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3 Key Social Media Trends in 2016

Competition to grab consumer attention in social media is increasing. Not all apps or ads can do that. Do you want to know the future of online advertising? Don’t count on a crystal ball. Take a look at snapchat videos, Instagram photos, and tweets from brands which made headlines in 2015. What do they all have in common?

Digital research firm eMarketer published a research which says most companies use at least one social media platform for marketing purposes. Thus, you can never run out of best advice on how to use social for your business.

Here are some of the social media trends expert predict to emerge this year.

1. Virtual reality
Virtual reality will continue to be a buzz-worthy platform, but don’t expect it to have a great ROI.

Virtual reality or augmented reality was named by social media consultant Amy Vernon as one of the social media trends to watch this year.

“The low, low price point of Google Cardboard and other VR goggles makes this something that anyone can afford,” writes Vernon. An example is the New York Times’ augmented reality app released in November, which is the media company’s most successful app launch to date.

Noah Mallin, head of social at the North American branch of media agency MEC Global said “”You’ll see more attempts like that to get VR into the hands of consumers.”

However, there are still people who don’t believe that VR and AR ads and apps will provide any value beyond media buzz. “Virtual reality will have enough value to advertisers until it’s a mainstream experience, and I don’t expect that to happen in 2016,” said Ian Schafer, CEO of advertising agency Deep Focus.

2. Video
Video will definitely become the native advertising platform of choice.Schafer said Snapchat had one of the best years of any social platform in 2015, and will continue to generate plenty of buzz this year.

“Snapchat is delivering something that is in scarce supply,” says Schafer, referring primarily to Millennials and younger audiences. Even though companies are still figuring out what kind of ads Snapchat users best respond to, they still have the advantage of treading familiar territory.

This is because video is the muscle that advertisers have flexed for the longest time, and are willing to pay the greatest premium for. Many consumers view it as the least invasive platform for native advertising. For example, the “Puppyhood,” video advertisement from Purina that appeared on Buzzfeed’s YouTube channel in early 2015. To date it has 81.3 million views and became one of the most-viewed videos on Facebook.

3. Mobile messaging apps
In 2016, mobile messaging apps will become an increasingly popular space for customer interaction. Mobile has been an important space in social for a long time, with an estimated 2.6 billion smartphone users worldwide. But with the rise of mobile messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, it’s going to be even more important that businesses integrate them into their social media strategy.

According to a forecast from eMarketer earlier this year, approximately 1.4 billion people were expected to use mobile messaging apps in 2015, which marks a 31.6 increase from 2014.

“For business that really has to think about where its resources are, putting your resources into reaching customers through a place like Facebook Messenger and Twitter is a smart way to bring that service experience to life,” Mallin said.

Uber, for instance, made headlines a few weeks ago with its newly announced partnership with Facebook Messenger, which allows customers to hail a ride through the mobile app. Even if businesses don’t have a product to sell to customers, they should still use mobile apps to interact with customers. It provides brands with ability to scale customer interactions.

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