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Social Marketing’s Biggest Moments in the Last 5 Years

Over the past five years, social marketing has evolved. Social networks are adapting to meet the needs of both consumers and advertisers, which means trying to balance user experience with revenue opportunities.

With so much happening in just five years’ time, it can be hard to pinpoint the changes which were actually industry-changing — so I did it for you. Here are the six biggest moments in social marketing in the last five years.

  1. Facebook Introduces Mobile Ads (2012) 

When Facebook introduced mobile ads in 2012, it marked a significant shift in the marketing industry.

Facebook Ads

Ads started being delivered to users’ mobile devices, and with relative ease on behalf of the advertiser. These ads appeared within the news feed, so as not to interrupt the Facebook user experience.

At the time, advertisers saw plenty of return from this cost-effective strategy. Mobile has climbed steadily as a percentage of Facebook’s total ad revenue since 2012, with over 1.4 billion monthly active users logging in on a mobile device.

  1. Facebook Introduces Unpublished Posts (2013) 

In 2013, Facebook introduced unpublished posts, also known as “dark posts.” This was a game changer for brands, as it allowed advertisers to create posts that intentionally do not appear to all fans of their page.

Facebook Dark PostsInstead, creating an unpublished–or dark–post allows advertisers to pay to choose whom an ad is displayed to, giving them more control. Brands can now select who sees their posts via demographics, interests, and other targeting criteria.

  1. Instagram’s Integration into the Facebook Ads Network (2015) 

In 2015, we saw Facebook finally pull the trigger and announce that Instagram ad placements were available to all advertisers in Power Editor.

Instagram Facebook AdsWith the growth of mobile advertising and the clear need to capture attention on mobile devices, advertisers flocked to the platform and have poured millions into Instagram advertising. With the service built right into Power Editor, advertisers have the opportunity to add Instagram ads to their Facebook advertising strategy with the click of a button. Facebook made it easy, and they’ve reaped the rewards.

  1. The Rise of Live Video (2015) 

When Meerkat launched on iOS in early 2015, it was the talk of the Internet.

MeerkatThe annual South by Southwest interactive conference in Texas only solidified Meerkat’s popularity — the future was clearly live video.

Unfortunately for Meerkat, Periscope got the backing of Twitter and quickly overtook the app as the #1 live video app.

Later, we saw Facebook introduce Facebook Live, another opportunity for marketers to reach a larger audience in a new way.

Facebook is currently giving priority to live broadcasts, so if you’re looking to optimize for the algorithm, it’s a great way to reach your audience. Live video is new, fun, and attention-grabbing. It’s helping savvy marketers and brands spread their messages.

  1. The Domination of Mobile (2015) 

In 2015, US mobile ad spending finally surpassed 50% of all digital ad spending, and that number is only going to go higher.

By 2019, eMarketer is predicting that 70% of all digital ad spending will be on mobile ads.

With such a drastic shift taking place, marketers are quickly shifting budgets and using mobile-first platforms like Instagram and Snapchat to get their message across. It’s hard not to notice that when a commercial on television comes on, viewers either fast-forward through the commercials or pull out their phones. Attention is shifting, and so are marketers.

  1. Snapchat and the Need to Be Authentic (2016) 

Snapchat has just surpassed Twitter’s daily active user count, with a whopping 150 million people using the app daily. The app is presenting marketers with the chance to reach an engaged audience at a discount, before the space is too crowded.

SnapchatBig brands in athletic wear, fast food, and entertainment are taking advantage of these high engagement levels, allowing their audience to interact with their message and have fun at the same time. Snapchat is all about original, authentic content, and it’s becoming a great place to advertise to the 18-34-year-old demographic.

So where does social marketing go from here? While it is a tricky question to answer, there’s no doubt that live video and video in general will play a huge factor. All of the major players are putting an emphasis on video, and social marketing will need to adapt to stay relevant. With Facebook’s purchase of Oculus Rift, there’s little doubt that virtual reality will also be making an entrance down the line. It’s going to be exciting (to say the least) to see where the industry goes over the next five years.

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Justin Kerby

Justin Kerby is a Founder and Managing Partner at Cave Social, a digital marketing agency with offices in Fort Lauderdale, Vancouver, and Toronto.

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