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Social media predictions for 2013

by Ben Romberg | 10.01.2013

Plenty has changed over 2012 with respect to social media, since Facebook launched it’s IPO, purchased Instagram, Google further developed its own network and updated its search algorithm to introduce Social Search.

Twitter opened a UK office and expanded its promotional services, Reddit clocked in 1 billion page views each month, LinkedIn topped 10m+ UK users and Google+ grew as fast as Facebook alongside the wide array of social networks launched, funded and developed throughout the year.

In the midst of these changes, we have identified six predictions that we think are set to affect how social media measures up in 2013:

  1. Plurality of networks 
    Specific social networks continue to grow more popular, fuelled in part by Facebook Connect, around interest groups and activities start to come to the fore. Recent examples include Pinterest (sharing nicely designed, produced content that fits in with lifestyle “moodboards”), Newsle (for people who specifically have friends who publish articles or follow those in the press) and Xt3 (for Catholic online users) among many others.
  2. Social advertising
    Aside from Youtube and Facebook Advertising, social advertising is still in its infancy, with little pick up on LinkedIn and Twitter in the UK compared to the awesome size of Google’s paid search share. However, once the mix of user generated personalised data meets search and relevancy, online targeted advertising will reach its zenith.
  3. Privacy concerns
    Users are becoming smarter about the way in which their data is being used by social networks. Instagram’s recent furore involving an update to its terms and conditions could have cost it as much as 25% of its userbase. As social networks explore new ways to advertise to their userbase, privacy concerns are set to become a much bigger issue for users, networks and advertisers in the coming months.
  4. Measurement and Analytics
    Google+ is set to announce a new analytics tool, Twitter has said in its blog that a measurement tool is coming, all of which meets the needs of  users and admins who report on the performance of their pages and profiles. A key requirement for social media marketing is the ability to provide reporting and understand how far content is spread online.
  5. The battle for mobile
    Facebook’s “Nearby” feature for mobile was only released in late December of 2012 and signals the start of a competition with Foursquare. While you can only rate Local places currently I think we’ll be seeing new features added soon as social networks clamber for more attention from smartphone users.
  6. Gamification of location based services
    Similar to the battle for mobile, Google’s beta mobile game Ingress where “the World is the Game” is the start of gaming the way larger networks pull data from users, specifically location-based user data.

For more analysis, we highly recommend reading ‘The Future of the Internet‘ by Jonathan Zittrain for a good overview of where online technology is headed and what is set to come.