What Changed in Social Media During 2016

Content marketing experienced tremendous shifts in the type of content and its distribution during 2016. The exciting changes reflect the trends we anticipated seeing in real estate marketing this time last year. New live video stormed the industry while real estate marketers explored uses for newer social platforms. Let's look back on just how much social media changed over the last 12 months.


It’s hard to imagine a time you couldn’t switch between multiple Instagram accounts, but that feature was new in 2016, updating on the platform in February. Next came a whole new look. Updating Instagram’s iconography was intended to keep the focus on the photos and video.

The most significant update came in late summer, when the unveiled Instagram Stories became Snapchat’s clear competitor. Stories allows users to create a story, a feature that shares a user’s day with enhancements like text and drawing tools. Just like Snapchat, the photos and videos vanish after 24 hours without cluttering by users profile or photo grid. Instagram Stories quickly became popular with 100 million daily active users, according to a November NASDAQ report.

After introducing Instagram Stories, photo sharing giant added features like Boomerang and Mentions.The explore tab updated to make Instagram Stories more discoverable and to sort uploads by events.

Instagram’s now 600 million users can save posts to revisit later, better control user comments, and remove followers on private accounts. They also created anonymous reporting for self-injury posts, allowing users to flag friends or family that could need extra support.


Facebook Live is influencing the way marketers and consumers interact with the world's largest social media platform. Facebook Live allows users to broadcast anywhere at any time. Followers interact with the broadcast by commenting, liking, and sharing. The videos remain in the member's profile and are retrievable at any time. It offers continuous marketing potential. Facebook updated in the later half of the year to emphasize videos in the news feed. Mobile users can search for videos in the app menu.

Earlier in the year, Facebook changed its settings to emphasis family and friends in a user’s news feed, making it more challenging for businesses to organically reach new audiences. Not all businesses were happy with the change that forces business to design more sharable content on their website or to use the site’s advertising services to distribute content.

Facebook’s third major change came in the relaunch of a little used feature in a bid to compete against Craigslist: Facebook Marketplace. The update placed the marketplace in the navigable menu and focuses on helping users find used items located within the local community. Users must click on an item’s image to learn more details about the for sale product.


Twitter began its shift to the broadcasting by announcing live streaming deals with major networks like the NFL. Its video feature changed to allow for longer video uploads: 140 seconds, how appropriate! The company completed its integration with Periscope at the end of 2016 and launched the Twitter Live feature.

During 2016, Twitter made further modification to who and how its users interact with on Twitter by modifying its quality filter settings. Users can limit app notifications and change setting to show the tweets they’re most likely to care about first when they log in. What adds up to 140 characters changed, making tweets more friendly to media attachments and cutting out “@names” counting towards the character limit.


LinkedIn rolled out Premium Insights, a service available with its Business Plus, Sales Navigator, and Talent Solutions. The update provided data on a company’s growth and hiring trends, perfect for gathering market research on competitors.

Halfway through the year, Microsoft acquired the professional social platform. No major branding or mission changes occurred from the acquisition.

ProFinder expanded to help its users hire freelancers in writing, design, accounting, real estate, and career coaching. The freelancers were picked based on quality recommendations and provide services in more than 140 areas.


Like Instagram, early in 2016 Pinterest updated its look. The new design helped the website and apps upload faster while focusing on the image-driven Pins. New integrations helped users send Pins across other social media apps like WhatsApp and text message. Pinterest improved its user search function and added easy to create group boards.

Shopping is a huge draw on Pinterest and in the summer, the network updated its shopping bag. Users were able to “take” their shopping bag anywhere and add buyable pins regardless of where they were shopping. Checkout streamlined into two taps for easy purchasing. The Pinterest Shop highlighted over 10 million unique products available for purchase.

Pinterest introduced three different type of promoted pins: one-top, video, and an app. One-tap pins allow users to jump directly to promoted website to learn more about the product. Video pins now play directly in Pinterest while app pins go direct to the download.


Snapchat listened to its customers and added on-demand Geofilters to add for private parties, weddings, or other business events. Geostickers became available in major cities around the globe, providing location services were enabled on the user’s account.

Next came a big update: Chat 2.0. The service helped its users better converse when sending chats, showed when friends were listening, and added sendable audio notes.

The new feature Memories allowed users to save a personal collection of favorite moments. Saving the moments allowed the creation of new Stories that could be formatted into longer narratives.

Snapchat dropped the “chat” from its company name to better reflect the diverse products being offered and in development, like Spectacles. Now it’s Snap, Inc. The app itself is still “Snapchat.”

Photo Credit:  JD Lasica

Photo Credit: JD Lasica

We’re excited to see how real estate professionals incorporate live streaming into their content marketing strategies in the coming year. Expect to see more updates surrounding user video experiences on social media.


Header Image Photo Credit: Yoel Ben-Avraham

Lindsey ImperatoreComment