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?



With :15 Secs Length, Expect Pre-Roll Like Ads To Hit Instagram Soon


Last week, Instagram finally released the much rumored, “Video for Instagram.” Within the first 24 hours, over 5 million videos had been shared on the site. Everyone that had used the service dubbed it the “Vine Killer”, including myself.  The integration of video was seamless and included filters to keep the continuity of its infamous photo sharing service.  The biggest different between the two services is obviously the length of the videos. Vine allows only 6-seconds, while Instagram offers 15-seconds.  If you’d like a comprehensive rundown of the different features, TechCrunch has a great feature here.

What I want to focus on today is the :15-second length.  Since the Facebook acquisition, both sides have vehemently denied that they’ll include advertising on Instagram.  When Instagram tried to change its Terms of Service, the internet went up in flames. Kevin Systrom quickly backtracked and reassured users ads were not coming and that images will not be used in any form of advertising.  Now with video, I think that changes the ball game. 

Facebook has been rumored to include video ads in their News Feed for some time now.  Those video ads could range from :15 – :30-seconds. Everyone in the advertising industry knows about :15-second pre-rolls. They’re pretty much ubiquitous on every video platform…except Facebook.  I think with the rollout of video on Instagram, this may change. 

As Facebook gears up video ads, which is a lucrative market for them, Instagram will slowly get those ads too. It’s just a matter of time.  And the logic makes sense. If enough users start to use the video functionality, the best way to recoup the $750 million spend on acquiring Instagram is to get brands to pay more for video ads.   Whether or not users continue to use the service once ads hit the stream, Facebook has to do something with Instagram and this is their next big move. Brands who’ve invested time and money on Instagram will love it, as they have a new advertising platform to share interesting content. And since many brands are already used to creating :15-second pre-rolls for marketing purposes, this is going to be a no-brainer. I just hope they don’t re-purpose TV spots, like they do on other video platforms. It leads to terrible conversion rates.

Some brands have already started creating their own form of advertising. The American Licorice Co, makers of the Red Vines, started sharing 15 seconds ads on their Instagram feed. I expect more brands to follow.   

Video on Instagram is still taking some time getting used to.  I haven’t seen much engagement on the platform for the videos that I’ve shared but I think it’s the best way for Facebook to introduce video ads. As much as I’d hate to see ads on Instagram, this is the only way they can generate new revenue while continuing to fund Instagram.

Do you think video ads will Instagram streams by the end of the year?

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Hashtags & Instagram Video Are Extremely Important For Facebook


Wow! I go out of the country for two weeks and Facebook starts making some big changes to their platform. First, hashtags are finally here! It’s about time. I feel like Facebook is late to adopt a lot of these new technologies (Poke, Messenger).  

With hashtags, they can finally blow out their Graph Search capabilities or worst case scenario, sell trending hashtags ala Twitter (they make a boatload of money from it).  Incorporting with Instagram will even make it easier for people to include hashtags and share via the photo-sharing platform since they’re already doing this. As long as privacy doesn’t become an issue for Facebook, this could lead to a gold mine for Facebook.   This makes the potential for Graph Search even more exciting (Google may want to start paying attention a bit more). 

The second big news, that has yet to be announced, is the rumor that Instagram is looking to include short form videos on their platform ala Vine. Vine has been a success for Twitter (in terms of adoption) and so it naturally makes sense for Instagram and Facebook to get into this arena.  Couple this with rumors that Facebook ads will include video in the new future, this gives Facebook another platform for revenue generation.  While Vine was a separate platform and app that required downloading and adoption, Facebook can easily get users to try a new video platform since it’ll be a click or two away within the Instagram app. 

I’ve been critical of Facebook in the past especially since they seem to be following the crowd these days without any actual innovation but I think these two are extremely important to their revenue potential.  It’s making their platform stickier, which is good for brands and advertisers. 

This is all without mentioning the decline in visitors on Facebook. I use Facebook every day and I have to admit, it’s getting big, bloated and boring.

I hope that they can stand the test of time but in the mean time Facebook is doing their best to stat afloat while competition continues to do their best to eat away at its dominance.

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Twitter & Comedy Central = Media Company To Be


As many marketers found out this morning, Twitter and Comedy Central have signed a deal to show exclusive comedy shows on Twitter via pre-recorded clips and jokes via the hashtag, #ComedyFestival.

It’s another sign that Twitter is looking to become a media company and include as much content as they can to supplement their core business – ads on tweet timelines. 

I think Twitter is heading in a great direction, unlike Facebook, who’s having a tough time expanding their core business while keeping Wall Street happy. Twitter on the other hand is laying the ground work for advertising opportunities that may come later, in their vision to dominate social conversations. TV is a big part of that future, as users regularly turn to Twitter for real-time conversations about popular TV shows. They’ve already signed deals with Nielson and bought Blue Fin Labs to help decipher all the chatter around TV shows.   Twitter’s media ambitions should be solidified after this past week’s news events. 

The Boston Marathon bombing allowed Twitter to become the go to place for real-time updates on what was happening on the ground during the bombings but also the chase to capture the two suspects in the bombing.  There were Vine videos of the blast, police scanner updates, and also updates from all law enforcements officials to Bostonians to stay indoors when the second suspect was running loose.

I can’t wait to see what unfolds for Twitter in the next few years but they’re clearly headed in the right direction. They must be learning from mistakes Facebook made before heading towards an IPO, as they plan their own attempt in the next few years.  I also love their strategy by using popular morning shows to announce product such as #TwitterMusic (on GMA) and the new page refresh (on the Today Show).  These are excellent ways to reach the average viewer, especially moms, who may not be on Twitter but could potentially sign up by learning more about it from trusted sources.

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Vine App: Memes From The Masses…& Brands


I got a chance to use the Vine app from Twitter this weekend. It’s a fun app that let’s you take “video”, while letting you start and stop along the way. It’s an excellent feature that will transform the types of  content we consume but only if it catches on with the masses.  While, it’s being touted as video platform, it’s really about creating memes and it’s a platform that will take some to create each piece of content. Unlike, Twitter, you can’t just post 6 random seconds of your life, unless something dramatic is taking place (cool new thing, car accident, etc).  For that reason alone, we may see an initial rise in random, crappy videos (like mine) but if the service catches on, there’s a potential for amazing, creative content that’ll keep us more entertained than any Instagram image or meme can. 

As the platform gains steam, it has yet to catch on with non techies (non of my non-tech or marketing friends even knew about it), privacy will be a big issue. As the NYTimes reported over the weekend, Vine is already facing some bugs and privacy issues. Twitter has already shut off the Facebook authentication feature once, as a result of this issue. Once the masses get to it, these issues better be resolved.   Vine app is not only catching the attention of every day consumers, brands are testing the waters already.

Chris Brogan has a great list of 11 things brands can start doing with Vine and some that already have. Here’s the list of brands that already have started doing some cool things:





As more brands find useful ways to incorporate this technology, we’ll see more creatives uses. As Chris mentioned, this platform lends itself to amazing behind the scenes “videos” and memes. And something else Chris forgot to mention, brands can share their corporate culture and use it as a recruitment tool. Instagram is currently doing that but a stream of video content has a completely different look and feel than an actual stream, even if it’s only 6 seconds long. 

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