Social Media Future Focus 2016 – New Platforms & Advertising on Instagram


“Just when we had got used to incorporating Instagram and Snapchat in our daily routine (and on social media plans), the tech industry has served up even more social platforms for us to play with in 2016” 

We recently asked the IAB Social Media Council to comment on their future predictions for Social Media trends in 2016. We received extensive and valuable feedback from many of the leading Social Media experts in Ireland.  This blog post is part of the Social Media Future Focus 2016 series.

New Social Media Platforms in 2016

Cathy Cowan, Marketing Manager at Maximum Media

Just when we had got used to incorporating Instagram and Snapchat in our daily routine (and on social media plans), the tech industry has served up even more social platforms for us to play with in 2016. The latest launches tipped to appear on every millennial mobile feed two big user obsessions – the desire to showcase individualism and a constant demand for peer approval when doing so. One of the apps gaining massive traction that satisfies this behaviour is Shots. If Instagram and Snapchat got it on, Shots would be their lovechild. Designed for the selfie lover (users can only capture images using the front camera on a phone) you can post and view photos like Instagram but only comment and communicate in the form of a messaging tool, similar to Snapchat.

And if you love pictures and some healthy competition, but still want to feel the love then Hyper is the platform for you. Based on popularity of content, users will be able to up-vote and down-vote photos on their feed with the most popular content ranking first.  Social media in 2016 has never been more competitive!

Matt Mooney, Human Experience Strategist at Radicalmatt mooney

New platforms are great. It’s what makes the space so exciting…….for users. The biggest problem marketers have is they find it hard to separate their own social media usage from that of a brands. We chase trends as opposed to letting them develop into a real opportunity. If you’re first to use a platform power to you but I question the motives behind using a new platform. Is it business driven or ego driven. Will the new platform provide business results OR is it about winning awards and notoriety? Not a question people like but a valid question. Are you the brand who wants to be first, and first to make mistakes? Or the brand that enters when it’s the right time with the right strategy and offering.

Do you want to be the best at being first or best in class. SnapChat is a great example of one of the platforms. I have a few ideas of how a brand can use SnapChat but I don’t think it’s the right time. The platform is not mature enough to risk developing a presence. I’d rather wait. I personally think the audience is not ready to see an influx of brands. There are of course a number of brands who have the identity that allows them to enter this space but I’m talking about brands broadly. There are also certain tactics that justify entering on campaign but again I’m talking about developing a presence. Ask yourself this simple question. Do you struggle with getting budget for social? Are you so good at all the other media driven, mass platforms that you can thin resource to go after ‘New’? Be better at what you have before taking a risk on the unknown. I’d stress I’m more logical and practical with social strategy. I’m led by the strength in numbers, but every now and again innovation wins and I take a punt. Here’s something controversial, Instagram is a new platform, focus on that. Might not be new to you but your brand? Read Matt Mooney’s full post here >>


Advertising on Instagram

Dervla McGivern, Media Account Manager at ICANdervla

As an advertiser I couldn’t wait until Instagram advertising launched in Ireland but as an avid Instagram user I was a little (OK a lot) sceptical about brands disturbing my down time discovering beautiful images relevant to my interests.

For brands Instagram adverting has huge potential being able to use Facebook ad platform to granularly target and reach a young audience where they are actually engaging, actively searching and consuming content they are interested in.  Brands need to consider the users and create content specific to Instagram so that when it appears in their audience timeline it doesn’t jar with them but instead it enhances their experience and encourages them to engage. Brands like Nike, Victoria Secret and GoPro are concentrating on video specifically for Instagram so that when they put adverting spend behind the content it engages and resonates with the people it reaches.

Matt Mooney, Human Experience Strategist at Radicalmatt mooney

Get on it! Instagram is not only the newest social platform to get social advertising but it’s Facebook’s ad platform. So really it’s not new which is great because we don’t have to learn how to use another tool. The best part of it? We can use all that lovely Facebook behavioural data to target! Instagram is a massively influential platform because of the types of users who live on it. Every brand should be focusing on Instagram this year as their new platform.

This comes with a few warnings. Don’t you dare ruin Instagram for me! I don’t want to see brands plastering sales messages all over Instagram with ads. Instagram is still new and ads were met with some distain from avid users. We as advertisers have a responsibility to make the ads we use on Instagram great. Don’t just slap what’s on Facebook onto Instagram unless you’ve taken that into consideration from the start and for the love of Christ if I see MPUs starting to appear on Instagram I’m actual going to cry. Consider Instagram a clean platform. If you want to see success use beautiful imagery. You don’t need to put your logo on the images, or hashtags. It’s coming from your account so your logo is about 2cms away in your profile picture and hashtags go in the copy and then they do this really magical thing where they turn into a link that you can click to see every other use of that hashag! Imagine that! Don’t see any images doing that for you!

Instagram is my ads platform of choice to understand for my clients this year. So far as a media platform it’s about audience segmentation and targeting. Speak to specific audiences first to measure performance and over time slowly broaden and add new audiences. Read Matt Mooney’s full post here >>

Read more of the Social Media Future Focus 2016 series here, including posts on Paid Social Media, Customer Service, Video & Live Broadcasting & more!