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9 Hottest Social Media Trends From 2015

From the battle for real-time video supremacy, to the growth of video publishing and consumption, 2015 has been an eventful year for social. We have compiled a list of the most notable changes that impacted marketing in 2015 and will continue to impact marketing into 2016. Here are the top 9 trends in Social Media from the past year:

1. Live Video Broadcasting

  • Newcomers Periscope and Meerkat helped propel the live video broadcasting trend when they launched earlier this year. Although Periscope (which was acquired by Twitter) is more popular, Meerkat has continued to grow by focusing on innovation.
  • Snapchat introduced Story Explorer to its popular Live Stories feature, bringing a new perspective on how users can experience moments as they happen:

  • Facebook launched Facebook Live, which was recently rolled out to Verified Pages.

2. GIFs, Emojis, and Filters

  • Facebook enabled GIF posting functionality in June.
  • Instagram launched Boomerang to help users create short-GIF style videos from a sequence of images.
  • Snapchat introduced sponsored geo filters. These filters only become available once the users are in the targeted location, which turns the process of unlocking them into a fun scavenger hunt game.


  • In September, Twitter unveiled its first paid brand emoji for Coca-cola.

3. Open vs. Restricted Content

  • Pinterest banned affiliate pins in February, and rolled out buyable pins in June.
  • Twitter is pushing publishers to use Gnip, Twitter’s enterprise API platform, or Twitter Analytics. It cut off its firehose, removed tweet share count, and decreased 3rd party access to tweet share stats.
  • YouTube launched YouTube Red. Subscribers get access to exclusive content while YouTube gets a new revenue stream: “if just 5 percent of its US viewers were to sign up for the service, it would add more than a billion dollars in annual revenue.” (Quote from Article in The Verge)

4. More Ad Formats

  • Snapchat introduced 10 second video ads, and Pinterest launched its first animated ad, Cinematic pins.
  • Facebook introduced product ads to help “businesses promote multiple products or their entire product catalog.”  Facebook also made filling out lead forms easier with Facebook Lead Ads which automatically populates contact information.
  • Instagram finally offered clickable links through Carousel ads.
  • YouTube introduced cards with interactive features so advertisers can share more information and links.
Youtube overlay cards

YouTube Cards Overlay Extra Info on Video Ads

5. Buy, Now!

  • As mentioned above, Pinterest introduced buyable pins and users can check-out with Apple Pay.
  • Instagram improved its commerce capabilities with the introduction of Shop Now.

Image from Adweek

  • Twitter expanded its Buy now feature so retailers can easily sell directly in a Tweet.
  • YouTube introduced shopping ads where viewers can click to learn more or purchase products right on YouTube.

6. Customer Service Management

  • Facebook introduced Business on Messenger, “Saved Replies” feature, “Very Responsive” badge, and “Send Message” button. Business on Messenger facilitates customer interactions such as order confirmations or shipping status updates during the purchasing process. “Saved Replies” allows page owners to save and re-use answers for commonly asked questions. The “Very Responsive” badge on Pages shows visitors which pages respond to 90% of messages in less than 5 minutes. The “Send Message” call-to-action button for local awareness ads helps local businesses expedite customer interactions.
  • Twitter removed the 140-character limit from Direct Messages and allowed users to Direct Message without following each other first.
  • Tumblr rolled out an instant messaging feature for mobile and desktop.
  • Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram added mobile polling functionalities to their platforms.

7. Publishing and Curation Tools

  • Snapchat launched Discover earlier this year and its exclusivity has made it a very popular tool for media and news publishers.
  • Facebook debuted Instant Articles and Author Tags. Instant Articles is a tool that loads articles 10 times faster than standard articles and allows publishers to sell and keep ad revenue. Author Tags link stories in the news feed to the author’s Facebook page or profile.
  • Twitter introduced Curator and Moments. With Curator, publishers can search, filter and curate Twitter content that can then be displayed on web, mobile, and TV. Moments shows users the most popular or trending conversations happening on Twitter.

8. Targeting a Global Audience

  • Twitter partnered with Bing so that multilingual audiences can view translated tweets.
  • For users in countries with slower internet, Facebook launched Facebook lite, an app that offers a faster experience in slower internet, and Slideshow, a lightweight video ad format.
  • LinkedIn Publishing, which allows all English speaking members to publish long-form posts on LinkedIn, added a second publishing language- Portuguese.
  • Instagram is now offering ads in more than 30 new countries.

9. The Battle for Video Supremacy

  • Video is being projected to make up around “80% of the world’s internet consumption within five years, leading to a video advertising market worth $23.3 billion by 2017”. (Quote from Social Media Today Article)
  • Twitter started enabling mobile video capturing, editing and sharing.
  • Instagram added a looping video feature, which brands have effectively used to captivate users.
  • Twitter and Facebook introduced autoplay video.
  • Facebook continued to expand its video offers with an embeddable video player, an algorithm that tracks time spent viewing video content, and a new video advertising partnership program.
  • As mentioned above, YouTube introduced YouTube Red. With Red, YouTube is not only competing to stay ahead of Facebook, but also to take over more viewership from network and cable television. Subscribers will gain exclusive access to original series and movies (called YouTube Originals) from YouTube native stars.

There were plenty of exciting transformations in social this year, with video being a common theme. While video will undoubtedly continue to grow, it will be interesting to watch how all of these social platforms continue to evolve and blur the lines between social networking, advertising, publishing, and commerce in 2016.

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