Some trend analysis for your oculars…
Earlier this year I was tasked with doing some analysis that ended up not being used, so I’m printing them here. They’re not really Social Media predictions per se, more consumer/industry/technology focused trends.
Either way, have a read and let me know what you think in the comments –
— 2012/13 Technology Trends & Predictions —
The outsourcing of community management to emerging markets
The online/social-media-based customer care business is booming. Social network CMS platforms, such as Buddy Media, are being bought and sold quickly to larger and larger businesses and, as a result, more investment is going into building highly-powered software to monitor and measure the social media interface between brand and consumer. This is not news.
However, what is news is that brands will soon realise exactly how much they are spending in this area. First on their agencies, handling it for them. Then internally, when they start training up their existing customer care staff. Which, in turn, points to a time when brands (large and small) will soon outsource their social media customer care to indian / emerging market (read: cheap) ‘call’ centres. Easily equipped with 140 character long scripts, this new group will gladly speak in the authentic voice of the brand for a mere fraction of the price of the existing agency/care dept.
This will happen.
2screening + Advertising
This is an immediate + obvious choice. The growth of this particular area, as consumers become more and more accustomed to seeing hashtags on their TV screens (related to the content they’re viewing), means that advertising will soon follow suit.
Super targeting is one thing, but soon smart media-planners will force Twitter to allow time-sensitive promoted tweets, with time-focused twitter ads designed to populate at specific times – down to the very minute. Whereas the traditional consumer used to put the kettle on, today’s viewers are now turning to Twitter (and away from the ads), the industry won’t put up with this for long.
This trend will travel.
Hashtags will appear in store, and on shelves. A walk through a furniture store, for example, will soon see shop owners proudly display the amount of likes (or Pinterest shares) each sofa has gained over the past week – encouraging sales and driving further online/offline integration.
Finally, as we’ve seen with Xbox SmartGlass and Wii-U, 2screening will cross over into the gaming world. Unifying the under-the-TV box into one, core multimedia system. Zombie-U, from Ubisoft, has sections in the game where the player must ‘view’ the TV content through their second screen, highlighting previously unseen areas and bonuses.
Speaking of bonuses, this gaming innovation also will also make way for a hidden benefit: broader consumer acceptance of augmented reality.
4G networks spurring further innovation
The USA has had its version of 4G for a little under a year, while the UK has even yet to discuss licensing. Like the future, 4G is already here, it is just not evenly distributed. As mobile growth continues at an exponential rate across the globe, mobile networks will look to ‘leap frog’ in strong 2G markets where the jump to 4G will not only be immensely attractive to consumers but will also come with tax deductions from the local governments.
Again, we see emerging markets being a core area here, especially Russia, and Africa, where the large expanses mean that a single 4G tower can provide high speed downloads for the many who live nearby. Coverage isn’t an issue when each connected device can itself turn into a 10MB internet hotspot.
The end result being that previously unconnected nodes suddenly gain access to the worldwide web, allowing all kinds of new connections and data points to become accessible. Questions such as ‘What is the price of meat in the next village?’ or ‘What are the whereabouts of our town’s first aid packages?’ and ‘How’s uncle?’ will be answered quickly, confidently and, in some cases, visually – with video calling.
Bonus round: [App] Eco-systems within [app] eco-systems
Foursquare apps within apps. Spotify apps within apps. Facebook apps within apps.