A year in social – 2016 viral trends
2016 has been a rollercoaster of a year in terms of politics and the economy, but one thing has remained steadfast through it all: social media. Here is a round-up of the viral trends that swept social media in 2016…
The rise of emoji analytics
Love them or loathe them, emojis are here to stay. 2016 saw them step out of the murky realm of leetspeak to stand firmly in the mainstream. Not only that, emojis are now their own unique form of analytics. Their influence is phenomenal and in 2016 they thoroughly established themselves as the core of social media.
Emojis are now a form of communication in their own right, a swift way to express increasingly complex emotions, thoughts, and feelings. In 2016 the use of emojis shifted towards marketing, as the question of how the rising trend could be used to better understand audiences came to the fore. Facebook have moved beyond the humble Like to introduce emojis to their platform and allow easy analytics of how people feel about posts. Halloween even saw a brief appearance of spooky emojis to really get people to engage with this new function.
The result? We now not only know how many people like our posts, but can narrow down specific feelings about them, including love, hate, rage and sadness.
It’s a brave new world. Metrics
Following on from the use of emojis as analytics, 2016 has seen a common trend from the last couple of years continue to surge in popularity. Metrics are the name of the game in social media these days, with increasingly sophisticated tools and analytics available across almost all social media platforms. In the past, only Facebook provided any metric data and it was fairly limited. Now Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and various other social media channels have joined the metrics movement. With so many in competition it was only a matter of time before this trend moved from the need to have them, to the need to have superior functions. Facebook is arguably still in the lead, but the rest are quickly catching up!
Engagement over virality
Ironically one of the most viral trends of 2016 is the shift away from the obsession with sending posts viral, to a focus on building audience engagement. Market research and analysis has demonstrated that users who actively engage with content are far more likely to convert into business, and the name of the game is now getting people talking: a comment is worth far more than a share!
Mobile, mobile, mobile
The mobile shift continued with gusto in 2016, with more and more people using social media on mobile devices and fewer engaging via desktop. This has triggered a wave of advancements in apps and a huge uptake in the need for responsive web design. It’s also set to continue in the year ahead.