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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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Growing trend in video channels to increase magazine and publishing reach

There’s a new growing trend in digital and publishing has been slowly coming to fruition. Traditional publishers are turning to video series to help expand their content portfolios and also increasing higher ad costs.

Hearst and Conde Nast have both launched video content channels to showcase and differentiate from the content on their websites. I believe many of these high profile publishers are heading in this route for a number of reasons:

  • Video consumption is increasing at a significant pace as mobile allows users to watch anything, almost anywhere
  • Ads via their website no longer commands the high prices it once did. Part of that has to do with better ad targeting technology but also the lack of quality content
  • Lack of quality content leads to the inability to paywall the websites. Hearst’s Esquire brand has tested pay wall formats for content but it’s not a reasonable expectation for users to pay for specific pieces of content. Unlike the NYTimes, content from entertainment sources are not a daily necessity. While shows like the Today Show and Good Morning America have shifted to creating fluffy news shows, real news is still a huge part of the daily routine for millions. That’s why the NYTimes is able to create a paywall and get users to pay for it.

I genuinely hope the video channels do well. It’ll open up new possibilities for marketers but my experience says that the moment the channels underperform or don’t get the ad revenue they’re looking for, they’ll get shut down. It’s a sad and unfortunate possibility but if one of these industry giants decides to invest properly, they can create some amazing content for a large percentage of users who are hungry to consume relatable and topical content.

Do you read any magazines? Would you watch a specific channel from those publishers?

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Turning Views Into Sales: YouTube Channel Gadget

Google I/O 2013 was a huge for Google products but also a warning to competitors like Apple and Facebook.  However, something important that didn’t get as much coverage was Google’s announcement yesterday that some CPG brands can now sell their products via a YouTube channel gadget on YouTube.  YouTube is looking to connect users who view product related videos or how to’s and get them to buy those products. It’s very similar to the way hair salons and studios make extra money by suggesting customers purchase products directly from them.

Google uses Unilever and TRESemme as the example but this is something huge for all brands in general. If you have something to sell then why not look into placing it on your YouTube channel. I can even see financial services brands placing online applications via the Channel gadget.  And what’s to stop Wal-Mart from selling products from a new campaign right on YouTube or Fandango selling tickets right from their YouTube channel?

This is an excellent way to get consumers to make a quicker purchase decision, especially after they’ve just viewed a video showcasing the product and its advantages.   There’s even an opportunity for blogger outreach like strategies to get popular bloggers to talk about your product and have it placed within the channel gadget for purchase, making the process seamless.

I checked out the TRESemme example and it wasn’t as fluid as I thought it would be but it’s definitely a good start. I think there’s still some refinement that needs to be done on Google’s part but for now, it’s an excellent concept that brands should be looking into, especially if you have a popular YouTube channel.

Would you ever buy something via a YouTube channel? Have you ever bought anything from a social media platform?

(pic source)

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New iOS 7 Design Concept Looks Awesome!

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Check out the new design concept for iOS 7 from Simply ZestyTheNextWeb says the new OS should exactly like that. They be right! I think it’s a wonderful and refreshing look at iOS with some elements from Android and Windows Phone thrown in there. 

The design is super clean and looks very interesting. It also incorporates the flat design concept that’s been rumored the past few months.  Job Ive likes the flatter design over the skeuomorphic design from Steve Jobs’ days.  Take a look at all the concept images along with a video below:

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Do you like the concept? Would you want Apple to implement this? Let me know. 

(pic source)

 

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Community Management is Harder Than It Looks

The past few weeks I’ve been reading a lot about Community Management within social media. It looks like brands are finally realizing the importance of a good community manager and agencies are highlighting community management as part of their service offerings.  Both are great steps in the right direction for a new level of brand management that wasn’t offered in the past, especially for a medium that changes every day. What most agencies and brands don’t understand is that community management is hard. It’s not just posting and monitoring (for some agencies, this is what they relegate their community managers to, which is a terrible waste of their time) but it’s about being on the front line for customer service, analysis and social media strategy- the latter being extremely important when shaping the overall digital strategy for the year.

I was a community manager for over a year at an agency and handled community management duties before that at a startup and let me tell you, it was hard work. I had the benefit of working with an amazing team at the agency, so I learned a lot as a community manager but the best part was how much they depended on me to shape the client’s social strategy. The more fulfilling part was that the client respected my opinion and looked to me as an expert in the field, even though they were extremely knowledgeable.  With that said, the day to day responsibilities of a community manager is tough. Here’s what my day looked like at the agency, especially since my client was in financial services: 

  • 9am: Come in and check all incoming social media messages. This is after checking any emails on the way to work (my agency paid for my phone bill so I didn’t mind adding my email)
  • 9:30am: Start drafting responses to each individual, tweet, status update, YouTube comment or Google+ reply
  • 10:30am: Edit and revise, before sending it to client before the 11 am deadline 
  • 11am: Respond to any individual tweets, status updates, google+ and youtube comments that I can help answer via pre-approved responses (I helped created this  and was approved by their legal team)
  • 11 am – 2pm: work on any social strategy work for their overall digital strategy, while also monitoring incoming messages on a regular basis. 
  • 2pm: Get ready for the second wave of drafting responses to incoming social messaging. Send this out by the 3pm deadline.
  • 3-5pm: Continue strategy work and any other additional agency focused requirements for the community management team.

What I described above was my normal day to day responsibilities. That’s not to mention the days when the brand had a crisis or when reporting needed to be done at the end of a month. We delivered a monthly SEO/Social report and a detailed listening report, with a bi-weekly social report sandwiched in-between.  That’s a lot for a community manager, one who’s trying to balance multiple things at once, while also learning as much as they can in an agency setting. 

I enjoyed the work but I think community managers don’t get nearly enough credit. I hope brands and agencies realize this very soon or they’ll lose out on the best people who can talk about their brands to consumers, eager to connect with them. 

This was a problem I saw at my last agency – where community managers were relegated to posting and monitoring, without any interaction in strategy and insights.  Community Managers need to be allowed to do more, they’re good at it and can provide valuable insights and opportunities for growth, if given the chance.

(pic source)

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Poland Spring Missed Out, Other Brands Should Take Notice

Poland Spring missed a great opportunity to take advantage of the social conversation around their brand during the Republican response after Obama’s State of the Union on Tuesday night. If you haven’t heard, Marco Rubio made an awkward grab at his bottle of Poland Spring during the speech (why was it so far away from him?). After his 10 minute response, he even tweeted a photo of the bottle. Watch the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=saVVtjYywn0

Want to know what Poland Spring did while the brand name was tredning, people were tweeting and updating their statuses? NOTHING. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Their twitter and FB page was been dormant since 2010. They missed out on a chance to continue the brand conversation and take advantage of the free advertising during prime time. Hopefully other brands are watching and taking notice.

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YouTube Uploads Increased by 400% Daily After Launch of iPhone 3GS

Ziggytek ran a post a few days ago stating the ease of sharing pictures and videos with the new iPhone 3GS. TodayGoogle confirmed those reports.

In Google’s YouTube blog, they’ve reported an increase of video uploads by 400% each day of video since the release of the iPhone 3GS.

The iPhone 3GS offers an upload to YouTube feature which allows easy uploads of home made movies.

Google also noted the significant increase was part of a six month trend that resulted in an overall growth of 1700%. Here’s what YouTube’s official blog had to say:

This growth represents three things coming together: new video-enabled phones on the market, improvements to the upload flow when you post a video to YouTube from your phone, and a new feature on YouTube that allows your videos to be quickly and effortlessly shared through your social networks. It takes just a minute to connect your YouTube account to your Facebook, Twitter and Google Reader accounts.

The growth in YouTube videos does not help Google much. Google has admitted in the past they do not know how to make money from YouTube and have looked at different options without a solution. The growth of small videos due to devices such as the iPhone 3GS, will increase the userbase and cost without making a return on it.

(via Macrumors)

Originally posted on Ziggytek 

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