Top 5 Social Media Trends of 2015!

Matthew Marley - 17/12/2015 - 6 mins read - Social Strategy And Insight

Over the past few year social media has become a standard channel of communication for both consumers and brands. Platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have seen significant growth and have become established as new media outlets, eclipsing traditional outlets like TV, Radio and Newspapers, as a more appealing channel for getting content to penetrate the viewer’s consciousness, and stay in it!

With the social media market continuing to evolve at a rapid rate it is safe to say that a lot of things changed throughout 2015. We saw some major changes to the Facebook newsfeed and the continued decline of organic reach for brands, the explosion of live streaming with the launch of Meerkat and Twitter’s Periscope and the accelerated growth of mobile messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Snapchat.

This year we also witnessed many brands coming of age on social media. Top brands such as L’Oreal, GoPro and Burberry kept customers engaged and entertained on their social media properties by offering unique and valuable content that was not only visually compelling but customer-centric, and creative.

As we head into the new year, many digital marketers are pondering what the social landscape will look like in 2016. Will buy buttons take over? Will Facebook continue to expand into a content platform and will Twitter finally put a smile on investors’ faces!

We have a few of our own predictions for you. However, before we do share those we wanted to take some time to look at some of the biggest social media marketing trends and developments over the past 12 months.

Organic Reach

Facebook organic reach has continued to decline significantly for brands in 2015. Research by Social@Ogilvy shows that changes to Facebook’s algorithm have reduced the average exposure of unpaid posts from pages with this number dropping to just 2% for pages with more than 500,000 likes.

This chart below shows Facebook’s declining organic reach, according to the research from Social@Ogilvy, charted against Facebook’s stock price during the same period.

So what does this mean for brands? Well, brands which publish content to Facebook are increasingly finding that they have to pay the social network if they actually want users to see it; a monetisation strategy which appears to be working well for Facebook .

As overall organic reach of content declines, paid impressions continue to rise! According to data from marketing management company Adobe. In the first quarter, companies’ organic post impressions declined 35% compared with the same period a year ago, while paid impressions grew 8%.

Paid Social

With the decline in organic reach and the increasing use of ad blocking, advertisers are being forced to find new ways to reach consumers. Over the past 12 months we have seen more brands moving their digital spend to social and mobile.

Digital advertisers worldwide spent $23.68 billion on paid media to reach consumers on social networks this year, making an increase of 33.5% from 2014. Spend on social ad will continue to grow with expectations that it will reach $35.98 billion by 2017, equating to 16% of all digital ad spending globally.

Brands are no longer just competing with other brands for their audience's attention, they’re also competing with the likes of celebrities and media outlets. To deliver the most efficient social campaigns, brands really need to be looking at much more in-depth sophisticated targeting strategies that enables them to target the right audience at the right time through social ads.

Facebook Video

Video content is HUGE on Facebook and continues to grow! The company has now hit 8 billion views daily from its 500 million users up from 4 billion in April. So what's behind this growth? Well, Facebook has been rolling and testing lots of new features that include auto play video, video ads  and also a new suggested video interface that recommends additional clips to watch based on the information you have shared on your profile.

This means brands can can no longer ignore Facebook video! With the Facebook algorithm currently prioritising video content to make up 30% of the News Feed, brands are now being rewarded with higher engagement rates on their video content compared to what they have previously seen on YouTube.

By prioritizing video content in the News Feed, Facebook is clearly going after YouTube and other video sharing platforms as it looks looks to solidify itself as the new king of video!

Instagram Ads

In September this year we saw Instagram launch their native ad platform globally allowing businesses of all sizes to use Instagram to reach their target audience and tell visual and creative stories related to their business.

More exciting for brands and marketers is the level of engagement on Instagram compared to other social channels. Engagement rate on Instagram is calculated based on likes, comments and shares and is currently at a rate of between 3.1% (Socialbakers research) to 4.2% (Forrester research). Which is considerably higher when compared to Twitter and Facebook who have engagement rates of .07% and below.

Analysts have also predicted that Instagram will surpass both Google and Twitter in mobile ad revenue by 2017 with its mobile ad revenue predicted to reach at least $2.81 billion

Live Streaming

2015 was the year of live streaming! Meerkat, Twitter and Facebook all launched their own live streaming video apps. Brands have been quick to respond — experimenting with new ways to incorporate live streaming video technology into their marketing mix.

Big brands such as GE, Adidas,Nestle and Doritos are using the new generation of streaming apps to their advantage sharing live video broadcasts and connecting with their communities in a whole new way, allowing them to reach a broader audience and create a more intimate relationship with potential customers all over the world..

The rise of faster data connections mixed with these new live streaming apps bring numerous possibilities for brands and marketers. Live streaming is a fantastic way to bring live events to life on digital platforms, offer behind-­the‐scenes access to your community, run Q&A’s and product demos all in real-time.

So there we have it! Our biggest social media trends of 2015! What other social media trends did you spot? Is there anything we’ve missed? Or is there something here you think we’ve got completely wrong? Tell us!

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