The state of social media in 2016

We're delighted to present a guest blog post from Youth Marketing Strategy media partner PSONA Social. Read on for their breakdown of 2016 social media predictions: 

It’s that time of the year where we all take stock, look back and review what has changed over the course of the previous year.  This then allows us to look forward and try to predict what might be big in 2016.  As we are all aware, social media is the fastest paced of all the digital marketing spaces, new features and platforms are being introduced on a monthly basis and the audience is permanently on the move.  Our challenge is to keep on top of these trends and features to deliver the best approach our clients can get.

There were a lot of changes in the market in 2015 but we have picked out our top insights from 2015:  

Undeniably, video content on social media has become the preferred medium for many brands over the past 12 months. A report released earlier in the year from Business Insider has shown that online video ads are now generating three times more clicks compared to other ad formats such as mobile, display and rich media.

YouTube has dominated the video market for many years; however YouTube’s supremacy at the top is beginning to crack with the most obvious threat coming from the Internet’s most popular social media platform: Facebook. With over 4 billion views daily video content on Facebook continues to grow significantly, which has led to many industry experts and analysts predict that it will eventually outgrow YouTube to become the #1 video sharing platform.

One thing we want to keep an eye on in 2016 will be how the millennials audience, in particular their selection of newer social platforms, will change this dynamic.

Undoubtedly the channel of choice for the youth market, with over 400 million users Instagram’s growth has seen explosive growth in 2015, it  surpassed Twitter to become the second most popular social network globally and is soon to become one of Facebook's biggest growth drivers with many key industry analysts predicting that Instagram could will be generating from mobile display revenue than Google and Twitter by 2017.

To achieve this growth Instagram rolled out its self-serve ad platform in September and has quickly become the hottest new advertising platform for some of the world’s biggest brands such as John Lewis, Michael Kors and Mercedes-Benz.

A study conducted by Forrester has also shown that top brands on Instagram are seeing engagement rates as high as 4.2% making is the undisputed king of engagement for 2015 which we expect to continue in 2016!

2015 has seen messaging and chat apps continue their rise in popularity, especially among millennials. Apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Snapchat are some of the most used apps globally and continue to dominate the Appstore charts with many featuring in the Top 10 apps on both Apple and Google’s Appstore’s, leading to an increasing number of people migrating to these apps for their day-to-day communications.

Mobile messaging is changing the way consumers communicate, and the personal nature of these apps will create many new challenges which brands will have to overcome. Brands will have to experiment and adapt their strategies while having a clear process for each platform.

However, we have already seen several innovative brands successfully tap into one of the biggest messaging apps, Snapchat, including Taco Bell, General Electric and Heineken. These apps create a massive opportunity for brands and we expect to see more join the messaging revolution in 2016.

With 2015 behind us and 2016 well underway we’ve attempted to take a look forward and highlight what we think 3 of the key trends are likely to be:

The obsession with live-streaming/video will continue in 2016, especially as popular apps such as Periscope and Blab add new features. Facebook has also announced that it will open up its Facebook Live feature which will allow users to live stream directly from the Facebook app to their newsfeed. With a youth market who are increasingly willing to share their every life moment with their audience we think this is likely to take off in a big way.  The challenge for brands will be how to harness this real-time event for their benefit.

With the launch of 360 video on Facebook we expect to see a lot more creative video content in 2016. Brands such as Mountain Dew, AT&T, Nestle, Mondelez, Coca Cola and Samsung, among others have been given early access to the new VR style ads which have allowed the brands to be more creative when create ads using video content.

These new content formats are just the beginning of what Facebook could potentially have in store for us with the Oculus Rift VR headset which they have developed with Samsung.

We can see a number of industries taking advantage of this technology. For example, the travel and hospitality industries could utilise this video format to promote their hotels and locations giving users a new virtual way to sample their next holiday destination before booking. Much in the same way people use Google Street View to plan their journeys.

We expect Facebook and other popular social platforms to continue to tweak their newsfeed algorithms making it harder for business to reach their target audience organically. We also predicate a surge in social ad spend due to increased use of ad-blocking software.  Combine this with a more advanced advertising offering being rolled out by the newer platforms such as Snapchat we can be pretty certain this is going to play a big part in the marketing spend of most large businesses.

According to a recent report from PageFair the use of ad-blocking in the UK has grew 82% in the last 12 month and is expected to cost publishers nearly $22 billion in 2015 alone. As a result many advertisers are now turning to social media and native ads as the primary way to reach consumers online.

PSONA Social is an event partner for Voxburner's latest event, Youth Marketing Strategy London 2016.

To find out more about PSONA Social, head over to the PSONA Social website.

Haven't gotten your tickets for YMS LDN 2016 yet? Head on over to our event page for more information on the biggest youth marketing conference in Europe.