A Social Media Sage’s Seven Surprising prognostications for 2014
Yahoo buys SnapChat
Facebook stock doubles
Native Advertising will be the #1 promotional tool
FourSquare has their life support pulled
Social Video explodes
The Internet of Things and People converges
TV Networks leak for social dollars
1. Yahoo buys SnapChat
A 23 year-old founder, who turned down a $3 billion offer from Facebook, is just the type of partner that struggling Yahoo CEO, Marissa Mayer, needs to turn her company into the next hot social media property. Yahoo has too much inertia to overcome it any other way, and the Tumblr acquisition was a mistake they need badly to overcome. An idealistic 23 year-old (even though he doesn’t wear a hoodie) is the perfect partner for a veteran, operationally focused CEO (even though she doesn’t lean in far enough)
2. Facebook stock doubles
The advertising strategy of Facebook took a major jump in September whe
n Zuck changed the EdgeRank algorithm. That’s what determines which content appears on your news feed. Corporate posts appearing to people whom “Liked” a brand’s fan page on Facebook averaged about 14% in 2013. The new Facebook programming change will reduce that number to a paltry 2 or 3%. This means for brands to get noticed they either have to figure out native advertising, or buy sponsored stories from Facebook, or (as I think will happen with most of the major brands) do both. Either way it’s a windfall for Facebook stock. (Disclosure: I have owned Facebook stock since the IPO)
3. Native Advertising will be top brand’s number #1 promotional strategy
Research continues to show how highly influential social media networks and word-of-mouth recommendation really are. The most recent research indicates the best strategy is getting many individuals to influence their closest 20 to 30 friends, not finding one or two influencers with 5,000 connections. The way to “own the news feedsm” of many people is to create compelling content with someone they know at the center of that story. Owning the newsfeed is like owning Park Place on monopoly; it’s without a doubt the most valuable real estate, yet the most difficult to achieve. By creative native advertising or product placement on social media, brands can influence without annoying.
4. FourSquare has their life support pulled
A year ago I wrote an article for Forbes about the death of FourSquare, and we will finally see that come to fruition in 2014. The Venture Capitalists will learn the lesson that an interesting feature doesn’t make a successful company. It’s easier because many of the VC’s who invested in FourSquare (like Spark) had money in Twitter that came out of the same fund, so they have a big winner to write off a loser against.
5. Social Video explodes
There is a convergence of technologies taking place right now with a massive effect. Companies who planned ahead (instead of planning for the current technology) will reap big rewards this year. Mobile bandwidth on 4G is finally creating large capacity to capture, transmit, and view videos. Cameras are not only becoming prolific on phones, but more and more companies are getting into GoPro’s backyard with really cool offerings. Multiply bandwidth times cameras and add in simple and accessible video editing software, and you have an equation for millions of cool high quality content producers. There’s still rooms for easy editing and posting apps so look for those to emerge as well.
6. The Internet of Things and People converges
Events, devices and social media will become connected in a way that tells unique stories about our lives everyday with all the friction taken away. Automatically sharing in real time allows people to share precious moments and events with their social graph and keeps groups connected like never before. dwinQ activated 16 events in 2012, this year we activated more than 50 – and the virality of the content continues to go up and up. When I wrote RFID for Dummies in 2003, I said devices will be smart enough to do the heavy lifting for us, and that time has finally come. Just as an example, I’ve been using Google Glass to automatically send pictures of my day to an LED picture frame so my kids can see what I see even when I’m thousands of miles away. At several events dwinQ activated in Boston this year, guests could use their mass transit Charlie card to automatically share pictures from professional photographers directly to Facebook, without lifting a finger. Smart devices, stable and scalable operating systems like to link, and interesting applications like IFTTT.com will create not just an Internet of things but a true Internet of things and people.
7. TV Networks leak for social dollars
The success of Oreo’s Twitter response during the Super Bowl got networks thinking, and in 2014 you’ll see them acting. TV advertising will be down 50% within 5 years; to combat this lost revenue, networks will need to become real players on social media. The fastest way for them to do this is to auction key components of a story line in advance so advertisers can have social media campaigns prepackaged, that look like immediate responses. Imagine that the lights going out at the Super Bowl was planned because Oreo gave the NFL an extra $5 million. While that might seem far-fetched, it’s easy to imagine Breaking Bad producers selling the fact that Walt calls Todd and his uncles in the last episode to a major brand.
Happy New Year!
If you have any ideas or predictions for 2014 leave them here! If you need help with social media at your events drop us a line at dwinQ and we'll make you a star in 2014.