It's that time of year when the big marketing gurus unpack their crystal balls and share with the world their predictions for the 12 months ahead. We've saved you the trouble of having to scour the web to find them and pulled together some of the top things experts say will have a significant impact in 2016.
1. Charging for social media traffic
"My prediction for social media in 2016 is that more social networks will start charging for traffic. As social media networks adjust their algorithms, the only way brands can ensure they generate a decent amount of traffic is through advertising."
We’ve known for a while that being popular on Facebook is getting harder. Despite how funny or insightful you think your last personal or company page post was, it's no longer guaranteed that any of your friends or followers will actually see it. In order to rack up the likes and see any engagement, you’ll have to rely increasingly on paying to boost your post in order for it to be seen and reach your audience.
2. Content on the go
Twitter users saw the newly added Moments button made available to them late 2015. Moments allows you to view news or topics of interest in real time, all at once. Videos, articles, sound bites, images and more are collated for your convenience. While Twitter's Moments feature covers everything, Facebook launched a sports-specific version, Sports Stadium, this month.
Remember podcasts? Their popularity is on the rise again as more big brands are starting to invest and make their own content available for users on the move.
Developments such as these show an increasing trend towards businesses prioritising the delivery of content to users who may not necessarily be desk or sofa-bound. An improved of awareness of how and where people might consume content and ways in which that content can be adapted accordingly will benefit marketers in 2016.
3. Live streaming goes mainstream
"2015 started an era of live-casting with the introduction of new technology such as Periscope, Facebook Live and Blab.
In 2016 some of these live broadcasts will reach an entirely new level with the introduction of live 360 degree broadcasts that will allow people to move their mobile phones and experience the action as if they were actually present and moving their heads."
Michael Stelzner, founder and CEO of Social Media Examiner
The rise and rise of video will continue in 2016, in particular, the rise of live streaming via Meerkat and Periscope. Both apps let you stream video from your mobile device, share it and engage with your Twitter following.
A quick scan of your TV guide shows we're a nation that loves reality. Claim you hate it all you like, but live streaming is essentially interactive reality television. Live streaming gives brands the opportunity to allow their audiences a behind-the-scenes look into their business and the activity it is involved in. It's a chance for customers to see and experience them in a much more human and personalised way.
4. Ephemeral marketing
Who? It might sound like a bad cough, but you'll struggle to avoid ephemeral, or short-term, marketing in 2016. Snapchat has given brands the perfect advertising platform for the Millennial generation. This bright yellow branded app has over 100 million daily active users taking photos and sending videos to each other. Snapchat offers brands the opportunity to execute fully integrated marketing campaigns that feel exclusive without being intrusive due to the time limitations.
Ephemeral marketing is marketing with the Millennial generation firmly in mind and will see brands embrace a "less is more philosophy" with their creative campaigns this year.
5. Product messages are a big turn-off
"If brands want to meet us in the intimate social spaces that we share with friends, family and influencers that we trust, they will have to change their approach. Messages around product are a turn-off. Messages around values, generosity and attitudes are far better ways of achieving engagement. Brands will have to prove themselves – and show that they have a purpose which goes well beyond self-interest."
Mimi Turner, marketing director, The Lad Bible
Contrived newsjacking and crowbarred references to products and services will hopefully become a thing of the past in 2016 as more consumers get wise to the tricks lazy brands use to get their names in people’s feeds. Instead, businesses will have to put more effort into producing content that is meaningful, engaging and useful; that proves their brand has a higher purpose than just trying to pollute social media channels with heavy-handed sales messaging.
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