This year, we saw a recognizable boom of the social media industry. More than 1 billion people are now using Facebook, and more than 80% of small businesses use social media for their branding and marketing efforts. Among the biggest global brands, almost 99% have a social media presence. Truly, social media has changed the way marketing and advertising works.
While 2015 was a great year for social media, 2016 is predicted to be even better. Here are some predictions on social media trends for the coming year.
1. More e-commerce features will be available.
The "buy" button may possibly become a distinctive feature in some social media platforms. Facebook ads already allow click-through directly to merchant websites, and it's not surprising if other networks allow this kind of feature. We may also expect a shopping cart in one of these big social networks soon.
2. Interactions with audiovisual media will increase.
More than 50% of users say that videos and images are more engaging as compared to simple text posts. Even on micro blogging platforms like Twitter, posts with images get more engagement despite the short captions. This only shows that people are more likely to respond to visual stimulus. Podcasting and audio content may also become a powerful new medium for advertising.
3. Advertising will become more prominent.
More and more companies are using social media ads in addition to Google ads to promote their products. It's safe to say that in the next few years, our News feed will be dominated by ads and businesses will spend more money on them. It's also expected that social media platforms will allow more advertising functions, including automated ads and pop-ups.
4. Safety and security will be an emphasis.
Because of the rising social media trend, more users have become victims of phishing and other cyber crimes. Such concerns call for better security in divulging personal information online. In the coming years, social media platforms will probably have better security features which will prevent identity theft, cyber stalking, and phishing.
5. More platforms will rise...and probably fall or get eaten by the Big Three.
The big three of social media-Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter-are the most prominent platforms for businesses. Therefore, they have the biggest money in circulation. Smaller platforms will most likely appear, and they may either become slightly popular enough to stay in the game or get acquired by a bigger business.
Many companies have been acquired by the Big Three in the past, with Instagram as one of the most notable mentions. The company was launched in 2010 and acquired by Facebook for $1 billion in 2012. WhatsApp, an instant messaging platform, was also acquired by Facebook for less than $200,000,000 in 2014.
Social media has opened up new possibilities to online users. Company websites and shopping sites still have dominance when it comes to e-commerce, but social media is steadily rising up to the game. Sooner or later, we may find a completely new method of online advertising, but for now, social media is the ultimate trend and it isn't going anywhere.
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