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Top 6 Social Media Trend Predictions For The Year 2016

Social media marketing has always been a fast changing field.

New social networks come and go (bye Ello!). User preferences change with a blink of an eye (Twitter, we still think you gonna make it this year!). And as a business, you are lured with new advertising options and lucrative numbers, while you struggle to understand, which social platform is the place to reach your target audience.

To stay ahead of the game and create an ultimate social media action plan for 2016, here are the top 6 trend predictions that will lead the change.

  • New E-commerce Features Will Become Available

Social networks are estimated to have generated several billion dollars of revenue for online retailers in 2015. However, the companies want more.Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest are listening carefully. In 2016, we can expect better-paid ad options, smarter analytics and additional “buy options” to prevail at all the main social media platforms.This year Facebook was the first to introduce direct click-throughs to advertisers websites. So far, the results have been rather good with an average price per click of just $0.49 for e-commerce sites. Ads placed in newsfeeds also proved to receive higher engagement rates and direct profits, rather than right sidebar ads.

Buyable pins come with a blue “Buy it” button in the upper right corner. Users can use blue price filters to refine the search and swipe through different color options if available.

Pinterest prediction
Pinterest prediction

Right now buyable pins are only available in selected regions for a selected group of brands and e-commerce platforms (Shopify, Magento, IBM Commerce, Demandware, Bigcommerce). However, you can sign up for the waiting list and get notified once the option becomes available for your business.

Instagram Image
Instagram Image

In June 2015 Instagram rolled out a selection of CTA buttons – “Shop Now”, “Learn More” and “Install Now” and by fall the feature has become available to all brands, who have Facebook Business Pages.

So far Instagram ad results were called “promising” by most brands. For instance, John Lewis sponsored Instagram campaign led to a 14 point lift in purchase intent among the targeted 25-34 year old females and a 10 point lift in ad recall.

Bottom line: In 2016, we should expect all social networks to work harder on e-commerce features and to offer new creative ways for brands to receive direct profits from their social channels.

  • New Publishing Formats Will Emerge

Social media platforms are now heavily focusing not only on user acquisition but user retention as well.The simple truth is – nothing keeps users on-site longer than an active stream of fresh content.In 2016, you should watch Facebook Instant Articles and in fact, the platform tries to lure publishers with 100% revenue share. We should expect the feature to become available to all users in 2016.Twitter Moments tries to retain users with what the social network has proven to do best so far – in the moment updates.  However, in the new attractive package of top highlighted stories and pictures, organized in an easy-to-digest manner.

Snapchat decided to follow a similar strategy and focus on delivering real-time news, to beat the reputation of a dorky teenage app for sending selfies.  The new Discover feature will pool out the best data from an individual location to create standalone visual stories delivered to the readers.  This feature already attracted the interest of a few major news publishers and might be the new “big thing” markets could use to reach the wider audience on Snapchat, especially during major events.

Bottom line: Social media platforms desperately seek new functionality to retain and entertain the users. For marketers, that means a new range of opportunities to watch for and learn to scale and utilize. Smhack will go with a bunch of new unique tools to help you stay everywhere and measure your reach accordingly. Sign up to our waiting list to receive early access!

  • Influencer Marketing will be on the Rise

    If influence marketing still doesn’t rank high on your agenda, you may want to over-think your decision for 2016. Just check out the facts:

    92 percent of consumers say they trust earned media – peer-to-peer advice and word of mouth – rather than any other type of advertising.
    85 percent of customers expect businesses to active in social media.
    Average influencer marketing ROI is $6.50 per each dollar spent.

    On average 25% of all branded search results consist of user-generated content. So far, just 65% of brands actively participate in influencer marketing. However, expect the number to grow in 2016, considering the lucrative ROI mentioned above.

    Jeff Bullas, Donna Moritz, Michael A Stelzner and Rebekah Radice are some of the social media influencers whom we follow closely at Smhack.


    Social Media Influencers
    Social Media Influencers
  •  Bottom line:  When it comes to social media, consumers expect brands to talk with them, rather than at them. The social media crowd became too prone to traditional advertising messages and expect companies to educate, engage and entertain them, rather than push direct sale offers. In 2016, Influencers will play a significant role in getting the brand’s story to it’s prospects, especially to the millennial consumers.

  • Video content and visual marketing will continue to prevail.
    This year we’ve anxiously watched the launch and development of 360 videos on Facebook – a game changing feature that some of the world’s top brands already tried this year.

    Virtual reality is around the corner, and social networks get more and more creative regarding in-the-moment visual updates. In 2016, we should expect more incredible video technology innovations from the platform.In 2015 users spent over 40 minutes per viewing session on YouTube and with Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram now actively playing the video game as well. Let’s also not forget about live-streaming apps like Periscope and Meerkat winning the hearts and minds of users worldwide. In fact, Facebook also announced to roll out Live stream feature later this year that allows users to stream content from the app directly to their news feeds.According to Social Media Today, 64% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase after watching a video online. 52% of marketers worldwide named video as their top performing type of content with the best ROI.

    Bottom line: In 2016 you can no longer afford to ignore video marketing altogether.

  • Privacy concerns will hit the all-time high.
    In 2015, we’ve witnessed some major data breaches (like the Ashley Madison case) and an overall rise in online safety concerns among the active web users.Part of this year’s Snapchat success could be due to the networks more private and secure communication method. Facebook has updated its privacy policy a few times this year, raising a negative backlash as well with the Real name policy.

    Bottom line: While social media can be an excellent tool for customer support, make sure you do not disclose any sensitive customer data publicly. For advertisers, that means a potential cut in marketing data as more and more users prefer to keep personal. Besides, most consumers now feel tired of social retargeting and the programmatic advertising (remember the notorious Target case), meaning there might be a few high profile legal cases before this practice is gone for good.

  • Get Ready To Spend More on Social Ads

    As social media platforms now offer great e-commerce and advertising functionality, it’s easy to assume that organically reaching your target audience will become rather difficult.Facebook, along with the others will continue to tweak the news feed algorithms, making it even harder for news businesses to build a following without a single dollar spent.In 2015, nearly 200 million users worldwide were using the ad-block software. For publishers, that meant an estimated loss of $22 billion in ad revenues. The number of ad block users is expected to grow by at least 40% more in 2016 and onward.

    Bottom line:  Social media advertising and native ads online are going to get costlier in the year 2016.

    We would like to know your views. What’s your prediction on social media trends for the year 2016?