Most of us use social media on a daily basis. Facebook keeps us connected to family and friends, Twitter is our go-to news source, Instagram lets us share the photos and images we love... so do we really need a designated Social Media Day? Mashable said yes and declared the 30th June to be the official Social Media Day. With the world of social media changing all the time, here at Talkwalker we decided to look at some of the latest developments and see how they measure up against our predictions on the future of social, from new trends to the growth of new social networks.
Are people actually still talking about "new trends in social"?
They sure are. Looking at search results for queries like "social media trends" or "trends in social media", we found the conversation about social media trends kept going strong throughout the year. But with almost 4,500 mentions around June 22nd - interestingly right around the time Instagram updated its search feature - the buzz hit a major high.
Are images really that important?
One of the key trends our social media experts saw for the beginning of 2015 was that images and videos would become more important to social media aficionados. This prediction seems to have hit home. Not only did the Instagram update mentioned above drive conversation, but new research also suggests that Pinterest will see a new surge in the coming months, too. With the growing importance of image-based content, tracking such networks is vital for any company - be it to remain aware of their brand reputation or to measure the success of a new ad campaign.
Are social media users being bombarded by ads?
Well, not exactly. But as the organic reach of many networks decreases, seeing an increase in social media ad spending is a logical consequence. An additional factor counting into this development is of course the increasing number of social networks allowing advertising on their platforms. All combined, social media ad spending is likely to hit more than 20 billion dollars in 2015. Again the topic was one that enjoyed a lot of attention after Instagram launched new advertising capabilities, including a "shop now" button and better targeting options for advertisers.
Localized marketing or: Addressing customers right where they are
As smartphones and tablet computers increasingly become everyday items, marketers need to adapt to this change and focus their efforts on the mobile generation. One aspect: proximity marketing, also known as geo-localization, to target potential customers with offers while they are already in the vicinity of a store.
We weren't the only ones to see localized marketing as a big trend for the near future. Mobile, in general, was a big topic. As the theme cloud above shows, it is one of the top 100 topics for the overall conversation about social media trends for the first half of 2015.
So what are the trends?
Looking at a few of the predictions we made towards the end of last year, we can definitely say that they held true during the first half of the year. But social media, as we all know, is quick to change - new platforms, changes on existing ones and new preferences among customer are just some of the reasons. So what else can we expect to see in social?
Another look at the theme cloud about reveals additional topics that enjoy a lot of attention among social media pros. Among the top ones, we find terms such as #socialmediamarketing and #socialmarketing, which indicate that social networks will continue to be very important for marketing efforts across the board. Other ones include #BigData, which hints at the importance of retrieving and making sense of all the information available on social.
As you can see, this year has already seen a whole host of innovations and trends in the fast moving world of social media. It remains to be seen what the second half of 2015 will bring, but if past experience is anything to go by, expect lots more changes as the giants of social media try and outdo each other with new features and updates.