Last year at this time Social@Ogilvy made its top social trends predictions for 2012. If you review that list you will find we were about 80% correct in our predictions. To offer speculation on what will be big in 2013 would be mirroring so many other lists compiled during this time of year, so to spice things up, and inspired by a recent post by futurist Daniel Burrus, I decided to look at what trends were potentially hot for social in 2013 and determine with analytics and statistics whether they were poised to reach the tipping point or are not quite ready to tip with customers. As Burrus pointed out, and remember this as we enter 2013: “Failing to see the future or find it and understanding the difference between hard trends (trends that will happen) and soft trends (trends that might happen), is what often causes companies to fall behind.” With today’s rapid pace of technological change or “accelerative thrust,” falling behind can mean you may never catch up.
Here are five I think many will be talking about but that won’t see mainstream acceptance in the new year but which you should still keep your eye on for the long-term future:
- Near Field Communication – This is a hardware issue. Examining operating systems, we see that the majority of Android and Blackberry phones are enabled. But the granddaddy of them all, the iPhone is not. Until IOS is NFC enabled it will be hard for NFC to tip. Just as the majority of mobile applications first developed for iOS prior to migrating to the larger Android OS, brands looking into providing NFC solutions may pause until iOS can deliver.
- Ambient Mobile Applications – This was supposed to be the big tech trend of 2012. It never happened and still won’t happen in 2013. Why? Profile security. People aren’t yet ready to blast out personal details on the cloud in a roomful of people. We’re at the stage where we don’t mind receiving push notifications from our favorite apps, but aren’t ready to push our data around as our own app to others. So again until we’re comfortable enough in terms of technology, private data and the cloud, such applications are not near mass acceptance.
- The standard measure of one’s cult of influence – There are several ways to determine who is influential on social. Services like Klout and Kred are the frontrunners, but an industry standard must eventually come to be recognized across the board. Until that occurs, other services such as PeerIndex, Crowdbooster and Empire Avenue along with Little Bird will weigh in, making the standard influence measurement space more diluted and less cohesive while leading to more questions rather than a definitive answer. This will make it difficult to really determine who is most influential in a particular space with arguments about quantity of followers outweighing quality based on interest. As social moves into a more Dunbar-esque landscape with an upgrade of engagement outweighing “Likes,” we may not come close to that industry standard in 2013.
- Slow Social Media – This is a term you may hear more about in 2013 that’s been bouncing around since 2011. Its origins occur from the “slow food movement.” While consumers wanted convenience and quickness in the food sector and the advent of QSRs, a portion of culinary society arose who wanted local, homegrown healthier, more sustainable options that took longer to prepare and cultivate. The theory is that fast food appeals to the need to feed your hunger while slow food appeals to sustainability and a way of living. The same theory exists in social media communities. Years of growing a community to big numbers with big followers and like counts that need quick quantification and ROI mean little in terms of driving long-term revenue. Those analyzing ROI realize that cultivating quality relationships as you would in the real world and moving them in a slow, dignified manner will lead to greater brand advocacy than the quick “like our page for a coupon” tactics. But for now, speed to get engagement for engagement sake still rules the road in social.
- The Good Data movement – Big data was the big term for the past two years. But now it’s not about collecting data as much as it is plucking out the good data from this mountain of information to take proper business actions based on insights. When CMOs continue to talk solely about big data, they remain stuck in an area that will prevent them from acting on good data and ushering in analytical assessment and ROI tracking in areas like social. They could probably move faster into this realm if they aligned more with IT or CIOs. Or better yet, evolve into the CIO.
Thoughts on what will be big and what will be a bust in social trends in 2013? Share your thoughts with us.