I listened to all the social media chatter after last week’s post on social media trends and I heard you loud and clear: five trends aren’t enough. Brilliant social marketer that I am, I’ll share five more. Or maybe I couldn’t fit all 10 in the previous post and this is a disingenuous way to spin it. Either way, here are five trends marketers need to follow today.
1) Chat Applications
Why does it matter? A new generation of chat applications is reemphasizing social media’s focus on communication. These apps are largely on mobile devices but also tap into online social services.
Who it impacts: This can have an impact on a wide range of marketers, and if the consumer usage keeps skyrocketing, marketers will follow.
How big is it? Mobile chat leader BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) reports 28 million active users. Kik, one of the emerging contenders, most recently reported reaching the 3 million user milestone and is adding 10,000 to 15,000 users daily.
Watch out: The deeper brands get into these apps, the more wary consumers will be, and the closer marketers will find themselves to very unpredictable user-generated content.
Best in class: If BBM follows what the rumor mill says and winds up on iPhone and Android devices, it will pad its lead by a wide margin, but watch GroupMe, which is courting Madison Avenue.
2) Social Gaming
Why does it matter? In-game marketing is due for a renaissance now that games are becoming more social, from Kinect to mobile apps.
Who it impacts: Everyone’s a gamer these days. If you’re not, get an iPod Touch and I’ll bet you 99 cents (the cost of countless great games) that you will be.
How big is it? One of my favorite stats of all time is that 125 years worth of Angry Birds is played every day.
Watch out: Some advertising offerings are typical display media or video buys that aren’t relevant to gaming. Deep integration requires extensive planning.
Best in class: Zynga has a knack for putting together rich, successful integrations with some of the biggest brands. Keep an eye on Kiip, which just launched, to offer casual gamers real rewards.
3) Mobile Integration
Why does it matter? If you’re working on a social or digital strategy, you must consider where mobile fits in. Mobile will be the biggest driver of social media usage this decade, and the same is true if you drop “social” from that statement.
Who it impacts: This can affect any marketer remotely considering mobile or social marketing.
How big is it? There are more than 5.1 billion mobile subscribers worldwide, equaling the world’s entire population as of 1987. Facebook has more than 250 million mobile users globally. If your customers aren’t using mobile devices, you’re probably marketing to alpacas.
Watch out: Don’t just slap a text messaging shortcode or QR code on an ad and call it mobile integration. You have to focus on the consumer experience and adapt your marketing to how your target audience engages with mobile devices and media.
Best in class: It’s tough to pick just one here, but check out what Bravo’s doing, especially with mobile apps like Bravo Now. To be totally transparent, they’re a client, and they’re phenomenal at understanding their audience’s quickly evolving media consumption habits.
4) Synced TV Sharing
Why does it matter? Practically overnight, there are new and practical ways for consumers to share what they’re watching, from updates to actual clips, while accessing social content synced to a show whenever people choose to watch it.
Who it impacts: TV programmers and advertisers should be eager to tap into this.
How big is it? Yahoo Advertising Solutions reported that 86% of U.S. mobile internet users, and 92% of those ages 13-24, use mobile devices while watching TV. Among that set, 56% say they text and 40% use social networks, so the consumer behavior is already here.
Watch out: This column has more readers than most TV-sharing apps have users. This isn’t a scale play, yet.
Best in class: Check out SnappyTV, which is arranging partnerships with TV networks to allow users to share a number of clips from shows as they air.
5) Curated recommendations
Why does it matter? There’s too much content. Put your friends to work (without their knowledge) to help find the most relevant content for you.
Who it impacts: If you’re producing content, then you probably want people to see it. You’re not just affected; you’re probably afflicted.
How big is it? Last year, then-Google CEO Eric Schmidt said we create as much information in two days as mankind did from the beginning of civilization until 2003, according to TechCrunch. Put another way, that’s about 5 exabytes of data, which James Huggins notes can store “all words ever spoken by human beings.”
Watch out: There’s a new line of entrants here, so marketing opportunities are still a work in progress.
Best in class: Flipboard set the bar for curated content on the iPad. For recommendations from my connections’ sharing activity delivered to my inbox, I’m liking Summify so far, plus one other in “double secret alpha” mode that you’ll hear about soon enough.
There you go: 10 trends in two weeks. Your homework is to share what you’re doing with them, whether in the comments, on Twitter, or perhaps even one of these chat apps that everyone’s so crazy about.