As Christmas approaches and the new year looms, it seems fitting that we take a moment to reflect on the year that was 2015 and how social media has changed and evolved over the past 12 months.
It’s been a busy year in the social media universe; CEO’s have been hired, new features have been introduced and Justin Bieber’s social following has tipped the 193million mark. We’ve loved and lost Twitter’s ‘favourite’ stars in favour of hearts, seen brands take to Instagram to advertise and watched in awe as Snapchat has grown exponentially. Here’s just some of the highlights:
Some consider it a dying breed of social media but the stats beg to differ. This year (in April to be precise), Facebook surpassed the 1.44bn monthly user mark; an accolade to be proud of. What’s more, it was recorded that 65% of users logged on daily meaning that Facebook grew its loyal, regular customer base. Other exciting news in Facebook land included:
- Barack Obama setting up a personal page – he has 1.2 million “likes” and a super cool cover photo.
- Records show that 8 billion video views take place every single day on Facebook – a 100% increase in just 7 months.
- Facebook reactions were announced – a groundbreaking new way to respond to someone’s update or status rather than just a like or comment.
- May finally saw Facebook be able to cope with GIF’s – something that regular users and social media marketers had been craving for years.
It’s been quite a year for Twitter – not only was it announced that the platform had reached a whopping 320m monthly active users, but they welcomed a new CEO in the form of Jack Dorsey. Dorsey aptly announced the news himself through his own personal Twitter (simply known as @jack) and now has over 3.2 million followers. Perhaps the best job announcement of the year. In other Twitter news:
- Controversially, the much-loved Twitter stars for favouriting posts were replaced by love hearts in November; a move that caused quite the stir among avid Twitter-ers
- Twitter also announced the adoption of emoji responses that means we will be able to respond to tweets with more than just a ‘like’ – coming to the UK soon!
- In another move to make Twitter that bit more accessible, it was announced earlier this year that the number of accounts you can follow has increased to 5,000 meaning you can now stalk more people than ever before.
- Twitter polls were introduced giving brands another engaging way to not only distribute content but glean an understanding of their audience.
With more than 75 million daily users, Instagram is undoubtedly social media’s rising star this year. At just five years old, Instagram welcomes more than 80 million photos every single day and with the addition of video, is now the most engaging platform out there. Other Instagram highlights included:
- One of Instagram’s biggest stars, Essena O’Neill, dramatically quit the social media platform after a much-publicised rant about how the tool promoted fakery and put unnecessary pressure on young users. She deleted more than 2,000 photos and edited the captions on other image to explain what was really going on behind the scenes.
- It was revealed that brands spent a staggering $600m on Instagram in 2015.
- The top hashtag used in 2015 was #love followed by #instagood and #selfie sitting in 14th place.
- Jiffpom, Instagram’s most famous pup, reached 1.9 million followers. Fact.
This year, Snapchat took the social media world by storm and is now valued at a staggering $16billion. In it’s first four years, Snapchat has grown faster than Facebook with 400million snaps sent every single day. Despite it’s huge growth in the past 12 months, a study by Social Media Examiner notes that just 2% of marketers are using Snapchat as a marketing tool. 2015 also saw:
- Stats revealed that 70% of Snapchatter’s are women with 18% of all global iPhone owners using Snapchat every day.
- In September, Snapchat added some brand spanking new features including ‘Lenses’ which allows you to add animations to your selfies for a more mutated look.
- More recently, Story Explorer was introduced on the official Snapchat blog; a new feature that will let users explore their stories in more depth and detail.
- The millenials trumped the user demographic on Snapchat with 37% of regular users reportedly being 18-24 years old; a prime target audience for many brands.
Now in its 12th year, LinkedIn has certainly become a more prevalent social media tool for marketers and has grown from essentially an online CV platform to a fully-functioning sales and marketing weapon. It’s not as fast moving as other social brands; it’s updates are few and far between and in UX terms, it’s relatively slow off the mark. Despite this, there’s still been some changes in 2015:
- LinkedIn recently made the update whereby all groups are now private on the platform, meaning only members of that group can see the content that’s published. It’s a move that’s been both welcomed and scorned by social marketers as it will enhance a sense of ‘exclusivity’ that some brands look for but could ostracise potential new customers and business.
- LinkedIn announced it’s top content creators of the year with Olivia Barrow, journalist at Milwaukee Business Journal, and Glenn Leibowitz, Director of External Relations, McKinsey & Co making an appearance.
- The app had a makeover at the beginning of December in the aim to improve mobile functionality across the globe. Changes were made to the message centre as well as the Search function improving its speed by 300%.
- The site announced it had 400m members worlwide; a 16m person increase. Congrats LinkedIn!