During the past few years we witnessed great deal of changes around social media platforms. Created as networks to simply connect people they became much more complex tools that now serve for content sharing, news updates, advertising and more. People spend significant amount of time browsing social media because it’s fun, free, easily accessible and it’s a great source of information. Web developers realize how powerful social media has become and they need to constantly improve it in order to keep the users’ interest. Marketers also find social media a good place for building relationship with customers and promoting brands. Subsequently the online world changes thoroughly and soon we’ll be able to use these platforms for what was unimaginable by now. Who would have thought that we’ll be able to send money or buy products through Facebook and Twitter? Or even pay bills with Google? Well, this is about to become our reality in 2015.
If you’re unfamiliar with the expected or already existing social media trends for 2015, prepare yourself to be mind-blown.
Trends that have been applied in the first quarter of 2015
Facebook at Work
Facebook recently launched a new app called “Facebook at Work”. It aims to separate your personal profile from your work profile which allows interacting with co-workers and sharing work related information visible only for company members. The software is created for the purpose of simplifying communication at the work place but also to discrete personal from professional life.
Emails are no longer the best alternative for business interaction as overflow of messages is becoming quite frustrating and companies are actually looking forward to adopt an advanced communication system. Creating Facebook-like work friendly software is a great innovation. Everyone is familiar with its structure and companies would avoid waste of time and money on training employees.
Furthermore, some posts aren’t meant to be seen by your boss or colleagues while others could be work related and totally uninteresting for your friends and family. Here comes the other advantage of using “Facebook at Work”, e.g. keeping family/friends and business completely separated.
For Sale Groups
In February this year Facebook introduced another new feature, the Facebook “For Sale Groups”. Those groups already existed before the improvement of the feature but users weren’t able to actually perform buying and selling through them. With the new upgrade, members of For Sale Groups could easily connect, search and browse. Sellers could add description of their products together with prices and pick-up location. They could also mark items as Available or Sold. I would say that makes things quite comfortable.
The Organic Reach of Photos Drops, Dominated by Videos
Once, the most popular posts on Facebook were photos. Today a data report prepared by SocialBakers shows that photos actually got the lowest action drive during 2014.
The analysis performed by SocialBakers includes data from small and big pages on Facebook. The new trend bringing higher organic reach for all type of pages is video. Meaning, 2015 is the year that videos play a major role in social media.
Organic Reach Drop
Since there are way too many pages on Facebook competing for a place in your News Feed, Facebook has implied a new update in January that will limit their organic reach. According a survey performed by Facebook users would like to see more posts from their friends and from pages they have interest in but also to see less promotional content. The contradictive part here is that usually the pages we like use their social media presence mostly for promotion. Thus, Facebook has decided to implement the News Feed update and in result page’s organic reach has dropped significantly this year. In this sense Facebook encourages paid reach and advertising leaving page admins with no other choice.
Twitter Group Messaging and Videos
This year we already recognized the debut of Twitter group messaging and videos. It was about time for the platform to introduce a function that allows users exchange information privately with more than one person in Direct Messages. Now we can include Tweets, pics and links in a group messaging with up to 20 people.
Meanwhile, Twitter has also predicted the rise of the video as a vital social media component. In January the company presented a new mobile video sharing feature that allows you to capture and edit 30 seconds long videos. Isn’t that great?
Periscope is a new live-stream video app that allows sharing and exploring videos at the same moment they’re being recorded. This innovative mobile app was acquired and introduced by Twitter in March this year. Currently Periscope is available in the Apple App Store and is about to be released for Android too.
Another social media improvement we witnessed this year is the “Discover” feature in Snapchat. Discover is an app option that allows browsing stories from different editors and publishers including CNN, Vice, National Geographic, Yahoo News, People, Daily Mail, Cosmopolitan, ESPN, Snapchat itself and many more. The content these brands share is updated daily and it includes “full screen photos and videos, awesome long form layouts, and gorgeous advertising” as stated on Snapchat’s official blog.
New Rules for YouTube Video Ads
YouTube has changed its ad policy and from now on graphical advertising cards that aren’t created with accordance to the new rules will be blocked. Overall, the new policy states that sponsored videos containing product placement and brand logos are no longer allowed unless the sponsor pays Google for advertising.
Finally we see a great new update by Instagram in 2015. Namely, the new “Layout” app which offers a simple and fun way to combine multiple images in one photo. This improvement was long expected and now that it’s here users will no longer struggle using diverse image editors before posting a collage on their Instagram feed.
Tumblr Big Update
Tumblr began this year with a “Big Update”, a new set of tools for creating diverse posts including photo essays, GIF conversations and videos. The set of tools is one click away through this button ⊕ and it gives a wide range of new features addable to a post such as embedding links in text and photos, including headings, subheads, horizontal lines and many more crafty tools. Additionally, thanks to the Big Update you can now see your post when edited the same way that it will appear like when you actually post it, which wasn’t possible until now.
Expected trends in the next quarters of 2015
Google Pony Express
According to Re/code an expected new application by Google will be introduced in the fourth quarter of this year. The new update is supposed to simplify users’ monthly bill payments. Instead of receiving a bill in your mailbox you will be able to receive it in your Gmail and instead of paying the liability through telecoms or utility company websites you will have the option to do it within the email. Moreover, speculators say the Pony Express will automatically arrange your bills in folders and let you share a bill with another Gmail user.
However, it’s still uncertain if Pony Express is just a code name or the official title of the projected application. The certain thing is that this is an exciting innovation which brings important part of our lives online.
Facebook and Twitter Buy Button
Another merge of social media and e-commerce that we’re about to witness in 2015 is the Facebook and Twitter “Buy Button” or the possibility to buy products directly through these two platforms. Both of the companies are carefully preparing for this update and are taking time to optimize the new feature. Being able to buy through social media will bring benefits for businesses as it will add a new value to their marketing mix including great deal of data about customer reviews.
Send Money Through Facebook Messenger
Yes, sending money to friends through Facebook Messenger is a feature that will be available in the US in the upcoming months. And it’s coming to your country soon too. Sending money with the new feature is very simple and it’s free. All you need to do is tap the new dollar sign $ in your messenger options and choose an amount. Just check out this video here to see how it’s done.
Rise of New Networks
You didn’t expect the world to limit itself with the few social networks we currently know, did you? New social media platforms are available today and have potential to take over the market. So which are they?
The moto of Ello is “simple, beautiful, ad free”. You get where this is going. Ello is a new social platform, an alternative of Facebook and Twitter, which is ad free. In their welcoming page they state, “We believe a social network can be a tool for empowerment. Not a tool to deceive, coerce and manipulate — but a place to connect, create and celebrate life.”
Yik Yak is an anonymous social media platform that allows sharing “Yaks” in a radius of 10 miles. Sharing anonymous posts with people in your area makes it more intimate and relevant for users reading them while given the option to “vote up” or “vote down” posts they see. “Find your herd” is the slogan of Yik Yak. See why.
Tsu is another alternative for Facebook with very similar functions but with the main difference of users preserving ownership over their posts. The platform was inspired by a case where the US National Collegiate Athletic Association used images of former student athletes for commercial purposes which resulted in a lawsuit between the association and the lead plaintiff Ed O’Bannon. Consequently, Tsu has rather decided to endorse the user as a product, or as a partner who willingly sells data to advertisers and shares profit with the platform as compensation.
In January a new website was launched intending to become the HBO for web video streaming. Vessel is currently available for $2.99 a month and offers a wide range of videos that will be exclusively available for three days before being released anywhere else. The company is attracting many of the YouTube channel creators that we all know by offering them 70% of advertising profits and 60% of the subscription revenue which is almost two times more than what they get from YouTube. Again, a new alternative is presented to users and greater competitiveness is seen on the social media market.
Franktrax is helping its customers monetize their social media presence but this wouldn’t work out well if we all aren’t well familiarized with the changing online world. Following the up to date trends is highly important in order to adapt and embrace those changes in our own social media channel and keep it real-time relevant. That’s why Franktrax is emphasizing on keeping its partners informed, while they keep their followers satisfied.
If you think we missed on reflecting an important trend for this year, please feel free to add your suggestion in the comment section.