The first quarter of 2016 has been an interesting time for Social Media. Facebook has introduced ‘Reactions,’ Twitter has seen it’s stock on a sharp decline and there are now more advertisers on Instagram than there are on Twitter. On top of all this Social Ad Spend is increasing it’s upward trajectory despite many marketers not being able to prove any quantitative impact.
It’s no secret that for years people using Faceboook have been asking for a ‘dislike’ button. The Facebook team were reluctant to implement a straight ‘dislike’ button for a variety of reasons. Instead what has been introduced is a range of ‘Reactions’ that a user can use to express more than the old ‘Like.’ Though the option to simply ‘Like’ a piece of content remains.
What do these new options mean for Marketers and businesses using Social Media? For the first few months most people will be simply counting any ‘Reactions’ as likes. However going forward Reactions may well give us valuable insight into the reactions our content is provoking. Perhaps an ‘angry’ Reaction may be used where before a person may simply not have interacted before. What remains to be seen is how useful this data will be, it’s going to be difficult to tell a sarcastic ‘wow’ apart from a sincere ‘wow.’
Generally we know what kind of reaction we’re trying to provoke. A lot of ‘sad’ or ‘angry’ reactions shouldn’t be a surprise. Perhaps though, if they are a surprise it can help us reflect on the different ways different people might be interpreting our content. As the uptake of Reactions increase over the coming months we will begin to get some solid data and really see how we can apply these new sets of data to our marketing. Watch this space!
Twitter in Trouble?
In the first quarter of 2016 Twitter has seen it’s stocks plummet, in part due to the news that it’s user base growth has completely stalled. Twitter has also been the subject of no small amount of controversy surrounding accusations of issues of censorship and political bias.
The last 2 years have seen little-to-no growth in Twitter’s user numbers. Despite this the number of advertisers and the Ad Revenue Twitter generates has increased every quarter of the last 8.
In the face of these troubles Twitter has made concerted efforts to add new features to it’s platform, many of these focused around advertisers wants rather than the users. Twitter has moved to improve Periscope integration, allowing Periscope video to show in Tweets rather than only in the stand-alone Periscope App. Video has consistently been one of the best formats for both engagement and revenue for Twitter. Allowing Periscope Promoted Posts to show in a Twitter feed will doubtless help both platforms monetise more efficiently.
On the User side of things Twitter has introduced Twitter Moments to the UK. A feed heavily focused on rich media it helps users find out about the latest trends and news without scrolling through a rapidly moving main feed. Twitter is hoping to make the interface a little more attractive to new users, we won’t know if Moments have had the desired effect for a few months yet.
Instagram’s Ad Growth
As of February 2016 Instagram has over 200,000 active advertisers, with 75% of them being based outside of the US. Instagram has been proactive with bringing features to it’s adds that advertisers have been asking for. Ads can now contain links, be longer and are easier to purchase. All of this contributes directly to the rapid growth of it’s advertiser portfolio.
It remains to be seen if such impressive growth can be sustained, Facebook has over 2.5 million advertisers but whether that number is within the realms of possibility for Instagram is hard to say for sure, but the answer is probably no.
Social Ad Spend
According to figures from the CMO Survey over the last 5 years Social Media spend has doubled and is set to double again over the next 5 years. In 2009 Social Media spend made up just 5% of the average Marketing budget, that figure has changed to 10.6% now.
While this increase in spending on Social Media is no surprise, the fact that many Marketers either can’t or don’t measure the impact Social spend has comes as a surprise. These figures are based on the CMO Survey which means the Marketers asked would have been US based. 40% of Marketers said they could see some qualitative impact of their Social spend but only 11.5% said they could prove Social Spend impact quantitatively.
This reflects an attitude that many have held for the last few years, which is that Social Media is to be viewed as an expense rather than an investment. Social as a tool for customer outreach and brand awareness was the accepted paradigm for many Marketers asking for a Social Media budget. Certainly in the UK a shift has started to occur, Social Media has been around long enough now that Marketers are increasingly expected to prove the value of their efforts. With this in mind it would be prudent to focus extra spend on Analytics rather than simply pumping more straight into Social in the form of more content.