What Will 2016 Hold for Social Marketers?

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2015 was a year of enormous growth in the digital sphere and 2016 holds even more potential for innovation. As 2016 kicks off, members of the Adaptly team weighed in with predictions on the biggest trends moving forward.

Jim Tomanchek, Director of Partner Development

As mobile users have shifted from calling to messaging as their primary form of communication (aside from speaking to the people right in front of them), networks have emerged to fulfill demand and improve experiences. We’ve seen the rise of Snapchat, WeChat, WhatsApp, Kik, and of course Facebook Messenger. These companies aim to control conversations within their own walls and move user experiences beyond just messaging.

Messaging apps are integrating customer service, financial transactions (see: the Square and Snapchat integration), and even ordering transportation from directly within a conversation (e.g., the new Uber-Facebook partnership). We’ll see brands looking for new ways to engage users and messaging platforms will be the perfect vehicle for one-on-one customer service and personalized content. Some platforms are looking to provide additional content from brands and publishers in order to monetize these channels (Snapchat, Kik, etc.), while others see messaging as the gateway to new and exciting apps, games, music, and experiences (Facebook Messenger).

The idea of what was once a single group chat is transforming into the new mobile web right before our eyes. Mobile apps will be the gateway to an entirely new ecosystem where everything is accessible through a messenger conversation.

Montse Guasch, Director of Sales Marketing

Social media platforms have opened up a huge volume of inventory for videos. It’s a dream come true for marketers: video ad formats are 100 percent viewable, highly targetable at huge scale, and immune to ad blocking. With Facebook driving 8 billion views per day in only a few months, other social media platforms are adapting to focus more on video as well.

We should see marketing dollars shift from TV budgets. Now marketers can buy GRP on Facebook as they normally buy on TV channels and compare campaign effectiveness. This is a game changer for TV/video-focused brands. We’ll see more video content in social feeds and marketers are already experimenting with ways to fully maximize its potential. In a joint study we ran with Refinery29 this year we saw an increase in engagement when you add subtitles to video content. User behavior is changing within platforms and marketers are adapting.

Brands, which now have new ways to create video content, are utilizing live streaming apps and embracing interactivity. In terms of real-time video, the live-streaming app Periscope will lead the way. And experiments with immersive formats like 360-degree VR will keep surprising everyone and become a new way for brands to engage with consumers.

Overall, I’m looking forward to social video making a strong showing in 2016.

Charlie Neer, SVP Revenue, North America

We will see the translation of offline actions into online actions as users increasingly link their daily lives to their social media accounts. When you like and dislike things in the tangible “real world”, social platforms will store those data points as part of your identity, your marketing persona. Companies will use that information to improve targeting.

Consumers are showing more willingness to offer up personal data in exchange for incentives from brands. They’ll forgo a level of privacy in the interest of connecting with a brand and getting something in return. For instance, when paying at a restaurant, someone could tap to share on Facebook in order to get 5 percent off. Social sharing is a small price to pay for a discount with a favorite brand. The key for brands is to capitalize on this willingness to share by making interactions worth consumers’ while.

Tim Page, VP, Revenue

The pricing of social marketplace inventory in 2016 will become more tactical as competition for budget allocation between the major social platforms increases. We’ve noticed fluctuations in the cost efficiency of performance metrics associated with reach, traffic, and video consumption across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. We believe these fluctuations are due to more frequent tweaks to pricing algorithms, trying to establish the optimal balance of platform yield with platform media performance, and hence attracting increased budget allocation.

With Pinterest entering the EMEA foray in H1 2016, this will only increase the competition and present an even greater opportunity for optimization and efficiency. The implication for advertisers is to ensure budget allocation to social platforms is fluid and based on merit, rather than committed up front according to historical performance.

Bryn Sanders, VP of Revenue, East Coast

Social media platforms will create more e-commerce ad types and refine their existing ones—for instance, buyable Pins—so that users don’t need to leave the social environment to make purchases. Platforms, specifically Pinterest, will compete more with companies like Amazon—versus social networks like Facebook—as users will turn to them with purchase intent.

Also, in 2016, video DSPs will have a more difficult time as the major video platforms (i.e., Youtube) stop selling their inventory via DSPs and require API access in order to buy media. This will allow social platforms to capitalize on the fact that video inventory won’t be as readily available or as easy for advertisers to access as in the past.

Nikhil Sethi, Co-Founder & CEO

“Walled gardens” are going to represent a larger share from a user and time perspective. There’s going to be a shift from non-digital budgets—like television and out-of-home—to these platforms.

Search and display will have to build solutions as they face additional threat from businesses migrating more digital advertising dollars to social media platforms. The walled gardens are going to make traditional ad tech companies’ lives miserable as they eat up more and more share of digital dollars.

Readers: What do you see this year in social marketing innovations?

The original article can be found in Adweek SocialTimes.