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Killer Social Trends that are Revolutionising 2016

April 4, 2016

Social Trends 2016

Social is seeing some impactful trends emerge this year, and here we explore the top three. Whatever platforms your brand uses, mobile continues to dominate social usage, so be sure to address mobile optimisation together with the following key trends:

1. The Buy Button

Social media has played a crucial role in consumer engagement and sales over the past few years, and coupled with the magnitude of mobile, the introduction of buy buttons will be key to advertising strategies in 2016. In the US, 2014 saw $3.3 billion in sales that could be tracked to social media, while more recently, research found social influences more shoppers’ buying decisions than retail websites.

Harnessing purchase behaviour

Social is a great way of boosting engagement, and it also fits really well with the purchase behaviour cycle. The experience of looking at a desired product, discussing it with friends and making the decision to buy it has at last made the transition from the shopping mall to social media. And while consumers still log on via static devices, mobile is the primary social device, with an estimated one of every five minutes spent on a mobile phone in the US being on Facebook or Instagram.

Bringing the impulse buy to mobile

Due to a previous lack of established ecosystem, buy buttons have been a long time coming, but Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter have now all launched their versions. Statistics indicate a slow start to adoption, however, with many platforms’ buy buttons still in the testing phase, a lack of awareness and a limited range of items available to purchase, consumers are likely holding out for their favourite brands before trying it out. Once this happens, buy buttons are set to become huge, and will enable impulse buys as well as everyday purchases, predominantly on mobile.

Bridging the mobile conversion gap

Even with the huge popularity of mobile, shoppers have shown reluctance to purchasing products on their smartphones, citing the hassle of going through the checkout process on a small screen as a major reason for this. Buy buttons will bridge that conversion gap, capitalising on the surge in mobile browsing by massively simplifying the mobile buying process.
In 2016, the addition of buying functionality in social media provides marketers with a welcome new alternative to traditional advertising, and an exceptional targeting opportunity.

2. Sticking with Twitter

Despite concerns about Twitter’s plummeting shares, slowing user growth and its desire to compete with Facebook, this year is poised to become the platform’s best yet. Twitter has over three hundred million active users, and its total audience is almost a billion people. Only around fifteen per cent of active users post on Twitter, but, like other platforms, it’s the remaining eighty-five per cent who are the top content consumers.

Increased accessibility to logged-out users

Twitter’s Chief Operating Officer, Adam Bain, estimates logged-out users to be worth $2.5 each per year to advertisers, versus $4 for logged-in users. This is a staggering $1.3 billion that’s simply waiting to be capitalised upon.
Twitter has been working hard to improve advertising opportunities and make it easier for users to explore content, and this is great news for marketers. New methods of displaying ads mean that they can be seen in more places, such as in search results and other unrelated mobile apps, making ads visible to hundreds of millions more logged-out users.

Improved publishing opportunities

There are rumours of a relaxation of the character limit and this feature, known internally as ‘Beyond 140’, is expected roll out this quarter. The anticipated update could see an increase to ten thousand characters, and the possible discounting of usernames and links in the character count. While Tweets would still appear in the same way, there will be an indication that there is more content that can be expanded, vastly improving ad and content publishing for marketers.

Monetisation and scale via embedded Tweets

Video will be key in Twitter usage this year, particularly with it now being possible to monetise embedded Tweets. Pre-roll ads are placed in front of premium content, and it’s possible for those ads to be displayed when the Tweets are embedded across other sites. Available through Twitter Amplify, no other platform currently offers this level of scale.
2016 will prove that Twitter’s power lies in its billion-strong audience who passively watch content, offering marketers a solid visual platform from which there is guaranteed visibility and vast scalability.

3. Private Communications

There has been a surge in the creation of private groups on social platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn, and this is where consumers are stating they get the most value. There is also a noticeable shift towards messaging apps including Facebook Messenger, Snapchat and WhatsApp. Both these trends will continue to rise in 2016, and both are seeing the biggest usages on mobile, so it is imperative for marketers to optimise their brands’ mobile web experiences to make the most of these private social spaces.

Showcase valuable content

Private groups offer brands the opportunity to provide consumers with valuable content and to engage in meaningful discussions. This means that consumers can obtain relevant information quickly via platforms they are familiar with. The quality of content within private groups is key, as it grabs the attention of consumers and drives positive brand awareness.

Provide outstanding customer service

More people are using social platforms to resolve customer service concerns, with such requests increasing more than 2.5X in the past two years, with the vast majority (80%) coming in via Twitter. Although Twitter currently leads the way in terms of volume of requests, the popularity of other platforms like Facebook Messenger means that 2016 is likely to see an increase in requests across all social platforms. Facebook has addressed the trend with new features, such as a Messenger plugin for websites so that consumers can contact brands without encountering disruption to their browsing experience. Private messaging developments on all social platforms should ultimately lead to automation options that will optimise social media customer service provision. Until then, brands should harness the value of private communications and be vigilant in their responses to consumer queries.

Private communications on social media enable marketers to share high-quality content with an engaged audience, and to demonstrate exceptional customer service. This in turn develops personal and meaningful relationships with consumers, driving increased traffic, positive brand awareness and improved ROI.