Keeping on top or even ahead of the trends in the social media industry can be a huge challenge. As we move into 2015, we asked our social media specialists to predict the trends to watch for the year. Check out their top ten social media predictions in our video and blog post below to see what developments may have an impact on your business during the year!
All Eyes on China
Home to the world’s most active social media community, this year we’ll look more and more to China for new social media trends. The Chinese are ahead of the game in terms of monetizing social messaging, and this is where we’ll borrow most from them. While the West sees in-app purchasing as a trend for 2015, mobile app WeChat is already making it happen in China. WeChat offers highly customisable APIs for retailers to create, not ads, but storefronts within the messaging app. This also means the buyer rarely has to leave the app to make a purchase – saving time and hassle. WeChat has even added a mobile wallet function, allowing users to not only complete online purchases but offline transactions too, such as paying for taxis or even using vending machines. While there are some cultural barriers to adapting all of WeChat’s functions, Facebook, with its increased focus on unbundling and the provision of function-first apps, will be sure to take some inspiration from its success.
Dark Social Sharing : Marketers Strike Back
With the social messaging apps taking over, users are now more difficult to reach and track. Understanding “Dark Social” activity will be a priority for marketers in 2015. To help with this, we’ll see more advanced sharing options like the presence of the “share on whatsapp” button. We’ll also see marketers wrapping content in trackable links to get more insight into shares on closed networks or shares by email. Given that an estimated 72% of content is shared by copying and pasting, brands can’t afford to miss this data when demonstrating ROI.
Just Do It…
Speaking of ROI, performance will be everything in 2015. Now, more than ever, social media is being taken seriously by the C-Suite and marketers will have to prove real successes and real returns. Inflated or vague performance metrics will no longer be acceptable, social media measurement will need to be tied to business impact in a clear and understandable way. Of course, to achieve this success, marketers will need to be a step ahead of their audience and harness the power of social listening in order to align their key messages. To make an impact, messages will need to be more emotive and content will need to be optimised for cross-platform distribution – and special consideration given to wearable technology.
Media on the Move
Whether on a wearable device, smartphone or tablet, it’s predicted that this year 1 billion people will use mobile as their only form of internet access. Mobile optimisation is no longer an option for brands, it is the only option. We’ll see an increase in function-first apps from the major social networks, as they split out their different facilities. We’ve already seen this with Facebook in 2014, introducing Messenger and Groups apps and this one-tap access trend will certainly continue. We’ll also see more demand for responsive design for websites and email marketing, making content more visually appealing for mobile users.
2015 and beyond
They say, if you’re not moving forward you’re falling behind. Now users are looking for a platform that will move with them, that will save them time and that will provide easier access to the things they need while reducing the noise. Major networks will need to unbundle – following Facebook’s lead – in order to provide function-first apps, allowing users to opt-in to the elements of the platform that they want. Messaging apps will need to expand, offering more retail-friendly APIs and purchase options, like WeChat. Marketers will need to explore dark social in order to measure all social activity and its impact on a business, as the spotlight on social media performance continues to grow. So as 2015 begins our advice to you is; get creative, get moving, and don’t be afraid of the dark!
Is there anything we’ve missed? Let us know what trends you’ll be focusing on in 2015 in the comment section. And for those of you who missed them, you can find last year’s predictions here.