A glimpse into the future – we predict what social media will look like in 2016.

Year upon year, social media has changed. Now, more than ever, it’s becoming an integrated marketing tool, rather than a channel on its own (y’see, everyone thought it was a fad to begin with) but if the last few years have shown us anything, it’s that social media for brands is here to stay. As with most trends, patterns start forming way before they actually happen, and we’ve been keeping our ears to the ground (and fingers to our screens) to scope out what’s next for social media. So, to channel our inner Mystic Meg, here are our social media predictions for 2016…

The Rise of Instads 

A few months back, we tried and tested Instagram ads (if you fancy a nosey, you can read it here) and were pretty impressed with the results. While still in the early stages, Instagram ads are already becoming a regular medium for both big and small brands. As the ads run through Facebook, it has all the benefits of their in-depth advertising capabilities with the juicy bonus of reaching followers on an entirely different platform – one that lends itself very well to great visual content. Already, Instagram are experimenting with different styles of ads, including carousels, videos and gifs, but it’s slightly limited. Looking towards the next year, will we able to use Instagram ads to achieve as many objectives as we can through Facebook? It would be great to see them rolling out ads aimed at growing your Instagram followers (similar to page like ads on Facebook) or maybe even in-app boosted posts. Going forward, how will users react to seeing more ads featured on their feeds?

instagram ads review

Viva La Video!

This year, video will be getting even bigger. We saw a meteoric rise of video content in 2015, but the next 12 months looks to be all about keeping ’em short and snappy. With channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram refining their platforms to optimise video content, we’re seeing it being used in ways we’ve never seen before. Look out for eye-catching, micro-campaigns (we’re talking 3-6 seconds) of marketing gold, all wrapped up in pure cinematic wonder and punchy gifs. On top of that, it’s no secret that Facebook have taken a big, fat chunk of YouTube’s views since developing their video hosting options (complete with auto-play, and all the perks of their in-depth analytics) – will Facebook continue to take over, or will YouTube return, revved and ready to rumble? Only time will tell.

Click to Buy

Social platforms have been toying with idea of ‘instant buys’ for a while now, but one of the hottest and most exciting announcements comes from the guys over at Pinterest. In general, Pinterest is known as more of an ‘image collating’ platform rather than social, but when it comes to retaining user attention, it’s leaps and bounds above the rest (Pinterest users spend on average around 14 minutes per visit – which is more than any other). Pinterest introduced Buyable Pins in June 2015 and have been working with the likes of IBM, Apple and Magento to bring it to life: by October, the company said there were more than 60 million Buyable Pins on the platform. With the ever growing demand for faster, easier purchases, instant social media buys could potentially change e-commerce as we know it.

pinterest buyable links

News and the Newsfeed

On top of being one of the biggest platforms for brands, social media is rapidly becoming the most popular source for news. According to journalism.org, 63% of Facebook and Twitter users consider the platforms as their primary source of news, a number that has increased massively since the previous year. This might have something to do with Facebook’s trending feature (not to mention Notify, their news alert app) and Twitter’s recently-announced ‘Moments‘ feature, which highlights the latest trending news from around the world. Additionally, Facebook also introduced Instant Articles, a way for media companies to instantly publish articles to Facebook feeds instead of using links to draw people to their website. We’re expecting to see more of this rolling out in the new year – the question is, will this be another advertising platform for brands (eg: sponsored press) or will it be a competition for newsfeed space between brands and news publishers?

The Full Bhoona – Multi-Platform Campaigns

As we mentioned, social media is now an integral part of a marketing campaign rather than a separate beast altogether; and while social media-specific campaigns have been all the rage up until now, we’re starting to see more and more brands adopting an integrated approach. Rather than older mediums becoming extinct in the face of social media (as many people expected) they have now evolved to work hand in hand with various social platforms – thus resulting in huge, multi-platform, experiential campaigns that capture potential customers at a number of different touch points. We’re expecting to see more of this in 2016 from not only the biggest players, but smaller ones too.

What are your thoughts on social media in 2016? If you’d like any help with your social media, get in touch with our MadeSocial team.  

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