8 Social Media Trends for 2016

It’s that time of year where everyone is making predictions for next year. eMarketer recently held a webinar called ‘Social Media Trends for 2016’ which included eight trends to watch out for in the next year. Before we get to the predictions, let’s recap Social media to date. Eighty-eight percent of U.S. marketers use social networks for marketing including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Social networks will take in 18% of all U.S. digital ad spending in 2015 and one in five digital ad dollars in 2016. There have been three major changes to social media this year which include: Instagram shows ads, Facebook gets 8 billion video viewers per day and the buy button takes shape. According to eMarketer, below are trends to watch out for in 2016:

Trend #1: TV ad dollars will start to flow towards social and there are four factors for this prediction: social video’s importance to advertisers, Facebook has 8 billion video views per day, dollars are moving from TV to digital and social and Facebook adds Target Rating point (TRP) buying which helps advertisers feel comfortable increasing their social video budget. This means advertisers need to measure TV effectiveness relative to social. Advertisers cannot segregate social terms from video terms and social attribution will keep getting better as TV is decreasing.

Trend #2: Social properties will need to respond to ad blocking. Social properties say they aren’t affected, but they are and most blockers can’t block ads in apps. However, the ad blockers are getting smarter which is related to the larger use of Internet user privacy.

Trend #3: Influencer marketing will go mainstream. Fourteen percent of social media professionals worldwide don’t plan to use influencer marketing, 19% are in the first year of use, 32% are planning and 35% are optimizing. Influencers are important to the youth audience with 40% of 13-20 year-olds would be more interested in a brand if it partnered with an internet celebrity.

Trend # 4: The viewability debate will drag on with no consensus seen in the near future. Mobile viewability standards have yet to come to an agreement and until there’s an agreement it’ll be based off of dollars.

Trend #5: Slow progress for cross-platform targeting. Facebook’s Atlas ad server is a new way of thinking about targeting such as cross-device, cross-platform, cross-browser, based on Facebook data and it can target real people instead of using cookies.

Trend #6: Buy buttons will stay niche. Buy buttons are available but they require a change in consumers’ behaviors. Forty-eight percent of U.S. internet users say they don’t use social media to help with holiday shopping and 9% plan to buy directly from a social media site therefore, the holidays might not be as positive as some marketers are expecting. Retailers might need some extra time to figure out a strategy.

Trend #7: Live-streaming video will get real-time. This is only a matter of time before this is picked up especially by Millennials. Twitter is ahead of the pack by using this for public relations, promotions and influencer marketing. Snapchat and Instagram will most likely follow soon.

Trend #8: Messaging apps will be marketing’s next frontier. The number of people using mobile messaging is on the rise and Facebook’s messenger (900 million monthly active users) along with WhatsApp (700 million monthly active users) are expected to be the powerhouses behind this shift. Millennials are receptive to mobile device marketing which means advertisers need to explore customer service or publishing applications and functionality/utility which will be key in reaching untapped customers.


Jason Peaslee

Jason Peaslee is the Managing Partner of Thrive Analytics, a marketing research and analytics consulting firm. His career spans more than 20 years in marketing, advertising, product development, research, and business management. Before founding Thrive Analytics in 2010, he held several senior leadership roles at AT&T, Reynolds & Reynolds, Berry Network, & The Berry Company.

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