2013 social media followed a lot of buzz-worthy events – the world got a new pope, a new royal baby, and a new controversial pop star to talk about incessantly. (I think I’ve said “Miley Cyrus” more than my own name lately.)
But how we used social media in 2013 is even more impressive than the topics we focused on. These 2014 social media predictions are based on moments when analytics, ads, and content creation drastically changed in the past year.
Moment 1: Oreo Tweeted During the Super Bowl
During the Super Bowl blackout last January, Oreo tweeted an image that was essentially an immediate reaction to a current event. The brand set a new standard for extremely timely/relevant content. Sporting events, award shows, and season finales became the source of inspiration for many brand’s posts throughout the year.
2014 Prediction: Similar to how brands pay for product placement, I think companies will make deals with networks to learn a TV show’s storylines beforehand so that their content is even timelier.
Moment 2: Facebook Enforced a 20% Rule
The newsfeed demands no more than 20% of a Facebook ad image containing text. This is merely part of the shift Facebook has been making for years toward more image-based content.
2014 Prediction: Facebook advertising will go the route of television commercials – the most popular ads will be humorous or contain a narrative that serves as entertainment.
Moment 3: Instagram Introduced Ads
Instagram finally chose a revenue model – ads have premiered, though they’re still in their infancy.
2014 Prediction: It’s not enough for Instagram to have ads that don’t take the user anywhere. They’ll eventually have to provide links, especially to compete with Pinterest.
Moment 4: Facebook Bid on Snapchat
First Facebook went after Instagram, and this year they attempted to acquire the app Snapchat. It seems like now the future of social network start-ups is to be swallowed up by bigger, more established networks.
2014 Prediction: Snapchat and Pinterest will continue to be courted (and possibly purchased) by bigger networks like Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
Moment 5: Vine Premiered
It was just last January that the video network premiered, but it already has over 40 million registered users. Instagram was pressured to respond with its video update, making video production from a mobile phone more feasible than ever.
2014 Prediction: Vine doesn’t have an overwhelmingly clear content play or audience yet, though I could see quick 6-second instructional videos taking off. Perhaps the cliche of “Men don’t read the instructions to assemble” will change to “Men would rather just watch the Vine version.”
Moment 6: Facebook Launched Hashtags
The fact that Facebook added hashtags years after its inception proves that the # symbol is here to stay. While SEO is complex and often frustrating, hashtags have become a simple way to draw more eyes to your content.
2014 Prediction: Brands will mention hashtags more in print, television, and radio in order to give their campaigns a stronger presence in the social space.
Moment 7: Twitter Went Public
Since its launch, Twitter has kept us somewhat in the dark about active users and a strong revenue model. This year’s IPO forced Twitter to reveal more of its internal data than ever before.
2014 Prediction: Does Twitter have strong ROI? Next year, Twitter will need to step it up with a comprehensive analytics model in order to make shareholders happy.
Moment 8: LinkedIn Today Became LinkedIn Pulse
When the network replaced LinkedIn Today with Linked Pulse, it proved that LinkedIn is making efforts to customize content in the same way other networks do. Overall, the network spent the year integrating more outside content, making you want to click that LinkedIn share button on major news sites and blogs.
2014 Prediction: If LinkedIn wants to be the hub for industry-specific thought leadership, they’ll need to follow Facebook’s example of creating a feed that favors quality content.
Moment 9: Twitter Cards Were Revealed
Twitter might retain its 140 character rule, but its text-only fundamentals have vanished. Twitter Cards are the first step in Twitter’s shift to a more visual and interactive feed. A media-enriched tweet typically has more engagement and a longer life-span than a text-only tweet.
2014 Prediction: Posting a picture, video, or sign-up form to Twitter will become much more accessible and common among the average user.
Moment 10: Pinterest Got A Makeover
Pinterest had A LOT of improvements this year, including:
These updates made this network more appealing to brands, who now see the value of using Pinterest.
2014 Prediction: Data will prove that Pinterest has stronger ROI than most networks of its size. You’ll see a lot more brands establishing and expanding their Pinterest presence in 2014.