8 SOCIAL MEDIA TRENDS TO WATCH IN 2013

It’s been four and a half years since I registered my first Twitter and Facebook accounts. Hard to believe how fast things have progressed since then. Of all the social media channels Facebook takes the lion’s share of the pie topping 1 billion registered users today—or 12% of the world’s population—staggering! And while I’ve only had a cell phone for about a decade now, life without it is practically unimaginable (as I learned after I shattering my iPhone screen over the weekend—the horror!).

Here we are closing out 2012 and planning out the year ahead. So what’s on the horizon in the world of social media and what should we expect? Here are 8 trends I think we need to watch in 2013:

1 BATTLE FOR YOUR SECOND SCREEN

The battle for ownership of your ‘second screen’ rages on with major players vying to claim ownership of your online life. Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Yahoo! (yes Yahoo!) are all contenders. Think of it this way, people are now consuming a prodigious amount of content on home and mobile devices such so these companies want to be your primary source providers. Why? To monetize that time you spend online—with ads tailored to meet your needs—encouraging you to make purchases on their shopping channels. Case in point, Facebook just rolled out Facebook Gifts affording registered users the ability to purchase gifts for friends within the Facebook community. A brilliant strategy and offering that will only serve to become more relevant to users over time—especially when considering the amount of data Facebook will gather on their customers. Google is right up there with their whole premium content system called Google Play which rivals Apple’s iTunes store. And then there’s Amazon which recently launched its own Amazon Brand Pages in direct competition to Facebook. Yes, these turf wars are going to be very interesting to watch in the coming year.

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2 INTRODUCTION OF IMMERSIVE CONTENT APPLICATIONS/COMMUNITIES

According to Gary Vaynerchuck citing Eric Schmidt, “there is more content being created in 48 hours than from the beginning of time until 2003”. Now that IS a staggering fact. So it follows that, if you are a brand or marketer trying to compete for an audience, you are going to have to get very content savvy to break through the clutter. Ergo the rise of companies like Instagram—hello!—bought by Facebook for $1bilion big ones. A new player I read about this year and like is Condition One:

“Condition One is a technology company developing next generation immersive video applications. Our flagship product is an embeddable immersive video player for the iPad / iPhone, which we license to media companies and brands. It integrates seamlessly into existing applications or can be launched as a standalone product.”

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3 SPLINTERING OF ONLINE AUDIENCES AND THE RISE OF NICHE COMMUNITIES

To some, Facebook is oh so 5 minutes ago. If you’re a foodie for example you pretty much want to hang out and share with peeps who are really into…well food. Ergo the rise of niche communities such as Foodily. Foodily is a gorgeous, immersive, recipie sharing site that is a comer in America’s (and my!) favorite pastime niche—cooking!

Foodily is (ta-da) a food site. More accurately, we are the world;s largest recipe network, bringing together a continuous feed of recipes from across the web that your friends and experts are talking about.

Look out Facebook! You’re going to have to be compete against more niche communities that will captivate user’s online time.

4 TWITTER ADVANCES PRE-IPO

The big news coming in 2014 will be the Twitter IPO but next year, expect big changes at the company. Just recently, news had it that Apple was in talks with Twitter regarding creation of a Apple specific platform and a financial stake in the company (Reference: Apple is Said to Consider Stake in Twitter, nytimes). Look for Twitter to advance monetization practices and to ramp up user adoption practices well prior to the IPO. No other tech company wants a problematic IPO ala Facebook style.

5. LAUNCH OF FACEBOOK SEARCH

Let’s face it, Facebook Search sucks. And for oh so many moons now I’ve been saying that Facebook really missed the boat for better audience retention with a decent search engine in place. While Zuckerberg is not committing to a launch date, expect it to finally be introduced in 2013.

6 ADVANCES IN ANALYTICS AND DATA MONITORING TOOLS

Unlike traditional marketing vehicles such as tv and print ads, social media marketing offers the incredibly unique opportunity to measure performance—a marketer’s dream! Smart brands are scrambling to wrap their heads around their performance metrix so they can better engage with customers and elevate brand perception. Expect to see continuing advancement in this area allowing marketers more refined analytics.

7 FIGHT FOR PRIVACY POLICY & RULINGS

At the same time marketers are chomping at the bit to gather more information on their customers, there is a notable increase in Privacy issues and policy making. Europe has led the way in the struggle standing up against tech giants like Google. Just today an article appeared in the NYTimes covering this topic:

“As the debate rages on, newer iterations of popular browsers like Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Google’s Chrome have already installed Do Not Track settings for their users. But in the absence of accepted global standards for these systems, ad networks and data brokers are not yet honoring the don’t-track-me browser flags. Even Microsoft’s and Google’s own ad services don’t respond to such signals coming from their own browsers.”

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