Today, there are 2.8 billion active social media users (+21% YoY), or 37% of the world’s population, compared to 3.8 billion people, or 50% of the world’s population, who are connected to the internet (source: according to GlobalWebIndex).
In 2016, social media continued to experience several changes that require marketers to take notice. The first transition concerns the multitude of social platforms and the rise of chatting apps. The second transition has been changes in mobile and video usage. The third transition involves the integration of social features into online commerce and content websites, or the development of “social core”.
The increasing penetration and use of mobile, has turned messaging apps into an important type of social networks. In 2016, 27% of the population accessed social media from mobile devices – 1.97 billion people. In 2017, 34% of the world’s population, or 2.55 billion people, use social media on their mobile phones (+30% YoY). Messaging apps are very popular among younger users, with Snapchat the most-used social media platform among 12 to 24-years-olds.
Due to trendy platforms such as Snapchat, features like lenses, “stories” and limited time availability are offered by many platforms, especially Facebook-owned ones (Instagram Stories, Messenger’s “day in a life”).
Mobile devices are not limited to phones or tablets: wearables are starting to penetrate the social media sphere – from two directions: on the one hand, social platforms launch connected devices that are aimed at uploading content to the platform (e.g., Snap’s new “spectacles”); on the other hand, wearable companies – such as Nike, Fitbit – integrate social networking, but without specific focus on this component.
Video is on the rise, and Facebook is pushing “Live” video, were it has the upper hand over Google’s YouTube (leading with 360-degree videos). Video is not only an important content strategy component – but also might support social commerce, as customers are already report that their purchase is often influenced by a video they had watched on social media.
In terms of commerce, GlobalWebIndex’s research shows that over 30% of US adult Facebook users turn to social media when they are researching products online. With 8 in 10 US Facebookers purchasing products online each month, there’s clearly a huge opportunity to bring some of these purchases inside social networks.
Commerce is one strategy for monetization of social platforms, but it is a future one. Social media platforms allow marketers to create tools for use in the app, advertise and use proprietary data to learn about users. It is important for marketers to adapt to the different characteristics and main user motivations of each platform, so as not to be considered as a distraction.
Currently, Facebook’s $ 8.8 billion revenue is almost entirely composed of advertising-derived revenue, with other types of payments generally decreasing. Snap, which recently completed its IPO, reported a 2016 revenue of $ 404.5 Million with $ 514.6 million loss, compared to 2015’s $ 58.7 million revenue and $ 372.9 million loss. The company’s revenue model is based on advertising (98%) as well as 3rd party content. the company boasts 158 million daily active users with 2.5 billion daily snaps. The company offers “geofilters” – self designed filters that are connected to a specific location and are free for “communities” but carry a fee for businesses.
We expect social commerce to rise in the next 2 years, as a result of consumers’ current purchase behaviors and the need for monetizing the user base.
When marketing on social media, make sure to follow the next principles:
- Relevancy and consumer focus – aimed at providing value, rather than being perceived as a nuisance
- Building platform-appropriate tools and communications, according to the destination’s consumer motivations
- Understanding the value of social media pre-purchase research in order to offer information and service integration.