2015 was a big year for social media. Agencies spent less time wasted arguing the ‘why social’ debate, ad dollars moved fast, Facebook’s stock jumped 81 percent, and Instagram rolled out its advertising network. In 2016, the business of social media will continue to evolve rapidly. Here’s what’s next:


1. Messaging apps

… will become the way people subscribe to communications from businesses. Advertisers will pay to reach their messaging app subscribers with targeted messages, just like they do with email or SMS blasts. In the West, Messenger will become the leading messaging platform for brands due to its scale, resources, and data. In the Pacific, WhatsApp will continue to flourish as the preferred choice and in the East, WeChat will dominate as it continues to integrate advertising, content, commerce and literally everything.



2. Social Commerce

…will become fully integrated into social feeds and messaging apps. As it stands, the high traffic volumes from mobile to e-commerce sites have relatively low conversion rates due to poor UX. Buy buttons being tested by networks look to solve this problem for users and brands. Twitter’s already integrated commerce and the tech is flawless (see: @TwitterCommerce). Facebook is currently testing a Buy button in news feed (for brands) and Groups (for p2p commerce), and not to be outdone, Pinterest has launched Buyable Pins. This will put pressure on brands to not only be able to sell on their sites but also on social platforms.


3. Increased CPC & CPM

… as more and more brands shift their budgets into digital and platforms look to protect the user experience. In the last year alone, Facebook ads have gone up 128% – a result of it cutting out the number of desktops ads being displayed and fierce competition faced amongst brands for targeted audience attention. This trend is also true of influencer marketing in NZ, where bloggers, Instagramers and Youtubers are quickly catching on to their true advertising worth. Expect to pay around $10 per CPM (so for an influencer with 100K followers that is a cool $1,000 per pop).

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4. Periscope

… is the cool new kid on the block for 2016. With its real time video capabilities, allowing users to give a live video broadcast of some stretch of their lives, different brands are experimenting with the app to discover its best use for marketing. This in-the-moment style platform is in itself an emerging trend and may signal to brands the end of scheduled posts and the need for more agile marketing tactics (think Oreo and Tui Beer).


5. Hypertargeting & Personalisation

With wearable technology on the rise and mobile dominating as the preferred screen, geolocational targeting will become the advertising norm. Social platforms will expand their targeting abilities around these parameters and the increasing amount of data will enable brands to personalise interactions with customers and unleash the power of programmatic hypertargeting advertising technologies to scale. Filtering algorithms will allow platforms to feed highly personalised content pieces to users, this will make ‘organic’ content distribution even more challenging for brands – those that succeed will be the ones who master the art of storytelling in an authentic and contextual way.



6. Facebook TV

… will become a bigger video platform than Youtube. It’s rise in popularity will boil down to new embedding functionalities that will allow users to spread content across the web as well as the relative lack of ‘trolling’ (something Youtube continues to struggle with). That, and the fact that Facebook’s algorithm is pretty much the most powerful invention of the modern internet. As TV rating and ad sales continue to decline, digital video will continue to become the fastest growing ad format. Video content viewing will become highly personalised and Zukerberg expects video to be the only content on Facebook within five years’ time. You do the math


7. Wearables

… will surge in popularity. The small nature of wearable devices will see a shift in written (typed) communication to voice. Social media content will become more conversational and (even more) visual in nature and the brands that will succeed in this space will be the ones to quickly adapt their content strategies accordingly. The social networks that make the greatest efforts to appeal to wearable users will also be the ones to rapidly grow in popularity.


So yea… smart technology, messaging, commerce. 2016.


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