By Jason DeMers at Forbes:
It’s that time again: When I look ahead to 2015 to predict social media marketing trends we can expect over the coming year. If you want to see what I predicted for 2014 (and whether those predictions came true), you can do so here:
But without further ado, here are my top 7 social media marketing predictions for 2015!
1. We’ll witness the rise of Ello
What we couldn’t have predicted last year was the emergence of a new social platform intended to go head-to-head with social media giant, Facebook. The platform, which is still in public beta (meaning invite-only), has caused quite a stir; dubbed by some as the ‘hipster social network’, Ello offers a forever ad-free experience and promises to never sell its users’ information to third parties. Their website states: “Collecting and selling your personal data, reading your posts to your friends, and mapping your social connections for profit is both creepy and unethical. Under the guise of offering a “free” service, users pay a high price in intrusive advertising and lack of privacy.”
It’s unclear at this point whether the extreme buzz around the platform is simply because of its positioning as the ‘anti-Facebook’, or whether it has the substance, design and functionality to actually become a serious competitor for Facebook. Engagement on the platform doesn’t seem to be high at this point, and some are pointing out the current weaknesses of the platform, including the lack of video-integration and meaningful conversation and engagement.
Regardless, Ello is likely to grow in 2015, both in terms of numbers and engagement, and many will be watching closely. For more background on the platform, see my article,
Ello: What Is It and Why Does Everyone Want an Invite?
2. Facebook ad pricing and demand will significantly increase
It’s no secret that Facebook post reach is significantly decreasing, and has become a serious problem for business owners who are using the platform for marketing purposes. This steady decline in reach is what has been coined the Filtered Feed Problem.
As Facebook continues to limit the number of posts page fans actually see, the demand for promoted posts and ads will continue to increase. And with this increased demand will come increased pricing. According to an Ad Week article earlier this year, 2014 Q1 Facebook ad pricing was up 10% over 2013 Q4 pricing. This trend is likely to continue into 2015 as organic post reach continues to fall.
3. Twitter’s new business advertising model will skyrocket in popularity.
With Twitter’s move to offering businesses more choice and flexibility in how and what they pay for in terms of advertising, more small and medium sized businesses will jump on the Twitter ad bandwagon. The new fee structure allows businesses to pay for certain performance-based actions rather than just retweets or clicks.
These objective-based campaigns, which are still currently in beta, will offer more flexibility including tweet engagements (retweets, replies, etc.), website clicks or conversions, app installs, new followers and leads. These campaigns will be particularly appealing to small business owners who want to pay for results, not just for brand visibility.
4. Google+ will begin to fade into obscurity
With the failure of Google’s Authorship experiment, Google+ now brings no unique value that Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook don’t already provide. After the highly publicized departure of Google+ chief evangelist Vic Gundotra earlier this year, along with TechCrunch declaring Google+ “The Walking Dead”, the platform is quickly making the descent into obscurity.
In fact, according to Tech Crunch, Google+ will “no longer be considered a product, but a platform — essentially ending its competition with other social networks like Facebook and Twitter.”
For an in-depth conversation on the rise and fall of Google+, see my post Is Google+ Really Walking Dead?.
5. Instagram will become essential for image-based social media marketing
Instagram isn’t showing any signs of slowing down; not by a long shot. With 200 million monthly users, Instagram has become the network when it comes to image-based social media marketing. Research confirms this, although perhaps not to the same extent: According to the Social Media Marketing Industry report, 42% of marketers are planning to increase their use of the platform this year, compared to 38% in 2013.
Instagram will also continue to grow in the micro-video space. With both Vine and Instagram vying for billing as the top video networking site, the platforms have continued to differentiate themselves from the other offering different features, video lengths and editing capabilities. However, I believe we’ll see Instagram begin to outpace Vine as we enter 2015.
And with the recent emergence of Instagram’s in-feed video advertising, marketers will now have the option of paying to target their 15-second videos to users based on age, gender and country. While some have called the new video ads incongruous, the new feature is a welcome addition for marketers looking to promote their wares to Instagram’s young, affluent user base.
6. LinkedIn will widen the gap as “the” B2B social network
LinkedIn has been the top network of choice for the B2B crowd for years already, and I believe we’ll see the gap between LinkedIn and other networks continue to widen in 2015.
While B2C marketers report LinkedIn as being significantly less important than Facebook or Twitter for their marketing efforts, the numbers are quite different for the B2B crowd: according to the 2014 Social Media Examiner survey, 88% of B2B marketers are using LinkedIn, compared to 89% for Facebook and 86% for Twitter. I believe 2015 is the year LinkedIn will surpass Facebook for B2B marketing.
For guidance on using LinkedIn for your business, see my article, The Definitive Guide to LinkedIn Groups for Marketing.
7. Social media marketing will finally be embraced as a core pillar of content marketing
In 2015, marketers will finally realize that there are two core pillars of a content marketing strategy: publication and distribution. Marketers will learn that social media is the most effective method of expanding the reach and visibility of their content, and because of this, will come to view social media as more of an “amplifier” for their published content rather than as the content itself.
In 2014, we saw marketers succeed at realizing the importance of creating and publishing content with the rise of “content strategy” as a buzzword and core focus of online marketers, but many failed when it came to designing and executing a successful content distribution strategy. I discussed this trend in my article, Why No One’s Reading Your Marketing Content.
So, while the content marketing buzz continues to pick up steam, marketers needs to remember that a distribution strategy for that content is just as important, if not more important, than the content itself.
These predictions aside, I’m curious to see the state of social shopping in 2015, particularly as it relates to Pinterest and to Facebook’s new ‘Buy’ button. I’ll keep an eye on this and other trends, and keep you posted as we venture into 2015 and beyond.