Expert commentary on 2016 Social Media Trends by Matt Mooney


“There is still that underlying opinion that ‘social media was once free’ (It wasn’t) and ‘now it costs me money to reach people’ (you mean like every other digital media channel that offers value?) I would see paid as the best opportunity for any brand to provide real business results.”

We asked IAB Social Media Council Members to comment on some predicted Social Media trends in 2016, from Paid Social Media to the rise of Video on Social Media, see commentary below from Matt Mooney, Human Experience Strategist at Radical are a Creative Digital Agency based in Dublin and are IAB Ireland Members, they have been awarded Social Media Agency of the Year 2013, 2014 and 2015. 

The increase in paid Social Media …. a general view?

It’s important to identify that social media is the only medium where this increase in the in cost and value in media is questioned. What if in one year an extra 200,000 Irish people decide I’m going with Sky because I need Sky Atlantic and my Game of Thrones fix. Do you think Sky wouldn’t start charging more for advertising on that channel? There is still that underlying opinion that ‘social media was once free’ (It wasn’t) and ‘now it costs me money to reach people’ (you mean like every other digital media channel that offers value?) I would see paid as the best opportunity for any brand to provide real business results. The degree to which we can behaviourally target on Facebook (and now Instagram), Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn is insane! If I want to target early tech adoptors who play GAA who are considering travelling I can do that! My advice is like the advice I give startups about media in general.

‘Bite the bullet’, stop griping and start working. Invest in social paid formats but have a strong media strategy behind it. Spend time building targeting, optimising, learning and measuring. I’ll leave you with one thought, is the increase cost of social is bothering you it’s probably because you have not worked hard enough at understanding the value of various actions to your business. If you understand this you can make an educated decision on the investment vs. the return.

New platforms – the arrival of Snapchat, Slack (workplace) etc.

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?

The use of Video on Social Media platforms

By 2017 74% of all online traffic will be video. That is nuts! I would hazard a guess that when we consider that same statement in social media it will be higher again. We have 2 years to understand video. Right now we’re all over the place. Some are getting it right but the problem is video success right now is the perception that we’re getting it right. Video Retention has got to be the number one priority for advertisers in video. We are consumed by the ego measures in video, Views. The industry chases getting views and as a result is not considering the quality within that view. Take 60 sedonds of branded content on any platform. Would you rather 1,000,000 views with an average view time of 10 seconds OR 100,000 views with an average view time of 100,000? Are you Ego or Performance? If we lose the ego we will begin to see better results but also more compelling content.
Right now the vast majority of advertisers are creating content that the majority is never viewed. Imagine making a piece of content that the majority of is never viewed. How much money are you wasting making 3minute long stories? Yes you’ll tell a beautiful story but will anybody see it? After 7 seconds we lose 45% of our viewing audience? After 30seconds you are left with less than 10% of the viewing audience. Think less than 45seconds? The challenge is not to make a 2minute video more compelling, the challenge is the tell stories better and quicker. The consumer behaviour isn’t going to shift back. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat all driving short form. Yes YouTube is still longer form but is that branded content? You might watch 3 minutes of cat videos but will you watch 3minutes of branded content.

Instagram & advertisinginstagram

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 wanna 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.

Live broadcasting on Social Media

I have a bit of an issue with Periscope. If you’re a global advertiser I would say ‘Yea periscope is going to be a big deal this year’, however, we live in Ireland. There are very few Periscopers and even viewers in Ireland. This goes back to my user Vs. brand point. I think live streaming is a very interesting trend to observe but just to observe. There are some nice ways to introduce Periscope and some brands are really doing it well. But the scale in audience just isn’t there. Periscope is borderline free to test. Don’t develop an elaborate Periscope plan and book studios. Try it on the fly, use ambassadors and events to try it out. You’ll find that the viewing audience is low and because of the nature of the platform your viewing audience may well not even be Irish. I have tested Periscope with brands and these are the results I’m seeing right now. I think 2016 is the year to observe consumer behaviour in the space and wait for the right time to develop it as a strategic platform as opposed to something you use on one campaign.