Decoding 2016’s Key Social Marketing Trends

Social Media Advertising
It’s that time of the year again when we look ahead to see what’s in store for digital and social in the next twelve months. Will 2016 continue with the trends that were mapped out in 2015? This past year saw an elevation of personalised content and in-depth audience targeting. And no doubt, data analytics had a huge role to play in social media and Twitter advertising. We decode the forecasted 2016 social trends so you make sure your brand is ahead of the curve in 2016.

Video Continues To Dominate

2015 was hailed as the year of video. Twitter’s launch of Periscope has encouraged the creation of more video content on the social network. In fact, research from Twitter revealed that Twitter users enjoy engaging with video. The research also mentioned that native Twitter videos drive more overall engagement than third-party videos shared on Twitter. So it comes as no surprise that one of the biggest trends forecasted for 2016 will be “The Video Evolution”, as mentioned by James Whatley and Marshall Manson of Ogilvy. Video ads will be omnipresent on social in the coming year.
What does this mean?
Content marketing will get a bigger boost with a focus on producing engaging video content, perhaps, with a combination of virtual reality and social media. Back in October, Twitter’s SVP of Product, Kevin Weil announced that he’s a big fan of virtual reality, and hinted that it might come to Twitter. He also mentioned that Periscope has tons of great content just waiting to be discovered by Twitter users. An exciting year for video!

More Precise Targeting, Better Personalisation

Customer centricity has been a priority for marketers in the past couple of years, and with the growth of social data it’ll only increase in 2016. Hubspot terms this “Relationship Marketing”. Stronger customer loyalty and long-term customer engagement will boil down to one specific area: Better understanding of your audience and increased personalisation of ads.
What does this mean?
Marketers will experience a greater push for data-driven marketing and the demand to build greater trust between brands and their target audience will increase. The public and open nature of Twitter will be a blessing for brands who want to form deeper relationships with their audience. Personalisation will be the key to ensuring that a brand’s messaging is being heard by their target audience and insights from data-driven marketing will deliver this on a larger scale.

Buy Buttons Will Explode

When Twitter announced its Buy Now Button back on October, it opened a whole new avenue for brands. Now there was a way for brands to simplify the purchasing process for a large segment of their audience who were extremely well-verse with the social network. So it’s no surprise that a forecasted 2016 social trend is the growth of “Buy Buttons”.
What Does This Mean?
As mentioned in our earlier blog about Twitter’s Buy Button, relevance is the biggest priority for strategies combining content and commerce. Brands will have to be extra careful in the way they optimise their messaging for the Buy Now feature on Twitter. Targeting and personalisation will come into play to find the ideal buyer so that there is no lost opportunity. Personality Insights will also a binding factor in giving brands insights into buying behaviour.

Bigger Ad Spend Growth

According to Carat’s Ad Spend Report, the advertising forecast for 2016 is looking increasingly bright for digital. The global media network is predicting a +14.3% of ad spend growth for the next year. Advertising will get bigger and more sophisticated in the next year, especially in the face of increased use of ad-blocking software.
What Does This mean?
Brands will have to be smarter in how they deliver their messages to the end-user. With ad-blocking becoming a reality, they will turn increasingly to social media to reach customers online. With the growth in social media adoption, social media advertising is bound to be a big part of advertising budgets, and we’re sure to see this trend more in 2016. Brands with larger ad spends will do well to marry social and legacy customer data to get the most out of their campaigns. Joining up these two sources of data will undoubtedly help in providing a 360-degree view of your customer.
These are, perhaps, the biggest forecasted trends that are expected to be visibly noticeable in 2016. 2015 ushered in a new era of social marketing, and 2016 will be the year where it gets slightly more sophisticated.
Other trends that didn’t make the list, but are definitely in our watch list:
Influencer Marketing: Many brands did well with influencer marketing in 2015. Puma was one of the brands that used it on a big scale. Influencer marketing can be a great way of having user-generated content, ensuring that your brand has a human voice. No doubt, we will see more of that in the next twelve months.
If Millennials were of 2015, Generation Z are of 2016: Again, James Whatley and Marshall Manson of Ogilvy warn not to assign labels to large groups of population who fit into certain boxes. Whether it’s Millennials or Gen Z, personalisation and relevance will still be key.
Content Marketing as a whole: We have mentioned content marketing earlier in this blog, but in relevance to videos. Content marketing will have an even bigger role to play in 2016. Social media marketing has always been about content and messaging, and with ad spend growing, there will be a greater push to create more relevant, personal, insightful and compelling content.
What are some other social trends that you think will be key in 2016? Let us know in the comments below.

New Call-to-action