Game of social thrones.

 

** Throughout the semester, it’s become clear that nothing is set in stone when it comes to digital business and social media. Sometimes, a single feature at the right time and the right place can make it all. Following my first blog post on social media trends and a series of more focused blog posts, I will now focus on social platforms, as we know them today. What to expect from each one of them? Are they here to last? What do the figures say? Is there still room for some more?

 

  1. An overview of the social media planet to date

Facebook 

Facebook – “The Social Network”.facebook.jpgFacebook has been revolutionizing the social media environment and is sure making a lot of money. Investors are quite confident about its future, as it’s trying to both monetize more and more its activity and diversify it to become a global tech giant, thanks to VR and AI. Facebook has been working a lot on its ads revenue, which has been driving the company’s growth by a 57% year-over-year increase, and representing now 97% of its total revenue.

What does it mean for companies? For companies, being on Facebook is mandatory if they want to reach out and engage people. Not being on Facebook hurts the brand image of a company, especially among Millennials who expect to be able to reach out to the brand that way. Yet, organic search is now dead and companies have to pay more and more if they want to be visible online. More here: http://hashtagio.com/facebookzero-rip-organic-reach-on-facebook/

Instagraminstagram.jpgLast fall, 300 million people actively used Instagram (source: Facebook), with 33% of US teens using it as their main platform, compared to 24% for Twitter and 14% for Facebook. Yet, partly due to the rise of Snapchat, Instagram seems to slowly become saturated. In Spring 2016, 28% of teens consider Snapchat as their first platform, before Instagram, that has dropped to 27%. Besides, over the past year, the engagement rate and the average follower growth have both declined. The organic growth is dropping (April 2015: 1,95% – June 2015: 0,49% – July 2015: 0,34%) and people just post less and less.

What does it mean for companies? The decline in organic growth and engagement rates leads to believe that the platform is becoming saturated with more brands joining and posting content. Therefore brands, which want to post on Instagram, need to pay a lot of attention to the relevancy of the content they post to their audience. They have to post to engage not to just show their presence.

Google

YouTubeWP-GameOfThrones.jpg

Although YouTube was still not profitable last year, its revenues have been skyrocketing over the past year (+60%) and it has more viewers aged 18-49 on mobile alone than any US cable network. As the online advertising market is set to explode and to reach $17 billion in 2017, YouTube is one of the best positioned in the market, compared to Facebook (its main competitor), as it has a more mature monetization platform that seems to attract the best content. Besides, YouTube has just launched a new paid service that might become Google’s next big growth driver.

What does it mean for companies? As the online advertising market is set to explode, YouTube offers a type of advertisement, TrueView, in which advertisers pay when viewers choose to watch an advertisement, not when an ad is viewed. Definitely an asset for brands and a guarantee for the money they spend.

 Google+google+.jpg

Across the 2.2b users on Google and while the “active” profiles on Google+ amounts to 111 million users, only 6.7 million users have 50+ posts ever and more than 90% of the people with profiles on Google+ have never posted something publicly. The recent dismantlement of the different components, like Photos and Hangout, led to think that Google+ hadn’t achieved the expected performance as a standalone product and that it was pretty much dead. Yet, Google has made some new changes on the platform, leading to think that it might not be completely dead for the company just yet.

What does it mean for companies? The changes made by Google+ make it easier for business wanting to reach people who are passionate about something easier. Google+ tries to focus on communities and it might be particularly useful for small businesses. Yet, the uncertain future of the platform suggests being careful if investing on it.

SnapchatGame-of-Thrones-Snapchat-Tyrion.jpeg

Snapchat is definitely the trendiest social platform of them all, the Khaleesi of the situation. First mobile-only platform, It has been at the right place at the right time. With 4 billion views a day in April 2015, 6 billion in November 2015 and 8 billion in February 2016, it is matching Facebook’s latest video numbers. While videos are set to explode and Facebook’s betting on live streams, Snapchat is betting big on the stories feature. Although it doesn’t have a billion active users like Facebook, it is becoming more and more trendy among young users, as 60% of millennial smartphone users use the app. Among teenagers, it beats every other social media platform.

What does it mean for companies? Snapchat has become the platform of choice to connect with young audiences. It is a fun way of communication and a lot of brands actually have tested the waters, like CNN for the coverage of the presidential elections.

TwitterGame-Of-Thrones-Twitter.jpg

#riptwitter. Twitter seems to be on a rough path. In the first quarter of 2016, it has disappointed investors as its users growth has hit a wall. Despite a series of change to make Twitter easier and more engaging, the company’s share price is declining.

What does it mean for companies? Still unclear. The company is working on new changes, including some to the timeline. They have introduced a new feature “Moments”, but it’s still unclear how they will monetize it. For now, Twitter is still an engaging platform (3rd platform of choice for millennials). Yet, figures are declining pretty fast. TBC.

Linkedinlinkedin.jpg

Despite critics, LinkedIn is doing great. The membership has risen by 19% to 433 million and the revenues have increased by 35% to $861 million. In the past few months, updates have been made in an effort to drive more engagement, including the launch of an updated Recruiter app and a tool for college students to find their first full-time job.

What does it mean for companies? Still a great place to stay in touch with connections. LinkedIn is working on making it more effective to find applicants / recruiters.

Pinterest51c4dcdccb62f9c28fc470a6e7cfea2f.jpg

With 70% of women users, Pinterest is the online version of a scrapbook. It has grown revenue by 5 times between 2014 and 2015 and might go public in 2016, after being recently valued at $11 billion.

What does it mean for companies? Pinterest is an ideal platform for advertisement, but it has taken a soft approach to advertising so far. Yet, people are much more likely to purchase something they’ve seen on Pinterest as any other user on another social platform, which makes it very interesting. Sephora is quite an example in this area: see my blog post here.

  1. Is there still room for other social media platforms?

According to Casey Neistat, famous YouTuber and CEO of Beme, yes there is. And there are actually tons of new social platforms that are just waiting for their big breakthrough moment. Just to name a few: Wanelo (type of social shopping app – very graphic + easy to shop), SlideShare (help users create presentations and videos with a professional appeal), Ello (all-purpose social media network without any advertising), etc.

Will they all be famous? Probably not. Will there  be a new Snapchat or Instagram? Most certainly yes. The game is on. Brace yourself.

More here:
http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2016/04/28/amazon-inc-joins-facebook-in-expectation-crushing.aspx
http://locowise.com/blog/is-instagram-becoming-saturated-follower-growth-engagement-down
http://www.billboard.com/articles/business/6634538/youtube-growth-impresses-analysts-wall-street
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-google-research-idUSKCN0PR1FG20150717
http://fortune.com/2016/04/29/snapchat-10-billion-video-april/
http://www.adweek.com/socialtimes/snapchat-is-the-fastest-growing-social-network-infographic/624116
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-twitter-selloff-idUSKCN0VK1LJ
http://www.cnbc.com/2014/05/28/linkedin-ceo-jeff-weiner-reveals-growth-strategy.html
http://venturebeat.com/2016/04/28/linkedin-membership-rises-19-to-433-million-increases-revenue-35-to-861-million/
http://www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2015/08/13/7-social-media-platforms-that-could-explode-before-2016/2/#657f88001ed0

5 comments

  1. Great video of the social media landscape with the major players today. Enjoyed the breakdown of each of the companies and where they are. I think there will be many more social media platforms to come, and with that, some of the platforms we hold near and dear to us will die. It will be interesting to see what happens when one of the biggest players (FB, Insta, Twitter) dies and what will happen with all the data, pictures, and memories that we store and trust to these sites.

  2. I like that you profiled and analyzed each platform’s current struggles and staying power. I hope Twitter can hang on, it’s become too much a part of my daily routine to have to give it up, but to your point I need to remember that the social media and digital business space is constantly changing and I probably shouldn’t get too comfortable. Very creative and thoughtful post. Thanks and best of luck!!

  3. Being a big GOT fan, I had to read this, and I was definitely not disappointed! What a cool, creative way to tell us more about social media platforms, and why each one is important. This is a really great way for people to get an overall sense of what’s going on in the social media world right now related to businesses and engaging audiences. It was nice to see what we’ve been talking about the whole semester was reinforced in this post, particularly when it came to the idea of Facebook and Snapchat still being the social media platforms companies need to pay attention to. I liked how you ended the post predicting some new apps and platforms that we may need to pay attention to. Very helpful and thoughtful post, this was amazing!!

  4. Truly Awesome! Great final blogpost!

  5. This is a really incredible blog post. It seems to be very well researched. I had to do a presentation on Youtube for another class and it is true that TrueView has been great for them. Youtube was having a lot of trouble early on because of their advertisers were leaving them. They left because their ads kept on getting shown to people who had no interest in their products/services. TrueView changed that by letting advertisers only pay for ads if enough of the ad was viewed by a viewer.

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