The landscape of social media is ever-changing. With the younger generation moving on from one platform to the next as each comes into vogue and the increasing use of mobile platforms, the status of social media is constantly fluctuating. Lately, however, there has been a notably strong movement towards mobile platforms that seems to imply an important trend for advertisers to follow.
Two-thirds of people who use social media claim to log in at least once a day, 47 percent of which is happening on mobile. According to eMarketer, in 2013 one out of four people across Earth could be reached via social media. Growth in the social media sector has definitely been consistent since its invention, with estimated participation numbers reaching 2.6 billion by 2017, but the rate of annual change is likely to decline by 4.8 percent in 2014.
Among those using social media, most are on Facebook whose user count is totaling a whopping 1.15 million current users. Facebook certainly has been and will continue to be the reigning champ, however, seeing as how populated and ad heavy the platform has become, it might be better for advertisers to turn to smaller social media groups. Instagram or Vine, for example, have proven to be paths for building important connections between users and advertisers.
While Facebook may rank higher in user numbers, actual user interaction with brands is relatively low in comparison. When Red Bull posted the same promotional snowboarding video on Facebook and Instagram last month the Facebook post received only 2,600 likes though the company has 43 million Facebook fans whereas the Instagram post had been liked 36,000 times by their 1.2 million followers. At present, smaller platforms like Instagram can provide brands the opportunity to connect with customers directly, generate interest, and target the majority of social media users via mobile.
Though Facebook is still at the forefront of social e-commerce traffic, driving 64 percent, even with competition from more mobile and personal-based platforms, its communication tactics with ad execs may be the company’s downfall in the end. Facebook is now charging brands for the same amount of reach they had previously enjoyed automatically; despite the free publicity brands have given back by encouraging visits to their Facebook page or “liking” their posts. As a result, organic reach for standard brand posts is on the decline, yet another reason to switch up your social media advertising plans.
Twitter (another equally powerful though reportedly more ad exec friendly social media company) has seen minor increases in MAU’s from 3.9 percent growth in 2013 to 5.8 percent quarter-over-quarter. On the mobile side of things Twitter has seen major increases with mobile MAU’s growing 198 million, 78 percent of the total. The company is working on adding more tools to increase user engagement, a perk for advertisers looking to connect better to users, and plans to “reach many more people” this year.
LinkedIn is also focusing their energies on mobile products and creating more opportunities for advertisers to utilize their platforms. Admittedly, advertising is the smallest portion of LinkedIn’s revenue, but the company is promising multiple ways for brands to work with them, particularly on mobile. With the launch of a content marketing score to track brand post reach and an API for brands and agencies to programmatically manage Sponsored Update campaigns, the company is following through on that promise.
Overall, though the world of social media is essentially designed to constantly evolve, it seems that this fluctuating atmosphere may have a specific mobile-based trajectory right now. Facebook remains the front runner in terms of numbers (users and revenue), but companies like Instagram, Twitter and Vine are changing the way advertisers relate to users with the help of mobile platforms, producing more connections on mobile than ever before.