What’s Up For Social in 2016
I’m lucky to get to work with an amazing group of people who work in social every day from a variety of different perspectives: Some buy media, others design, take photos, video, or write copy. We all come together to think up ideas, and I believe that diversity makes it possible for us to look at briefs in a much more creative way than if we all came from the same backgrounds.
So, when it comes to looking forward at what to expect to see change in social media in 2016, it only makes sense to pick the brains of the people who work in all corners of it every day.
To start off, I asked my co-founder and our Director of Advertising: Ryan Whyte
Spoiler: Video is Everything
2016 is going to see the continuing evolution of social advertising as all the major social advertising platforms are going to push video ads as their marquee units. They’ll be making it easier for brands and agencies by providing additional tools and features, similar to what YouTube and Facebook have already started to introduce.
Even more importantly, brands are shifting more and more of their budgets from TV to digital and since social advertising offers the best combination of ad units and reach, expect more and better quality video advertising from brands on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter in 2016.
Next, I asked our Account Manager/social copywriter/video editor/everything guy Flynn Lowry:
Spolier: Social Commerce
Social media for businesses and brands connects to a more holistic experience – one that’s far beyond the newsfeed, and that’s never been more true than in 2016.
When public social media channels were first introduced, almost immediately, brands seized the opportunity to participate – some much more subtly than others.
It is now, arguably, the best place to “window shop.” People see the stuff that brands want to show off when they want to show it off. The trouble is, online there usually isn’t a door next to the window to go inside and make a purchase.
Pinterest has launched buyable Pins, and they continue to improve the experience. Facebook and Shopify have the start of a beautiful friendship, but you can believe that Facebook has their sights set on improving the ecommerce experience. Others, such as Twitter, have dipped their toes in the water, but the “Social Commerce” space is poised to explode in coming years, as everybody makes moves to lower the click-count that it takes to get a product into a customer’s hands.
With that comes (read: requires) a better customer service experience directly within the social network itself. Facebook has already encouraged (read: shamed) users into responding faster and faster by displaying how active brands are when it comes to addressing direct messages. Watch businesses make moves to reduce, or eliminate, email as they smooth out the social shopping experience.
Then, our Art Director, Randy Gibson, took a surprising take at the next year in social – and it has little to do with design:
Spoiler: Social Comedy
In the last 5 years we have seen the birth of an astonishing amount of unique comical voices via social. As 2015 closes, I can openly admit that social media is the place is absorb 90%+ of my laughs.
It seems like the amount of hilarious content actually doubles on a monthly basis. I see this as a massive touch point for brands and it becoming even more so the king of content – specifically brand sponsored content. The internet has become an infinite-pit of super bowl-spot-worthy jokes. Personally, I fucking love it.
Next up is our resident YouTube-r and community manager Laura Reid. Given her perspective as an influencer herself, it was interesting to hear where she sees things headed
Spoiler: Real Time = Real Connections
I predict that instant updates will become even more instant – from snapchat to periscope, recording and posting your daily life in the moment will take over. Whether it’s connecting with your favourite social media influencers through live-streaming, exchanging funny messages with your close friends, or connecting with local people in your area (to find friends not just to find hot dates), it gives a more intimate user experience.
Streaming your life in real time, allows people to feel a connection with another person that they wouldn’t be able to get normally through a still image “posted 5 hours ago”. In 2016 I think all social media platforms will integrate live streaming/real-time content in some way.
Click the image to subscribe to Laura’s YouTube channel
So, that’s what the crew sees coming up for 2016, and given that they’re in it every day, spending most of their waking lives adapting the changes that have happened over the past several years, I’d say that they’re about as plugged-in a source as you can get.
My opinion? I thought that you’d never ask.
Spoiler: We’re Entering The Creative Age, and It’s Going to be Awesome
We’ve been through the blast & sell age (50s-60s. aka Mad Men days).
Then the anti-everything age where to sell, you just had to be different (70s-80s).
The introduction of the internet meant that we could target and scale ads back to the level where we could blast & sell (90s-00s).
The difference now, is that there aren’t clear divisions between brand and personal messages, and when there are, we just put up an AdBlocker or open another tab.
We’re entering into the Creative Age where the majority of time, budget and energy will now go into creating awesome content and experiences that people will genuinely want to see, because otherwise, no amount of media budget is going to get the message seen.
Media budgets will be smaller, but more important than ever, because in 2016 they’ll be the spark that causes the message to catch fire, but it’s no longer the flamethrower that, from the 60s-90s could guarantee an audience at scale.
This is incredible news for us as individuals and consumers. It means accountability, better quality messaging, and better targeting. Ryan and I each ranted more on what this is going to mean for our industry in full blog posts. To read on, check out the links below:
The Great Content Arms Race
The Return of the Reply
Thanks to everyone who made it this far. I really appreciate you reading, and especially if we’ve had some sort of connection on our social channels this year: Thank you.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Years to you and your family.
As always, if there’s anything that you’d like to add/call-out/rant about, please hit us up on twitter: @JunctionYVR