Social Media Trends for 2016 (And Beyond!)

Social Media Trends 2016 & Beyond: snapchat, mobile usage, instagram, video

With the first half of 2016 behind us, we thought we’d take a look at how social media has changed since the beginning of the year and where we see it heading for the rest of 2016 and beyond.

What’s driving the most change in social media? In short, it’s mobile usage. Time spent on mobile devices was up an incredible 117% in 2015 when compared with the year prior – and over 31 million US internet users will only go online via a mobile device in 2016. With more people using smartphones and tablets than ever before, mobile-based social media like Snapchat and Instagram are becoming increasingly popular. Mobile keyboard-based emoji usage is also skyrocketing, with increased usage by both individuals and brands. Finally, video consumption on mobile devices is on the rise, especially among younger users.


Snapchat has more than 100 million daily active users who spend an average of 30 minutes on the platform each day. Take a moment and read that sentence again. It’s probably the biggest social media platform used by millennials: 41% of 18 – 24-year-olds in the U.S. use Snapchat, and 44% of millennial Snapchat users surveyed who used Live Stories and/or Discover reported doing so on at least a daily basis (TIME). Still not convinced Snapchat is a force to be reckoned with? The company just raised $175 Million from Fidelity in March at a flat valuation of $16 b-b-billion.
Snapchat is constantly adding new interactive features. What was once simply a photo sharing app now enables video sharing, chat, geo-targeted filters and lenses, news stories and much more. Many of these features are updated daily, so we’re always checking in to see what’s new and share it with friends.
While the majority of users simply use the platform to connect with friends and family, Snapchat is putting a heavy focus on branded content and Discover Stories. Plus, a growing number of brands and celebrities are successfully snapping with their followers: take DJ Khaled’s Snapchat Keys to Success, for example????.
If your brand is on Snapchat, just make sure to keep it casual and communicate with fans like they’re your friends. Don’t have the bandwidth or capabilities to create a Snapchat account for your brand? Creating geofilters for events is an affordable and effective way to dip your toes into the wonderful world of Snapchat.
DJ Khaled keys to success snapchat


BIGfish instagramThis platform has grown from 150 million users in September 2013 to more than 400 million just two years later. If you (or your brand) aren’t on Instagram, you’re missing out. Missing out on what, you ask? Instagram has more than 400 million monthly activities, 80+ million posts per day and 3.5 billion Likes per day. More than one-third of mobile phone users will be on Instagram in 2016, and it’s still experiencing rapid growth.
While some social platforms (sorry, Twitter) struggle to remain relevant and gain new audiences, Instagram has done a great job of evolving with new trends and keeping users engaged. Tapping into the growing social trends of video and emoji, Instagram recently enabled emoji hashtags, shows the view count on video posts and allows for longer videos.
Plus, the company recently announced it will roll out new analytic tools for businesses this year (cue hallelujah chorus), meaning it’ll soon be easier for businesses to understand their Instagram audience and use the platform more successfully. So, what are you waiting for?


emoji_praiseWho doesn’t ???? emoji? Oxford Dictionaries named emoji the 2015 Word of the Year after seeing over a 3x increase in use in 2015 compared to the previous year. And it’s not just for peer-to-peer use: emoji use in email campaigns has increased 7,100% ???? compared to last year.
The average consumer has a very short attention span, and emoji make it easy to simultaneously attract attention and quickly convey meaning. Plus, for brands trying to be more personable online (which is almost always the way to go!), emoji are a great way to do just that. We’ve seen great success in using emoji in the subject of email newsletters; inboxes are chock-full of text, so using a fun image is a great way to jump out and attract attention.


Nearly half (46%) of all video plays in Q4 2015 were on mobile devices. Most of those views were probably from a younger audience: millennials are 3x more likely than baby boomers to watch a video on their mobile device.
increase video usage mobile devices
Younger viewers, ages 13-24, watch 2.5 times more internet video than TV. Their reasons for and use of mobile video vary widely. Of the 13- to 24-year-old consumers surveyed:

  • 77% said digital video serves as a “boredom killer”
  • 61% said it’s a stress reliever
  • 60% said they watch Internet video to stay up to date on what’s trending or new
  • 47% said it was to learn how to do something
  • 44% said they use it to fall asleep

Nearly every major social media platform is making big moves to better integrate video into their platforms:

  • Facebook prioritizes Live Videos in your news feed. (BuzzFeed’s Facebook Live video of an exploding watermelon attracted more than 10.6 million views –guilty ????????
  • Instagram now allows longer (up to 60-second) videos and launched video slideshow ads. Instagram also offers standalone apps like Boomerang that enable users to create interesting gif-like videos.
  • Snapchat is constantly adding new features and filters that make video more interesting and interactive.
  • Twitter now allows users to record and share video in-app. Twitter also launched First View, anew video-only ad unit.

Further demonstrating this shift towards video, Mashable recently cut staff in a push to make more video content, stating “Our young, social audience is increasingly getting information by watching video, whether that’s on our site or on platforms such as Snapchat, Facebook, YouTube, OTT, Instagram or television. While there’s no question video is vital to our success, all formats of storytelling are important to us.”
Have another social media trend to add to our list? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @BIGfishPR!

BIG fish PR is an unconventional agency that helps its clients redefine their industries.