2016 Social Media Reflections and Predictions

Chris Naff - January 12, 2016

2015 was a peculiar year for social media. Google changed Google+, Twitter recognized it needed some changes, and marketers (finally) began to accept the decline in Facebook’s organic reach. Though we can never be sure what the future may hold, here are some observations and predictions to keep in mind for 2016.

Facebook Will Continue to Dominate

Facebook continued to innovate in 2015 with the launch of its 360 degree video product. And not only did the world’s largest social network continue to climb above 1 billion monthly active users, Facebook actually experienced 1 billion users active on the platform in a single day during 2015. That’s incredible. Given the depth of its user base, the strength of Facebook’s targeted advertising abilities may ease the concern many marketers had with the decline in organic traffic leading into 2015. One brand is going so far as to bet the success of the company on Facebook’s ad platform.

Seeing that more marketers are putting their faith in Facebook’s ad platform, and the continued growth of subsidiary platforms like Instagram and WhatsApp, the world’s largest social network will continue to be the world’s strongest social network in 2016.

The Year for Twitter to Decide Its Fate

Recently we had a strategy call with a client and they asked “Is Twitter still worth it?” It’s not a bad question. The platform’s growth has stalled, engagement appears to have dropped, and advertisers are quick to point out the chunkiness of the ad platform.

In 2015, these factors and more lead to the return of Twitter’s co-founder Jack Dorsey as CEO. Since returning, Dorsey has lead the charge as the company introduced new products like Moments, and even toyed with the idea of implementing a Facebook-like algorithm in order to make sure users see the Tweets most relevant to them. While the company may struggle to understand who a user (those logged on and those who see tweets without logging on) truly is, if they can win back some of the attention lost in the last 12-18 months, then 2016 could be their best year yet.

For those still wondering, we answered the client’s question by saying “Yes, Twitter remains an important platform for your social media marketing efforts.”

The Peripherals & the Up-And-Comers

It’s hard to argue Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest are on the periphery of social media marketing, but their audience size is dwarfed by Facebook on a daily basis and Twitter remains the juggernaut for breaking news. That said, Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest saw significant growth in their audience and engaged users.

The popularity of these platforms is derived in their unique nature. Not only is Instagram great for photo-sharing, it has become a strongly engaged community. Pinterest remains a great place for inspiration of all sorts, and has become more and more of an online shopping destination. Snapchat is perhaps the most unique platform of all; though many use the one-to-one ephemeral messaging that turned the company mainstream, 2015 was the year more brands joined Snapchat than ever before. Even though these (slightly) smaller networks require a very unique approach, maybe 2016 will be the right time for your brand to join if it hasn’t already.

This year will no doubt be one in which social media continues to establish its marketing prowess. And while many companies have grown accustomed to have a presence on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, it will be important to recognize that opportunities abound in new and growing platforms.

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