Revisited: What to Expect from Social Media in 2016 (UPDATED)


About nine months ago, the One Twelfth staff wanted to make predictions on what social media innovations will unveil themselves in 2016.


So we did the only logical thing. We got a Ouija board, sliced the palms of our hands over it and let the blood trickle onto the board. With this offering, we were able to summon an ancient god, whose name is too complex to pronounce, to reveal what the innovations will be.


Sorry. This is the result of reading too much Lovecraft.


In reality, we did a bunch of research that looked into trends over the previous months that could possibly indicate changes in 2016. Now we revisit them to see just how well done our research was and whether or not we can declare ourselves as ‘Digital Soothsayers’.


Below you’ll find the original intro and predictions, each followed by our analysis of what we said and some teasers into what we could possibly expect into 2017.


Happy New Year! Well, happy New Year in advance, seeing as the One Twelfth social media and digital marketing team is on holiday until January 4th.


But you guys knew I couldn’t leave you without a new blog post, even though you spoiled bunch already have plenty of other material here that you can steal use for your next marketing campaign.


At the last minute, though, we’re here to save your agency one more time before the new year rolls around and makes you question how 365 days can go by so fast.


Before you drink yourself silly watching the ball drop, take these 5 trends into consideration for your campaigns for next year and beyond.


More Video Ads


In the quest to separate themselves from other brands, companies on social media are resorting to videos ads for a different perspective on promoting their product or service.


This recent trend comes on the heels of Facebook becoming a greater advertising platform, leading to an influx of investment from marketing departments. Rather than spending those dollars elsewhere, on mediums such as TV or radio, the money is now devoted to social media advertising.


The results are staggering, with “72% of agencies saying online video ads are as effective – or more effective – than TV…and client interest in videos ads growing 88.6% during the last three years.”


As a result, the portion of marketing agencies RFPs including a video ad component has risen from 25.6% saying a majority to 48.3% in 2014.


Samsung Mobile is worth taking notes on as their video content has been exceptional in terms of production, posting simple, 30-second-to-1-minute videos that showcase their product and usually a main feature.


So how’d we do?


Sure enough, video ads have absolutely dominated social media in 2016, with marketing agencies electing to divert their budgets to the platform of the future:


“According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s third annual Video Ad Spend study, which surveyed 360 marketing and media buying professionals, nearly three-quarters (72 percent) said they will move funds out of TV in an effort to increase their spending on digital video advertising.”


And to further the point….


“More broadly, the study found that advertisers and media buyers have increased their investments in original digital video programming by 114 percent over the past two years. Advertisers are spending on average more than $10 million annually on digital video, an increase of 85 percent from two years ago.”


In fact, marketers are going so far as to pull all funding from TV:


“Among those who said they’re increasing their spending on digital video, 41 percent said they would pull from cable TV advertising, while 47 percent said it would come out of broadcast TV spending.”


Video ads aren’t just the flavor of the month, either. Marketers have discovered a new, effective method of promoting their product to the masses:


“The study further revealed that more than two-thirds of marketers and agency executives (68 percent) believe original digital video will become as important as original TV programming in the next three to five years.”


Where the people go, the money follows. What the money follows, marketers are quick on its heels.


Improved Mobile Experience


Did you know that “more people used mobile search than web search in 10 different countries” this year, according to Google?


It took marketers awhile, but they’re finally catching on to the idea that people are absolutely obsessed and inseparable from their smartphones and tablets. Inevitably, this is leading to more funds being devoted to mobile optimization, or fitting websites to smaller screens.


From a year-long study by Adobe, we can already see the investments in these developments taking place:


“It can be that significantly more companies than a year ago are optimizing for mobile in a range of different ways, including employment of a mobile-optimized site (+35%), mobile-friendly email (+15%), responsive (+26%) or adaptive design (+9.2%) and mobile apps (+40%).”


2016 will be the year where mobiles will be fully optimized and decrease the rate at which we use desktops.


Whatever reasons you can think of for using desktops, whether it’s for YouTube videos or making purchases, you can be sure that those processes will become a lot more accessible on mobiles come next year.


So how’d we do?


As we predicted, digital media consumption on mobile has increased significantly. As of March 31st, “65% of digital media was consumed on mobile.”


Remember what I said earlier: Marketers are always quick on the heels of where their targets’ eyes, and thus their money, is diverted. With more reliance on mobile, it was inevitable that investment from marketers would flood in.


Further to the point, “there are more mobile internet users than desktop internet users; 52.7% of global internet users access the internet via mobile, and 75.1% of U.S. internet users access the internet via mobile.”


However, we still have reason to believe that the mobile experience hasn’t been optimized as quickly as we anticipated. Take a look at this revealing stat:


“While mobile internet usage is high, desktop and tablet internet usage still leads for conversions, an 8.52% of desktop users add to cart and an estimated 2.78% convert to sales. This is much higher than Smartphone conversion rates with an estimated 4.70% add to cart rate and an estimated 0.80% sales conversion rate.”


That sort of decrease can’t be glossed over. Desktops are still way easier to use when buying an item, and this is coming from someone who is guilty of smartphone addiction. Whenever I want to make a purchase, I’m hopping on desktop because I know it’s easier.


Perhaps this is an issue that can’t be solved since it may have everything to do with the size of the screen. I like to have everything in front of me when I make a purchase. Being able to see all of the info I need (tracking number, my credit card info, order times, etc.) is a lot more reassuring than having to scroll up an down on a smartphone or tablet.


Plus, mistakes are easier to resolve on desktop. Having to re-type your 16-digit credit card number is a lot less stressful on a desktop’s keyboard than tediously inputting numbers on your smaller smartphone screen.


Virtual Reality


With “dozens of virtual reality devices scheduled to launch in the next couple years”, it’s only a matter of time before it transcends into other areas besides video game purposes.


Rest assured that marketing agencies are already devising ways on how to approach advertising in virtual reality, since even separate realities can’t avoid being bombarded with advertising.


Although it’s in beta mode now, new dimensions will arise depending on the success of virtual reality. But it’s unlikely that the virtual reality head-mounted display headset will flop like Nintendo’s Virtual Boy.




My guess is that the kinks have been worked out after 20 years and we’re in for something special.


As for new dimensions, perhaps one day we’ll be able to feel like we’re right there watching TV shows or movies, or possibly even connect with others from long distances.


Either way, advertising will be there, so start thinking of ideas in advance.


So how’d we do?


You tell me:




The game of the year–and I feel fully confident saying this in mid-August–wasn’t your traditional anticipated release on PS4 or XBOX. It wasn’t even the next big MMORPG on PC. It was an augmented reality simulator based on a childhood favorite of milennials, Pokemon Go.


“Pokemon Go earned $200 million in its first month — seven times as much as Candy Crush Soda Saga earned in its first month of release, back in 2014.”


It’s the biggest mobile game ever, has passed Netflix in popularity, and is even stealing attention away from the Olympics. I don’t mean casual viewers at home, either. I’m talking people who actually paid money to fly to Brazil and watch the Olympics, who are now playing the game instead:


“I went to a football game to see Brazil play Sweden, but after Pokemon Go started I lost interest,” said student Lourdes Drummond at the Quinta da Boa Vista Park.”


And what do the locals think?


“There is no interest in the Olympics here, just how to get to the next stop where there are the most Pokemon,” said sociologist Joao Carlos Barssani.”



It should be certain that rival developers will create their own similar game to rival Pokemon Go. However, this could also be indicative of a larger trend that goes beyond simply Augmented reality games vs. Traditional PC or System games.


Video games have progressively become a lot more social. Even popular games that used to strictly offer ‘Campaign’ modes, such as Grand Theft Auto, have dipped their toes into the multiplayer, online pool with staggering success. Now, you’d be hard-pressed to find a popular game that doesn’t offer online play.


Pokemon Go might take that trend one step further because they promote social interaction online AND off, forcing users to venture outside and socialize with fellow players. The concept of the game may not match future replicants, but we should see more copycats or variants of the game in the future.


Rise of Social Media Ads on New Platforms


Twitter and Instagram owned 2015, so what can we expect from 2016 in terms of social media platforms?


Judging by their insanely quick rises to success, the video-based Periscope and the image-based Pinterest showcase how our social media platforms become less about copy and more about images.


Starting with Periscope, this platform is probably most transparent out of any of its competitors, empowering users to become amateur documentarians. These novices take you backstage for events as they simply record everything they see in real-time.


The app that “crossed the 10-million-user threshold in less than five months since launching” could forever change outlets such as cable TV, sporting events or concerts. Why pay for cable when Joe six-pack is courtside and recording the whole game from the floor?


Periscope has already captivated millions of users:


“People are watching approximately 40 years worth of livestreaming footage every day of Periscope. That’s the equivalent of 21 million minutes every 24 hours.”


As far as advertising goes, Pinterest, a platform that allows you to find your favorite products, recipes, etc., and then post it to your wall, or ‘Pin-board, could also change as companies begin to realize just how important it is driving traffic to their company websites:


“Pinterest users were bouncing from Pinterest to company websites at a rate almost seven times than they were in 2011. In face, the Shareaholic study reports that 5% of all traffic to the 300,000 websites came from Pinterest.”


Some companies have already taken to Pinterest and uploaded their product lines, but there are companies out there who don’t have accounts yet still get traffic from Pinterest.


Any user can post a picture of a product, put it on their Pin-board for everyone to see, and then those who see it can go to the company’s website and purchase it.


My guess is that Pinterest is about to become heavily devoted to advertising, on account of just how many users are pouring into company websites organically.


If you’re a small-to-medium-sized business, my advice is to get on the train now and start promoting your products, before big companies come in, throw ridiculous amounts of money at the website to advertise, and leave smaller companies in the lurch because they can’t compete.


Sounds familiar? It’s exactly what happened to Facebook.


So how’d we do?


Pinterest’s advertising platform still has room to grow, but it already has taken a tremendous leap towards being more brand-friendly. Brand targeting can include relevant keywords, demographics based on location, device, gender and language, and even bidding.


Periscope, meanwhile, has served as a hub for brands promoting events, customer engagement, and day-in-the-life type live feeds of the workplace. Big name companies like Red Bull, Dunkin Donuts, and Doritos have already taken advantage.


What I failed to anticipate, however, was the rise of Snapchat as a serviceable advertising platform for brands to tell their story. The platform’s majority demographic of 18-34 year-olds has become an oasis for parched marketers looking for a fresh well of opportunity to tap.


Now “brands average 26 posts per week on Snapchat, significantly outpacing Instagram, where only the fashion category averages double-digit posts.” A Taco Bell campaign headlines why more and more brands are investing more time in Snapchat:


“Heading into Cinco de Mayo, Taco Bell launched a sponsored Lense that turned consumers’ heads into giant taco shells, resulting in 224 million views in one day — a Snapchat record, beating Gatorade’s Super Bowl campaign, which garnered more than 165 million views. The average user engaged with Taco Bell’s ad for 24 seconds before sharing it friends. The results surprised even the brand.”


Something as simple as putting your brand’s product on someone’s head resulted in 224 million views and, what we presume to be, an ungodly amount of sales. Sponsored lenses are a brilliant way for brands to present their product, without being too sales-y or appearing to pander. Even though Taco Bell was overt in its messaging, the campaign still worked because of how it interacted and engaged with the target, as well as how seamlessly it integrated with Snapchat.



The platform was definitely made for a younger crowd that’s full-on, unapologetically narcissistic. Don’t resist this new wave. Embrace it. See what it’s like to virtually put dog ears on your face or turn your face into a taco.


It sounds silly, but this is arguably the fastest growing social media platform out there with no indication of stopping. You need to know how it works before this generation moves onto the next platform that preys on the next generation’s narcissism.


Mobile Payments = More Company Apps


At a recent commerce event in Las Vegas, a number of high-profile companies, including Samsung and Chase, announced the debut of mobile payment systems.


What these mobile wallets entail is eliminating the need for paper and plastic forms of payment and replacing them with a payment service that can all be done on your phone.


Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), a company employed by retailers to develop a merchant-owned mobile payment system, collectively operates more than 75,000 stores and processes more than $1 trillion annually.


It’s only a matter of time before these forms of payment begin to crop up more often, which means it’s also a matter of time before outside companies catch on and also take advantage of the mobile craze.


That craze would include the development of apps for loyalty reward programs.


Starbucks is well ahead of the curve and is worth taking notes from:


“Its evolution has mirrored advances in the larger app ecosystem, and helped drive them. Once simply a loyalty app, it is now a major channel. Over 16% of all Starbucks’ US revenue is now taken in directly from the app. It has become an integral part of their offline experience with the ability to order and pay before arriving in a store.


The app addresses the key issue of store wait times for customers, increases productivity and adds to marketers’ data about customers and their journeys.”


With marketing agencies just now realizing the importance of mobile optimization, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that there will likely be more emphasis next year placed on improving the customer experience, with apps leading the way. also cites a change in Google’s algorithm:


“In April when Google changed its algorithm to reward mobile friendly websites, it began using information form indexed apps as a factor in search rankings. Since then, app indexing – which drops app content into Google mobile search results – has taken off.”


So how’d we do?

The verdict is out on raw numbers supporting our prediction. However, we do have plenty of indicators that lead us to believe there will be a rise in loyalty apps on the horizon.



Namely in customer service, where satisfaction for your buyer is of the highest priority. We know that loyal customers will spend more time and money with their favorite brands, but did you know “that 20 percent of an enterprise’s customers account for 80 percent of its revenue”?



“When it comes to purchasing, convenience is key. As a result, customers prefer that companies keep their payment information on file. That’s why the best loyalty programs connect customers with brands via mobile loyalty apps.”


Loyalty apps aren’t exactly a sudden realization, because the concept itself has been floating around for years, and will continue to do so; ‘how can I better reach my customers and implore them to stick with me?’


Mobile has emerged as the vehicle for brands to take advantage of because of their emergence as an extra limb to the existing four. Brands are finally coming to realize this, but ignorance is still prevalent, as “52 percent of marketers struggle to understand customers across touch points.”


Fortunately for them, when they do figure it out they won’t have to worry about customers refusing to cede their data, since “67 percent of U.S. adults would give up personal information for better service or products, and 25 percent claim that giving up that data has improved their experience over the past 12 months.”


We may have spoke too soon on the emergence of loyalty apps this year, but there is a clear market for them that will grow complementary to marketing departments’ understanding of it and effectively connecting with their customers.

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