Social media trends for 2013 can be many, but there are some pundits on whose predictions I’d be willing to put my money. Every new year offers new opportunities, and the coming twelve months, according to my chosen wise ones, are likely to be no less interesting than 2012. This year, it seems, brands are likely to consolidate substantially on gains made in 2012 on the social media.
I wanted to present below all the expert predictions I have found interesting and believe to be very possible in 2013. I hope it helps you make up your mind on what you think are the best social/digital marketing directions for 2013 that you may like to build your brand strategy around. So here goes … at the end of this read see if you can tell where these experts agree and where they diverge.
Milward Brown, the global research agency, writing in the Branding Strategy Insider, one of the most read blogs on digital branding, lists (among others) some seven great social/digital trends to look out for in 2013:
– Facebook’s “monetization drive” will provide newer and maybe richer advertising avenues for brands. Facebook newsfeeds and advertisements we will see at the end of next year could, according to Milward Brown, be “bigger, bolder, more interactive – and intrusive – in 2013”.
– Social media listening will “evolve from monitoring to insight”. As brands start giving more attention to social data while making business decisions, they will also demand greater transparency and quality in the collection of data and therefore bring greater quality in their insights. We will be seeing growing demand for “actionable in-campaign insights” and we will also see advertisers reap the rewards for sharper insight-mining.
– Omnichannel marketing will help brands build on “meaningful moments of engagement”. (Here “omnichannel marketing” is defined as “… being present or available across the consumer’s behavioral path: each potential contact or social point integrated with all others”.
– In 2013 we will also see an increase in the amount of content shifting away from an ad-supported business model to a pay-per-view or subscription-based model.
– Contrary to predictions that the digital age would pull people away from TV, we will all be watching more TV than before. Far from being eroded, people’s TV viewing experience will likely be “enriched by social networks and dedicated social TV apps”.
– To maximize results, media agencies will heed the growing research that different online social formats deliver different results. There will be a growing emphasis on better alignment of online display formats with campaign objectives.
– Since research into consumption patterns shows that people are spending more time on mobile apps than in browsing the web, the future in-social/app advertising expenditures will be driven by far greater use of rich media.
David Armano, writing in the Harvard Business Review’s HBR Blog Network, says his predictions for 2013 have been arrived at from the perspective of a combined “social-digital lens” rather than purely through a “social lens” in order to broaden the focus. His list includes six trends in the social-digital area to watch for:
– The content economy is going to rule. In fact, content may become a brand’s most coveted asset in 2013. Already Google has been honing its algorithms and coming down heavily upon spammy SEO tactics that dilute the quality of its search results. Going forward, Google will ensure that only the most relevant and compelling content will rank well on its search results.
– The world is going to resemble “Cyborg Central”. If you think your mobile smart phone is making your computer passe, now there will be more geeky gadgets coming along. Gadgets like “Google Glasses”, for instance, are, according to David Armano, “… just a preview of what we’ll see more of in 2013 as we begin to mesh machines with humans”.
– The social web plus the mobile web are together going to create a “smobile” web. Even if there is no research evidence to suggest that both the mobile web and the social web are going to be the biggest things in 2013, they will certainly become “co-dependent”. David Armano believes that most businesses are not yet ready for such a scenario.
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– Sensors and their sensory intelligence will get smarter and become more pervasive. Sensors will in fact begin to pervade our lives in diverse ways … in our homes, or via transportation, technology, clothing, entertainment and leisure activities. They will begin to integrate more and better with existing devices and networks.
– Social commerce will gather momentum. More people will begin to make personal purchases or buy each other gifts via the social networks. Social sites may have storefronts. The signals indicate that in 2013 social commerce will really take off.
– Currently there’s a surplus of data but a deficit of insight. In 2013 companies and brands may all start focusing less on data quantity per se and reconsider the strategic aspects of how they are going to understand, interpret or efficiently utilize data.
Ryan Holmes, CEO of Hootsuite, the social media management and monitoring tool, writing on his company blog, says that in 2013, as social technologies improve and functionality extends beyond just marketing and community building, companies will start looking forward to expanded returns on their investment,. His list of five trends for 2013 include:
– There will be a substantial expansion in mobile social media usage. Mobile Internet use in the US is already set to overtake wired use by 2015, but this growth is happening at an even faster pace for social media. Facebook has already acknowledged that growth on mobiles outstrips growth on PCs. Social networks like Instagram that are designed from the ground up for mobile will see great advantages.
– International and niche social media networks may start to boom. Social media networks in the Asia-Pacific (India, China and Indonesia) are likely to grow by 21.1%. Social networks in the Middle East and Africa will grow by 23.3%. In Latin America growth is expected to be around 12.6%. Also we may see more niche networks like Pinterest or Instagram.
– Mobile advertising may become more viable, especially with new ideas entering the picture such as “Promoted Tweets” or “Sponsored Stories”. Such social advertising would not look try to look distinct even if they come from brands. They may look like user-generated content.
– Like in-company intranets succeeded the public internet as a productivity tool, we could well see the growth of in-company social networks now being promoted as productivity tools aiding efficiency of communication between employees.
– If 2012 was the year of vast data collection from watching and measuring the social media, 2013 may see a shift to applying insights mined from data to boost brand campaigns across the social media. Already companies like Nestle and GE are beginning to use data-driven insights to improve customer sentiment and service repertoires.
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