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SOCIAL-DIGITAL TRENDS FOR 2013 David Armano Managing Director, Edelman Digital Chicago @armano
IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN…It’s that time of year again – time to take a stab at what’s While I didn’t specifically connect it to the election, it was thegoing to matter in the year ahead as technology continues to behavior of social sharing that many of us felt during theinfluence how we work and live. In the previous years, I’ve entire election year. You couldn’t get away from Facebooklooked at trends under the social lens because, from a macro posts of friends who were all too happy to leverage theirperspective, it has been the major disruptive force both in networks to talk politics, often sharing posts and memes increating new opportunities as well as threats. This year I am support of their candidate– Big bird, binders andusing the umbrella term “social-digital” to broaden the focus.First, a quick re-cap: bayonets anyone?
Social TV has continued to gain steam, though interestingly enough it has been TVitself that has been fueling much of the trend. For example, the popular series “TheWalking Dead” has been experimenting with simple Twitter hashtags for eachepisode in addition to the official one connected with the series. Social entertainmentplatforms, however, like Get Glue, which was recently acquired for 25 million incash, have yet to enter the mainstream.What has mainstreamed is the micro-economy powered by once unknown entitiessuch as Kickstarter – it is now not uncommon for individuals to raise thousands andeven millions of dollars without a middleman, thanks to the crowd-funding platform.On the flipside, gamification has either lost some of its luster ortaken a backseat to useful functionality. A recent Gartner study urges usnot to “believe the hype” – and indeed I may have been caught up by the promiseof making experiences stick via serving neuro-rewards vs. utility. Meanwhile, thecult of influence continues to attract a following with new digital influencemeasurement services like Little Bird receiving funding, followed by studies crowningthe most influential CMOs. So what can we potentially expect to see next year?In no particular order,HERE ARE SIX SOCIAL-DIGITAL TRENDS TO WATCH IN 2013:
THE CONTENT ECONOMYContent just might become your company’s most valuable asset in 2013for several reasons. For years Google has been refining its algorithm,cracking down on the individuals and organizations that benefit fromunsavory tactics often compromising the quality of search results. Now,it is the most compelling content that dominates search results, andorganizations will scramble to produce this. Some already have,including companies like Coca-Cola and Intel, which launchedcorporate entities focused purely on content. Separately, Facebook ismaking its own changes, forcing companies to rely on both creativityand spending (promoted posts) to ensure their content is seen andmore importantly shared by users. Brands like Oreo may haveunwittingly set the bar for content creation for other organizations bypioneering a form of “content marketing,” putting out one piece oftimely, relevant and highly creative content every day as part of acampaign. In 2013, content will not only be king – it willbe the queen, prince and jester.
CYBORG CENTRALThink your mobile phone is making you part computer? Now ithas accomplices. From “fuel bands” to bracelets and GoogleGlasses, these are just a preview of what we’ll see more of in2013 as we begin to look part-human, part-machine. Thereare already ski goggles that display a tiny screen allowingyou to not only sync to your mobile device but help youdetermine where you are and how fast you’re going. As wemove into the next year, the phrase “personalcomputing” will begin to take on another meaning.
THE SMOBILE WEBSocial + mobile = “smobile.” While there’s no real insight in pointingout that both mobile and social are going to be big in 2013, they areincreasingly becoming co-dependent – and most businesses aren’tready for it. A smobile Web means your customers, coworkers andcolleagues are increasingly spending time with apps, and digitalexperiences optimized for mobile and social sharing and, as a result,spending less time tethered to a PC or television. In addition,technology is still evolving. NFC technology, for example, allows youto transfer data to your mobile device via touch versus scanning acumbersome code, making mobility seamless. While Instagramdeveloped for smobile before the traditional web, Facebook’splatform is still playing catch-up, but by the end of 2013 it maybecome one of the leaders. Will you be ready for the smobileweb?
SENSORY INTELLIGENCESensors will get smarter and become more pervasive. Wealready have cars that can help us parallel park or senseif we are too close to an object by letting us know with abeep or a vibration. Then there are thermostats, whichlearn based on how you use them – essentially self-programming and adapting along the way. In 2013 therewill be sensors built into athletes’ helmets that measurethe impact of blows and provide real-time data outputs,thus potentially preventing further injury. Sensors willbe everywhere – in our homes, transportation,technology and clothing. They will become a part of ourlives by tying into our existing devices and networks. Ifour plants need water, we’ll get a text or tweet, and evena note of thanks. Now that’s smart.
SOCIAL COMMERCEIn many ways, social has mirrored the original digital revolution withthe exception that digital was built in information and social,relationships. But when digital took on transactions and financialexchanges, things really began to accelerate. So it will go for socialas we begin to buy each other gifts through social networks or evenset up a storefront. The idea of social commerce isn’t new,but signs show that it’s picking up steam and 2013 may be the yearit actually begins to coalesce.
DATA SURPLUS, INSIGHT DEFICITAs I write this, Facebook has already begun rolling out its “Photo Sync”feature, which automatically downloads photos from your mobile deviceto Facebook (privately). Some see this as a land grab for data, but it’snot the only one – it’s often described as “the cloud,” “social data” or the While it’s true that more ofoverhyped macro label “big data”.our data is being collected, mined and stored, peopledon’t necessarily know what to do with it. There’s now an infinitesurplus of data out there but not enough qualified human beings(analysts, sociologists, strategists, anthropologists etc.) who know what tomake of it or what to do with it. But this won’t last for long – 2013 maybe the year we focus less on data capture and start thinking about howto understand, interpret and make good use of it.
Whether it’s content, data, sensors, smobile or feeling like we’ve become one with technology—2013 should be an exciting year for the social-digital revolution. What do you think will beTRENDS TO WATCH IN 2013? Tell us at #EDTrends2013
THE WORLD’S FIRST GLOBAL SOCIAL-DIGITAL AGENCY RESEARCH PLAN • Insights & Intelligence • Social Business Planning • Social Conversation Analysis • Organizational Design • Influencer Identification • Policy & Governance • Survey & Focus Groups • Technology & Workflow ANALYZE TRANSFORM • Conversation Analysis • Social Media & Brand Monitoring OUR • Strategy • Education & Certification • • Listening Programs Measurement Framework SERVICES • Program Planning & Integration COUNSEL CREATE & DEVELOP • Online Engagement Counsel • Design & Development • Issues Management ENGAGE • Mobile/Tablet App Dev • Crisis Preparedness • Digital/Social Advertising • Community Management • Online Influencer Engagement • Digital Creative Content • Social Search Optimization • Technical Development For more information on Edelman Digital, contact: Kevin King, Global Practice Chair, Edelman Digital, Kevin.King@edelman.com