Social Media Trends to Watch in 2014

2013 was a huge year for social media. Highlights include Twitter’s successful IPO, continued adoption and growth of social media communities around the globe, escalation of privacy issues, and advancement of metrics & measurement of all activities – think DATA baby, BIG DATA.

I outlined many of these trends in last year’s predictions (see http://arquecreative.com/8-social-media-trends-to-watch-in-2013/). But what’s on tap for 2014? Here are some of my thoughts.

1. The GEO of Everything

I’ve been saying this all year long, that companies will continue to get really granular with their marketing. This is largely fueled by an uptick in the usage of portable/mobile devices for social media engagement but also driven by the significant BigData landscape because, let’s face it folks, your online activities are being tracked. As a result, marketers are going to get really Big Brother on you and try and find you in real time, in real locations.

Say you walk into Starbucks and immediately receive a 15% off coupon for a frappuccino via text message; that OR, the coupon message pops up in your Twitter  Feed, or in your Facebook Feed, you get the drift. Expect major advances as Digital Communities strive to introduce new offerings catered to their advertiser base.

Here’s a great quote from Fortune’s recent, ‘2014 Digital Trends and Predictions from Marketing Thought Leaders’ – a VERY worthy read by the way:

2014 Digital Trends And Predictions From Marketing Thought Leaders

2014 Digital Trends And Predictions From Marketing Thought Leaders

Furthermore, Google will continue its quest to Map The World (read ‘Google’s Road Map to Global Domination‘) so again, watch for this trend to come to fruition next year.

2. Continued Advancement in the Measurement of All Things Digital

Largely driven by the continued proliferation of data capturing and housing, marketing departments are under increasing pressure to deliver on KPI objectives and show ROI success rates to upper management. Let’s face it, most leadership doesn’t really believe in the value of marketing to deliver sales objectives because they still can’t see a direct correlation between a campaign and sales.

This is going to change folks because there will be an increased demand for reporting and metrics that support marketing activities. Right now, it’s a mess out there and there is no perfect solution. I myself have to check multiple sources – Google Analytics, Hootsuite Analytics, Mention, Social Mention, and a host of other tools – just to report on a single  blog-based campaign. While there are a number of companies out there that offer integrated digital marketing reporting – Sales Force, Sysomos, Meltwater, Vocus – there’s still a huge opportunity here…and demand for service.

Prediction? Look for Sales Force to get even more aggressive in this battle since they already dominate CRM.

Sales Force Exact Target

Sales Force Exact Target

3. New Players in the Production and Distribution of Original Content for Digital Consumption

In today’s marketing world every company is a content creator (and if they’re not, they are S.O.L.). This year saw Netflix get into the production game with the premier of the wildly successful House Of Cards and Amazon’s, Alpha House, now imagine if Facebook launched Facebook Productions for a ‘Subscriber’ (fee-based) audience? Sound far-fetched to you? I’ll wager that I’m spot on with this. In fact, I’m ready to purchase some Facebook shares at the next stock dip!

According to Michael Brenner, VP of Global Marketing at SAP, “One of the biggest trends I am seeing involves brands acting as producers – going beyond the publisher mentality and setting up newsrooms and production studios. Netflix (“House of Cards”), Red Bull (Media House) and Amazon (Alpha House) are just the first wave of this emerging trend.”

House of Cards, Kevin Spacey

House of Cards, Kevin Spacey

4. The Battle for Ownership of Your Second Screen Will Continue

I said it last year and I’ll repeat it again – Google, Amazon, Netflix, and Facebook communities will continue to wage war over online viewership; meaning, they want your eyes locked on their communities at ALL times! This so they can capture more audience behavior data and repackage that for sale to marketers.

Social communities will continue to offer as much engaging content as possible to keep your eyes locked on their screens.

As a side note here, boy did Apple ever miss out by not creating their own user community (and Ping doesn’t count!)—and they even have a lock on the content! Look for Apple however to further advances in Apple TV and Google to continue to counter with competitive products; look for Amazon to muscle in and for possibly Microsoft to ante up their stake in this game.

5. The Privacy Battle Will Wage On – and Consumers Will Go Stealth

Every single day I read an article about online privacy: NSA vs. Google, Yahoo, etc; Facebook vs. it’s user base, etc, etc. Bucking this trend is the rise of  the “ephemeral social network” – think Snap Chat.

Explains Hootsuite CEO, Ryan Holmes, “Regardless of whether or not you think Snapchat is worth the $3 billion Facebook offered it, one thing is clear: There’s an appetite out there for so-called ephemeral networks, where content literally vanishes seconds after being received. is that your posts are temporary, neatly dissolving into oblivion (well sort of) after posting…just like a real-life interaction — where ideas flow freely and you generally don’t worry about everything being recorded for posterity and broadcast to the world — SnapChat and networks like it offer a channel for genuine, unfiltered exchange. And the kids really like it.”

Look for the privacy battle to heat up further and note the emergence of more ephemeral social communities in the digital landscape.

6. More Social Employees and Social Companies

Listen up marketers, Consumers are more likely to listen to their friends and peers than a company. Yelp actualizes this concept while Facebook is attempting to with Graph Search. Zappos has long been my favorite example of a truly social company. With 18 employees rotating in/out Twitter every day to answer customer needs, Zappos has shown us that being a social company (and a socially minded one to boot!) pays big dividends.

One of my social media gurus, Brian Solis, defines what it means to be a social business:

“A social business is more than social media and the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, et al…In this case, “social business” is a philosophy, a way of business in which social technologies supported by new approaches facilitate a more open, engaged, and collaborative foundation for how we work…A social business strategy starts with a vision for how social media will improve customer and employee experiences and relationships and therefore aligns social media initiatives with business goals and opportunities.”

Educating company leadership about the benefits of being a social company and empowering social employees to engage on social platforms, will serve to build brand efficacy, reputation and general good will with customer audiences. (This is what I do!)

7. Video Will Be Everywhere

Technology advances will continue to push User Video Content Creation into the main stream. For example, note GoPro’s ‘Be A Hero Campaign’. Now that any Joe can produce a compelling video in a snap (or VINE!), look for an explosion of video content in your Facebook and Twitter streams.

Why just this week it was announced that Facebook will be offering video ads in your news stream so, look out folks, this will be the year of the video:

In Facebook News Feeds, Here Come Commercials

In Facebook News Feeds, Here Come Commercials

While these trends may touch on just a few things to come in 2014, look out for other new and exciting surprises for social media in store. Have a happy, safe and healthy holiday season and see you in 2014!