US Social Media Trends for 2016

SocialMediaTrends2016Increased ad spend, growth in ad blocking, and more live streaming are just a few of the 2016 US social trends analyzed by a recent eMarketer report. The report is intended to help advertisers understand social media marketing opportunities, potential challenges, and forecasts where the industry is headed. We’ve summarized some of the key findings from the report as well as provided some actionable insights on what marketers can do based on these predictions.

TV Ad Dollars Will Shift to Social

While major TV networks are starting to see a decline in ratings and viewership due to the growth in cord-cutting and streaming services, Facebook video viewership significantly increased in 2015. As of November 2015, Facebook users viewed 8 billion videos per day and that number is only expected to grow in 2016.

  • What Can Marketers Do: Make sure the social teams and TV advertising teams are working together to create content that can be viewed both on television and across social media networks. In addition, determine how to measure the performance of each medium separately as well as collectively to better understand the value to your brand.


Social Media Networks Must Respond to Ad Blocking

Ad blocking technology is on the rise due to consumers’ growing concerns with privacy and seeing ads they don’t like. Facebook even reported ad blocking as a risk factor to their current advertising business.

  • What Can Marketers Do: Make sure all ads are relevant. People tend to block ads that are not of interest or relevant to them so it’s important to really understand the target audience and ensure that the ads are helpful to them. Utilize Facebook’s relevance score to measure the relevancy of your current advertising efforts and adjust targeting and creative accordingly.

Influencer Marketing Will Continue to Grow

Influencer marketing isn’t new, but it is predicted to gain popularity and more importance in 2016 — especially with the rise of ad blocking. What makes influencer marketing even more attractive to brands is that 40% of respondents in the 13-20 age segment said that partnering with internet celebrities would make a brand more appealing to them.

  • What Can Marketers Do: Determine the goal and success metrics of an influencer campaign, allocate an influencer marketing budget, and identify the types of influencers you want to work with. Learn more about what to expect when working with influencers here.

Cross-Platform Targeting Progress Will Be Slow

While marketers love Facebook’s vast targeting capabilities, there isn’t currently a way to utilize that type of targeting across platforms and devices and it doesn’t look like there will be in 2016. Facebook re-launched an ad server, Atlas, about a year ago that enables advertisers to target on a “real person” model versus cookie based. This could be promising, but it will take time.

  • What Can Marketers Do: Create collaborative paid media strategies that help funnel consumers through the decision process. In addition, brands should consider partnering with a data science team that utilizes multi-attribution technology to better understand which paid media channels are effective and how each channel plays a role in the path to purchase.


Buy Buttons Require a Shift in Consumer Behavior

While most, if not all, major social networks introduced buy buttons in 2014 and 2015, the adoption of those services by consumers has been minimal. Consumers are spending more time on social media, but a holiday shopping research report shows that users prefer to find discounts or research ideas on social media rather than make purchases.

  • What Can Marketers Do: Test buy buttons with relevant products that don’t require a lot of decision making and utilize social networks where social commerce makes sense.


Live Streaming Will Become More Prominent

Twitter is currently investing more into Periscope and Facebook is updating its algorithm to give live streaming video priority in the Newsfeed. In addition, Snapchat and Instagram could also be adding in real time video streaming technologies.

  • What Can Marketers Do: Incorporate live streaming into social media content calendars and create consistent, quality content. Give your audience an exclusive, unedited look at a real time event so they can be part of that experience.

Value in Messaging Apps

The number of US mobile messaging app users is expected to rise in 2016 and with it, marketers’ excitement over the potential advertising opportunities. Messenger and Whatsapp, two Facebook owned services, are predicted to dominate the mobile messaging market, however, many advertisers have their eyes set on Snapchat. 36% of advertisers are interested in advertising on Snapchat according to a 2015 survey by RBC Capital Markets and Advertising Age.

  • What Can Marketers Do: Explore different opportunities on each of the mobile messaging platforms to determine which makes the most sense to invest your time and resources in. Understand the demographics of each app, its functionality, and how it can be used for different marketing initiatives like customer service.


What other social media predictions do you have for 2016?

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