Fact-Checking the Social Media Predictions of 2016

But before we start taking a look at trends for the coming year, let’s first take a look back at how social media has evolved this year. These platforms rolled out new features to satisfy users growing needs and keep users in-app. Which platforms are consumers engaging on? This year, we’ve seen social media updates address these questions. Links in Instagram Stories is a big step forward. What you need to know: Links Come To Instagram: In November, Instagram announced that links would start appearing in Instagram Stories. In other words irrelevant.” At the end of 2015, Twitter saw its user growth stall. Twitter has taken many steps this year towards re-engaging their platform. More consumers are also becoming influencers. We know that influencer marketing is something to experiment with.

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What a year.

We’ve seen channels come and go (RIP Vine and Peach). We saw social media play a big role in the U.S. presidential elections. Fake news continues to rock the industry, especially since 85% of people now rely on Facebook for their morning news.

We’ve also seen Instagram and Snapchat become way more sophisticated and robust over the last few months. Instagram added increased video functionality that keeps users in-app and Snapchat beefed up their ad offerings by adding in location data from Foursquare and building out a program called Snapchat Partners.

As social grows increasingly pay to play and the ecosystem grows ever crowded, it will become more important for marketers to build out a paid social media strategy.

But before we start taking a look at trends for the coming year, let’s first take a look back at how social media has evolved this year.

At the beginning of 2016, we tapped some experts to share their predictions for social media in 2016. Here’s what came true and what didn’t:

1) Social Goes Omnichannel: True

Photo from Leap Agency

Consumers are more connected than ever. Each social channel serves a different purpose. There’s Twitter for consuming news and expressing your opinions in under 140 characters. Instagram often acts as a visual diary. Snapchat offers users a way for quick on-the-go messaging.

This year, we saw social channels fighting to expand their slice of the user pie. These platforms rolled out new features to satisfy users growing needs and keep users in-app.

What you need to know:
Instagram Released Stories: Instagram released Instagram Stories, a disappearing video-messaging feature that looks very similar to Snapchat. On Instagram, content can still be posted permanently on the feed or as a story which is available for 24 hours before disappearing.

Facebook’s All-in-One Inbox: Facebook rolled out an update to their Pages Manager that integrates Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger interactions all in one place. Page admins can now see and reply to all messages across these three platforms from one central inbox.

Snapchat & Foursquare Joined Forces: In November, Snap Inc. entered a deal to access Foursquare’s location data. This deal unlocks a wealth of possibilities for Snapchat, possibly making geotargeting filters more sophisticated since Foursquare compiles data such as GPS, WiFi and Bluetooth.

Facebook Launches Marketplace: Marketplace is a new destination for users to buy and sell items with people in their community. This update was one of the many new features Facebook released at the beginning of Q4 2016.

2) Social Commerce Blows Up: False

Photo from Smartphone Technology

As much hype as there is around social commerce, we still didn’t see it take off in 2016. Research shows that fewer than 20% of global social media users are interested in using buy buttons on social networks. Experts suggest that it’s because there still aren’t enough integrations that help facilitate the journey from deciding to purchase through checkout.

“Most companies provide an inconsistent experience across channels, which reflects the complexities of integrating the point of sale with marketing automation, content management, CRM and other critical sales tools,” says Raul Castanon-Martinez, senior analyst at 451 Research.

This experience might become more seamless in 2017, though. We’ve seen social media channels invest heavily in eCommerce features this year, with Facebook Messenger Bots, Instagram’s in-app “Shop Now” button, and more.

What you need to know:

Facebook Messenger: Companies can now use Facebook Messenger to update shoppers about purchases and to create a more personalized customer service experience. Everlane uses Facebook Messenger to make it easier for their customers to shop for the right styles and make for an easier on-the-go checkout experience.

Facebook Marketplace: With Messenger and Marketplace together, Facebook is training users to get used to shopping on the platform. With 1.44 billion active users on Facebook each month, marketers have a large audience base to tap into with these new social commerce tools.Instagram Sponsored Ads: Sponsored Ads are native ads that look just like a standard Instagram post. Instagram offers a range of CTAs such as “Learn more,” “Download,” “Install Now,” “Shop Now,” “Sign Up,” “Buy” and more.

3) Social Make A Serious Video Push: True

Photo from AdWeek

If we had to sum up 2016 in one word, it’d probably be “video.” Snapchat doubled down on paid ads. Instagram rolled out updates that make it a much bigger player in the video space.

Research shows that video will account for 69% of all internet traffic by 2017. And with good reason – consumers are 64% more likely to purchase after watching a video. Brands are investing more heavily in organic and paid video content and social channels are quickly evolving to fit this need.

What you need to know:

Snapchat Cashes in With Snapchat Partners: Earlier this year, Snapchat rolled out its much anticipated ad partner program, Snapchat Partners. Snapchat…