2016 Social Predictions with Leading Experts

Click here to read our 2017 Facebook Advertising Predictions

The concept of using networks to denote user-generated content on social platforms and ultimately spread advice from individuals on where to buy goods and services has skyrocketed in the vertical of retail.

Social commerce, specifically paid advertising, now falls onto the plate of Marketing Managers, along with management of traditional eCommerce shopping channels.

Although social media may not be the first place people go to shop, it has become a source of rapid customer acquisition thanks to advanced targeting capabilities that help to complete the loop for consumers with an interest in your company, brand or type of products.

While some brands already have a well-developed social strategy, almost all retailers recognize social marketing as a channel of unrealized potential.

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Social platforms:

Engage customers with their brands relating to their social behaviors (posts they like, share or what groups they associate their social accounts with).

Provide incentives for customers to return back to their site.

Expand their targeting capabilities to platforms where customers can engage to talk about the brands that they like or dislike and why.

Build on a competitive platform where similar groups, pages, brands, products are present, allowing customers more options than ever when it comes to deciding which products they will ultimately purchase.

There are countless social media platforms including Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, just to name a few.

We asked a panel of 5 leading social experts to answer the following questions about the role of social in retail for the new year:

  1. What trends are going to shape social channels in 2016?
  2. How can retailers best look to grow their business in 2016 using social platforms?
  3. For mature brands already using social platforms, what tips would you offer them?

 

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The 2016 Social Prediction Roundtable:

  • Stephen Kerner, Retail Search Manager, CPC Strategy
  • Massimo Chieruzzi, CEO at AdEspresso
  • Josh Brisco, Senior Retail Search Manager, CPC Strategy
  • Peter Messmer, Client Success Manager at AddShoppers
  • Eliza Marie Cuevas, Retail Search Manager, CPC Strategy

 

Stephen Kerner, Retail Search Manager, CPC Strategy

stephen-kerner-facebook-product-adsStephen Kerner has a dedicated passion for social media advertising and has become an instrumental member of CPC Strategy’s social team.

He is currently developing a re-targeteing/re-marketing line of business and makes strategic decisions to drive both traffic and improve cost of sale for PPC, Google Shopping, Facebook and other paid channels.

1. What trends are going to shape social channels in 2016?

I think each platform will continue to grow their paid programs and make paid advertising a bigger portion of the content on each of the sites (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, etc). This will be done slowly and on purpose to make sure that users are accepting this transition.

I also think that each platform will be working on a way to keep people on their site longer, by expanding content options. For example, Facebook opening up search functionality and focusing more on purchasing intent.

2. How can retailers best look to grow their business in 2016 using social platforms?

They should continue investing in these channels, because they are continuing to grow and users are becoming more and more engaged. If retailers aren’t adapting and working on finding the best ways to interact on these platforms they will start becoming more detached from their consumers and will be leaving money on the table.

The big challenge for retailer will be how they can make these channels work for their brands and which parts they can leverage.

3. For mature brands already using social platforms, what tips would you offer them?

They should continue testing multiple aspects of each platform, all of them are continuing to test new features, whether is video ads, targeting methods or buying products directly from the site. Companies will need to continue testing and adapting to the ever-changing landscape of social media.

 

Massimo Chieruzzi, CEO at AdEspresso

maxMassimo Chieruzzi is the CEO of AdEspresso, an intuitive Facebook Ads Management and Optimization Tool. Using AdEspresso customers can easily split test every aspect of their Facebook Ads Campaigns, discovering which creatives and demographic targets deliver the best result.

AdEspresso also performs conversion tracking on external websites allowing users to optimize by leads & customer acquisitions, not just CTR.

1. What trends are going to shape social channels in 2016?

I think in 2016 we’ll see a consolidation of trends that have already started in 2015. Video will become more and more important, especially if your business need to reach millennials.

Small businesses so far have avoided video because of the cost of production, but I guess we’ll see more and more success with videos that are based on a great concept rather than an high production budget.

The other trend is of course mobile. Performances from mobile users will increase thanks to the major social networks working hard to reduce any kind of friction. A great example are the new Lead Generation Ads released by Facebook and the Buy Button that both Facebook and Twitter are testing.

2. How can retailers best look to grow their business in 2016 using social platforms?

Going local. New Facebook Features like Local Awareness Ads let retailers reach users in the nearby with custom offers to bring them in-store. This is very powerful when mixed with Facebook’s targeting capabilities.

3. For mature brands already using social platforms, what tips would you offer them?

Set as a priority to measure the real ROI of your social activities. I see too many big brands still not doing this. With the organic reach continuously decreasing, it’s a must to understand how social is really helping grow your business. Stop just counting the number of shares and other vanity metrics.

 

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Josh Brisco, Senior Retail Search Manager, CPC Strategy

joshJosh Brisco manages product-based SEM campaigns across a variety of platforms, as well as leading a team of Retail Search Managers in all aspects of account strategy, optimization, and client support. 

His strategic focuses include, management of product retail inventory across a variety of Comparison Shopping Engines, Google Product Listing Ads, Google/Bing text ads and retargeting through the Google Display Network and various social platforms.

1. What trends are going to shape social channels in 2016?

I think the increasing prevalence of paid advertisements in social media platforms will be a large shaper of these engines themselves. How the formatting, targeting, and user response to these ads evolves, will be very interesting to watch.

2. How can retailers best look to grow their business in 2016 using social platforms?

Retailers will continue to have to invest in social media, not just from an organic standpoint, but also in the paid sense. Similar to the transition from Froogle to Google Shopping, retailers will have to quickly adapt to a world where organic reach is being increasingly limited and replaced by paid media on social platforms.

Properly managing this paid presence will have a large impact on the overall effectiveness of their social strategies.

3. For mature brands already using social platforms, what tips would you offer them?

Much like the above answer, they will have to work supplement waning organic reach with paid reach, while making sure not to be overbearing or actually be pushing users away from their content and/or ads.

 

Peter Messmer, Director of Growth at AddShoppers

cc4797b1-b6e6-4ebc-96a8-bd4b70a8b7b4Peter Messmer is the Director of Growth at AddShoppers, the leading onsite social platform for innovative retailers. AddShoppers powers onsite social commerce for over 10,000 brands worldwide including Hanes, NCR, O’Neill Clothing, Everlast, and The Economist. Messmer has been in almost every department at AddShoppers as the first employee. Currently, he is working alongside sales and marketing to help more brands sell more with on-site influencer marketing.

1. What trends are going to shape social channels in 2016?

Increased advertising from channels that recently opened up their advertising, including Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, and others. This represents new paid traffic sources that brands and retailers can experiment with — remember, the best time to get in is early before competition drives prices up!

2. How can retailers best look to grow their business in 2016 using social platforms?

Make sure you are doing as much as you possibly can to connect the dots from social to purchases. Don’t expect social traffic to quickly convert — if you haven’t already, you must develop a rock solid strategy for capturing “micro-moments” from social visitors, such as account registrations, email opt-ins, and retargeting pixels.

3. For mature brands already using social platforms, what tips would you offer them?

2016 is going to be the year of the influencer, so get used to hearing the term. In 2016, make sure you are identifying your top influencers and doing whatever you can to engage them on social channels and get them to share your brand with their friends and followers.

 

Eliza Marie Cuevas, Retail Search Manager, CPC Strategy

elizaWith several years of experience as an e-commerce Account Manager, Eliza Cuevas is a vital member of CPC Strategy’s team. She has a dedicated passion for social media advertising specializing in successful paid advertising strategies on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

1. What trends are going to shape social channels in 2016?

Twitter Ads is still going to be a social channel that is going to be challenge to see grow. Depending on the vertical, Twitter Ads might need to revamp their layout to get more conversion. However, it is a channel that can draw traffic to the website.

Polyvore and Pinterest are channels to look out for. Longtime Polyvore clients are seeing higher CPCs and much more competition since apparel and shoe retailers are more aware of this channel and sending a datafeed to bid on their products. Hopefully, their will add much functionality to be more aggressive than just bids.

Instagram is in the new phase where pixels do not necessarily match up. In the upcoming year, I’m sure Instagram will be able to track ROI closer. It is a channel for increasing exposure and to draw signups. Carousel Ads for Instagram are going to be open to all retailers again.

Facebook will always be changing and it is going to be much more competitive. They are going to improve the functionality and reporting to get more insights. Since Facebook can be almost connected to everything, Facebook is going to use that -which we can create a deeper dive with campaigns.

2. How can retailers best look to grow their business in 2016 using social platforms?

Continue to test different strategies and allocating enough budget for these type of tests. Since this Facebook model is newer compared to Google Shopping, there is a lot to gain to find out what works for your online business on Facebook or not.

Utilize Dynamic Product Ads for retargeting and uploading your customer emails. Invest time in putting your ads together. For social, the approach should be to use lifestyle ads which can draw a more meaningful ad vs. what you would be shopping for on Google. Also, be create with your ad copy and images using hashtags and engaging customers emotionally.

3. For mature brands already using social platforms, what tips would you offer them?

Mature brands should have bigger budgets. The best tip to utilize social is to gain as much exposure as you can. Be sure to set different goal metrics – whether it’s tracking for ROI like using DPA or creating a promoted ad to showcase a new brand/product. For Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, take the time to create ads, although it is a manual approach and always be testing.

Additional 2016 Prediction Resources

2016 Amazon Predictions from Leading Industry Experts

Trends & Retail Strategies for 2016

2016 Search Predictions from Leading Industry Experts

 

How Facebook Users Engage With Your Ads

The Facebook Consumer Survey 2017
 

About the AuthorTara graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a B.S. in Journalism / Business. Her passion for creative publishing and quality reporting landed her work opportunities at several companies in Massachusetts, New York and California. She is a leading voice behind CPC Strategy’s Blog. See all posts by this author here.