This year began with a death sentence for Facebook. In January, a research study company called Global Web Index published a research study revealing that Facebook had actually lost almost one-third of its U.S. teenager users in the in 2014. Headlines pronounced the network “dead and buried“.
Fast forward to the present and Facebook is reporting record growth. The company made $2.96 billion in advertisement profits in the third quarter of 2013, up 64 percent from just a year back. More remarkably, the network has puttinged more than 100 million monthly active users in the in 2014.
All of which goes to demonstrate how hard it can be to predict the future of social media. With that caveat in mind, right here’s a check out the crystal ball at five ways social media will certainly (most likely) progress in 2015.
Social media network as your wallet
Hacks released in October reveal a hidden payment feature deep inside Facebook’s popular Messenger app. If activated by the company, it will certainly allow the app’s 200 million users to send out money to each other using just debit card information, free of charge. At the same time, the network has also already rolled out a new Autofill function (a kind of Facebook Connect for charge card), which enables users who save their charge card information on Facebook to look into with 450,000 e-commerce merchants across the web.
So why does Facebook wish to manage your cash in 2015? Today, some of tech’s biggest players are fighting it out in the mobile payments space, including Apple with its new Apple Pay app, upstarts like Square and Stripe as well as online payments veterans like PayPal. The endgame at this stage isn’t precisely clear. Facebook may eventually charge for its cash transfer services, leverage consumer acquiring data to pull in more marketers or perhaps attempt to rival conventional credit cards like Visa and Mastercard (making billions on fees). Something’s for sure: You can expect to see major social media networks jockeying more aggressively to handle your transactions in 2015.
New networks addition
2014 saw the increase of a number of niche social networks, lots of built particularly in response to the perceived failings of the big children: the lack of privacy, the collection of group and psychographic data, the significantly pervasive advertising. Beginners vary from Ello, which introduced in March with guarantees to never offer user data, to Yik Yak, which enables users to exchange completely confidential posts with individuals who are physically close by, and tsu, which has actually guaranteed to share ad income with users based upon the popularity of their posts.
Will these networks grow and remain? New social platforms that try to reproduce the Facebook experience while promising, for example, less ads or more privacy, have the odds seriously stacked against them. The biggest challenge– one that even Google+ has actually struggled with– is drawing in a sufficient userbase so the network does not feel like a ghost town inned comparison to Facebook’s thriving 1.3-billion-user international community.
On the other hand, new networks that map onto strong existing communities or interests (interest-based networks, instead of Facebook-style people-based networks) have a better chance. In fact, thousands of these networks are currently flourishing below the radar, from committed sites for cooks and chefs like Food lover to websites for fitness addicts like Fitocracy.
Shopping via social media
Earlier this year, both Twitter and Facebook began beta-testing “purchase” buttons, which appear together with certain tweets and posts and enables users to make purchases with just a click or two, without ever leaving the network. Expect e-commerce and social media integrations to deepen in 2015. In fact, it’s a little surprising it’s taken so long.
For starters, this strategy removes one essential problem all merchants deal with– the best ways to get consumers in the door (or to your site). On Twitter and facebook, you’ve already got a receptive audience, happily talking with buddies, browsing the latest trends, sharing pictures and videos, and so on. When their payment details are on file, purchases are a tap or more away. Then it’s back to cat GIFs and updates on weekend plans.
In addition, since Facebook and particularly Twitter are real-time media, they’re ideal for short-term deals connected short lived trends. With time-sensitive offers actually streaming by, customers might well be inclined to act swiftly and seal the deal, forgoing the compulsive window shopping that defines great deals of Internet transactions.
Lastly, there are significant benefits to advertisers. Connecting individual Tweets and Facebook posts with real purchases has thus far showed a huge analytical challenge. But with the advent of buy buttons, concrete revenue figures can be attached to particular social media messages in a manner that hasn’t been possible previously.
More Social Smart devices
Low-cost sensors have actually resulted in an explosion of clever gadgets. Everything from house devices like thermostats, bathroom scales and refrigerators to wearables like fitness bracelets and clever watches are now collecting data and zapping it off wirelessly to the Internet. Lots of these devices are likewise pushing alerts to Facebook, Twitter and other networks, a trend that will certainly continue in 2015. The question is: Is that an advantage? The possibility of growing legions of washing machines, smoke alarms and Nike FuelBands spitting out Facebook posts isn’t really precisely something to obtain thrilled about.
The challenge in 2015 ends up being ways to more intelligently integrate the fast-growing Internet of Things with social networks. Simply put, wise gadgets need to improve their social intelligence. This may begin with tapping users’ social graph– their unique network of friends and fans– in much better ways. A very simple example: a clever fridge that tracks your Facebook Events, sees you’re planning a party and the number of individuals have RSVP ‘d and alerts you to make a beer run. By listening to social networks in more advanced methods– tracking users’ activities and interactions with pals and followers, then reacting appropriately– smart gadgets stand to get even smarter in the year ahead.
Social networks privacy
2014 saw a variety of anonymous and ephemeral social networks– Snapchat, Trick, Whisper, Yik Yak and Telegram, to name a few– rise in appeal. Not everyone wants every discussion over social networks broadcast to the world, after all. At the same time, smart users are progressively mindful– and worried– about ways personal data is being gathered and later sold to marketers, controlled in tests or accessed by government firms.
The problem is that few of these “personal” networks meet their mandates. Snapchat has actually been hacked, repeatedly, with hundreds of thousands of sensitive– allegedly disappearing– user images published on the Internet. And in October, it was exposed that the confidential network Murmur was in fact saving money users’ posts and places and assembling this information in a searchable database. As Venture Beat mentions, genuine anonymity and privacy on the Internet is extremely hard to attain. While it’s easy to make pledges, it’s almost impossible to provide.
However need for confidential social media will grow in 2015. In fact, there are signs that even the significant players are beginning to acknowledge the problem. In October, Facebook rolled out its new chat app Rooms, which allows users to create chatroom around shared interests, with no requirement to expose name or place. On the other hand in November, Facebook became the very first Silicon Valley tech giant to supply official support for Tor, the effective, open-source anonymizing service– popular among reporters, political dissidents and police– that allows users to hide their identity, location and searching history.