Digital Marketing Trends from March 2016: Instagram's Algorithm, Younger Social Media Users and Mobile Experiences

We’ve now come to the end of the first quarter of 2016 and, of course, there’s been plenty to discuss in the digital marketing world - from the uncertain future of social media to even more developments of Google’s algorithm and layout.

March didn’t see many significant updates directly but we did get to monitor and reflect on some pretty major updates from the first two months of 2016 and even see further developments in some overall industry trends we’ve seen over the past few years.

Instagram now has a timeline led by an algorithm

Instagram Mobile

To many users’ despair, Instagram has shifted their timeline from a chronological one to an algorithm-led one. Now, users will see posts in the order that Instagram thinks the user will like them the most (very similar to Facebook).

Some see this move as one that has the user experience as a top priority - as instead of seeing any old rubbish on our timelines, we now have the opportunity to see more from the accounts we actually like.

However, some see the move as a commercial one and are quite angry about it. It hasn’t been long since Instagram allowed advertising from all businesses on the platform and this algorithm means that businesses on the platform will most likely be unseen if they don’t have a powerful strategy or if they don’t pay to play.

Do you see the move as a positive one for users or a negative one for brands - or both?

Key Takeaway: If you do use Instagram, consider whether you need to invest in a small advertising budget for the platform - not all businesses will need to at the moment. Have you seen a drop in engagement? If so, maybe trial a minimal budget for your posts and see if it makes a difference.

Younger audiences are not on mainstream social media sites

Social media sites

Do you have an audience that covers Generation Z or millennials? If so, you might instinctively think that you need to invest in a strategy for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest in order to catch their attention. But many are leaving these platforms for smaller (but fast growing) social media sites.

1/4 of Generation Z have left Facebook this year. Many believe that this is because of older family members joining the site or because of saturation of annoying brands and advertising. Or maybe it’s because they prefer the instant nature of these newer apps.

Studies have shown that they are now on platforms like Snapchat, Yik Yak, Secret and Whisper. Have you considered these in your strategy?

Key Takeaway: If you do have a relatively young target market, find out what platforms they are using and make sure you have a strategy in place for them. It’s easy to assume they’ll be on platforms that you use but chances are that they’ll increasingly use different ones. 

Facebook and Google’s commitment to mobile experience

Mobile UX

We have seen huge developments in the use of mobile by consumers over the past few years which has spanned responsive websites, social media, GPS, geo-targeting, apps and now we’re starting to see advancements like voice search and virtual reality.

Last month we saw both Google and Facebook invest in fast-loading content and advertising formats - Instant Articles, Facebook Canvas and Google’s AMP. These tend to load ten times faster than standard content and many marketers believe that it is about time that these organisations invest in optimising the experience for content readers and consumers when they are using mobile devices.

There have been many opinion pieces about these developments this month and we think this piece by Ran Avrahamy sums up our thoughts on the important of mobile experience.

Key Takeaway: Do you consider how your audiences are using mobiles to interact with you? Do you have a mobile website? Is your content easy to read on mobiles? Is your social strategy geared to audiences on mobiles? Make sure this is something you seriously consider in your marketing strategy as it’s becoming increasingly important.

International Women’s Day - Positive campaigns for women

It was International Women’s Day in March and we enjoyed seeing many brands celebrate women and equality in their campaigns and messages this month - something that is easily forgotten about in marketing and business as a whole.

Whilst we won’t go into too much detail about the day, we did want to share these top marketing campaigns curated by eConsultancy that share positive messages for women.

Want to discuss your strategy?

If you’ve seen some of these updates and you’re interested in developing your strategy with these in mind, please don’t hesitate to ask us any questions on Twitter at @Statement or simply get in touch with any queries.

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