The Evolution of Social Media in 2015

Today is a special edition of our weekly roundups which corrals the news you can use. Instead of just focusing on what has changed this past week, we will review the highlights of 2015.

Of course, we will begin with the leader of change, Facebook.

How Facebook Evolved in 2015

The year started with algorithm changes that drastically decreased the reach of promotional type posts. Although this impacted all businesses, we focused on how nonprofits and small businesses could adapt.

To ensure a more credible business experience, Facebook also started removing fake profiles that were created by what I will call “Like” farms. Many businesses saw a drop in Likes on their page which caused some concern, but as we advised to clients, it was a good thing that helped increase valuable engagement with real people.

In March, Facebook ripped the inbox out of the mobile app to create the Facebook Messenger App. As we predicted, Messenger is evolving to be its own stand alone valuable platform.

There was an F8 event this year, which is a big deal because Facebook does not host an F8 every year. This is the conference where Facebook lets everyone knows their goals and ambitions. This year we heard about video, messenger, and virtual reality.

In April we saw how serious Facebook was about video as they crashed YouTube’s 10th birthday with news of their compelling changes to the video platform.  We also saw the launch of video chat within the Messenger Platform.

It did not take long for Facebook to declare that they had taken control of the video marketing mountain. In May it was announced that brands were moving the video content to Facebook. YouTube said, but…but…people want to see how-to videos on the YouTube platform.

In  July, Facebook began testing the ability to allow people to make purchases straight from business pages, because why would anyone want to leave Facebook.

In August Facebook began courting nonprofits more, by launching a donate now call-to-action which continues to evolve.

Facebook is making moves on Twitter’s breaking news territory with Signals, and in the same week broke some news of its own that we may soon have more ways to respond to a post. It seems they are taking a variety of emotions into consideration.

Then Facebook did some hijacking of news, Star Wars news and hype to be exact, by using a Star Wars video to showcase their 360 video capability.

In October Facebook started making moves in the search world by announcing they are going to index the 2 Trillion posts so that they can easily be found (if they are public).

And since everyone is already on Facebook, why not use Facebook to connect and collaborate at work?

How Twitter Evolved in 2015

Twitter started making some changes in April when they redesigned their home page to be more of an open door to new visitors allowing them to see what the world of Twitter is like.

Twitter then changed the look of everyone’s profile by removing their backgrounds. Not everyone was happy about that.  Twitter also began simplifying their ads platform and focusing on the ability for advertisers to get ever more targeted.

In August, Twitter made changes to their DM feature including an increase in characters you can use in a message.

Twitter followed along with the trend of being able to make purchased on social platforms and launched the ability to make a purchase via a partnership with Strip.

Twitter played to its strength of being the go-to place for news and is working to organize all that valuable information with the launch of Moments.

In October Twitter launched a polling feature that is native to the platform and also began letting users to put pieces of their story together with a grid display that you can embed in a site.

Twitter’s star became a heart and everyone freaked out.

How Instagram Evolved in 2015

Instagram, which is owned by Facebook now, started exploring how to integrate ads into the platform. Being that it is owned by Facebook, they quickly started getting a few things right with predictions of ad revenue being around $2 million.

In August, Instagram gave a little more creative control to their users by allowing users to create photos in portrait or landscape as opposed to just being square.

Instagram started paying attention to how all the kids are playing on sites like Snapchat and began implementing similar privacy features such as Instagram Direct.

Instagram is also spicing up some of the ways you can edit photos with their new app called Boomerang.

How Pinterest Evolved in 2015

In May, Pinterest began wooing developers by creating the Marketing Developers Partners program. Within just a couple of months, Pinterest became everyone’s personal home shopping network when it launched the ability for users to go from creating boards of wish lists to allowing users to make purchases.

Pinterest said I am here to stay when it announced that it reached a new milestone of 100 million users.

Pinterest made some moves to bring the online and offline world together when they narrowed their focus on enabling location based pinning.

How Live streaming Video Evolved in 2015

In March, Meerkat put live streaming video on all of our radar with a breakout moment at SXSW. As we mentioned in that weekly roundup, Meerkat’s success raised the tide for other startups like Periscope.

In May, Twitter took sides and decided that Meerkat was not allowed to play alongside Periscope on their platform.

Meerkat and Periscope began battling each other by launching new features. First Periscope enabled playback of live videos.  Meerkat allowed users to be able to embed the live video player.

Meerkat then decided that the best live streaming is the action packed live streaming, enabled live streaming capabilities from a Go Pro.

In July,  Facebook decided that it wanted to get into the live streaming game and began enabling Live Streaming features for the select few.  In the past month, Facebook has been testing Live Streaming for all users and this past week announced Live Streaming for Verified Brands.

How Google Evolved in 2015

Google Plus seems to have been in intensive care all year with questions as to whether it is a dead platform, a niche platform or an evolving platform.

in August we learned that Google created Alphabet, which suggests they will be investing in everything from A to Z and all things Google became a product line under Alphabet. The next week we learned that all the bundled features of Google plus were breaking up into different product lines and focusing on paying attention to what people care about most which is communities and pictures.

And then Google changed their logo and people cared.

Other 2015 insights

Throughout the year, we also wrote a bit about Snapchat. This is definitely going to be the emerging app to watch in 2016. Already we see rapid growth and competitive views of videos on the sites. It is the favorite app of the younger generations. Snapchat seems to be focusing on courting media brands first.

Linkedin made news a few times this year with its acquisition of and their move to make all groups private. These seem to be moves to make Linkedin much more useful than being simply a noisy Rolodex. We expect to see Linkedin continue to find their sweet spot in the world of B2B social media.

YouTube has made some modifications over the year to be more user-friendly. I feel that even though there is a lot more competitive forces on YouTube, Google, or shall I say Alphabet is not too concerned yet.

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