Online trends for 2013
HERE are some online trends for the New Year, according to Sunshine Coast IT/digital entrepreneur Yvette Adams.
1. Half the world is about to get online and social
With internet penetration rates almost reaching saturation point in key markets such as North America, Oceania and Europe, developing countries such as Asia Pacific, Latin America, Middle East and Africa are still in the exponential phase of growth. Not only will they get online, I predict they will continue to get into social media in a big way in 2013.
Trends in this space will include regionally specific social networks such as Orkut (a previously popular social network in South America) dying out in favour of stalwarts such as Facebook (Facebook users grew by 47% in Latin America alone last year) whilst countries such as China, Russia and some Middle Eastern countries will either continue to uphold total bans on western world options, or country specific networks such as Sina Weibo (China's answer to Twitter, which has twice as many users as Twitter and 22% of the China population), Renren - China's answer to Facebook, Tencent, Douban and Wechat continuing to gain momentum. I also predict that we may see some new country-specific social networks emerge.
2. Facebook stocks will improve as the network continues to commercialise
In May 2012 Facebook had their IPO and many jumped on what they hoped would be a good investment. Savvy investors hung back and watched as the stocks initially soared, then somewhat bombed. But lately they're making a comeback and I predict this rise will continue as the company focuses on commercialising every nook and cranny.
3. More ads coming to a mobile device near you
In line with the above trend, Facebook and other social networks are furiously working to infiltrate your online experience, including on your mobile or tablet device. You can expect to start seeing ads pop up in your mobile screen as we head into 2013 and beyond. The ads however will not be of traditional banner/pop-up advertising that we all know is annoying to the recipient. Instead they'll squeeze dollars out of Promoted Tweets and Sponsored Stories. You'll barely even recognise them as ads, apart from small disclaimers.
4. The use of social media tools will continue to grow, with new offerings to come
As people continue to realise the power of social media and perhaps start using the stock standard social media tool Hootsuite, more people will look to utilise other tools to make their time on social media efficient and effective. As a company we already love and use tools such as Buffer, IFTTT and Social Bro, and are experimenting with others all the time.
Disclaimer: We recommend you enlist yourself in our full day Social Media Tools training session happening around the country or one of our webinars to fast-track your knowledge and best use of these tools, unless you have plenty of time to waste.
5. Digesting data becomes more important as the amount of it increases
Recording data is one thing. Taking the time to analyse it and do something with it is another. Many companies these days have Google Analytics installed, with some investing in paid solutions, but that doesn't mean they necessarily know what any of it means or how to harness it. That's not to mention the incredible amount of social media data readily available to any company who chooses to take a look either direct on the network in some cases or via some of the aforementioned social media tools, plus others. I predict in 2013, more people will make the time to check out the stats and those who are serious will enlist the services of professionals to truly make the most of it. Once again, if you need assistance with this, get in contact.
6. Social media education gets serious
This final trend is probably the one we as a company are most excited by having already trained thousands of people in social media. As the number of networks and the functionality of those networks continues to explode, getting the desired result increasingly requires specialised training.
For this very reason we've been scrambling to add to our existing set of online training, with a heavy focus on social media. We're launching the year with the following programs and from March 2013 onwards will be offering corporates the opportunity to up-skill an entire workforce as core business skills in the digital age, in particular ensuring employees are aware of the ramifications of maintaining a professional manner and other best practice, when using social media personally, or professionally.
If your business is interested in accessing this online training which can be accessed anywhere with a sufficient internet, contact us.
By Yvette Adams, director of The Creative Collective.