As the new year approaches, BIGfish is looking ahead at what 2014 will bring. So far, we’ve discussed two social media predictions for the new year: the importance of visual content as well as an increased influence of Twitter. For our third social media trend prediction, we’re discussing social media’s move to mobile, so here are some ways social media managers can take advantage of this shift.
Bye Bye Desktop, Hello Smartphone
A recent survey found that 25% of smartphone owners ages 18–44 say they can’t recall the last time their smartphone wasn’t next to them. As a result, social media platforms are jumping onto the move to mobile with app versions that give desktops some serious competition. Big names like Facebook and Twitter are rapidly changing to adapt to a smartphone dominated world and paving the way for mobile to become the new go-to access point for social media. As more and more users use their mobile devices to access social media, it’s important for marketers to be aware of the new opportunities mobile apps present.
As stated by CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook has become a mobile company, and it expects mobile usage and revenue to surpass that of desktops in the near future. Of Facebook’s billion plus monthly active users, 189 million are “mobile only,” explaining why 41% of advertising revenue comes from mobile ads. Mobile Facebook ads can target specific markets based on demographics, interests, Likes on Facebook and even a relationship status. By using these targeting tools, marketers can tailor the message of an ad to appeal to a specific group. This then increases the chances that users will be interested in the ad, click on it and Like the page.
Another great option for marketers are Facebook’s Mobile Sponsored Stories, which prominently feature friends’ engagement with that page or app, increasing the likelihood that users will trust and click it. Mobile Sponsored Stories generate a click through rate 13 times the rate of Facebook’s desktops ads, creating a big opportunity to generate brand awareness through mobile.
Mobile ads give much room for creativity, but it’s important to remember to design an ad with the mobile user in mind, making sure it looks great on the smaller screen of a smartphone. Also, remember that Facebook ads are most effective when they link back to a page within Facebook, like a profile or event page, depending on the call to action. Use eye-grabbing designs with less text, tailor ads to the specific users’ interests and likes, and feature a strong call to action to increase click through rates. With a little creativity, some research and analytics, mobile Facebook ads will be cost-effective ways to reach new customers in 2014.Twitter
Twitter is another social media giant that has seen significant movement to its mobile app, with more than 75% of its 218.3 million monthly active users visiting on mobile devices. Twitter’s Senior VP of engineering said that Twitter has a history of being mobile-first, so “we make sure every place we’re building a product, we’re building it onto mobile devices.” Mobile accounts for 65% of Twitter’s total ad revenue, proving that Twitter’s “most engaged users are generally those who access Twitter via...mobile applications.” Twitter’s primary ad products are promoted accounts, promoted tweets, and promoted trends, which are all relatively easy for advertisers to set up. Like Facebook ads, Twitter ads can target a super specific audience, enabling advertisers to reach their desired group.
The folks at Twitter are making huge investments in mobile, such as their September acquisition of MoPub, the world’s largest mobile ad exchange. MoPub allows Twitter to fundamentally change how mobile ads are purchased, thus Twitter may become the leader in social ads on mobile. With the help of the new ad exchange, advertisers can better target specific users with extreme detail based on tweets, accounts they’re following, websites visited, and more. With new technology on its side, Twitter may become the most targeted mobile ad medium, so keep an eye out for changes in mobile ads and how they can best be integrated into a marketing plan.
Drive Social Sharing with Mobile Apps
As of October 2013, there were one million apps available in the iTunes Store and 60 billion total app store downloads. In one way or another, almost every business is linked to a mobile app; whether it’s checking in at Target on Foursquare or posting a photo of a Starbucks’ latte on Instagram. Businesses can engage mobile users through apps with a call to action, a discount code, or a simple check-in. Always include share buttons at the end of web pages and articles to make it easy and seamless to share via mobile devices. Encouraging visitors of a business to post on social media creates buzz that often feels more authentic and reliable than an ad.
Businesses can offer discounts and promos for using a hashtag, posting a photo, or checking in to encourage visitors to talk about their brand on social media. For example, A New York restaurant owner encourages diners to use a specific hashtag, and says this involvement makes customers “brand ambassador(s) on behalf of the restaurant." Mobile users love to frequently share via social media, and marketers can use this to their advantage with creative integration of social platforms and their brand.
Mobile Is Here to Stay
As we move into another year dominated by social media and smartphones, BIGfish suggests utilizing mobile migration to your advantage. Social media allows businesses of any size to reach wide or specific audiences with creative ads that foster engagement and create brand awareness. It also offers an opportunity to have some fun and get creative. Give customers something to photograph and suggest they tag you on Instagram. Remind visitors to check in on foursquare. Encourage mobile users to mention you on Twitter by rewarding them with a discount. Whatever you do, don’t overlook the potential of mobile, or you could be left behind in 2014 and the years to come.
What Do You Think?
What has your experience been with ads on social media? Will desktops become obsolete for social media? How else do you think mobile will grow and change next?
Check in next week to find out our next social media prediction for 2014!
-Hannah Duffy, Intern
BIGfish President David Gerzof Richard appeared on NPR this morning to discuss the social pressures of the digital world. “Some people feel that if a certain amount of time goes by and they haven’t updated or they haven’t tweeted, that there’s something wrong with them,” he says. “It’s almost like this hamster wheel — that they need to constantly be getting content out there.” To listen to the full segment, click the photo above or click here.
The 2012 Presidential Debates kick off tonight at 9 p.m. with President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney facing off in Denver. With the debates being broadcast live on C-SPAN, ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC -- PLUS being live streamed online -- it will be hard for anyone with a television or Internet connection to avoid tonight’s political discourse.
Publicly broadcast events like these always spur an online reaction - especially now. Think back to this summer’s Olympics; the Olympic organizers themselves dubbed them the “Social Media Olympics.” And according to the Pew Research Center, 2012 marks the first time that more than half of all Americans aged 65 and older are online. So how will social media react to the 2012 debates? How will it differ from the 2008 debates? Here are our predictions:
1. Thousands more people will participate in tweeting and Facebooking about the debates. After all, social media has exploded in the past four years. In 2008, Twitter had only 6 million users; now it has 140 million. Over that same time period, Facebook grew from 100 million users to 900 million. Combine those statistics with the fact that 45% of American adults own smartphones, and we have more people actively using social media than ever before.2. “Obama,” “Romney,” or “debate” will be a trending topic on Twitter. Maybe this is an obvious one, but we’re still pointing it out. Perhaps one of the candidates will even purchase a trending topic - the Romney campaign was the first to do so in September when it promoted #RomneyRyan2012 during the Republican National Convention. 3. Your Facebook feed will be transformed into a stream of political comments from people whose opinions you really don’t care about. Annoying political posts on Facebook have become the norm these days. Everyone has that one Facebook friend who constantly posts inflammatory statuses specifically to start an argument. Fear not! Lifehacker has put together a helpful post so you can hide these people from your News Feed. 4. GIFs celebrating either candidates’ gaffes will run amuck. The GIF animation bandwagon is another aspect of social media that has recently exploded. President Obama’s social media team has even created a campaign Tumblr with dozens of Obama GIFs. We feel pretty confident the GIF creators of the Internet will find plenty of clips from tonight’s debate to keep us entertained. How else do you think social media will react to tonight’s first round of debates? We’ll find out soon enough!
According to a recently published report, a team of about two dozen engineers is currently working on a project to turn Facebook into a search engine. This news has big implications for existing search engines like Google and Bing. Every day, millions of users publish content to, share, and like Facebook pages. Every brand with a budget has a Facebook presence. While Google +, Google's attempt at a social network, has never really taken off with the likes of Facebook and Twitter, Facebook sees most of the published content on the internet. A Google search for something like a dessert place will yield pages of results. A Facebook search for a dessert place will show you the closest location with the most likes. It presents you with the best choice, and you didn't even have to weed through the first page of options, as you might have to do with Google. It will be very interesting to watch how the team develops the Facebook search engine, and what the company chooses to do with it.