As 2013 bids goodbye and ushers the New Year with a lot of expectations, the Social Media scene remains as dynamic as ever. Rapidly changing trends, viral strategies, changing algorithms and the capitalistic tricks of search engines to trap users into using their products have all grabbed headlines in the year past.
Several trends were predicted for 2013 in the year 2012, and these trends have today become a vital part of digital marketing strategy.
Quick Roundup of social media scene:
Content marketing was one of these and the latest Google update underscores the trend and further reiterates the importance of producing high quality and intelligent content. The Hummingbird update rolled out by Google during the last quarter of last year took everyone by the wave. Google timed the launch to coincide with its 15th birthday on 27th September 2013. Most Google’s updates are looked upon with apprehension because they are aimed at quashing the digital marketers who misuse and abuse the search algorithms to play with the rankings. One such example is keyword stuffing.
However, with the Hummingbird update, Google has now started understanding user queries to display better results. So, while we all were typing ‘grocery stores street name’ onto the search bar, Google was revamping its algorithms to understand ‘grocery stores within 5 kilometres of street name’, or ‘grocery stores inside malls’.
Hummingbird update signals the era of intelligent searching. The technical word here is ‘semantic search’, which means search by queries/context in totality, and not just by keywords alone. So this in simple words means users get what they want in the form of answers. This calls for writing more How to content, questions and answers, and phrasing content in simple words that converse rather than preach, teach or sermonize.
The last quarter of 2013 witnessed the release of direct messages at Instagram, and the launch of Twitter IPO which rose to 70% of its initial offering price on the same day of launch.
Facebook tried acquiring Snapchat for $3 billion, while Google tried offering $4 billion. Snapchat founder Evan Spiegel turned down both!! 2013 was the year of “Selfies”, so much so that the word, meaning self-picture was added to Oxford dictionary owing to a 17,000% increase in its frequency. The year not only saw a boom in the social media space, but also suffered with rise in social media spam by almost 355%. And Google Plus took the second spot after Facebook for the most active users.
What a year!!
Looking ahead at 2014: What’s in store?
Of course, it goes without saying for it’s been said and repeated umpteen times, how content is going to be a really strong player in the coming years. More so, the use of visually pleasing and graphical content such as Infographics will heighten the ‘shareability’ factor by leaps and bounds. Content will be developed exclusively for mobile devices with brevity as the foundation.
Geo-tagging is taking off in a big way. Findability on Google Places and elsewhere will become the most important strategy for businesses. Pinterest has teamed up with FourSquare to allow geo-tagged pins to be posted. As mobile users increase, digital media efforts will be more focused towards roping all the alternate platform users into the funnel.
The void of certified courses in the area of online media and marketing is expected to be filled by international universities, some of which have already introduced graduation and online programs to produce skilled digital marketing talent.
Short copy will rule as users’ average attention span keeps dwindling, owing to a surge in the available devices at hand as well as overload of information. Marketers will use attention grabbing techniques which include colourful images, graphics, info-graphics, repackaged and repurposed content. ‘Less-is-more’ is still going to be the mantra.
All in all, 2014 is going to be an interesting year in the digital marketing space – a lot to look out for.
The State of Social Media 2013 by Infographic Promotion