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Social Media in 2015: Focus on Trends

January 20, 2015 Digital Marketing 0 Written by James O'Connor

Keeping up with the pace of change in social media is undoubtedly one of the industry’s greatest challenges!  By the time we’ve mastered one trend, another emerges and the learning process begins again.  As we move into 2015, we asked our social media experts to predict the key developments for the year.  Check out their top ten social media trends in our video and blog post below and see what developments may have an impact on your business this coming year.

All Eyes on China

Home to the world’s most active social media community, this year we’ll look more and more to China for new developments in social media.  The Chinese are ahead of the game in terms of monetizing social messaging, and it is in this area we’ll borrow most from them.  While the West is touting in-app purchasing as a trend for 2015, it’s already happening there with mobile app WeChat.  WeChat offers highly customisable APIs for retailers to create, not ads, but storefronts within the messaging app. This also means the buyer rarely has to leave the app to complete their purchase – saving time and hassle.  WeChat has even gone a step beyond providing the ability to purchase and has added a mobile wallet function, allowing users to complete online purchases and offline transactions, such as paying for taxis or even using vending machines.  While there are some cultural barriers to adapting all of WeChat’s functions, Facebook, with its increased focus on unbundling and the provision of function-first apps, will be sure to take some inspiration from its success.

Dark Social Sharing : Marketers Strike Back

With the increasing dominance of social messaging apps, users are now more difficult to reach and track. Understanding “Dark Social” activity will be a real challenge for marketers in 2015.  To combat this, we’ll see more advanced sharing options like the presence of the “share on whatsapp” button.  We’ll also see marketers wrapping content in trackable links in an attempt to get more insight into shares on closed networks or shares by email.  Given that an estimated 72% of content is shared by copying and pasting, brands can’t afford to miss including this when demonstrating ROI.

Just Do It…

Speaking of ROI, performance will be everything in 2015.  Now, more than ever, social media is being taken seriously by the C-Suite and marketers will have to demonstrate real successes and real returns.  Inflated or vague performance metrics will not suffice, social media measurement will need to be tied to business impact in a clear and understandable way.  Of course, to achieve this success, marketers will need to be a step ahead of their audience and harness the power of social listening in order to accurately align their message.  To make an impact, messages will need to be more emotive with content optimised for cross-platform distribution – with special consideration for wearable technology.

Media on the Move

Whether on a wearable device, smartphone or tablet, this year 1 billion people will use mobile as their only form of internet access.  Adapting for mobile is no longer an option for brands, it is the only option.   We’ll see an increase in function-first apps from the major social networks, as they split out their elements in a bid to become ubiquitous.  We’ve already seen this with Facebook in 2014, introducing Messenger and Groups apps and this one-tap access trend will certainly continue.  We’ll also see more demand for responsive design for websites and email marketing, making content more visually appealing for mobile users.

2015 and beyond

They say, if you’re not moving forward you’re falling behind.  Now users are looking for a platform that will move with them, that will save them time and that will provide easier access to the things they need while reducing the noise.  Major networks will need to unbundle – following Facebook’s lead – in order to provide function-first apps, allowing users to opt-in to the elements of the platform that they want.  Messaging apps will need to expand, offering more retail-friendly APIs and purchase options, like WeChat.  Marketers will need to explore dark social in order to measure all social activity and its impact on a business, as the spotlight on social media performance continues to grow.  So as 2015 begins our advice to you is; get creative, get moving, and don’t be afraid of the dark!

 

That’s what we think, now it’s your turn!  Let us know what the key trends will be for you in the comments section below.  And for those of you who missed them, you can find last year’s predictions here.

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