Three Social Media Trends to Apply in 2016

Published on Feb 22nd, 2016

If you missed our State of Social: Past, Present and Future webinar, you’re in the right place. We’ve recapped it right here.

Last year was a big one for social media. Social media content generated 79 billion actions (likes, comments and shares) on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. That’s 35% year-over-year growth, driven largely by an 111% increase in video engagement.

We identified three key takeaways that you can apply to your social media strategy in 2016 and beyond based on the lessons we learned last year.

1. Social Video Continues Driving Returns

if you’re a brand or publisher not already creating video content, start. NOW. GO!

Social video is highly shareable. Of all the actions generated by the top 1,000 Facebook videos, 57% were shares. That’s nearly 3x the number of shares generated by the top 1,000 overall Facebook posts.

Need more proof? Consider the most-engaged post of 2015, Tip Hero’s Baked Apple Roses video recipe .

The video generated nearly 8.6 million actions, 74% from shares, and 258 million views. And it’s still capturing engagement. Sharing , or amplification, is the most coveted social action . Not only is that content being exposed to a wider audience, generating more impressions, but those shares come from our own networks. They’re endorsements we trust.

Amplification (the sum of shares and retweets) is increasing, which is good news for brands and publishers. It outpaced all other forms of engagement in 2015 and its growth was highest in the publishing (52%), TV (47%) and Retail (44%) industries.

2. A New Marketplace for Branded Social Content

Brands have figured out how to get the most of their content by having publishers post it. This may seem counterintuitive to the idea of social media. After all, one of its advantages is the ability to post whatever you want, when you want. But brands just don't have audiences as big as publishers.

The publishing industry generated 10.1 billion social actions in 2015. By comparison, all consumer goods brands generated nearly 1.5 billion social actions. And all retail brands generated 5.2 billion actions, better but still just more than half of what publishers racked up last year.

So the Campbell’s Soups of the world are starting to partner up with the Time magazines of the world. Well, maybe not those two exactly. But you get the idea. Publisher content on average generated 215% more engagement than the same content posted by a brand.

Consider this example. BuzzFeed Video posted this Friskies Dear Kitten ad, which generated more than 350,000 actions (62% shares). It also had 8.8 million views.

Friskies shared the video just 15 minutes later with a different caption. It generated 8,400 actions, 98% fewer than the engagement generated by BuzzFeed video. Even Friskies top video of the year, which generated 151,000 actions (41% shares) and had 6.4 million views, couldn’t match the engagement might of BuzzFeed Video.

BuzzFeed Video is able to generate more engagement than Friskies because its reach is so much wider and it posts more often. At the time of the posting, BuzzFeed Video had 6.3 million fans to Friskies’ 826,000. BuzzFeed Video also posts far more than Frskies, 4,800 to 120 in 2015.

If you're a brand looking for a publisher to partner with, enlisting one of the most-engaged content producers on social isn't such a bad idea.

3. Brands Unpack the Value of Social Engagement

We’ve long known that increased engagement leads to more referral traffic . Sending social audiences back to our websites provides opportunities for them to become customers. But we’ve never been able to quantify the exact value of a brand’s social media strategy—until now.

We partnered with a retailer and studied their customers, including how often they logged into the website, when they ordered and the amount of money they spent. Using this psychographic information, we were able to see which of those customers engaged with the retailer on Facebook.

Doing so helped us link social media to brand loyalty and customer spending habits. We learned that 26% of customers who engaged with the retailer on Facebook made five or more purchases a year compared with 10% of customers who weren’t socially engaged with the retailer.

That translated to the customers who engaged with the retailer being worth 34% more during their lifetimes.


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