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Social Media

15 Things in 2015 That Changed Social Media Forever

by Kristen Baumert
on December 29, 2015


Wrapping up the year of 2015 in social media seemed like an easy thought. However, there were so many amazing changes this year that it was really hard to come up with a top 15. Google and Facebook really did a number on us with their algorithm changes, plus everybody who is a somebody was adding an option to have an advertising campaign.

So, here are My Top 15 things that happened in 2015 that made all of us Digital Marketers spin in our office chairs on a weekly basis.

1. Google Changes the World of SEO

So, Google, you've proven your point this year. You are the almighty Oz. As a person who works hard to understand SEO, you've really brought your "A Game" in 2015 and made content search a truly intense recipe. Google went all "Rankbrain" on us and entered AI (artificial intelligence) into the mix. Side note: remember that Egyptian HVAC Technician  who ranked higher than Google in 2015?

2. Facebook Algorithms Changed

No longer is everything relevant on Facebook. Now, in order to make content show in a newsfeed, it has to be liked and commented on to refresh in your follower's newsfeed. Companies can no longer put content on there and hope for the best, it must be boosted to get the likes, shares, and comments you desire. That is, unless you have a lot of action on your everyday posts. How does this algorithm work? According to Facebook engineer Lars Backstrom, factors include: how often you interact with a friend, page or public figure; how many likes, shares and comments individual posts have received; how much you have interacted with that kind of post in the past; and whether it’s being hidden and/or reported a lot.

3. Ads, Ads, & More Ads

The best thing a business can do these days involves digital marketing. A large portion of the success for your efforts comes from advertising. So where can you advertise in 2015? Let's start with Facebook. Advertising on Facebook this year changed in many ways. In April of 2015, Facebook purchased Instagram for a whopping $1 billion. Advertising was introduced on Instagram as a way to target efforts through ads manager in Facebook through Facebook itself, Instagram and Apps. Twitter introduced their Twitter Audience Platform to increase reach in video and tweet engagement, as well as their targeted campaign ads that reach specific audiences. Pinterest decided to get in on the advertising as well this year by introducting promoted pins.

4. LinkedIn Got a New Look

Well hello new and improved LinkedIn. This year the social networking site got a complete mobile facelift. The social site took a few tips from Facebook's setup and jumped into larger profile photos and the option to add a background photo. When viewing on their mobile app, information has been streamlined into 5 core groups of information to make it more user-friendlly.

5. Buyable Pinterest Pins

You can always get easily distracted for hours on Pinterest, but this year they introduced buyable pins. This option took impulse buying to another level for all of us. You can now buy someting directly from Pinterest without ever leaving the app (insert shock emoji). For retailers, this option brought online sales on Pinterest up a notch as well... and saved every website from those nasty negative bounce rates. 

6. Twitter Introduces Video & Facebook Makes Video Priority

Twitter wanted to allow you to capture all of life's newsworthy moments in video form in 2015. You can now add up to 30 seconds of video to your tweets. There is also a way to trim and edit the video directly in Twitter. It appears that social media apps are trying to get away from YouTube sharing and more direct uploads into their own systems. Facebook is making YouTube videos less "newsfeed-worthy" and sharing more of your videos that live in Facebook itself. As an added bonus, now you can even add live video to your newsfeed as a status update.

7. Blab About It

Do you have something to blab about? Well a lot of people did this year. Blab.im is still in beta format, but the marketing site took off in a big way in 2015. If you liked the intro to The Brady Bunch (and yea, I really put a link in there), you'll love seeing yourself in the 2x2 video box that allows you to see and chat with 3 other people, as well as communicate with others in the conversation box to the right. Live video partnered with live conversations seems to be the perfect tool to hold an interesting conversation on just about any topic. Check it out!

8. Facebook Canvas Ads

Watch out buyable pins, because Facebook has now come out with a way for you to shop in 2015 directly within a search on the app itself. According to Facebookmerchants will be able to buy ads that display their catalogues in the format. Users who tap an ad will be presented with full-screen and optionally multi-media product pages, giving them the opportunity to browse before going to a company’s site to make purchases. Facebook also announced that there will be a new shopping option in the favorites section.

9.Twitter is No Longer Counting

As a blogger, who isn't checking the Twitter share button numbers at the top of your latest article? Well, nobody is anymore. That's because Twitter took that away this year. Why? Because they revamped their share button for the first time since 2011.

10.Periscope vs. Mentions vs. Meerkat

Some people were super trendy this year with live video-streaming apps like Periscope (for anyone who downloads the app), Facebook Mentions (for celebrities), and Meerkat (which is also for anyone with the app). While Periscope was just made public in March, in the month of August the app had over 10 million active users.  Mentions became a hip way to stay in touch with public figures and celebrities by live-streaming announcements relevant to their followers. Meerkat is still hanging on since it's launch in February, but doesn't offer the ability to ask questions live in a text chat format like Periscope does.

11. Hootsuite Publishes to Instagram

Hootsuite saved a lot of time and finger typing on our smart phones when they announced that they were going to upload photos and captions to Instagram within their social scheduling suite... FOR FREE. Sure, you still have to download an app for uploading, and you still have to be logged into your Instagram account, but it is saving all of us a few extra minutes every day. Way to go Hootsuite.

12. Twitter Polls

Twitter is known best for its real-time news, but then they gave us polls. Twitter polls give us the opportunity to start debates and conversations with followers on a trending topic.

13. Instagram Search Adds Value

The search section in Instagram got a serious upgrade this year. Now, when you go to search a topic, you see a revolving section of trending topics at the top and below that are trending hash tags. Adding those topics or hash tags to your content could be a winning combination for more likes and comments.

14. LinkedIn Changes Groups

This year, LinkedIn took a good look at groups and decided to cut the spam. Now, anybody in your group can invite their first connections to also join your group because all groups are private. Cool? We're all still deciding...

15. Facebook as a News Source

Twitter is the breaking news source, but this year Facebook wanted to also be a breaking news source. So, they enabled trending topics in your newsfeed. Millenials are especially happy about Facebook as a source to read about the latest news in politics, which is especially great for the up-coming election year. Social media itself is on the rise as a noteable source.

Whew!  We made it through 2015, but what will the year 2016 bring to the table?

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5 Ways To Combat The New Facebook Algorithms For Your Business

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Kristen Baumert
Kristen is a HubSpot certified marketing consultant specializing in social media. She has a BA from Ball State where she studied art, English, and journalism. Her true passion is social media marketing.
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