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What Is the Future of Social Media?

Change is the only constant

In the few short years that social media has been a marketing vehicle, it has already had an enormous effect on the way companies do business. In the coming years there will be even more changes, as social media marketing extends from the marketing department to nearly every aspect of a company’s business.

In the Insight Brief “The Future of Social Media Marketing,” eMarketer senior analyst Debra Aho Williamson outlines several trends to watch in the coming years.

“Advertising—which some might say has already failed as a business model for social media companies—will not be the primary revenue driver,” said Ms. Williamson.

Instead, the strongest business models in the future will incorporate analytics, as social media becomes truly integrated into all marketing efforts. In addition, TV will become more social, as will search.

Location will become more important to social media, and brand monitoring will increase in sophistication so that companies can begin to understand the “why” of consumer chatter as well as the who, what and when.

“Naturally occurring conversations will be utilized in product innovation and design, and companies will create incentives for people's attention and engagement while repurposing and analyzing content and engagement in new ways that will deliver valuable input.”

—Ravit Lichtenberg, founder and chief strategist, Ustrategy.com, in an article in ReadWriteWeb.com, December 11, 2009

What will not change is the source of social media transformation today: the users.

“The voice of the consumer is only going to get louder and stronger,” said Ms. Williamson. “It will shape what social media is and what it will become. Not too long ago, a company might have made major changes to its products or services based on a few focus groups, some financial planning and a degree of gut instinct. Social media has already changed all that. And more changes will come.”

Total Access subscribers, log in and view the Insight Briefs now. Learn more about an eMarketer Total Access subscription today.


Check out today’s other article, “Word-of-Mouth Matters Most for Moms.”

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