2015 was the year brands and marketers truly embraced the social media frontier, investing more money in it than ever before. 2016 is set to show an even more dramatic increase in time, money, and research spent on social media marketing, if the current trends are any indication.
More Brands Are Using Social Media
In 2015, companies began to seriously use social media as a marketing tool. eMarketer predicts that by the end of 2016, almost 90% of all companies with 100 or more employees will be utilizing social media as a serious marketing strategy.
“Facebook and Twitter will remain the top social networks used by US companies in 2016, but Instagram will see rapid growth. Next year, 48.8% of marketers are expected to use the platform, up from 18.4% in 2014.”
Companies are Investing More Money in Social Media
67% of companies have planned to increase their spend on social media this year, while only 2% planned to decreased their spend.
According to a study by the AMA, during the past two years, the total marketing budget that US businesses spent on social media grew from 6.6% to 10.7%
Social Platforms are Becoming More Marketer-Friendly
Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest have all introduced in-app buy buttons this year, meaning users can make purchases without ever leaving their respective social network.
This dramatically changes social media’s function in the marketing funnel – instead of being a top-level introductory tool, or a post-purchase tool to keep users engaged with your brand, it becomes, in some cases, the entire funnel. A user could presumably learn about your brand and make a purchase without ever visiting your website.
Digital Interactions are Happening in Real Time
Certain strategies are more challenging than others for marketers to invest in because of the length of time between the initial investment and the eventual payoff. With marketing channels like SEO, a brand may not see the bulk of its ROI for several months after initially investing.
Social media has always been a more instantly gratifying marketing medium – either it brings users to your site and drives engagement, or it doesn’t. But new technology is causing social media to increasingly promote real-time, instantaneous interaction than it did even a year or two ago. Twitter’s new Periscope app allows people to tune in to a live video feed. Snapchat allows users to tap into trending topics and events and upload videos and pictures that correspond to real-time world events. Marketers have never been able to connect with their audiences as quickly and efficiently as they can now, and these channels are only going to continue to evolve.
The trick for any internet marketing investment in 2016 is going to be predicting where the brand’s target market is spending the most time, and to concentrate on having a real and evolving presence on that platform. Companies can’t expect to dominate social media on every platform. They should focus in on a few social media sites that make the most sense for their brands, and strive to be as visible on these platforms as their budgets allow.