Prior to last year, Ogilvy & Mather’s James Whatley and Marshall Manson predicted the trends that would occur in the social media space. Among them were the proliferation of disposable content and Facebook as a paid media channel. With Snapchat being the fastest-growing social network of 2014, and Facebook shocking investors and the public by essentially deciding to bury unpaid marketing posts—forcing brands to buy ads if they wanted to be seen—we’re confident in saying that they got it right. So, what do Whatley and Manson think is in store for the social media world in 2015? And what are the implications for brands?
(Click here to view Whatley and Manson’s full predictions.)
Twitter has always been a noisy platform, but it’s getting even louder. Usership has just about hit a plateau, but the amount of content continues to grow. This growth inertia is going to cause Twitter to embrace algorithmic content serving in order to keep making money, which paints a pretty clear picture for brands: you’ve got to pay your way in. Whatley and Manson say that this doesn’t necessarily mean that organic is dead, just that it should shift a bit to a testing ground; brands should see how organic content performs, and support the best-performing stuff with some paid behind it. Additionally, they suggest brands should embrace Twitter cards and the platform’s targeting options.
The Battle Royale for Video Dominance
Here’s a sentence worth reading and re-reading: In August of 2014, Facebook overtook YouTube in total video views on desktop. The “Ice Bucket Challenge” and Facebook’s autoplay certainly had something to do with that, but it’s still a development that has put video on Facebook under a new microscope. With Facebook video being looked at more closely, we’ve learned that folks engage with video content on Facebook far more than they do on YouTube. Will Facebook be the new YouTube sometime this year? It could. Whatley and Manson believe there will be a big battle for video ad dominance in 2015. Marketers will adjust by creating native video for both platforms. Additionally, Twitter and (Facebook-owned) Instagram will be video ad platforms. The wealth of data that will become available due to these shifts will help marketers become more targeted in their video content, optimizing it depending on the platform.
Teens and anonymous platforms
There’s a whole generation of people who don’t know life without the internet. Their habits and characteristics are just starting to come into focus. Whatley and Manson believe 2015 will see a continued grown in anonymity-friendly platforms. Tumblr, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. are platforms that are continually popular with youths; in fact, many kids have multiple accounts and thus multiple email addresses. This may seem odd to older folks, but this is a generation of kids who have always used the internet as a main way of self-expression. Regardless of generation, adolescence and teen years are when we still trying to figure our identities out. This generation is doing the figuring out online.
So, what do these potential developments mean for brands and marketers? It seems as though there will need to be more money allotted to boost content on social media platforms, if not flat our pay for it to be seen at all. It’s natural to believe that with more money spent on digital advertising, more scrutiny will be levied on the measurable return of social campaigns. Fostering engagement will take on, if possible, even more importance than it has before. And in order to guarantee better, consistent engagement, brands will have to continue to learn the specifics of what makes content on each platform work. The premium won’t be on simply covering all digital platforms, but covering them each with distinct, effective content.