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Showing posts tagged with: trends

Social Media Trends That Will Shape the Rest of 2018

by Meghan Gabel

marketing social media

We’re now halfway through 2018 (if you can believe it)! This year has already seen plenty of social media trends and moments, from lighthearted exchanges of brands trolling each other to the powerful and important  #TimesUp movement. Social media platforms and tools are constantly changing, and PR professionals need to be ready and willing to adapt to those changes in order to execute successful campaigns. We’re looking at some of the trends that have already shaped the social media industry in 2018, and which ones to watch for the rest of the year.  

BIGpredictions for PR Trends in 2018

by Meghan Gabel

public relations

We’re officially several weeks into 2018 (if you can believe it). Fresh off our trip to CES, the BIGteam has been on the lookout for the latest and greatest emerging technologies coming in 2018. We’ve also been looking ahead to see how the PR landscape is changing and how we can leverage new trends for our clients. Take a peek into our crystal ball and see our top predictions on where PR is heading in 2018, and how all you PR professionals out there can prepare.  

Top PR Trends for 2017

by Meghan Azralon

public relations

Can you believe we’ve already completed two full months in 2017?! The new year has brought new PR trends along with it. We’ve compiled a list of the top four trends that all public relations professionals should pay attention to this year.  

The Rise and Fall of SMS Texting

by BIGfish

mobile technology

You may find this hard to believe, but SMS texting is on the decline. SMS texts are sent through your cell phone provider; not to be confused with instant messaging apps like iMessage. Why do I make this distinction? The annual technology predictions report by Deloitte predicts that, “in 2014 Instant Messaging (IM) services on mobile phones will carry more than twice the volume (50 billion versus 21 billion per day) of messages sent via SMS globally.” This decline in SMS messaging is somewhat surprising since texting is only about 20 years old. However, Emerson College marketing professor and BIGfish president David Gerzof Richard notes, "These are sort of the cycles that we're seeing in technology development." Given the fast pace of the tech industry, it’s actually surprising SMS texting is still relevant at all.

It is interesting to see how far texting has come since its inception. As this article notes, the idea of SMS texting was developed by Friedhelm Hillebrand and Bernard Ghillebaert in 1984. However, it was not until 1992 that Neil Papworth sent the first text message. The message read “Merry Christmas,” and was sent by PC because most mobile phones at the time did not have keyboards. In 1993, Nokia became the first handset manufacturer to create an entire phone line that supported user-sending of SMS text messages and in 1997, Nokia also became the first manufacturer to produce a mobile phone with a full keyboard. It wasn’t until 1999 that text messages could be exchanged across different networks. This new feature made SMS incredibly popular and in 2007, Americans sent and received more text messages than phone calls.

As with most trends these days, the popularity of SMS texting was short-lived. According to CTIA, there has been a steady decline in texting since 2009. Although texting grew by 55.5% in 2009, this fell to 31.3% in 2010 and then 12.3% in 2011. The declining growth rate hit new lows when the number of sms texts sent and received decreased in 2012. In addition, the article states, “Of the 326 million estimated wireless subscriber connections in the US [in 2012], 22 million were wireless-enabled tablets, laptops and modems (up from 20 million in 2011) and 152 million were smartphones, up 36% from 112 million in 2011.” This is important to note because as users move away from SMS texting, they are increasingly flocking to the instant messaging apps that are available on these devices.

In a recent interview with NPR, David Gerzof Richard argued that this decline in SMS growth is likely to continue due to the increased use of messaging apps. Gerzof Richard suggests several reasons:

You pay for texts:

“With a texting plan from your cell phone provider, you usually pay to send text messages. With instant messaging services, including Facebook, Snapchat and WhatsApp, the app is free. You pay for a data plan — your access to the Internet — but you're not billed for your messages.”

With the release of BlackBerry’s BBM feature in 2006, SMS texting took its first hit from an instant messaging service. Since then the surge in smartphones, continued charges for SMS text messages, and falling data prices have encouraged a wide range of competitors, such as applications with direct messaging capabilities, social media messaging, and photo sharing platforms.

You can do more with instant messages:

When looking at direct messaging services, Apple’s iMessage is one of the leading platforms. This app makes it easy for multiple people to participate in a single conversation, whereas with SMS texting, messages are sent separately to each person. With iMessage, users can also utilize emoticons as well as easily send photos and videos from one’s phone. In addition, there has been an increase in social media integration and messaging services. Facebook, Twitter, and more recently Instagram, have made it easier to interact with friends through chat and direct messages. Lastly, Snapchat made picture sharing even more popular by introducing time limits on how long a message can be seen.

You don't have to worry about phone numbers:

"It looks like we're starting to move in a direction where the younger generation isn't thinking in terms of phone numbers, but in terms of usernames and handles," Gerzof Richard says. Most messaging apps don’t need phone numbers at all. Instead, they easily link to your existing social media sites and harvest your contacts from your friend lists.

Where young people go, their elders will follow:

Deloitte’s annual technology predictions report also mentions that this year there will be an increase in the number of smartphones bought by people over 55. Gerzof Richard says this will drive even more people to instant messaging. In trying to keep track of and better connect with their kids, people over 55 have ventured into the realm of social media platforms. However, the use of social media platforms and smartphones transcends just parenting. With increased smartphone use, people over 55 are likely to be more comfortable with alternate modes of communication and therefore use SMS text messaging less.

With the consistent growth of smartphone usage, it will be interesting to follow the decline of SMS texting. In 2014, instant messaging services are predicted to account for 50 billion messages sent globally per day. That is double the number of SMS text messages that will be sent this year! Do you think SMS text messaging can make a comeback?

-Dana Harvey

2014 Social Media Trends: Part 4 of 5

by BIGfish

social media

This is our fourth installment of Social Media Trends for 2014. We previously explored the importance of visual content, the growing influence of Twitter, and social media’s move to mobile. The next trend that the BIGfish team predicts for 2014 is increased video sharing. Smartphone use is at its peak, and with it people are documenting their lives more than ever. Photo sharing has grown in popularity over the past few years, but until recently the only methods for uploading and sharing video were slow and cumbersome. With the integration of video into Instagram and the popularity of websites and apps like YouTube and Vine, sharing video on social media is now easier than ever before. In fact, video is expected to constitute one third of all Internet traffic by 2015.

Changing Times

Facebook has grown to be an influential network with millions of users around the world. This groundbreaking social media platform enabled users to share every moment of their lives with their close (and not so close) friends by way of wall posts, photos, statuses and more. However, as this article notes, over-sharing on Facebook became overwhelming and people flocked to a new medium: Twitter. Limiting users to express themselves in just 140 characters, Twitter filtered out the chatter that overran Facebook. Soon after, photo sharing apps grew in popularity. Apps like Instagram enabled users to instantaneously edit, filter and share a single photo instead of uploading an entire album. This article notes most teens use different online profiles to express character traits specific to a platform’s community and purpose. Brands must look at the different natures of these platforms, how people use each one to express themselves, and then align their brands accordingly.

While we expect photos to remain central in social media, video has potential to really take off in 2014. Video sharing has already begun to flourish as a result of a steady increase in smartphone ownership. In 2013, an estimated 139 million people were said to own a smartphone. In addition, 2012 saw a 300% increase in mobile video consumption, a trend that is sure to continue to grow in 2014.


A mobile-only app, Vine has grown to become one of the most popular video sharing apps available. Between June and August of this year, Vine jumped from 13 million to 40 million users. The six-second time limit, along with the early adopters that have since become “Vine Famous,” have promoted a creative and humor filled Vine community. This unique culture pushes brands to be creative when implementing videos through vine. For example, in September 2013 Dunkin’ Donuts aired the first TV-ad made completely from Vine during the pre game show for Monday Night Football on ESPN.

Because of Vine’s integration into Twitter, a platform that’s bound to grow next year, we expect more brands to embrace this creative video platform. Not only is Vine itself a great way to engage with consumers, but the videos can make tweets stand out. Vine also puts everyone on a level playing field: everyone has the same tools (a smartphone and Vine app), time limit and a relatively similar video quality, making videos seem especially personal and authentic.


After watching users flock to Vine, Instagram introduced its own video capabilities into the app in July 2013. With Instagram’s continued growth, it is no surprise that it expanded into the realm of video. Instagram video gives users 15 seconds to get their message across and videos maintain those famous filters. Unlike Vine, Instagram enables users to upload videos not recorded in-app, meaning brands can enhance and edit external videos before sharing.

Instagram proves useful to the strategic marketer when looking at the app’s extensive growth and success of video (Instagram videos get an average of 24 interactions per 1,000 followers). Instagram provides a great opportunity to have a product or service come to life. For example, this Instagram by Lululemon shows their product in use while also keeping the user engaged in the video. Since Instagram videos are substantially longer than Vine, it’s important to immediately grab a user’s attention and then maintain their interest throughout.


According to compete.com, YouTube received more than 167 million unique impressions last month, making it the 4th most visited site in the US. In November, Mashable reported that YouTube overtook Facebook as the most popular site among teens, proving we’re on the cusp of a shift in social media usage. Since it’s so easy to share online video, and since so many people are already spending time on YouTube, it’s a great platform for brands to post their commercials, presentations as well as encourage consumers and vloggers to post testimonials and reviews.

One example of a successful YouTube brand presence is Dior. In addition to posting commercials, Dior  also posts how-to makeup and beauty tutorial videos. By doing this, Dior positions themselves as a knowledgeable resource consumers can turn to, adding value to the overall brand. A testament to their success, Dior boasts more than 90,000 subscribers and this J’adore ‘Le Parfum’ commercial has 1.6 million views.

Video Across Platforms

Following the success of video-only apps and websites like Vine and YouTube, existing social media platforms have adapted to enable video integration. For example, on Facebook, you may scroll down your newsfeed and certain videos will begin playing automatically. In addition, on Twitter, photos and videos have been expanded on your timeline so that users can see a picture or watch a video without having to leave the page. Since the launch of Instagram video, there has been a 37% increase in Instagram shares on Twitter while five tweets per second contain a Vine link. Video integration across all social platforms proves that video is an increasingly popular format with universal appeal.

Tips for Optimal Use

Check out two of our blog posts outlining best and worst practices for Vine and Instagram video creation. This article also has some great tips to help your brand master the use of video.

Smart brands are utilizing video options on social media and running with it. By including interesting and artistic elements, customer-driven content, and behind the scenes exclusives, brands are able to connect to followers in new ways. The goal is to creatively engage with customers and to inspire sharing and conversation between themselves and their customers.

How do you expect video to change through 2014? Have you experienced high levels of engagement on Vine, Instagram or YouTube? What brands do you follow on social video platforms?

-Dana Harvey

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