Our top 4 predictions for social media for 2015

31-DecRecapping 2014 in a nutshell is no easy task, it’s been a very busy and exciting year in our industry, but that is to be expected when considering that social media and the implementation of inbound marketing techniques continues to make inroads into the business landscape of South Africa.

As the internet continues to increase its penetration to our population, social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube are among the many platforms enjoying rapid user growth. Businesses have in turn responded by adopting a more aggressive role for their digital marketing, upping their online presence and taking advantage of the lower marketing costs that comes with going digital.

And as we count down the hours to the stroke of midnight the burning question on our minds (besides the obvious “Where is the best party happening”) is what can we expect from 2015? What follows are our four predictions for the year to come:

Rise in E-commerce

The general thinking is that while the average person is spending more and more time online the growth in popularity of shopping online as well is on the increase, to put it simply, why only look at pictures of your favourite brands when at a click of a button they could be on their way to being delivered right to your door. Let’s face it, E-commerce is here to stay, people want convenience, people don’t want long lines to stand in.

Also, with postal strikes (while over for the time being) turning basic household administration into a nightmare, everyone is changing their preferences from physical mail to digital mail, digital invoices, digital accounts, digital catalogues, digital statements etc. It’s cost effective, reliable, environmentally friendly and measurable. Why leave the comfort of your own home when everything can be bought and paid for at the click of a mouse and a ring of your door bell?

Lastly, there is something to be said about an industry that has snuck up to be valued at over R4 Billion, so watch this sector for sure!

Geo location target marketing

Taking into consideration the increase in user activity (both the number of users as well as the time spent) on social media platforms and websites, greater emphasis will begin to be placed on specific target marketing. Shopping malls and brands alike are switching on to the idea that increasing their customers shopping experience naturally leads to brand loyalty and a fore gone conclusion of increased revenue.

The advances in technology now enable marketers to target their audience not only demographically but by Geo-Spheres. In English, that means that if a subscribed user enters into an imaginary circle that has been determined by the marketing team, it will automatically trigger adverts or reminders on apps of specials, deals and promotions relevant to the person’s geo-location. Convenience with a personal touch anybody? Yes please!

Emphasis on measurement

The level of sophistication that the industry of digital marketing now finds itself in is extreme to say the least. Marketing teams in 2015 will continue to be placed under greater pressure to prove their effectiveness and the reason for this is more straight forward than people think,  with an ever-expanding mix of platforms and communication methods or channels is creating even greater pressures for digital teams to quantify their efforts.

Decision makers in business’s now know that their social media efforts are working, but why are they working? Where are the working best? And what can be done to improve their effectiveness, expand reach, increase sales etc. These are some of the questions we as digital marketers are going to need to have the answers for and thus increasing emphasis on measurement.

2015 is the year that terms like Metrics, Performance Reporting and Big Data will truly begin to take on a life of their own as they prove critical to any business’s (big or small) bottom line.

The platform to watch for the year is…. YouTube

In 2015 marketers and businesses alike will really start realising the power that this platform truly holds.  The thinking that it is just a platform where funny clips or music videos can be viewed will change. South Africa’s bandwidth (while still far behind the rest of the first world) will see advances (in speed and hopefully lower costs), meaning that a further increase of active users will flock to the platform.

In an “adapt or die” style of thinking, marketers will be forced to include YouTube in their communications with their audience. It will prove to be the ideal medium to visually communicate a brands message to a world with dimensioning attention spans that craves visual stimulation and instant gratification.

And when considering the cost differences between placing an advert on TV which can sometimes cost hundreds of thousands versus being able to cost effectively publish long form content that is not only measurable but can also be targeted? The decision is simple.

We hope that that these predictions not only enlighten you, but also excite you. We hope that your celebrations over this period will be joyous and merry and more than that, we would like to wish you a very happy and productive New Year! We look forward to seeing you in 2015!