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Safe, Bold and Outlandish Social Media Predictions From Fellow Igniters for 2013

Chris Badders.
By: Chris Badders  |   January 8, 2013  |   View Comments

Even though the year has changed, the same challenges are presenting themselves to social media marketers everywhere: where is social media going and how can you plan your brand around it? While no one can be completely sure what roles Facebook, Twitter and Google+ will play in marketing for 2013, it is possible to make predictions as to what could potentially happen. The following are the 2013 social media predictions as brought to you by the staff of Ignite Social Media broken down into safe, bold and outlandish categories:


Safe

With the safe predictions, the theme was mobile. Data shows that over 17 million tablets and smart phones were activated on Christmas Day alone, making mobile the go-to spot for social engagement in the coming year:

President of Ignite Social Media Jim Tobin

President of Ignite Social Media, Jim Tobin

Facebook will begin to monetize on mobile and their stock will begin to climb. As usual, though, the market won't see the real problem is bigger than monetizing on mobile. The real problem doesn't lie in stock price, but maintaining the interest of up-and-coming generations. Right now, social media has been riding the wave of users who were around when Facebook was invented. The biggest hurdle is going to be coming up with ways to keep the next generation, an increasingly mobile generation, engaged enough to stay relevant.

Ignite Social Media Art Director Brent Soboleski


Art Director, Brent Soboleski

There will be a huge surge in mobile advertising. In-app ads are going to become more prevalent, obvious and more targeted to specific users based on information collection. Location tracking will also play a role and ads will show up offering users a personalized and relevant advertisement that can be redeemed instantly. While this isn't anything new in the realm of social/mobile advertising, 2013 should provide the tools and infrastructure to make this technology widely available and successful.

Though mobile won't be the complete focus of 2013, it's a safe bet that most if not all social networks need to be wary of the increase in mobile users and adapt to their needs. Mobile; however, isn't the only arena where marketers should be focused:

Ignite Social Media Analyst Greg de Lima


Analyst, Greg de Lima

Email will continue to be the leading driver of most companies. It can be personalized, targeted and tracked. Email is not dead, nor will it be. It is one of the most solid lead-driving vehicles for online marketing.

Ignite Social Media Director of Metrics and Analytics Ryan Sweeney


Director of Metrics and Analytics, Ryan Sweeney

Data collection will drive toward optimizing engagement. As it stands, there is a current need for more information. Facebook drastically changed how they report when it added a wealth of different metrics. I think we'll start to see a growth in what we can report on and know about our users in order to better help decision making. It would be nice to get to a state of predictive analytics, which is realistically about five years away.


Bold

It's clear that mobile is going to be, or should be rather, the main focus of 2013 for any social network looking to maintain their current standing (Facebook and Twitter), or those looking to increase their presence (Google+ and the new MySpace). However, within mobile lie deeper issues.

Ignite Social Media Strategist Nicole Wyche

Strategist, Nicole Wyche

Major social networks like Facebook and Twitter will hop on the idea of instant gratification, where brands can send consumer coupons, rebates and savings to their fans when they check-in at a certain store or visit a certain website on their mobile device. As a result, social payments, like Foursquare's current partnership with American Express, will be much more widespread, especially as mobile presence increases.

President of Ignite Social Media Jim Tobin


President of Ignite Social Media, Jim Tobin

Facebook’s focus on monetizing on mobile will cause time on site per user per month to drop 15-20% in 2013, a major red flag in terms of their remaining the dominant social network. Make no mistake, at the end of 2013, they will still be the dominant network, but more signs of cracking will be there. Facebook runs the risk of being the safe, default network that people still join, but they use it a lot less, which leads to fewer page views. Fewer page views mean the ability to generate ad revenue across the board is at risk.

Ignite Social Media Copywriter Craig Carter


Copywriter, Craig Carter

Instagram (Facebook) will continue to aggravate users with increased advertising as Facebook drives its monetization efforts. Image rights issues, like the new rights agreement fiasco of 2012, will signal the beginning of the end for this once-cool photo app.


Outlandish

What is any prediction list without a bit of the outlandish? Technology is built on the premise of thinking big and making it happen, just ask the guys at NASA or the folks at Google X. The focus here goes from the slightly plausible to a Sci-Fi fantasy:

Ignite Social Media Analyst Greg de Lima

Analyst, Greg de Lima

Twitter will release full analytics for users. It's a gold mine of information, if we had it. The analytics provided for Promoted Tweets and Accounts are sufficient enough for their purpose, but there are no analytics provided for day-to-day activities. Having this information would allow brands to move beyond the use of only Followers, Replies, Retweets and Clicks.

With this mine tapped, Twitter could become the driving force in social media given the right time frame, and if Facebook can't keep up with it's developments. Speaking of Facebook:

President of Ignite Social Media Jim Tobin


President of Ignite Social Media, Jim Tobin

The continued diffusion of the social landscape, combined with the inherent comfort of brands in paid advertising, will cause more than a dozen of the "Tier 2" social networks (Pinterest, MySpace, Tumblr, etc.) to band together to create an ad network that allows brands to advertise across many social networks at once, despite the somewhat unique type of "advertising" each network wants to support. This ad network will become a major threat to Facebook's ad network, just as Facebook's ad network looks to challenge others by going beyond Facebook.

A theme of 2013: Facebook needs to stay on top of it's game to stay on top of the social space. This will be increasingly difficult, but could be achieved by doing something drastic:

Ignite Social Media Business Development Manager Rick Kupselaitis


Business Development Manager, Rick Kupselaitis

A new social media network will emerge that will incorporate your emotions as you share content and updates, letting your contacts know what kind of mood you're in. Then, you can load up on the sarcasm and have an easy out for people who don't understand it.

Ignite Social Media Art Director Brent Soboleski


Art Director, Brent Soboleski

Facebook will offer implants for people to install in themselves so they no longer have to type how they are feeling or doing. There will be various profile settings that will filter your thoughts and only post those you deem necessary to share with the world. Status updates will become automatic based on your thoughts and feelings at any given time. Soon after, these implants will be upgradable to include audio enhancements so you can hear other peoples' updates in your head, making it increasingly more important for Facebook to create the "Do Not Like" response to prevent unwanted voices from tormenting your mind.

Ignite Social Media Director of Metrics and Analytics Ryan Sweeney


Director of Metrics and Analytics, Ryan Sweeney

Ditto what Brent said, but instead of implants, it will be wearable technology. Something along the lines of Google's Project Glass along with augmented reality that will feed a bevy of information right to your POV.

When it comes down to it, are there really any safe bets on what is going to happen regarding social media in the next year? Most likely, no. However, you can bank on mobile, and the winners will be one the ones who capitalize on it the best.


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