Ricky Bobby said it best when he said “if you’re not first, you’re last.” In today’s ever competitive landscape, brands need to be thinking several steps past the norm in order to stay ahead. By putting social practices under a magnifying glass, you can see the path of where things are going, and if you’re smart, apply that to your own business.
Here are a few of the trends we see being crucial to businesses in 2014. You’ll be hearing a lot more about these in the coming months.
Maybe a few years ago, most brands saw social as something that would be a nice addition to their media campaigns, but it was just that – an addition. A shiny new toy that they could put a low investment into and it would be just another line item on a final report.
More and more brands are seeing that social is a vital component to any campaign, and just having it in the plan is not enough anymore, so they are throwing some serious budget towards it. This acceptance is creating a shift in client’s budgets at an alarming rate, so in 2014 we will more than likely not hear “do we need social?” It will be more like “what shouldn’t we do so that we can put more focus on social?”
In 2013, we saw that brands were shifting away from text based ads on social and focusing more on visuals to tell their story. We see this trend continuing into 2014. Visual platforms like Vine and Instagram may be primarily ad free and user based at the moment, but we predict that we’ll see more ads popping up in newsfeeds, especially with the changes that Facebook are making to their algorithms.
However these ads will be visual in nature, so it’ll look more like friend content and less like an advertisement. The lines between “regular” content and paid will begin to blur. As a brand, you’ll find yourself working more with your graphic designers and less with your copywriters.
Fun fact – in Q3 of 2013, 70% of Twitter’s ad revenue was from mobile. That staggering number will only go up in 2104.
Mobile capability is a godsend to social. Behaviorally, most users are using social on the go, and a smart phone is the perfect tool for that. Your moments are only worth sharing if you are out in the world doing awesome things, right? With that much time being spent on mobile platforms, social ads on mobile will only become more valuable.
Platforms like Twitter, which are very “in the moment” type platforms, will see more and more brands coming to them looking to gain exposure. This is only further solidified with their new ad offerings that include location based ad serves.
If we’re being honest here, ads can be sort of boring. While they can be thought provoking or slick looking, what people really enjoy and see value in are stories. Social provides the perfect platform to tell a brand’s story and not just push this quarter’s message.
Storytelling over pushing product is going to be the disruptor in 2014. This is going to cause a change in thinking about how brands present themselves overall. Brands would be smart to staff their teams with creative as well as brand managers, finding that balance of cool content along with the important brand message. More and more, users will judge brands by the stories they tell and not the ad campaigns.
In 2014, saying “content is king” will only get you a room full of groans. The idea has evolved enough where it is now commonplace. It has transcended from a good idea to “goes without saying.”
In the new year, if you’re content isn’t funny/thought provoking/sweet/memorable/impactful, then you should give it a second look. With so many brands stepping up their content game, the quality is only going to go up. This goes back to stacking your team with creative minds.
If you have funny/thought provoking/sweet/memorable/impactful people making your content, that’s what it will be.