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Social Media

Key social media trends for 2016

It's prediction time – we take a look at the social media trends for 2016.

14 Jan. 2016 Andreas Weck

6 key social media trends for 2016

Social media trends 2016: what will happen on our favorite social networks? (illustration: mama_mia /

As the new year gets off to a start, it's only natural to think about the year to come and likely trends. Which social media trends will preoccupy us over the next twelve months? We cast a glance into the crystal ball.

1. Live streaming

Triggered by Meerka t, live streaming experienced a huge breakthrough in 2015. In 2016, brands will be incorporating live streaming into their social media mix more and more. Some major platforms have now released proprietary apps and functionality such as Periscope in the case of Twitter and the live streaming service for verified Facebook pages.

This type of content gives companies new ways of engaging with fans and followers. Announcements, breaking news and Q&A sessions can all be broadcast live, enabling audiences to interact with video content in real time. Note, however, that companies in particular must heed legal requirements prior to entering the legal minefield that is live streaming. The key thing to remember is that images can only be published with the individual's consent.

2. Social selling

Over the past year we have seen exciting purchase options being introduced on the social web. Pinterest, for example, has launched buyable pins and Facebook is also currently testing its own functionality . A dedicated shopping news feed might make an appearance on the platform in 2016 or a section for purchases on Facebook pages.

In general, it can be said that social selling will gain in importance. This gives companies a powerful tool that allows them to boost sales and, most notably, establish seamless buying processes. Buying products within an app without being forwarded to third-party websites also brings certain benefits for consumers, mainly saving time.

3. On-platform content

Facebook is currently leading the way with instant articles , video and notes . Other social platforms are very likely to follow suit in the coming months. It is all about making it more appealing to upload content within the realm of the platform, prompting users not to upload their content on third-party sites such as YouTube or WordPress only to share it.

Social media platforms aim to keep their users on their own pages for longer. This is a particularly important indicator for providers seeing a gradual drop-off in user growth.

4. Ephemeral

Ephemerality comes from the Greek word ephemeros, which literally describes something lasting only one day. In social media, the term is used for content that comes with an expiry date as it were.

The trend was mainly established by Snapchat in 2014 . Live streaming services like Periscope introduced the same kind of self-destruct functionality in 2015. The trend will become more widespread in 2016. For platform providers, this will go hand in hand with new opportunities to make money: for the time being, deleted content could be recovered for a charge – again an area where Snapchat is leading the way.

5. Mobile traffic

There is nothing new about the insight that web traffic is going increasingly mobile. The fact that in some places mobile access is now outstripping desktop usage shows the extent to which we are facing a paradigm shift online.

Google announced in 2015 that, for the first time, more searches were completed on mobile devices than on desktop computers. In 2016 more news like this can be expected, particularly with regard to social media. For website providers, this means that social traffic will also be going increasingly mobile and that they should boost their websites and marketing strategies in that direction.

6. Artificial intelligence

Intelligent algorithms in data analysis are becoming more important than ever to Facebook in particular. The company generates massive amounts of data – making sense of it will ensure the platform's long-term success. Using deep learning, Zuckerberg aims to enable computers to draw precise conclusions from user data independently. The primary focus is on understanding community needs early and virtually perfecting ad targeting.

From 2016, developing artificial intelligence will be high on the agenda for the blue giant , with other platforms set to follow.