There is no doubt that Facebook is one of the largest social media networks in the world and will continue to be in the fold for quite some time. However, the way in which we use Facebook is changing, gradually becoming a more passive hub for our online activities. According to www.BusinessInsider.com, Facebook usage is declining among its former most devoted users: young people. Young people are typically early indicators of mass market consumer behavior. With young users leaving Facebook in droves for more visual mediums such as Instagram, photo-heavy networks may become more effective advertising platforms.
A picture is worth a thousand words, so the adage goes. The Facebook-owned Instagram reached a 400 million active user milestone in the last quarter of 2015 with approximately 75 percent of its user base living outside of the U.S. Its visual approach to content in this photo age appeals to a new younger user base. Instagram’s user base continues to grow due to its firm focus on maintaining a visually stimulating format and wide range of users.
Pictures are an easier sell than having to work within the character or content limits of Facebook or Twitter. In addition, with the majority of Instagram’s user base falling outside the U.S., Instagram exemplifies the power of visual imagery and its ability to eliminate language barriers. Although Twitter may currently be an avenue for breaking news, Twitter news feeds by their nature seem less personal than an Instagram post.
The Verge reports that various social media analysts think younger users are beginning to show disinterest in Facebook and its concept of a “fixed social identity.” Social networks like Instagram let users explore a wide range of content and communities with greater ease and they can change their identities. Facebook, however, enforces a strict “real-name” policy in all of its versions. A large portion of users have also expressed frustration with Facebook’s strategy of either creating or purchasing a series of mobile apps each performing a different function.
Additional Changes in Social Media
Last year was an exciting year for social media marketing. New platforms, software and consumer preferences brought a plethora of changes and marketing opportunities alike. Though it’s difficult to predict how the online landscape will change, there are some general trends that brands, Facebook included, ought to be mindful of in 2016.
First and foremost, social media searches have become an integral part of online activity. Pinterest has introduced a new visual search feature that allows users to click within an image to open a new search. For example, if you’re looking at a picture of a bedroom and want to see comforters or sheets like the ones shown in that bedroom, you can click the picture and you’ll be redirected to search results for products that look like the ones you clicked. Pinterest is quickly becoming a popular online tool for browsing products and services that could seamlessly integrate advertisements into its search queries
Another trend that’s sweeping social media is live broadcasting. Simply put, consumers tend to trust brands that can most accurately show us what’s happening, as it is happening. With programs like Periscope, brands give consumers access to real time, offline events that are unedited and unfiltered. Live streaming takes communication between brands and consumers a step beyond what traditional media allows, giving businesses and recreational users a certain sense of authenticity.
Finally, mobile messaging apps are becoming increasingly popular for customer interaction. With nearly 2.6 billion smartphone users worldwide, the importance scaling customer interaction is on the rise. Mobile messaging is especially important if your target demographic is a younger audience, specifically “Millenials.” As of 2015, mobile traffic overtook traditional desktop traffic in 10 countries including the U.S. and Japan. According to the Global Web Index, 14 percent of “Millenials” surveyed indicated that they wouldn’t do business with a brand if they didn’t have a mobile site or app. Mobile engagement might have been considered a bonus before, but it’s quickly becoming a necessity.
With the popularity of mobile marketing it’s important to understand the uses and limitations of various social media platforms. Need help developing your social media strategy? Integrated Advertising is a full-service agency based in Jacksonville, FL., known for its expertise in strategic planning and negotiating, its award-winning commercial production, and promotional and event management, Visit http://www.intadvertising.com/ or call (904) 296-2585 for more information.