In 2013 CopyPressed published 200 news articles covering changes and updates that would affect the content marketing industry. Looking back through our archives feels like clicking through a journal. Can you believe Vine didn’t even exist this time last year?
Let’s look at how our world has evolved in the past 12 months.
1. Facebook Stopped Leading and Started Following
It’s undeniable that Facebook made several changes throughout the year, but very few were innovative. In fact, most were direct copycats of Twitter. Facebook adopted verified accounts. Facebook implemented hashtags. Even Instagram, Facebook’s “child,” appeared to copy Vine when it added video.
In the modern era, failing to innovate is a sign that a company has peaked. While it’s not a death knoll, if Facebook keeps playing catch-up it could go the way of MySpace in a few years.
2. Google Wanted to Make Google+ Popular No Matter the Cost
Google, you can update your algorithm and interface all you want, but it gets personal when you start messing with YouTube. In a poorly disguised effort to make YouTube comments a higher quality, Google required users to use their real names and comment via Google+. YouTube users were unimpressed – especially when the algorithm wasn’t working and offensive comments were moved to the top of the list.
Google has also started using +Posts in ads (similar to Facebook stories) and integrating Google+ into Blogger. Despite the fact that Google continues to make Google+ part of our daily lives, it’s far and away the most disliked social network on the Internet.
3. Younger Social Networks Started Monetizing with Ads
Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr all started integrating ads and sponsored posts into their feeds. Tumblr has seen great success with highly engaging content while Instagram and Pinterest have been creating highly visual ads for their interfaces.
These social networks were able to dodge the banner ad era that plagued MySpace and even nicked Facebook. Most – if not all – ads on these sites are flawlessly integrated into the content. Users often have to double check to see if the post was sponsored or if it’s organic. There’s high hopes for the quality of sponsored stories in 2014.
4. Snapchat Joined the Big Leagues
Speaking of smaller social networks, Snapchat took many steps this year to stay relevant and avoid falling out of vogue. After turning down a $3 billion buyout offer from Facebook, Snapchat revealed that it serves more than 350 million “snaps” per day. In the next year, Snapchat wants to clean up its adult image and become friendlier to marketers. Once brands start to take advantage of Snapchat it can follow the path of Instagram and Tumblr to monetize.
5. Social Networks Started Focusing on Curation
In August, Facebook gave users the ability to collaborate on photo albums. Up to 50 people can contribute to an album and each person can submit up to 200 photos. This is perfect for companies where multiple people run social media accounts or for crowdsourcing images and memories.
Most of Twitter’s updates focused on cutting back on noise and curating the chaos. The site started highlighting local events and popular television programs and recently launched custom timelines for users to share specialized lists with their followers.
6. Photo and Video Sharing Continued to Increase
Where do I begin in this section? How about with “Selfie” getting named Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionaries. If anything, content creators are uploading pictures of themselves.
I could also mention the million photos that are uploaded to Imgur daily, translating to 3.5 billion monthly views.
Maybe I’ll lead with a study by PEW that found 52% of Internet users post photos online while 26% post video.
Any way you cut it, photo and video sharing is popular right now. Some of the top social networks – Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, Tumblr, even Google+ – are incredibly visual. If visual content isn’t in your budget for 2014, I’d find a way to fit it in.
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7. Embedding Became Commonplace, Goodbye Screenshots
In my opinion, this was one of the best updates of 2013 – way better than Facebook hashtags. First, it expands off of Facebook and onto other social platforms (Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, etc.) Next, embedding posts into blog articles makes them more interactive than screenshots. Users can click on them and go to the user to follow their account.
Have you ever noticed how much louder squeaky mouse is when it’s bounced off your head? At 3 AM?
— Cat Food Breath (@CatFoodBreath) December 20, 2013
Plus, embedding makes posts look universally clean. There are no more awkward screenshots, some with boarders and some with weird sizes. Posts will always look the same on your site.
8. Cyberbullying Continued to be a Major Issue
Facebook and Twitter struggled with abuse and hate speech this year. Twitter added a “Report Abuse” button after one woman reportedly received 50 sexually abusive tweets in one hour.
Facebook also went back and forth creating privacy policies and reducing hate speech. Frankly, cyberbullying is one of the main hypotheses about why a Dislike button won’t be added to Facebook in the near future. Bullies would team up against their victims to rapidly dislike any status he or she posts.
9. Everyone Wanted to Win Over the Teen Demographic
As Facebook’s popularity with the teen demographic shrinks, other social networks are trying to eat up the market share – especially Tumblr and Instagram. I mean, even LinkedIn was courting the younger than 18 demographic! It wanted teens to start connecting with universities and building their networks for when they enter the real world.
10. Google Glass Became A Real Thing!
Google Glass started the year as a magical yet mythical gadget but has become a very tangible accessory for thousands of early adopters. The head gear even had laws created against it! In West Virginia using Google Glass behind the wheel counts as texting while driving and many casinos have banned the computers to prevent cheating.
Get ready to see Glass grow in 2014.
11. Everyone Wanted to Launch a Music Streaming Service
YouTube desperately wants to launch a paid music service — and plans to in 2014 — it’s just not happy with the interface yet. iTunes launched iTunes radio, but Pandora and Spotify aren’t really afraid of it as a serious competitor.
Twitter also launched Twitter #Music and then shut it down six months later. Well, you tried.
12. Yelp, Foursquare, and Facebook Started a Review/Check-in Deathmatch
Foursquare isn’t booming as a geo-location app, so it’s investing in developing reviews… and stepping on Yelp’s toes. This has lead Yelp to increase its check-in software in an effort to take down Foursquare. Facebook wants to be the one social network to rule them all and has built out both its rating/review system and check-in partnerships.
Google also wants to fight and has tried to encourage users to post ratings and reviews in its Maps app.
13. Google’s Penguin 2.0 Algorithm Update Went Live
For some SEOs this was like the tenth plague hitting Egypt, but other SEOs and content marketers who weren’t doing black hat tricks or creating shady links were mostly unscathed. Dave Snyder, our CEO, and Stefan Winkler, our SVP, explained who and what was affected in-depth.
These marketing tides are only a few major events and evolutions that happened in 2013. We also saw Jeff Bezos of Amazon rise in popularity and watched the Syrian Electronic Army hack the AP (and any Twitter account they could get their hands on). We watched multiple brands shoot themselves in the feet on social media, and a few recover nicely.
If you have a little time in the last few days of the year, go back through your archives and see how you and the face of the Internet has changed in the past 12 months. At the very least go back through your 2013, 2012, and even 2011 New Year’s predictions to see what you got right and what was wrong.
We saw a lot this year, and the pace won’t slow down in 2014.