5 Trends You Won’t See In 2013

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 movementBig 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.

9 Trends Happening RIGHT NOW In Social Media


While we often talk a lot about the trends in the future, particularly at this time of year when we are all prone (me included) to do our customary predictions post, here are nine trends that are happening in social media right now.

1. Brands are still using Facebook to launch products – We did it with the Ford Explorer two years ago and brands from Burberry with their fragrance launch to Heinz are now on board.

In fact when it comes to using social to create buzz around new products, Heinz and Cadbury are two of the brands to beat. Cadbury now defaults to social for all its product launches, having previously used Google+ and Facebook to build excitement around its new product lines.  And Heinz called on its Facebook community to help promote new variations on its Ketchup and soup products.

2. Super advocates are at the heart of programs.  Forgive my chocolate bias here, but Wispa used this to launch their new product, Bitsa Wispa. They worked with their most loyal fan to have her launch their latest product, differentiating it from the traditional product launches consumers are used to seeing, and encouraging Wispa fans to share the news with their Facebook friends. The photo of super advocate Kate Mead holding the new product has attracted more than 1,500 ‘likes’ and 278 comments, meaning the launch will have also shown up in their friends’ news feeds.

3. Celebrate the rise of the Famebook Fan. This focuses around the use of a natural, organic comment on a Facebook page and the creation of a campaign concept from it, usually adding a layer of surreal comedy to it. The Bodyform example  has been well publicized: after Facebook fan Richard Neil posted a tongue-in-cheek accusation of the company for altering the perception of what going through the period really entails, the brand created a parody video featuring their “CEO” who was directly responding to the fan’s comment.

4. Allow fans to control real world activations. Skittles is a brand that really has placed the fan and real world activation front and center in social media. Mob the Rainbow was a Facebook campaign that was created to activate and engage Skittles’ large social media audience. The program enlisted fans to take action on Facebook to take action by participating in real-life, physical events.

5. Listen and respond to controversial issues. McDonald’s Canada hosts online social media discussions around myths and connects with its customers directly. Since the campaign began, McDonald’s Canada has fielded more than 14,000 questions and responded with text on the website, photos, and the YouTube videos, highlighting the company as being open, honest and ready to deal with difficult questions.

6. Drive a new level of remarkable content marketing. My current social media brand crush is Red Bull. Felix Baumgartner’s Oct. 14 jump from the middle of the earth’s stratosphere, sponsored by Red Bull, made social media and space history. The almost 23-mile free fall jump set records, stunning and amazing people around the world, who reacted on social media. This represents a very specific content marketing strategy for Red Bull – remarkable content gets people talking and is shared, but is not about the brand or company itself. While Red Bull has now become synonymous with dare-devil adrenaline-based sports (we rarely see the brand talking about the product itself) and the jump is a prime example of how to focus content around a specific moment in time.

7. Instagram reaches young, visually-based audiences. Ben & Jerry’s is currently running a promotion that challenges fans to take photos that capture “euphoria” capitalizing on the fact that Instagram has over 100 million users and Facebook’s backing, making it ideal for marketers looking to woo a young demographic.  The winning photos will be featured in B&J ads in that person’s neighborhood. Smart, simple and bang on target for B&J’s target audience.

8. Pinterest is a good traffic driver but not for all brands. Sony’s Pinterest strategy began with research into what brand content was already being shared by its fans. This allowed the Sony team to plan its potential boards and analyze the assets they already had in its Flickr community, in-house and in its archives. The resulting campaign has seen an 800% increase in traffic from Pinterest to the Sony store website, 2.5 times the traffic from its Twitter account.  BUT it is not for all brands. It is very obvious this is a good use case for Sony. For some brands with different demographics – Pinterest still skews heavily female in the US –  there is not a clear use case.

9.  Memes enable responsive marketing. This approach to memes is something that is becoming an increasingly popular social tactic among large brands, capturing the popularity of sites like memecreator in a fun and brand-relevant way. Just look at recent examples jumping on the popularity of Carly Rae Jepsen’s track Call Me Maybe – from the shirtless A&F guys singing her song to Cookie Monster’s addictive ditty for Sesame Street. Both created a shareable relevant piece of content that is scrappy to produce and easy to share.

Do you have any trends to add to this list for right now?

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