2015 has been a big year for social media ' Facebook announced new video experiences, Instagram opened up its long-exclusive ad platform and Snapchat launched its 'Discover'? feature to name a few.
So, what can we expect to see next? Here's a few trends we're expecting to see impact the social space in 2016.
1. Everything, LIVE!
Live-streaming and live social are becoming an obsession and it only appears to be gaining momentum as we head into the next year. From Periscope to Meerkat, Facebook Live to Kanvas, brands will be challenged to find innovative and engaging ways to use these apps to deliver 'in-the-moment' content.
Not ready for live-streaming yet? Invest in video in general. While not a new trend or recommendation, if you're not producing short-form, easily digestible video content for social yet you're missing out on a whole world of social engagement. Especially when you consider that:
- Videos average 62% more engagement than photos
- Video shares have increased 43% since the beginning of 2015
- Facebook recently announced it sees an average of eight BILLION video views a day from 500 million people
2. Influencer Impact
People have been talking for a while about the impact online reviews and comments (even from strangers) have on consumer purchase intent. But now, instead of automatically heading to Google to type in your latest query, you can go to YouTube, Pinterest, Facebook and more for advice and opinions. In fact, a Pinterest study done earlier this year reported that 87% of respondents claimed Pinterest helped them decide what to purchase.
Make the most of this by sharing special offers, social-exclusive discounts, and reviews and testimonials from customers (or social media influencers) that provide real feedback and authentic content, over glossy ads.
3. Social Commerce
With a number of platforms rolling out 'Buy'? buttons, attention is being put towards making the mobile and social commerce process seamless. However, transitioning users scrolling through engagement announcements and memes to purchasers will likely prove more difficult.
In fact, according to Custora, whose software is used by many big-name retailers, sites such as Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram drove a meager 1.7% of total online sales this Black Friday (compared to 25% of online orders from e-mail promotions).
That said, there are definitely social commerce opportunities to be had and it's likely we'll see the major platforms experimenting with various executions over the course of 2016.
4. Key Players Here to Stay
Remember the app Yo? It let you send a message to friends that literally just read 'Yo.'? Nothing else. Sounds ridiculous, right? But it blew up, gaining momentum and national attention on a huge scale before a just as quick crash and burn.
In the last few years there have been a number of new platforms like Yo that emerge and either die off quickly or skyrocket to popularity before being bought up by one of the bigger players (think WhatsApp which was purchased by Facebook in late 2014). In 2016 though, as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google focus on innovations, new offerings and expanded capabilities, it's likely the focus will be on the established big players figuring out how to gain new users versus emerging opportunities.