The new year is here and so it’s time to make some predictions on what will happen in the social media space in 2014. But before we start I want to take a quick look back on my Facebook predictions for 2013 which were published on Inside Facebook last year. Did they come true in the end? Let’s check it out.
How Did The 2013 Facebook Predictions Come Out In The End?
Facebook Metrics Will Shift To Interaction-Driven KPIs
This is still in the process but companies around the world made a big step in 2013.
Showdown with Google: Facebook Ads Everywhere as Ads Expand to the Whole Internet, the Mobile Web and Mobile Apps
Facebook made a huge step forward with mobile ads and could prove that mobile works well, if not better, than desktop when it comes to ads performance. However, they are still advertising mostly on their own platform and it seems like this will not change too soon.
One Billion And Counting: Who Said Anything About Facebook Fatigue?
True. Facebook keeps growing and growing. In September 2013 it counted about 1.2 billion monthly active users worldwide.
Facebook Adjusts News Feed Moving Toward Interest Lists and Closer in Concept to Google+
The news feed algorithm was tweaked a lot during the last year and now surfaces older content much better now. Interest lists are still there but I would have thought that they become much more important.
Gifting and Social Commerce Offers to Expand as Amazon Edges In
Facebook gifts still work really good with some new partner integrations in 2013, but in terms of social commerce I think we have not yet seen the breakthrough. There is much more to come…
SoLoMo (Social, Local, Mobile) Facebook Sets the Example for 2013
Facebook clearly improved its’ product across all channels and especially invested a lot in their mobile strategy. Also Facebook checkins become more important in the local context, although there is much room for improvement when compared to services like Foursquare.
The Facebook Stock Will Recover From The Losses And Turn Upwards
Very true. The stock is currently slightly under 60 USD, which is a huge increase after the last years’ struggling.
The 2014 Social Media Predictions
But now let’s get to the 2014 predictions and see what the year could bring. This time we want to broaden it a bit, go beyond just Facebook and focus on the social media industry in general.
1. Brands will get more broad and be present on more networks
The last year was still very Facebook and Twitter focused for most of the brands. But in the last months we have seen more and more efforts to extend the social media activities beyond that and I believe that we will see brands be truly social, meaning in all dimensions. This will lead to a presence on more networks, but also change the company culture in many of the big companies around.
2. Display ads will transition to social ads or get social context
The power of social ads should now be clear to anyone and especially Facebook has done a big step with ads on mobile during the last year. I expect that more and more traditional display ad formats will shift towards social and we could see that in two different ways. One could be that brands are advertising more directly on social networks and the other could be that traditional ads get social context by using more information they have about the social graph of the viewing user and provide a really unique experience with increased click through rates.
3. Social media influence on search results will increase
The Google search results have changed a lot, especially as Google+ content is surfaced more prominently and Google Authorship allows to add more personal or brand context to search results. The influence of social signals in general will increase more and more over time, so developing a perfect social media strategy and executing it will be key for 2014. Companies who ignore that trend will see their rankings decrease further.
4. Paying for social media as a brand will be the standard scenario
In the last years most of the people still thought that social media is for free and that it just costs time that you have to invest. We have seen a big shift towards more direct revenue on the networks, especially through paid advertising. Nowadays, brands have to invest money even to get the reach for their content, because the competition for the users attention is tougher than ever. I expect that this will increase more in 2014 and that no brand can trust on organic reach alone. This will also lead to a mindset change as there was a lot of wrong expectation setting happening in the past.
5. The number of social media campaigns will increase further
For many brands 2013 was the playground and running social media campaigns became mainstream. With this as a base the number of campaigns run throughout 2014 will increase a lot, I would say by at least a factor of 2 or 3.
6. Measurement of social media performance and return is more important than ever
With all the complexity coming into the social media world and the developments I described in the previous points it will be more challenging to keep everything together and focus on a long-term social media strategy. Measuring what social media brings for your company is and will be key to make it successful and the importance of that has been understood by most of the marketers. That’s where our mission with quintly comes in. We want to be your partner and help you with developing a structured approach towards getting the most out of social media by tracking, benchmarking and optimizing what you are currently doing and turning that into meaningful steps for the future.
What do you expect from 2014?