In 2015, social media trends are proving that social is a viable marketing and sales channel.

From Facebook to mobile to social selling, these are the most influential social media trends in 2015:

Mobile Is Exploding, But Desktop Isn’t Dead Yet

Recent research by comScore revealed some data that wouldn’t surprise any internet-savvy marketer:

  • In the past 4 years, mobile internet access has increased by 400% and desktop internet access has increased by 37%.
  • The biggest mobile activity is social media.
  • Mobile activity hasn’t detracted from desktop time, but supplemented it.
  • Almost 1/3rd of the traffic to the top 10 online properties comes from mobile.
  • Facebook’s mobile revenues surpassed its desktop revenues.

The shift to mobile has finally occurred, but a key takeaway here is that desktop hasn’t been outed completely…at least not yet. Currently, mobile is only part of a multi-channel customer journey.

As of February, mobile generated about half of ecommerce traffic, but PCs generated almost 77% of sales. Past predictions suggested that the vast majority of sales will come via mobile devices in the next few years, but that has yet to happen.

To make use of this data, the savvy marketer will drill down into their specific target audience’s device usage and social media usage to discover the optimal marketing mix for their endeavors.

Podcasting Is on the Rise

According to a report released by Edison Research and Triton Digital, podcast consumption is on the rise. The number of Americans who listened to podcasts at least monthly grew from 39 million in 2014 to 46 million in 2015.

To Edison Research, podcasts are simply a form of online radio. This trend represents the transition of podcasting from an emerging hobby into a mainstream media format.

Marketers and businesses should be aware of and plan for these shifts, particularly because of some characteristics that define these audiences:

  • They earn decent wages
  • They use podcasts as opportunities to interact with their brands
  • These audiences engage on a regular basis

In other words, podcasts are a value-added form of content marketing and social media marketing that are only growing in popularity.

Not only are they a viable form of marketing, they can also provide sponsorship opportunities. There are a number of individual podcasters who have sponsorship deals with larger brands or companies.

The fact that this media is still untapped offers an incentive to explore this format: a growing audience can be reached at affordable rates.

Facebook Still Rules

Not surprisingly, Facebook still dominates the social media world. In fact, 4 of the top 10 most-downloaded apps are Facebook apps.

The social giant consumes a huge chunk of users’ mobile time, but it isn’t stopping with social networking. Facebook continues to branch out into a variety of areas that will help ensure its continued dominance in the years to come:

  • Video advertising
  • Virtual reality
  • Local retail
  • News articles
  • Payments

And so on.

The fact that Facebook’s engagement rates eclipse other platforms only reinforces the idea that social media marketers should be visible and present on this platform.

Social Selling is Soaring

One of the top challenges for social media marketers has been tracking the impact of social media on the sales funnel. Conversions are typically credited to the actual landing page, the form, or other activities. This makes attribution and social media marketing ROI difficult to measure.

As a result, many social media marketers use social media-specific metrics that are disconnected from the sales funnel, which can be problematic for calculating ROI and selling social media marketing to decision-makers.

New research, however, indicates that social media is playing a bigger role in the sales funnel than we thought. In a report that surveyed 500 leading merchants who used social media as part of their sales funnel, Internet Retailer found that trackable revenue rose 26% between 2013 and 2014. For these merchants, that meant an increase from $2.6 billion to $3.3 billion.

Those numbers only focus on the data of those 500 merchants, not a worldwide scale. Statista estimates that social selling will reach $30 billion globally by the end of 2015.

As social networks begin integrated more sophisticated ad technology and “Buy Now” buttons directly into their networks, don’t be surprised if social selling starts to accelerate over the coming months and years. Not only will this enhance the value of social media marketing, it will make social selling more trackable. Proven ROI will increase budgets and accelerate growth, so expect to see more time and money invested into social selling over the next few months and years.

 

It’s always risky and difficult to devote budget to media that doesn’t have a trackable, demonstrable ROI. But these trends clearly demonstrate that social media marketing isn’t just buzz. As people spend more time in social networks and as social media companies integrate more selling and advertising functionality, marketers should pay close attention to which way the wind is blowing.

Today’s trends may very well become tomorrow’s standards.

Social Media 2015 Social Media Marketing Trends that Shouldn’t Be Ignored