Social Media trend forecasting season is upon us, and while I'm sure this site and many others will provide many specific trends to watch for next year, here are some general developments that are on my radar. It's always good to keep these trends in mind when planning your budget for the coming year or strategizing new projects and events. You can always play it safe and assume for the most part things will stay the same, but being agile enough to lean into big, new waves like Periscope or Snapchat will assure your company sustained success, as it changes with the audience instead of after it.
In the wake of Ashley Madison, which was really just the most recent in a slew of privacy scandals in 2015. Users have never known their data to be more vulnerable than now, and any new platform must promise and live up to the promise to keep user data private. When a casual hack can be at least temporarily life-ruining, expect users to be more careful before going all in on a new app.
Think Periscope, think Blab, think Snapchat. In 2016, the obsession with live-streaming and live social will continue, especially as Snapchat adds new features, Periscope spawns competitors, and VR technology becomes more mainstream. More and more, social apps will aim to put the user at an event-virtually--as much as possible. Facebook is still great, but it can't provide the kind of in-the-moment content that live-streaming apps can.
Innovated publishing platforms:
Speaking of Facebook, their Instant Articles will be a feature to watch in 2016, as they set out to make a major mark in online publishing. Social apps will scurry to keep up, as every platform is angling to not only acquire customers, but keep them. Nothing keeps a user on your site longer than having a continuously updated stream of published content. Watch out for Twitter's Lightning project as well as Snapchat's move to more "story" content.
No more Ellos?
Ello was the Kony 2012 of social media last year, and hopefully we've finally learned our lesson. The meteoric rise and equally fast fall of these smaller social networks prove the ADD-like attention spans of social media enthusiasts and also the way an ill-advised launch can be something your network never bounces back from. Hopefully we've learned that the race to the top is more slow and steady than fast and furious, and it's just not good business for an app to declare itself the anti-Facebook.
Mobile & ecommerce on the rise:
With Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook introducing Buy buttons, expect to see other apps (Instagram, Snapchat, Vine, etc) and new apps focus on making mobile and social commerce seamless. In-app innovation geared towards online shopping will likely be top of mind for anyone in tech, and will be exciting to watch, at least for social marketers.