Back in January, we took a look at some of the groundbreaking social media events and stories from 2013. Today however, we chose to place our necks on the line and make four future predictions for social media in 2015, along with a few more ideas about what might happen before this time next year.
There’s been plenty of speculation in this respect online over the past month or so, and it seems many commentators agree on a couple of the following ideas, but we’ve thrown a few more in, just for good measure.
We’d love to hear what else you think is likely to happen in the social media realm in the comments!
More And More Video
2014 was the year that visual content truly exploded on social media, but our prediction is that video is going to be a massive driving force for marketers in the coming months.
Look at how Facebook’s allowing auto-playing of videos (with sound) in your feed. Look at Instagram allowing companies to pay to have their 15-second videos reach a larger audience. And look at the huge growth in video consumption on tablets and mobile (largely thanks to the phenomenal growth of Netflix).
As video becomes a medium that’s more often consumed than ever before on all of our devices, expect companies and marketers take advantage of this. All we can hope for is that their video production is up to scratch (see above), and that the vloggers that companies choose to work with aren’t too aggravating.
More Paid Posts
First, all social media marketers understand that the number of impressions your cash can buy on Facebook is decreasing. And, the cliff-like drops in organic post reach are driving more companies to plough more cash into their social ads budgets while simultaneously becoming more creative with the content they’re putting out.
Second, as we see companies competing against each other in the viral content race, they need to ensure the content they’re producing (especially video- see above) is actually seen by enough people to drive a positive return on investment, primarily via ploughing further cash into social media.
More Use Of Big Data
For consumers of social media (as opposed to the companies trying to use these platforms for profit), this is actually good news. As social media reporting becomes more and more advanced, and with Facebook offering such detailed analytics for company pages (via Facebook Insights), and Pinterest’s gargantuan update in their own reporting features, companies are able to analyse the results of their social media efforts in more detail than ever.
So, as marketers and business owners become more adept at de-coding this data, the targeting of paid posts will thankfully become far more precise, meaning the posts that actually appear in your feed will become more tailored to you, ensuring your experience on social is as uninterrupted as possible.
A large part of this will be due to marketers moving away from ‘segmentation marketing’ (i.e. Segment 1 will see this post, Segment 2 will see that post), and veering toward treating each member of their audience as individuals, including more personal notifications, and personalised content. As an example, take a look at some of the more personal videos Facebook has been enabling throughout the year, including for Christmas, resulting in growth in consumer engagement and overall interaction.
Mobile, Mobile, Mobile
With the launch of Apple’s iBeacon, Apply Pay, and Google Wallet and with Facebook’s last frontier being mobile (arguably), mobile is an area that’s grabbing everyone’s attention. What this means is that all social platforms will have to ensure their mobile strategy for the coming year is something pretty special.
More platforms will allow companies to promote to audiences based on mobile network. The promoted content you see in your feeds will be optimised for mobile sharing. Integrations with the Internet Of Things will become more common. Real time and location specific posts will become far more ‘normal’. By this last point, I mean, rather than just receiving promoted posts simply because you’re in New York City, you receive one because you’ve just walked into Le Bernardin on 51st Street.
And A Few More Thoughts
- LinkedIn will at last make a renaissance. There’s currently no great place for B2B social media. LinkedIn has been a mess for several years now, but recently it seems they’re starting to get their act together.
- Google+ will just about survive, but not necessarily as a social media platform. Companies seem to be leaving Google+ in droves as the ROI just isn’t there. Yet, the stakes are too high for Google to close Google+ completely. It’s greatly helping to improve personalised search results, plus it’s awesome at helping Google to collect more information about individual users. Google+ groups are thriving due to bloggers though, so I anticipate people will start to see the platform as more of a content distribution platform than as a social network.
- #Hashtagging will become more mainstream. I’ve spoken to several companies who are looking at utilising hashtagging more in 2015. Take a look at what Kik is up to to see what I mean. Conversing and having actual discussions that are meaningful is becoming less common on social media. By using hashtags as a way of filtering and sorting our conversations, networks and interests, I’m hoping social media will once again become more ‘social’.
- Instagram will leave Vine in the dust. Virtually all CEOs and marketers I’ve spoken to recently have expressed plenty of interest in increasing their presence on Instagram (especially video), yet, relatively few desire to concentrate on Vine.
What Do You See In Social Media’s Future?
In all though, social media looks set to become an even more essential part of our lives, irrespective of whether we want it to or not. The content may evolve, or become more personal, and we may end up relying on hashtags more and more. Whether this is good or bad for us as individuals or society is open to debate, but its lingering role in our lives is not.
What else do you think we can expect from social media in 2015?