Where is Twitter heading? Facebook Ads boom and social media trends for 2016

In this week’s round-up, five Twitter Execs leave Twitter, but Twitter Moments provide ray of light. Facebook success continues with strong mobile and video ad results and we...

In this week’s round-up five Twitter Execs leave Twitter, but Twitter Moments provide ray of light. Facebook success continues with strong mobile and video ad results and we have some trends to look out for this year.


Five Executives exit Twitter

Twitter is finding it difficult to stay out of the tech and social media limelight at the moment and this latest development certainly won’t do anything to change any of that. The exit of top Twitter Executives was announced via a tweet (above) by none other than CEO, Jack Dorsey. The outgoing execs are: media head Katie Jacobs Stanton, product head Kevin Weil, the head of the engineering division, Alex Roetter, HR head Brian Skip Schipper and Head of Vine Jason Toff. It’s not entirely clear whether all of the exits were forced or personal decisions, however Alex Roetter had spoken about stepping down and Skip Schipper made the decision to join Google. Jack Dorsey now has a big job on his hands to find some suitable replacements. It’s obvious that Twitter is in a big transition, however shareholders will not be pleased that stock has fallen nearly 50% since Dorsey’s return.

Tesco advertise with Twitter Moments

Tesco became the first major brand to launch a campaign using Twitter Moments ads in the UK. According to Twitter, this new ad format which was launched in the UK last December is meant to “bring together the best content, including pictures, videos, Vines and GIFs, around specific events or stories”.

Tesco has launched its own #FeelGoodCookBook, a campaign consisting of pictures, videos and shareable recipe pages. The idea of moments is to make content more engaging for consumers. It is hoped (from twitters perspective) that this will increase their ad revenue and entice bigger brands to choose their network to advertise on.

At this stage it is looking promising, with Microsoft Xbox and Sky on the verge of launching campaigns on Moments as well. Perhaps Twitter Moments may lead the way in transforming Twitter’s fortune which, has been uncertain of late.

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Facebook Mobile Ads Boom

Facebook’s most recent quarterly revue saw the social network generate over an eye-watering 5.5 billion dollars, with ad revenue up by 57%, reaching 5.65 billion dollars. Mobile ads have been credited with this success and the stats don’t lie. According to Marketing Week, “over the December quarter, mobile ad revenue was up 81% year on year to reach $4.5bn – representing 80% of total ad revenue”.

As the Marketing Week piece highlights, there are 1.44 billion mobile Facebook users and 400 million (Facebook owned) Instagram users, so there is no surprise that the power of mobile ads is increasing. Facebook will be doing the best to convince even more businesses to join their bandwagon.

Speaking to the media, Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO, said: “Last quarter we announced we had over 2.5 million active advertisers and since then our growth has remained strong. However this represents a small fraction of the over 50 million small businesses now actively using pages so we see a big opportunity to continue to grow the number of Facebook advertisers going forward”.

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New Reaction Buttons

For years the Like has been a massive part of Facebook, enabling people to stamp their approval in the click of a button. It has also been a marketer’s best friend, giving us a useful metric for positive engagement. However, Facebook will soon release a further 5 reaction buttons. Could these be another game changer?

Love, Haha, Sad, Angry and Wow will now join the Like button, giving us an array of response buttons we can use. How and if this will change the way we understand responses to posts is yet to be seen. It may change the way marketers view their engagement, or could it possibly be more anticlimactic than we thought? Whatever happens we’ll be sure to keep a close eye on them and post again when we’ve had a chance to use them ourselves.

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Video on the Up

According to Facebook CEOMark Zuckerberg, there are now 500 million people collectively watching 100 million hours of video daily on the platform. He also revealed that Facebook is working to create a dedicated place for people who just want to watch video (watch out YouTube?!).

Video ads are also starting to become a big play for Facebook. As MarketingLand cites, Microsoft Xbox has already taken advantage of Facebook video ads to promote the launch of Halo 5. The videos were targeted specifically for mobile users and were created to catch people’s attention within the first 3 seconds. Results were impressive, generating more than 380 million impressions.

However it’s not just big brands utilising video ads: SME’s uploaded more than 1.5 million videos in December 2015. These figures suggest that video ads are becoming another successful arm of Facebook’s advertising offering and, with the suggestion that a specialised video app around the corner, this success looks set to continue.

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Social media trends in 2016

The growth of “B-tier”, i.e. secondary, social networks is expected to continue this year. It used to be Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin that were the three big players in social media. However Instagram is slowly becoming a giant and Pinterest, Periscope and Snapchat have all been making moves of late, steadily pushing closer to the big players. This might suggest that broadening the number of social networks you use for marketing wouldn’t be a bad idea!

Social commerce is, once again, set to boom this year. It used to be that social media would lead you to a sales site and there you could make your desired purchase. But with the rolling out of “buy now” buttons, this cuts out the middle man. Sites such as Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest are now starting to roll this function out making it easier for shopaholics and impulse-buyers to purchase ’til their hearts content.

In addition to this, the clothing brand Everlane, and others, have started using Facebook Messenger as a way for their sales support team to engage with customers – apparently with some success. We wouldn’t be surprised if more brands begin to adopt this one-to-one messaging communication with customers, however it does pose an interesting question: how social is social if it’s one-to-one?

To finish off this week we look at the use of messaging apps to reach those who aren’t feed or timeline scrollers. The growth of messaging platforms such as WhatsApp has meant that, in some ways, social has become more private. The ability to create and join group chats has allowed users to find their way around ads, cluttered timelines and content they don’t want to see.

Perhaps, then, it’s only a matter of time until brands find their way into our messaging apps, something which has already happened with Snapchat. One interesting example of what the future of this could potentially look like is Alex Laughin’s use of WhatsApp. The Washington Post Social Media Producer used the platform to send out daily newsletters to subscribers. Although this is only primitive example, this avenue for specialised content marketing and could become huge – so keep your eyes peeled.

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