2016 Predictions: What’s In Store for Social Media in the New Year?

Published by Engagement Labs on December 23, 2015

We think it’s safe to say that 2015 was a big year for social media. The year brought us some of the biggest changes yet with the inclusion of buy buttons on social channels, the increase in paid social media and the launch and exponential growth of newer platforms such as Periscope, MeerKat and Snapchat.

With 2015 reaching its end and 2016 upon us, we sat down with our CEO, Bryan Segal, to reflect on the past year and get his perspective on what’s in store for 2016. Here are some of the insights and predictions Bryan had to share regarding social media in 2016 and where it’s headed:

The Data Never Lies

Billions of dollars are being poured into social media channels by brands all over the world. However, brands are still using very traditional social media measures to evaluate the success of these channels.

Basing their social media success on metrics such as number of followers, likes, shares, retweets, etc. brands are missing out on vital information that can really help improve their social media campaigns.

In 2016, we predict that brands will be turning to big data companies to find additional metrics to measure and benchmark their social success, while also pulling more in-depth insights from this data to help improve their online and offline marketing strategies.

Source: Engagement Labs’ eValueTM 2015 data of Canadian Automobiles, part of Total Social measurement 

With more social media-related data and analytics at their disposal, such as Total SocialTM measurement, brands will receive a 360-degree view of how their brand is performing both online and offline, ultimately allowing effective and efficient measurement of their campaigns.

Show Them the Money

2015 saw the continual rise of Facebook paid advertisements, which propelled the social media platform past its competitors. We saw more and more brands take advantage of the valuable advertising programs offered by Facebook and online channels to extend their reach beyond organic methods.

So what can we expect in 2016? More social media channels are catching on to the value of paid reach, which has them hopping on board. It doesn’t stop there though! In 2016 we should be seeing the advertising opportunities offered by Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat evolve significantly as well.

Chatting with Generation Y

Millennials are still the talk of the social media world as the generation grows in spending power and gains more influence. Thriving on instant gratification, this generation of consumers is best reached using social media platforms.

In 2016, brands will put more focus on the buzzworthy generation by providing quicker responses, witty content and instant access to products and services. The new year will see heavy emphasis placed on appeasing this audience quickly, whether it’s addressing concerns or allowing users to purchase their merchandise faster.

One example of a brand using witty social posts is Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. This year they launched a holiday campaign with tree-shaped chocolate products. The problem? They didnt really look like trees. Reese’s responded to the online uproar with witty tweets celebrating the hashtag #alltreesarebeautiful.

Expect to see more examples of brands embracing this type of social media activity in 2016 to connect with Generation Y.

One-to-One Targeting

Looking to market to a 28 year-old female who lives in San Francisco? Well, the way social media has evolved it’s become easier for brands to target based on gender, age and location.

2016 will take it a step further as brands will focus on understanding consumer behaviours so as to invest in online marketing strategies that will disseminate content towards specific individuals that they believe will purchase their products.

This takes it from having one-on-one conversations with a 28 year-old female who lives in San Francisco to communicating with someone as specific as a 28 year-old female who lives in San Francisco who loves rock-climbing, reading and listening to the latest Justin Bieber album.

Channelizing Social Media

The digital world is becoming very much like a TV, with each social media platform serving as a different “channel” offering specific “programming”. That is to say, we’re seeing social media platforms cater towards a specific need based on their capabilities.

For instance, Periscope was created to share live video feeds with followers, while Snapchat was designed to share short images/videos with a 24-hour expiration time. With these capabilities in mind, users are starting to use social media channels to share specific content.

As 2016 progresses, we’ll see more social media channelization as brands use certain social channels for a particular purpose. Twitter is already being used for news and real-time updates, whereas Instagram is the platform to share visuals.

As more platforms are adopted by brands, we’ll see shifts in what type of content will be posted and shared on individual social media channels.

Watch Out for 2016

While 2015 saw the social media revolution expand globally, 2016 will see many more changes. Keep your eyes peeled as we’ll see old social media channels revitalize themselves, while new channels make an immediate splash on the market.  

At the core of social media is great content, relevant information, audience loyalty, creativity, community engagement, driving impact with your audience, and being able to scale from local to global in a manner that is consumer-centric and highly responsive.

Exciting changes are in store and we, here at Engagement Labs, are ecstatic to be along for the ride. Happy New Year and we’ll see you in 2016!

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About eValue™:

The eValue™ score measures the effectiveness of a brand’s overall social media performance on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram and provides a score from 0 – 100. It’s the aggregate of the three subscores including Engagement, Impact, and Responsiveness that work together to create one top-level KPI. Our subscores are calculated by using hundreds of submetrics which are then benchmarked against a hand-picked database of 100,000 verified brand accounts on each channel.

Engagement: Measures the level of interaction generated by your content and how well your community reacts to it.

Impact: Measures how many unique users have potentially been exposed to a piece of content posted by the channel’s admin through organic, viral and paid reach.

Responsiveness: Measures the rate, speed and quality of your responses to fans.