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New year, new predictions. The top 4 social media predictions for 2014

It’s the new year and a fresh start for everyone. These nba teams are starting to win so this year might be a great year.  In the social, digital and technology space, this year is predicted to be a banner year for new technologies but also a step further for marketers when it come to taking advantage of new social and digital platforms. And there also the increase in mobile ad spending. The outlook for all of them is leading to bold predictions from various agencies, experts and brands. I have a few of my own.  Below are my predictions for 2014.

Increase in social media ad spend 

In 2014, expect social ads to explode and get a lot more attention than they currently do. These ads are proving to be a lot more effective than some traditional forms of advertising, like banner ads. No one cares about banner ads, (clicked on 0.2 percent of the time), however social ads like Promoted Tweets show engagement of one to three percent— up to 15 times better.  Each one of these perform much higher than traditional forms of advertisements.

Video sharing will explode the way images did in 2013

Most millennials, the highly sought after target for many brands, grew up watching online video. It’s what they’re used to consuming and now are creating it more than ever.  Short form video platforms like Vine and Instagram have made it easier to create, edit and share video in real-time. And that’s not even including YouTube, the old guard when it comes to sharing video on social.

The signs for an explosion in video sharing in 2014 are all there.  Instagram introduced video a few months after Vine launched, Snapchat was offered $3 and $4 billion for their ephemeral image and video platform, (money they quickly turned down) which boasts users mostly between the ages of 13 and 25 and Facebook is launched video ads within the News Feed.  In 2014, videos will become the new image.

Google+ will grow in size and importance

Google+ has always taken a back seat for brands looking to connect with their users.  Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram always got the bulk of the conversation.  However, that’s about to change in 2014. Google+ has slowly but surely grown the number of active users to over 540 million in 2013 and in 2014, is poised to create more importance in the social space especially when it comes to search.

Google+ is baked into a range of Google products, including important consumer facing products such as Search, YouTube and Google Maps. While brands continue to carve out a presence on Google+, many have noticed higher search rankings as a result of their presence on the platform.

The importance of community building and brand ambassadors will increase

In 2014, brands will be spending much more time building communities with fans who are willing to help them spread the word about their service or product because they love it so much. Brands will have to find ways to build more word-of-mouth traffic because consumers trust other consumers. In a recent Nielson Global Survey, 84% of respondents said they trust word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and families over anything else.

What are some other predictions you’d like to include in the list above?

 

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Why used gadgets continue to hold extremely high value in today’s competitive technology landscape

The past few weeks, I’ve sold over $1,500 worth of stuff, mostly gadgets, on Amazon’s Marketplace.  When I tell the guys at work, they think I’m crazy and that it’s not possible to sell so many things, especially older things.  I was surprised myself when a 8 year old Mac Mini sold for almost half of its value, while a 7 year old speaker system sold for more than what I paid for it (that was insane!).

This is definitely not a recent trend. Gadgets have always had decent resale value, with Apple products always having a slightly higher resale value. I think there are many reasons for the higher value in gadgets these days.  Below is a quick rundown:

  • High value due to competition
    • Companies like Apple and Samsung try to out-do each other every year.  This leads to new products and innovations that make lives easier for consumers. As a result, many consumers buy the latest and greatest technology, leaving more devices for the late adopters.
  • High value due to new marketplaces
    • Marketplaces like Amazon & eBay are making it easier for late adopters to buy slightly older technology without paying so much for them. The potential reach of the marketplaces makes it easier to find any gadget, even 8-year-old Mac Minis.
  • High value due to greater adoption rates
    • For example, as more people move away from the feature phone to smartphone, there will be greater adoption rates for smartphones, making one-year-old devices extremely valuable. As the older generation embraces technology, those gadgets will become more valuable as more people want them.
  • High value due to Education
    • The rise of social media has also propelled the rise of gadget and tech education. Average consumers look to multiple sources before making a gadget purchase.  Along with the rise of retail stores dedicated to specific gadgets (Apple, Microsoft) and pop up shops (Samsung & Windows in Best Buy), consumers are more educated when shopping for gadgets, meaning the used gadgets they end up selling a year or two later, are likely to be a something of higher build quality
  • High value due to case manufacturers
    • This is an extremely important aspect when it comes to high value of gadgets.  Case manufacturers have always been around but Apple’s iPhone created an entirely new marketplace for cases.  Almost every new gadget is wrapped with a customizable protective case.  Due to these cases, gadgets have a longer shelve life, thus ending up on marketplaces.
  • Higher value due to better manufacturing process and quality
    • In China, the iPhone 4 is still one of the most popular phones even though Apple has already released the iPhone 4S & 5.  We can say that the Chinese are into cheap phones but it’s also a testament to the build quality of the iPhone 4. Almost 3 years later, it’s still one of the best phones and can withstand the test of time.  Gadgets are now built faster, cheaper and better.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Why do you think used gadgets sell so well? Have you sold any used gadgets?

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Google Glasses: How Tech Companies Should Be Working Together For A Better Future

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 Coverage on Google Glasses has been increasing steadily over the past few weeks.  As more app developers are allowed to incorporate the Glasses technology, there’s greater coverage on the capabilities.   What stood out most about the latest coverage is how tech competitors such as Facebook, Twitter and Google are all working together to create applications for Glasses.

In a recent interview with Techcrunch, former Googler, now a mobile product manager for special projects Erick Tseng discussed how they closely worked with Google on developing the Facebook app for Google Glasses, even though they’re competitors. 

More broadly, it’s often forgotten that we have a great relationship. Facebook is one of most popular Android apps today. We already work very closely on that experience as well. And then Home is the latest manifestation of that relationship.

We could take that any way we’d like but I think they genuinely do like working together and in many cases, would like to advance together even as competitors. If Apple and Microsoft could do it for decades, I’m sure Google and Facebook can do the same.  I think this is the best way to move technology forward. In an age when every platform is looking to monetize their users and cutting off API access at the cost of consumer experience, it’s nice to see two giants willing to work together to create an awesome piece of technology, something that could change the way we consume content but also verticals such as medicine.  As a tech and social media enthusiast, I’m actually really proud to see this happen within the space. Of course, this could all change next week, as user data becomes more important for advertising purposes.  But I’d like to think the brains behind both companies would like to do some good with innovative technology and not always focus on the bottom line. 

All this comes on the heels of this morning’s reports that Twitter, CNN, Elle and Tumblr will all be included in Google Glasses.  Who knows it Google Glasses will ever turn into a popular consumer product but it’s definitely getting its share of coverage and supporters.  I can’t wait till I get my hands on a pair next year.

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It’s a Nike Fuel Band…

The past few weeks, I’ve been getting a lot of questions about the ice white Nike Fuel Band that I wear on my wrist.  The first time was at the pharmacy. The pharmacists looked at it a few times, before finally asking me what it was. After I explained it to him, he understood and said that he’d seen it in an ad before.  I thought it was interesting that someone in the medical field did not know what these devices were.  Many people wear some variation of a tracking device on their wrists, whether it’s a FitBit device, fuel band or some other brand.  

The second time happened at work. During a Friday afternoon company meeting, a few people asked me what the device was. As I explained the benefits and cool tech behind it to 6 people, they were all amazed at its capabilities. What surprised me even more was that none of them had heard about it.  Being that they were working in a digital and social setting, they should know about FastCompany’s #1 Most Innovative Company in 2013 and some of the products they were rolling, in this case the Nike Fuel Band.  Maybe it’s because I’m more in tuned to what’s happening within the social media space but either way, I’m surprised every time someone asks me about the Fuel Band.

Have you noticed devices such as the Fuel Band on people’s wrists?  Do you instantly recognize it or do you ask what it is?

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