With another year behind us, we can’t help but make predictions for the coming year. And while it’ll be interesting to see what new innovations await us in 2015, it’ll be equally interesting to see which existing technologies and trends evolve. Social media falls into the latter category, and is continuing to grow and react to changing environments.
To be perfectly honest, most social media predictions don’t require a crystal ball and tarot cards. 2014 already gave us some pretty strong indications of where things are heading in 2015…and beyond.
Show me the money
Twitter came under fire at the end of last year, as investors questioned how they planned on expanding their business model and continue making money. This problem isn’t exclusive to Twitter. Most social media sites are free to users, meaning they have to be creative when finding ways to bring in revenue. One of the more recent solutions to this problem is paid posts. Sites like Facebook and Twitter allow companies to boost content, allowing for greater reach and better targeting, all for a fee of course. Even more recently, Snapchat introduced advertising options that allow companies to pay for ads and have them appear in people’s recent updates. Other platforms will find ways to do the same and introduce their own paid advertising variants. Organizations looking to make the most of their social strategies and marketing efforts will need to invest more into their social budgets and investigate these options.
We’re still going mobile
Mobile computing isn’t going anywhere but forward. We’ve ditched our desktops for laptops, and are even replacing those with some pretty impressive, high-powered tablets. In fact, recent studies show we’re beginning to browse the internet more from our mobile devices than from traditional PCs. When you combine that with the fact that almost one-third of Facebook’s users are mobile-only, and more than 78 percent of users access Twitter from a mobile device, you begin to realize just how vital mobile is to social media, and vice versa. A mobile focus has caused social media to optimize its platforms for mobile devices. Not only does this mean creating apps, but also making sure their actual sites function properly on these smaller, touch-screen, machines. It’ll be interesting to see how this continues with the growing popularity and power of tablets, and the growing number of phablets on the market. Whether better mobile devices will lead to better apps or site re-designs to fit larger screens remains to be seen, but you can expect social media to coexist even closer with mobile technology moving forward.
The Internet of Things
There are a growing number of “smart” objects appearing on the market, often referred to as the Internet of Things (IoT). At its core, IoT refers to a community of everyday objects that connect to the internet. These objects are capable of identifying themselves and sending and receiving data to and from other objects connected on a network. This new trend is sure to find its way into our social profiles. After all, organizations making these devices are looking to collect information from the people using them so they can develop better campaigns and future devices. This doesn’t mean your car and microwave will soon their own Twitter handles. What it does mean however, is that you’ll be able to post to social sites from more than just a phone or computer. Maybe smartwatches will check us in on Facebook when we arrive to a concert or maybe ovens will automatically upload a photo of the cake we just made to Instagram. How social media mends with IoT is still open to debate, but we know that it will.
Big data gets bigger
Big data analytics have become the latest must-have business tool. Companies are constantly looking for ways to gain new new insights on potential clients and customers. Social media has certainly been a major help in furthering data mining, and social platforms have realized this. We mentioned earlier how we would see more sponsored posts in the near future. We’ll, we can also expect social sites to try and profit from data licensing to companies hungry for more. Twitter has already mentioned it’s going to incorporate this into its business model, and it wouldn't be shocking if other social media sites followed suit. This will also help organizations develop more targeted content, creating personalized messaging bound to be more effective.