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Social Media trends to look out for in 2014

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We have entered 2014, where hover boards don’t exist yet, but unfamiliar digital marketing spaces do, and where almost half of the global population now have access to the internet. The way we consume content is constantly evolving, which allows for new challenges and opportunities for social networks to improve upon. This post focuses on the social controversies of 2013 and new trends that lay ahead.

Facebook has made substantial efforts to add analytics to track business’ ROI of organic and paid advertising, last year we saw the emergence of Facebook for Business that integrated all marketing solutions by adding more features and data to their current advertising platform and brand pages, but all these new changes haven’t always been for the better, just take a look at how Facebook hashtags have worked in the past, instead of helping to increase exposure of posts, they have hindered their viral reach. We believe that this drive in Facebook ads have made it more difficult for businesses to promote their products and services organically with even Facebook admitting that only 16% of fans see organic posts on your page. We can’t forget Facebook’s biggest controversy to date, which is testing auto-play ads on mobile platforms.

Twitter have also announced Promoted Account campaigns and data metrics that make it easier for businesses to connect with their users and have expanded their advertising options on mobile devices.
Pinterest have also announced Analytics back in 2013 and have been working on adding advertising and experimenting with what they call Promoted Pins for selective groups of businesses in 2014.

Our predictions for Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest in 2014 are all similar in terms of them trying to expose more meaningful data and insights for businesses to track more easily on newer platforms. Twitter and Pinterest will also be going down the Facebook route of advertising, where all the social networks will be monetizing their investments via advertising, but we hope not at the expense of ruining the experience we all have come to love (I’m looking at you Facebook).

Google Plus has had its fair share of criticisms back in 2013 such as users automatically signing up to G+ when registering to a G-mail account, now users need a Google Plus account in order to comment on Youtube videos. Confused? Me too. This had sparked controversy suspecting that Google intentionally did this to artificially boost their number of Google Plus users (again). The implementation of this new feature was justified by Google to reduce the amount of spam and abusive comments on Youtube, but unfortunately doesn’t stop the so called ‘trolls’ from setting up fake accounts. There is a lot of difference in opinions on this subject, and this is just one of many outcries from users but we expect that Google’s services should provide more feedback and user testing on changes to new features.

So most people wouldn’t consider Instagram as one of the main social networks but Instagram like all social networks brings a unique space and experience to the table, especially from a brand advertising perspective and was the one that could attack Facebook’s Achilles’ heel: Facebook’s mobile photo sharing, just until they acquired their competitor Instagram back in 2012. The future of ‘regram’ seems like a possible avenue for Instagram to follow, using a similar feature to twitter’s ‘retweets’ or Pinterest’s ‘repins’ where users could submit an influencer’s photo onto their own profiles. We also predict to see The Future of Instagram following the same advertising route as Pinterest.

So the mircro-blogging social network Tumblr was bought by Yahoo for $1.1 billion last year. Yahoo did this because they know Tumblr has a the younger, hip demographic that Yahoo desperately needs and they saw the potential value of using native advertising. Native advertising is a form of advertising that delivers ads into its content environment, which doesn’t affect the user’s experience. The controversies we see is with native advertising is that it has steep learning curve for marketers, they will have to master each potential advertising environment and learn to love Tumblr’s animated GIFs,. The other one being user’s are adamant that Yahoo will ruin the experience of tumblr, but the chief executive Marissa Mayer has promised “not to screw it up”, and Tumblr would be operating independently with the founder David Karp keeping his role.

In conclusion, we expect to see a lot more advertising campaigns and data tracking trending for social networks and their mobile platforms this year.

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