are getting involved and talking about them. Which means that, no matter how much of a cheap, like-grabbing content cop-out posting about them on our accounts might seem, chances are that our audiences will love them!

Know your shopping holidays

You only have to look at how Black Friday has made its way to the UK these past few years to see the influence the internet has on speciality shopping days. We know about them and brands want to sort us out with a nice deal to celebrate.

Interestingly, Facebook noted that more Americans are marking Singles’ Day – 11 November – a shopping day that started in China and is now the biggest of its kind in the world. Obviously, that clashes with Remembrance Day here in the UK, but it’s still useful to be aware of…especially if you’re trying to target Chinese audiences. Not only will people’s attention be elsewhere that day, it’ll cost you a lot more to get your ads seen.

Geek out

Great news for University comms teams – people love to geek out on Facebook and will lap up posts that bring academic content to life. For example, a 19-minute video covering 4.5 billion years of the world’s history clocked up more than 9 million views.

The key point here is about how you package this stuff – sell it as entertainment and it has the potential to really well for you.

Keep your ear to the ground

You won’t need to read Facebook’s report to know that people on the platform like talk about big TV shows and movies – just scroll through your own newsfeed and see for yourself.

But, an increasing amount of these conversations are about shows from streaming services – Netflix’s Stranger Things being the obvious one. Make sure you’re aware of what’s hot and think about how you can add value to the conversations taking place.

Get over traditional gender roles

If conversations around fashion are anything to go by, traditional gender roles could be on the way out – for the past couple of years conversations around terms like androgyny and unisex have been on the up.

Not only that, 56% of people surveyed by Facebook say traditional gender roles are becoming increasingly irrelevant. Couple that with the tougher regulations about playing up to gender stereotypes in advertising that have been introduced this year and you can see signs of gender becoming irrelevant.

Get real

The role and importance of influencers continues to grow; looking at the world of fashion, real people have firmly taken their place alongside celebs and big brands to rewrite the rules of beauty. And, because they’re real people, they’re sharing the whole, real story – not just the glossy highlights.

You should bear this in mind for your campaigns. People like real – real people telling real stories.

Explore the Facebook Topics and Trends Report for yourself right here.