International has identified three key global trends in Social Media for 2013.
Social media is set for another year of transformation as market forces push
greater crossover into other sub-segments and consumers demand wider
availability of technical services. Top three social media trends: 1) The evolution of social networking platforms into a full-cycle offering of
commercialised retailing and advertising solutions is set to continue. 2) The
greatest user expansion will occur in communication-hungry emerging markets
such as India and Indonesia. 3) Social media brands will focus much
more on developing and integrating new content in an increasingly competitive
and feature-driven environment.
Social media and e-commerce to merge
empowerment will drive greater interconnectivity between integrated
communication and e-commerce features, as users rely more on their virtual
social connections for purchases as opposed to digital direct marketing
techniques. In line with this trend, businesses are looking to develop more
organic environments for feedback and discussion on social media, while the
networks themselves are moving towards faster on-the-spot purchase and
marketing features. The “Facebook Pages” feature is facilitating e-commerce
branding but other networks are lagging behind, with the likes of Twitter and
LinkedIn lacking comparable e-commerce options.
This trend will drive online consumer purchases while businesses will increase
their online adspend levels in order to integrate fully into social media.
Global Internet retailing value is projected to expand by 15.3% in real terms
annually in 2013 to reach US$601 billion.
World’s Largest Internet Retailing and Online Adspend Markets: 2013
Euromonitor International from World Association of Newspapers/trade
is forecast using constant 2012 prices, fixed 2012 exchange rates
Emerging markets to lead social media take-up
networking has become mainstream in advanced economies, emerging markets are
beginning to rapidly catch up as rising Internet penetration and more advanced
forms of online engagement attract new users. India and Brazil are expected to
see the largest expansion in social media users globally in 2013, with the
latter seeing an increase of over 10.0 million Facebook users over October
2012-March 2013 alone, according to Socialbakers. Younger users in these
countries are especially expected to drive niche platforms that focus on photo-
and video-sharing, and the social media gaming sector, which often offers free
content. Greater smartphone take-up, and subsequent mobile media usage, could
be the factor that sees the developed world responsible for the bigger share of
global social networking revenues in 2013.
Rising numbers of users are set to transform the impact of social media
marketing in emerging economies and increase monetisation levels from this
online platform. Growing penetration of electronic banking and growing
disposable incomes will also boost opportunities in the segment. By the end of
2013, developing countries will make up 68.0% of the world’s total number of
Brands to focus more on content and new features
media platforms have come of age and passed beyond the basic offerings of
written communication, updates and profiles, of increasing importance is
content that differentiates brands. New features and partnerships will thus
characterise 2013, as social networks look to mirror their competitors and
provide crossover services, such as sophisticated visual aids, animations,
high-resolution photographs and digital media. Video-on-demand and IPTV
services could see especially strong growth, with sporting and cultural events
already commonly live-streamed on the US market. Sites such as Pinterest and
Instagram are demonstrating the creative pull of niche content-focused
solutions in advanced economies.
2013, consumers will look more to their chosen social media brands as a
one-stop shop for all their digital and entertainment media needs, providing
opportunities for savvy businesses that can link and promote their goods
through social networks. Access to fast broadband Internet speeds will be vital
in pushing this trend, with global household possession of a broadband enabled
PC set to rise to 37.0% in 2013 from 35.1% in 2012, while possession of a
mobile phone will increase from 82.2% to 83.3% over the same period.