Social Media in 2015: What Have We Learned, What Can We Expect For 2016

Social Media in 2015: What Have We Learned, What Can We Expect For 2016

Well the Christmas decorations are up (finally) so I figured it was time to take a look back at the landscape of social in 2015. As well as this, I will look at the top 5 things businesses can take away as they gear up for 2016.

These include:

  • Watch out for Pinterest and Instagram as the trending networks in Ireland
  • Balance up your social media content between promotional & entertainment content
  • Do you choose one of the two big players? or use both?
  • Live Streaming will hit the mainstream
  • The fall in organic reach across social networks (courtesy of Steve)
  • The rise of Vlogging (courtesy of Shane)

These are based on the results of research done using SEMRush, Yippy Cloud Creator and Google Trends.

SEMRush tells us that the three tiers stills exists and that Facebook & YouTube are still the big players.


Global Traffic Found Using SEMRush (In Millions)

As the year has evolved, the fortunes of different social networks have changed (and as a result their stock price has too). While they have made news headlines for good and bad reasons, at the end of the day it’s the numbers going to their channels that has the biggest bearing on how social networks do. Using SEMRush’s tool (very useful – and I would recommend checking out their #SEMRushchat every Wednesday at 4pm GMT). The chart below has worked out the traffic going to these websites globally over the year


social for 2015

As you can see, the numbers for some networks remained pretty constant (LinkedIn) but for others it veered dramatically (I’m looking at you Twitter).

In terms of ranking the social networks in terms of average numbers over the year it would be:

  1. Facebook
  2. YouTube
  3. Twitter
  4. Pinterest
  5. Instagram
  6. LinkedIn

As I highlighted in previous blogs, the numbers mean that the social media channels can be split into 3 categories from a users point of view. Since then though things have changed slightly, as my Video Wars article highlighted Facebook and YouTube are at logger heads. At the same time though they are the top two networks. When it comes to these the best advice I can give is use both networks. Utilise the strengths of using Facebook Video to help engage with and reach people on Facebook but also use YouTube for other networks. The video war looks set to expand and one of the things you will notice is that just as with boxing there will be two fighters:

In the Red Corner: Google, YouTube and Twitter

In the Blue Corner: Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp



Keywords found using Yippy Cloud Creator

Now numbers are important but what about the content. The table below shows the keywords for each network. In a nutshell they explain the big issues and reasons that people are using these networks


Facebook – The move towards visual continues, as does Facebook becoming a genuine marketing tool for businesses. Facebook is also moving towards becoming an entertainment site as well as a social network. For 2016, watch video become more and more important. They have recently made Live Streaming more available to users as well so it should be interesting to see how this develops.

Twitter – Twitter is becoming a more business orientated tool. The key takeaway from this is that businesses should plan out what they want to do on this network BEFORE they start tweeting. Ask yourself:

  • What are your goals?
  • Who do you want to target?
  • What content do you want to send out?
  • How will you use Twitter Ads?

LinkedIn – While it is still the social network for jobs and professionals, LinkedIn is moving towards a more social and mobile approach. They recently updated their mobile app and it is a marked improvement on the previous design. It’s easier to navigate and even incorporates a swipe feature. These are all interesting improvements. With regards to 2016, start to focus on LinkedIn as a mobile network and learn how to utilise this so you can conduct professional networking while on the go.

Pinterest – The fact that it’s one of the fastest growing networks tells you about the potential there is in this network. Businesses are also looking at it as a genuine tool for marketing products and services. For 2016, watch this network grow numbers wise. Quick tip: If you’re still working on your website, Pinterest is a great stop gap to promote your products. Think of the boards as a catalogue.

Instagram – You realise a network has truly arrived when we start talking in billions. It is also a terrific network to help provide people with a snapshot of your business. Where Pinterest would be viewed as a leaflet for your business Instagram can be used on a daily basis to promote your business, engage with people and to also create content that is useful and adds value for people.

Snapchat – Of the networks mentioned, Snapchat is the newest and people are still trying to find their feet when it comes how to best harness it (‘experts’ is one of the top words). When it comes to Snapchat, 2016 is going to see it mature to a level where it is a genuine choice for businesses as a tool to market through.

YouTube – In a nutshell creating a channel for your business is one of the smartest things you can do. More and more people are using streaming services such as YouTube to find entertainment. 70% of internet traffic is video and audio streaming (even as a write this Im listening to a playlist on YouTube). It’s important for you to be where your customers are. The top tip for 2016 would be as I have said before, set up Channel You.

Social Media Networks, the Irish Perspective using Google Trends

While I have looked at things globally, and in terms of words and numbers, what about Ireland? Using Google Trends (which shows numbers relative to total searches) I identified the networks that were trending well in Ireland in 2015. Working out the average monthly score, they rank as follows:

The key takeaways for businesses are:

  • Instagram and Pinterest are growing in terms of users in Ireland.
  • For Facebook, it’s reaching the stage that a large majority of people are on the network.
  • Pinterest and LinkedIn are also networks that are growing in terms of users and interest in Ireland.

Social Media in 2016

That’s a lot of stats and info on the social channels for 2015, but what about 2016. After some long meetings (and a few pizzas) we came up with this list of things to plan for in 2016.

  • Watch out for Pinterest and Instagram as the trending networks in Ireland – These networks are in the growth phase and are gaining new followers daily. Even for me when I’m taking a break I take a quick look through my Instagram feed for all the latest news. See which your audience is on and start planning!!!
  • Balance up your social media content between promotional & entertainment content – People go on social media to be entertained, if you bombard them with sales posts they’re going to stop following you pretty quickly. Look at ways that you can add value and also brighten up their day.
  • How do you harness the big two players? – The top 2 players are Facebook and YouTube. Prior to this year you could just use YouTube videos on Facebook but things have now changed because of the video wars. It is now a case that for Facebook the best approach is to use their inbuilt video and use YouTube for other networks. Harness these tools for maximum impact.
  • Live Streaming will hit the mainstream – Mobile Live Streaming has only started to become a thing this year (and mostly amongst marketers). That’s going to change in 2016. Facebook have already recognised this and are making suitable changes. I recently got a notification from Mashable of a talk that was being streamed live from the Paris Climate talks. When I switched onto it I suddenly realised that this could be the future of how people watch events. Live Streaming is going to be really interesting in 2016.

2016 trends for social media

  •  The fall of Organic Reach across Social Networks – As more and more people join social media the audience gets bigger and bigger. However as a result it becomes tougher to reach a bigger audience. The era of free social media is well and truly over. To get ahead it is vital to create a strategy that includes a budget for promotion and advertising.
  • Vlogging is going to become more important – Personalised vlogging is a terrific way to personalise your story and provide authenticity. All you have to do is look at how CEOs and influencers across the world have their own Vlogs and are putting out content on a regular basis. Shane swears by Gary Vanyerchuk and his #AskGaryVee Show is well worth a look.

Well there you have it from the growth in interest of Instagram and Pinterest in Ireland to the dawn of Live Streaming there are some exciting things about to happen in the world of social media. If you have any questions then be sure to drop us a tweet.


P.S We hope everyone has a great Christmas and New Year!!!!

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