Last year, I published my New Year, New Media Predictions post. In it, I posited that in 2014, photo sharing would increase in popularity, Facebook would have to change its model in order to continue to remain a dominant force in the social media space, newer forms of direct and group messaging would emerge, personalized products will become more popular, and mobile responsiveness would drive marketing activities. Let’s take a look at each of these ideas in greater detail:
- Photo Sharing: In 2014, photo sharing gained popularity. We saw Facebook’s release of its Slingshot App after attempting (and failing) to acquire Snapchat at the end of 2013 for $3 billion. This past year, we also saw the number of photos and videos sent per day rise to 700 million. Additionally, Apple introduced the concept of self-destructing picture and video messages to iOS 8, which was released in the third quarter.
- Facebook: Facebook was a big topic in 2014. In my original post, I predicted that the company would be well-suited to acquire best-in-class companies rather than develop its own second-rate versions of those products and services. We saw this happen with the acquisitions of WhatsApp and Oculus VR, and its continued administration of Instagram, wherein the company allowed the divisions to exist as separate entities.
- Direct and Group Messaging: In 2014, we saw quite a few apps integrate direct messaging into their platforms. In April, Twitter’s Vine app introduced direct video messaging. The following month, Snapchat added IM capabilities to its service, allowing people to communicate with each other in a more instant manner. In November, Twitter added new functionality to its already-present direct messaging software, allowing users to share tweets privately. This addition came in the wake of changes that streamlined the performance and use of Twitter’s direct messaging channel in July.
- Personalized Products: Last year, I predicted that products such as Nest and August Smart Lock would gain more momentum. Just eight days after writing my post, Google acquired Nest Labs, Inc. for $3.2 billion. As 2014 pressed on, it was clear that the Internet of Things was growing to encompass everything from thermostats to wearable devices. The Moto 360 smart watch, Apple Watch, and countless others were introduced to the market along with fitness apps and personal trackers.
- Mobile Responsiveness: As new gadgets such as smart watches, phones with larger screens, and tablets entered into the market, mobile responsiveness became increasingly more important in the lives of digital marketers. According to Salesforce Marketing Cloud’s 2014 Mobile Behavior Report, individuals report spending an average of 3.3 hours per day on their smartphones. People are spending this time surfing the web, keeping in touch with loved ones and friends, and conducting business across the internet on their mobile devices. Additionally, 9/10 people think that being able to find and access information across all types of devices is important. As mobile usage became increasingly more important to people in 2014, it would be foolish to think that marketers didn’t consider mobile responsiveness as one of their top goals.
Have a happy New Year, and stay tuned for my 2015 digital and tech predictions!