Where’s Social Media Going in 2014?

2013 is coming to an end after what has been an interesting year for social media and we think that 2014 isn’t going to be any less interesting. We’ve looked into our crystal ball and made predictions of what we think 2014 has to offer.

  • Real time is king

Most of us have realized that real time content has the potential to engage a large part of the fan base and go viral. This means that more and more companies try to tab in on this opportunity and make use of or create their own social news rooms to find the content that fit their brand. The challenge is that more and more brands are doing it, which makes it increasingly more difficult to be heard among in the case of huge events like #royalbaby and #redbullstratos.  And there is no point in making real time content if the angle isn’t spot on and relevant for the brand. Nevertheless, we believe that real time content will become an even bigger part of the content we’ll see and it will be something that consumers expect even more.

  • Social media is our new news site

In line with the above, we become more and more used to getting our world news from social media – we read about the death of a celebrity or a victory in football on social media from the posts and tweets from our friends before anywhere else. And with Facebook’s new change in algorithm, articles and publications will get a larger reach, which means that social media probably will be our no. 1 news source within recent years and this tendency will increase in 2014.

  •  It’s all about visual content

In 2013 we’ve seen a huge growth in visual platforms; Instagram, Vine, Snapchat, Tumblr, Buzzfeed and especially Pinterest have all gained millions of followers. Furthermore, less visual platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have made pictures larger and more visible. We believe that this trend is going to continue and increase in 2014, which means that brands and content creators should prioritize visual content and visual platforms.

  • Mobile, mobile, mobile

We already know that more and more people access their social media profiles on their smart phones. For some social networks half of the users access exclusively from their phones. And this tendency is definitely going to continue even more in 2014. Mobile internet usage is expected to eclipse desktop internet usage in 2014, while mobile data traffic shows no sign of slowing down. So this is the last call for companies to optimize their pages and social profiles to be suitable for all kinds of screens including tablets and phones.

  • The free-rider days are over

Pinterest and Instagram have introduced ads this year, which means that companies can pay for promotion on these platforms. But this is probably also the beginning to the end of free promotion on Pinterest and Instagram. Just like Facebook, where the algorithms have changed, it’s becoming more and more difficult to reach the fan base with content without promotion. And this is a trend, which will most likely continue and increase even more in 2014. Companies are no longer hesitant to be present on social media, which on the other hand means that the social networks are finding ways to monetize their products. So if companies want visibility, they have to create good content – like always – and pay for promotion.

  • The social TV

With the rise of the internet, TV is not what it has been and the TV producers can feel it. Furthermore, a majority of people watches TV while surfing on their laptop or smartphone. We believe that the integration of social media and TV programs – especially live programs – will evolve in 2014, beyond the already-used hashtags campaigns.

These are just some of our predictions for next year, based on some tendencies we’ve seen in 2013. Whether we have a destiny of fortune telling is yet to be decided. What do you think will happen within social media in 2014?

 

Live Streaming and the Demand for Now

blogLive video has been something reserved only for significant occasions in the past, whether it be a big TV event or an important news story. This is all changing now as social media gives the power to the people and makes it easier than ever to broadcast without a TV deal.

So where are we currently? It seems all the giants have joined the party now – YouTube is the latest to jump on board by adding the ability to live stream directly from your phone. It’s important to note here how different YouTube’s audience is to Facebook and Twitter’s – subscribers on YouTube are there predominantly to watch videos, and considering YouTube’s experience within video in general, it will be interesting to see how these two compete most of all.

Tumblr on the other hand seems to have taken a slightly different route by allowing third-party apps to stream live video straight to its service. A very open-minded approach that bears witness to the fact that social is embracing the live streaming movement.

 

Real-Time Marketing

So what does this movement mean for brands? In an age where we have access to an overloading amount of content, content marketing is taking a new form – “real-time marketing” will now gain a larger footprint than ever before and the fundamental difference is the urgency it demands from viewers. This in itself is extremely valuable, considering the sheer amount of content we’re already drowning in. Viewers are also less critical and less demanding when it comes to live video. The fact that it’s live is the biggest factor and it doesn’t play out the same way when you re-watch a video that was originally live. Therefore, viewers end up chasing the video as soon as they’re notified of the stream, instead of “saving it for later”, which in turn also eliminates the potential for it to be lost in the billions of hours of content it’s directly competing with.

 

Quality Control

I’d also say the whole removal of picture-perfect images that Snapchat brought to the table has eased us into live streaming our own content – it may not be perfect, but who cares? You can now also broadcast live to Facebook from MSQRD, which is extremely Snapchat-like. So will the fact that absolutely anyone is now able to stream their lives have an effect on the overall quality of this type of content? Compared to the quality control TV has had over the years, it’s almost non-existent on social media. Time will tell if we want to see our friends live stream themselves doing nothing or whether a stream needs more of a purpose.

All things considered, live streaming will soon be a standard form of expression via social, much like it’s become a standard form of communication over the years with Skype and FaceTime. It’s time for brands to take a good look at their strategy and embrace the live streaming age that’s only going to grow from here.