Social Search & Buy
When Pinterest released it’s buyable pins, allowing users to buy things without ever leaving the Pinterest App, Facebook Instagram and Twitter followed suit, keeping their users engaged within their environment but allowing them to purchase products not usually accessible via their apps.
In June 2015, Pinterest launched Shop Pinterest which is now available via iPhone iPad and Androids apps, which servers up a small blue button, easily distinguishable as a purchase CTA in contrast to their red ‘pin it’ button. The app saves the users credit card and delivery information for simple transactions, and selling via Pinterest comes at no cost to the third party seller - due to Pinterest making it’s money charging advertisers to promote their blue buyable pins.
Instagram also updated in 2015 to include ‘Shop Now’ ads and other similar messages which link outside of the app so users can take marketable action. Instagram also released a new API which allowed users to manage, track and measure marketing campaigns - thanks to lessons learnt from Facebook, said James Quarles, Instagram's global head of business and brand development.
It is expected that at the end of 2016 all of the large social giants will be offering seller modes within their products, turning the much loved ‘likes’ into ‘buys’.
Live streaming is already in full swing, with the likes of Periscope, Meerkat and even Facebook now offering the ability to live stream direct from the app. Periscope was seemingly the winner in the stream showdown, but now that Facebook has integrated it’s Live feature into it’s social network and allowing replays to live on permanently, it’s anyones guess who will come out top.
Snapchat seems on the cusp of joining in the competition to live stream data, as two Android developers who were studying the Android APK of the messaging app have claimed to have found code references in the version 18.104.22.168 that was released in December 24 last year, that indicate that Snapchat they will be bringing audio notes, video and audio calls, and the live streaming feature. We’re currently on version 9.24.1 and no sign of live streaming yet, but if they do indeed decide to go down this route, it could seriously unhinge Twitter - who have had a backlash in the past couple of weeks with the new revised timeline approach, and their ‘if it’s not broke, fix it anyway’ approach.
Meerkat had an unfortunate launch, holding a market lead prior to Periscope’s release: A day after Meerkat landed a coveted spot on Apple’s list of Best New Apps, Periscope launched and immediately took their spot. Although the talk of the town is that Meerkat is dead, it is still live and kicking with it’s few loyal users standing by it. Not too long ago, Meerkat added a few updates, including Cameo—where a broadcaster can jump to a fellow Meerkat-er’s stream and back again—as well as live polling for hashtag trends and midstream camera roll photo-posting. Not only that, there’s Greylock Partners’ funding of $14 Million, which should keep them going a for a good while!
Everyone wants something now, and 2016 will be the year our impatience turns to a complete social trend.
360 Video & VR
Everyone likes immersive media experiences, and with the introduction of 360 degree videos, more specifically Facebook’s 360, viewers are now able to pan and rotate videos within the Facebook newsfeed player and become engulfed in a full spin of a video.
Brands such as Mountain Dew, Coca Cola and Samsung, among others have been given early access to the new virtual reality style ads which have allowed the brands to exercise their creativity.
Virtual Reality has come on leaps and bounds, with the showcasing of the affordable Google Cardboard allowing users to watch full VR, and the steady stream of 360 videos readily available to watch modern devices just keeps growing. The BBC released a new VR video called Attenborough and the Giant Dinosaur, in which David Attenborough introduces us to the dinosaur known as Titanosaur, which walks slowly out from the shadows accompanied by booming sound effects to add to the realism of the CGI-created dinosaur. As Attenborough discusses the dinosaurs skeleton, the Titanosaur's body shimmers and becomes translucent, showing it's mass of bones and arteries - all moving along side of you.
It is only the beginning for 360 videos and VR experiences, and it’s believed by the end of 2016, VR hardware and software will become more sophisticated and truly begin to take off.